Stand Firm

38 weeks pregnant today and slacking on my blog! 😜

I was contemplating what to write about this morning, so I went to my Bible app. Instead of looking at the verse of the day, I clicked the button to take me to the Bible so I could browse through. Interestingly enough, instead of bringing me to Genesis as it usually does, it brought me to Luke and not only that it didn’t start from the top it scrolled itself down to a specific verse and I’ll insert the screen shot if it’ll let me!

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Luke 1:45 is what I was brought to. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (NIV)

I found it rather curious that I should be brought to this verse when it involves pregnancy. Mary was visited by an angel who explained to her that she would carry the Son of God. Mary went to tell her relative, Elizabeth, about the news she received. Elizabeth herself was in her 6th month of pregnancy and was said to be unable to conceive and those words in Luke 1:45 are Elizabeth speaking, overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit!

At the end of pregnancy it’s natural and “normal” to feel more anxious and apprehensive. You’re tired and worn out and thinking about so much to come. I feel guilty a lot as my anxiety can get the better of my mind at times. Again, my mind works against me a lot of the time, in what can be very cynical ways; the guilt comes from my knowledge of needing to guard my mind yet too often the enemy sneaks in. I can ignore a lot but then at other times I entertain those false and negative thoughts too much which then gives the enemy satisfaction as he has now created doubt. It can be frustrating because I am a firm believer that God can do anything, ANYTHING and that nothing is impossible with Him, yet these negative thoughts cause doubt and that doubt kind of contradicts my firmly planted beliefs. I don’t mean for it to, but when you’re on the outside looking in, I’m sure one would wonder, “how can she believe so strongly, yet allow fear to enter her mind?”

Before I became pregnant this time, as with all the other times I prayed about it. I prayed to God, if I should be blessed with another baby, please only allow it if the baby and I and my family will be safe and healthy-before, during and after for many, many more years to come. I prayed this often. When I became pregnant I took that as a sign of an answered prayer and a promise from God. He heard me and this was Him saying I am blessing you and all will be well, before and during and after; you are protected. I also prayed He would lead me to the best place for me to give birth. I trust that I will end up where I need to be. My last birth was a home birth and I feel led to do this one at home as well and I am confident God will be right with me and reminding me of His promise to me.

I have had some whacky things occur towards the end of this pregnancy and it has thrown me off a bit with the anxiety and I feel as though this is the enemy hearing my confidence in the Lord and trying to rattle me and feed me that doubt. I must admit, he does sometimes get to me, but I know he attacks the most when your faith is strongest! So that in itself is a sign that I am on the right path for myself, this new baby and my family as a whole.

With all of this being said, that is why I was taken aback to have my app bring me straight to verses having to do with pregnancy and tellings of birth promises. When I have viewed this pregnancy as an answered prayer and a promise from God, to see those words and be brought straight to them (when that’s not even the norm for the app) well, I see that as just more reassurance from God who knows how to comfort me 🙌❤

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I pray today for those reading this who maybe are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, that they trust in You no matter what they may be told by anyone else.  I pray their minds would be guarded from the enemy and their faith in You unwavering. I pray also for those not pregnant who, like me, struggle with anxiety and guarding their minds. Please helps us all to trust in you fully and ignore the poisonous words planted in our minds by Satan himself. May we realize that the enemy attacks most the closer we are to God! I pray for our faith to be strong, our courage to be plentiful, our doubts to be non-existent and Your protection to be all around us, consuming us. I pray always in Your name, Amen! 🙏🙌

Much Love and God Bless 💚

 

Praising God In The Storm

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I have to start off with apologizing for neglecting my blog lately! 😣 So many things going on and time is not slowing down! As most of you probably know from previous posts, I am pregnant and actually due in another 5 weeks or so! Just trying to get things in order for go-time!

Being so close to the end of pregnancy you would assume it’s the time where relaxation kicks in and you’re just resting and waiting…maybe with the first child, but this is baby number 3 and things have been a bit wonky! It feels as if all these random little events keep happening and they all add up the stress! I know so many of you can relate to that one-thing-after-another feeling and it doesn’t treat the anxiety well!

It’s funny because every time I think what else could happen, I also think what is God keeping from happening? There’s two sides to everything and I definitely believe that many times when it feels like all these random events keep unfolding at the worst possible times, God is setting you up for greater things in the near future! Granted, in those moments when everything seems to be out of control, it’s hard to have this mindset but hopefully after things have calmed down a bit, we’re able to sit back and actually contemplate about what is happening, the actual severity of it and what good can come from it.

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I often mention Job or revisit Job in the Bible to gain perspective. I have always gravitated towards the book of Job and have many times been inspired in a variety of ways. The theme of Job could probably best be summarized in a question…Why does God let bad things happen to good and innocent people? Job had not done anything wrong, yet within one day alone he lost his livestock, servants and all 10 children! That was just one day! Can you imagine how overwhelmed we would feel if we lost even half of that in the course of a day? Even after suffering such great loss, Job still blessed God in his prayers. When we think we have it bad, sometimes it’s not as bad as we initially perceive it to be. How often far more simple things happen to us and yet we feel the need to question God’s motives.

We should be thankful in the bad just as we are in the good because we have limited understanding of our lives and what evil God is saving us from in the future. I’m sure I have typed this before but it’s so very true, God has the panoramic view to our lives, we simply see in tunnel vision. We are often focused on what is currently right in front of us that we tend to forget there is a bigger picture to behold. We cannot worry ourselves with why others who do wrong don’t seem to experience as many hardships nor do we need to question why God is allowing what seems like bad things to befall us. Our understanding of our lives and life in general is extremely limited, whereas God has the infinite knowledge; how could we lack trust when He is God of ALL? Who are we to question God’s motives? We cannot just go through life expecting only to experience the good!

Although it’s easier to praise God during those good times, we would do good to remember to praise him in the times when it feels the hardest; that’s where, I believe, the most true and deepest blessings come from. Anyone can be thankful when they’re surrounded by clear blue skies, but what about when those dark gray clouds crowd around and the challenges of life seem to rain down? Where is our thankfulness then? Let us not focus on what is happening in the moment right in front of us, but rather thank God in the midst of the storm for what He is saving us from in the future. It may be difficult to train our minds to work that way at first, but once we realize how true it is that if this bad had not occurred, our blessing could not have happened, it’ll make it that much easier to have that mindset.

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Think of several times where things went wrong in your life and I’ll wager some kind of positive came from it, in some form, whether right after or years after. A quick example for me that came to mind was my miscarriage. Maybe it’s come to my mind so quickly because I am getting closer to giving birth, but had that misfortune never  happened, who is to say I would have my other son and now this little girl I am currently carrying? Sometimes God takes from us to allow room for bigger blessings to flow, we just have to trust that He knows best! He is on our side and He does not rejoice in our misfortunes but rather hopes for us to put more trust in Him.

I pray today for anyone who feels caught up in a web of what seems like constant hard times Lord, may they know that You are for them and that You go through it with them. May they realize they may be going through a stretch of bad times now, but it will pass and blessings will be waiting on the other side! May our hearts see a different view during difficult times and allow us to have a more faithful and positive response as opposed to a “poor me” or “why me” attitude. Thank you Lord for the good and the bad because we know they work hand in hand. In Your name we pray, Amen!

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Much Love and God Bless!

Turn The Tables On Evil!

As most of you who read my blogs can tell, my faith plays a big role in my life; it always has. It helps me through even the darkest of times because I am confident in God and His love for me. I truly believe those words, speak those words and yet on some days I can’t help but feel like such a contradiction.

I know it’s days, like today, when the enemy gets the better of me and invades my mind. Satan loves to use my anxiety/panic disorders against me and he can be so relentless and ruthless. As strong of faith as I believe I have, I get so ashamed of myself when I lose those daily battles in my mind. I am aware that the enemy’s plan is just that; weaken me bit by bit until he gets the majority control over my thought process. You would assume being so aware of those facts would make it easier to fight back, yet sometimes I never see it coming until it’s too late!

After enduring anxiety and panic most of my 30 years, I can still be ambushed. It may not come as easily as it once did, as I have learned to fight back and hold my own, but still it happens more than I’d care to admit. I feel like a walking contradiction because here I am always speaking words of hope and encouragement to others who are in need of them, and yet I can’t even take my own advice when I truly need to! I also can sit and hear myself ask, “How can you call yourself a true believer if you let so much doubt consume you in certain times!?” The doubt, in any form, is probably what causes me the most remorse. You can try to call it anything else, but in all honesty it is doubt. If I have so much faith in God, why then do I allow the enemy to get me to ask myself questions like the one previously stated or to fill my mind with nothing but worst case scenarios? It truly is frustrating.

I pray quite a bit, especially in my most anxious moments. I ask God to guard my mind and allow only good and pleasing thoughts in. I often pray for overall protection, both physically and mentally. I honestly don’t know where I would be without my faith because many times I feel as if that’s all I have on my side; definitely not a bad thing to have God on my side though! When you have anxiety/panic not many people can relate personally, so you feel even more isolated. When you’re often viewed as a person of positivity, you feel like a fraud when you become lost in the disorders you have. It can truly be disheartening.

I have so many worries, fears and stresses currently that I have become overwhelmed and Satan has been lurking in the corner waiting to take advantage. Today has been a tough day for me and I contemplated what I could do to turn it around, if only just for a moment. How could I turn the tables on Satan and his lies? Blog. Share your raw feelings, emotions and thoughts with your readers and let them see you vulnerable. Allow them to see that faith in God does NOT mean you get an easy pass in life; it does not mean you will not have to endure hard times, but it allows you peace, comfort and hope for the future!

My mind can be an extremely cruel and merciless place at times and obviously I can’t just get away from myself. I have to focus more on God’s words and promises and trust that He is already ahead of me and has protected me and carried me through! He is working all together for good and He will lead me where I need to be and allow all to unfold just when it needs to, I need only to be still.

I pray tonight for anyone out there who is struggling with anxiety, panic, fear, worry, stress, depression etc, whether they’re reading this or not, may they find comfort in knowing God is on their side and He will go with them wherever they go. May we all realize, no matter how alone and isolated we feel, we are never alone!

Much Love and God Bless ❤

P.s. Use your struggles as weapons of good against evil. Use your dark times to help reach more people! Don’t be silent about your hard times; be open so that others know they aren’t alone in how they feel!

Grateful Heart

Good Morning Everyone!

I’m not quite sure if today I will be able to continue blogging my notes from the sermon series I have been listening to, it may have to be tomorrow. It would seem today is leading me down a different path; I seem to have woke up with a message on my heart, so we’ll see how it unfolds. I’m sure God is leading me to this message for a reason, so it’s likely something to offer peace and comfort to all of us in some form. ❤ Wherever He leads, I’ll go!

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I woke up this morning with an urgency to discuss gratefulness. Many of us, like myself, would say they’d consider themselves to be a rather grateful person; always doing their best daily to thank God for the blessings in their lives. Honestly, some days it seems I give thanks constantly because I am filled with an unexplainable joy. Good times seem to cultivate more joy and without much effort. What of the not-so-good days? How can we remain grateful, with that same unexplainable joy when our days aren’t going well or our life has taken some unexpected sharp turn?

I know I may seem wise, but I don’t have all the answers 😉 I will, however use personal experiences to give my best opinion/views on the matter. I also love using Bible scriptures as a reference because the Bible is our cheat sheet…it has all the answers to any question we will ever have, we only need to look.

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Most of us would say, I have a grateful heart. I wake up each morning, thank God for the gift of life and for the health and contentment of myself and my family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario; it’s ideal! We should be thanking God as soon as we wake up because He is the reason we do. But, we have all had those times in our lives when we have gotten so deep down in our trials that we wonder if we even want to wake to face another day. Of course, to me, this is a form of bitterness; something has gone wrong in our lives and we are a bit bitter and confused. We think things we don’t mean wholeheartedly because we feel pain, hurt and sadness. We want to know why. Why God is something like this happening to me? Am I not a good person? Am I not worthy?

A simple fact of life is, bad things can happen to the “best” of people just as they can to the “worst” of people. We are all human and no matter how good we are, we are never immune to the bad experiences in life. There is ALWAYS a reason, very evident or not, for why we are assigned specific mountains at certain times. In any circumstance, I can guarantee that a gift is hidden in the darkest of times. You’re being equipped to help someone else who will need you or your words. We can all appreciate and be thankful for people in our lives who give us great words and express care during our tough times, but in all honesty, don’t we wonder how they know how we feel when they haven’t been in our situation? We feel their heart is in the right place, they’re saying all the right things, but in a way their words are empty to us because we don’t believe they can relate. So, whose words can hold meaning to us most? Yes! The ones who have endured things we are going through. Someone who has personally been where we are at and made it to the other side! I believe any bad we go through gives us this unique ability to be someone else’s hope and light in their time of darkness. I know I sound repetitive with that statement, but it’s so true. Think of how many more people you can reach on a personal level, when you have been through some of the same situations they have. That is the beauty in our pain. That is where our gratefulness can come from in our darkest hours. We can thank Him for allowing us to go through this terrible time, because we know He has much bigger things in store for us. Trust me, in those hours, I KNOW it can be difficult and almost near impossible for us to think that way. It’s in our nature to question why something is happening to us, but remember we have tunnel vision and God has that panoramic view; He sees the whole picture, while our focus is what’s right in front of us at this moment.

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One of my most difficult times with maintaining a grateful heart during a hard time was when I endured the loss of my pregnancy in 2014. January 16th, 2014 to be exact; one never forgets. My husband and I had our oldest son at the time, he was approaching 2 years old, yet we were so excited to be expecting another child. We love babies and they’re an amazing miracle from God! Unfortunately, our baby wasn’t to be here on this Earth with us…we were unaware we had conceived a real angel. I feel we often forget that our babies are a true gift from God and they’re His before they are ever ours. Even with that knowledge, the pain didn’t seem to subside any. I was about 7-8 weeks when we lost our pregnancy. Some would say an insignificant amount of time to have such a tremendous reaction to, but no matter the size of the baby or the amount of time you carry your baby…it was still a part of you. You had plans for this baby that went years into the future; it was already a part of your life because it was a part of you. I remember going to the hospital because I had to leave work early that day because I started bleeding. Of course, some bleeding can be considered normal in the beginning of pregnancies, I however was not convinced. I guess I just knew in my heart where this was leading at that point. I passed some clots prior to leaving for the hospital and all I could do was cry. I do remember telling my father through my tears that if I’m losing my baby, it’s what God thinks is best for my baby and I. Still sadness was ever-present. There I sat in the hospital waiting room…waiting and waiting and all the while still bleeding. I felt like I’m losing my baby and no one is trying to help me. It’s an emergency! I’m in a hospital, I’m pregnant and bleeding and I can’t save my own baby and no one is coming to help; I must wait. What a sick and devastating feeling, especially as a mother, knowing what’s happening to your baby and yet you cannot do one thing to stop the process…all you can do is witness the unfolding of events. After waiting in the waiting room, being called back for blood work, then sent back to the waiting room, then called back to lay in a hospital bed in the middle of a crowded hallway and given an IV, I was finally seen. By the time they administered an ultrasound, there was no sign of pregnancy; like my baby never even existed. It was heartbreaking. At some point from leaving our home to waiting in the hospital, we had lost our baby. I had lost our baby. Guilt weighed heavy on me, as I felt I had failed at my job as a mother. I felt I had failed to keep my child safe and protected. They gave me a discharge paper which read in big, bold print: Miscarriage; then they sent us on our way. My husband and I got to the car and as we were leaving we just stopped the vehicle and held each other crying. It was such a long day, yet it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. It’s a sadness and pain I would never wish on anyone. I struggled with seeing pregnant women or babies. I am a person who has always loved children and babies and pregnancy etc, yet I developed this aversion to them. I worked in a grocery store so it’s not like I could escape them. I remember crying because I missed being pregnant and knowing I was having another baby, yet I also cried because I didn’t want to be that kind of person. I didn’t want to feel that feeling of avoidance when encountering pregnant women, babies and children. I knew miscarriage was a common occurrence but we never imagine it could happen to us until it does. I’m not going to say I did not struggle and still don’t shed tears for our angel baby, but I chose a grateful heart instead of accepting a bitter one. I thanked God for the short time I had with our baby and I chose to talk openly about it to not only help my healing process, but to bring honor to the life we had made. I chose to name our baby, although gender was unknown, I went with Uriel, which means “God is my light.” It was confusing and one of our toughest times, but I told others I would be open about it because God will use me to help others going through the same circumstances and that He did! I have be able to help several people since and was able to give them comfort, peace and hope that no one else could.

Of course that example was one of many. Whether it’s my anxiety disorder, depression, struggles with self harm/ suicidal thoughts and tendencies and all that I have experienced, the same gift has come from all of it…the gift of light. In those times I often wondered the meaning and purpose of it all, but as time went by I had my “ah-ha!” moments. I realized God had better plans for my life. He might say yes, no, wait or simply not right now, but trust me when I say better is around the corner. ❤

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I sit here typing this to you at 30 weeks pregnant today with our 4th baby (3rd earthly baby). God is good 🙌 Nothing is impossible with Him! I know He cares for my Uriel until I am reunited with him/her later in life. I am still blessed in many ways! I am very blessed to be able to speak from a personal place to all of you as well! I pray my words always help someone who needs it! Let’s all be grateful in the good and bad times because we know God is for us, not against us!

Much Love and God Bless! ❤

An Anxiety Disorder Reflection

When I first started this blog I recall stating that I would comment and even write multiple blogs on anxiety and I’m here to make good on that promise 😉

Anxiety has been so prevalent in my life (the majority of my life) I now have to consider it a part of me in a way. Don’t mistake my statement as being accepting of my anxiety disorder, rather I have more of an understanding of it and know that although there may be times I am in control, it will likely lurk in waiting. I often describe it as going dormant or partially dormant, but I would never say I am “cured”.  I’m a firm believer in a person’s ability to constantly better themselves, and that is how I look at rising above the disorder. I have no issues with the anxiety disorder label hanging over my head, I do however take issue with the control it can have over me as a person; physically, emotionally and even spiritually! Let me state that I do not always have good days and I do backslide in my own personal journey with anxiety disorder (yes, even after all these years) but after enduring it for most of my life, I have learned a thing or two about it. I’m not a doctor or counselor or anyone with a title, I’m simply an individual sharing her experiences with anyone who wants to listen in hopes that it’ll help them in some way!

I was reflecting on the disorder earlier this morning and remembering how much it has impacted my life and even still does. Anyone with anxiety disorder knows how much time it can steal from you; how many moments you miss out on. In times like these with social media you see so many photos of people who are worry free and just enjoying life on their vacation time…it’s hard not to say to yourself, “man, I wish I could do that!” With anxiety disorder, especially in a peak time, it is SO debilitating. You are unceasingly paralyzed with fear. You opt out of anything and everything, even when you don’t necessarily want to. At one of my absolute worst times with the anxiety disorder, I was living in a continuous and never-ending state of panic and fear. I’m not talking every other day or even once a day, I am saying every second of every single day for more than a year and the disorder was relentless; it NEVER gave up. That year sure seems lost to me. I hardly remember anything else besides what the disorder caused and how it altered my personality and just myself overall. I would sit on the couch at my parents house and be like a zombie. I would be expressionless. I lacked personal hygiene because it felt like such a chore and I had no will or energy to get up and do it. I was terrified every day was my last day. I was convinced I would die every. single. day. Every move I did have the courage to make was over-calculated in my mind; the worst case scenario was always the certainty. I couldn’t go outside because some crazy accident would happen. I couldn’t go out to eat or even eat new foods or foods I hadn’t in a while because I would have severe allergic reaction and my throat would close up and I’d die. I’d like to add that I have no known food allergies. I ended up losing so much weight because I could only muster up enough courage to consume apple sauce, bread and water. I cried at every meal when my parents or husband would attempt to get me to eat because I was petrified. Night time was no different and could even be the worst time for me. Fear and dread kept me from falling asleep every night because in my mind I would have a heart attack and die in my sleep and no one would be able to help me. I would have such bad whole body tremors/shakes.  I can’t even put into words everything that I was unable to do. Simple every day tasks were forgotten and I was just this emotionless blob. I truthfully am not embellishing nor am I actually able to convey all that I went through. One of the worst parts was I felt like I was drowning in front of everyone. My head was persistently under water, my arms were in the air yet everyone was looking right at me and telling me I was alright. They couldn’t see the water. They couldn’t see me in trouble. So how could anyone help me if the people who loved me and knew me best couldn’t see how much trouble was surrounding me? They may have acknowledged my feelings but they truly couldn’t understand and therefore they couldn’t help. When I came to this realization, I knew there was only one person who could help me, that person was me…or was it?

Anyone who views these blogs can recognize that I am no one who shies away from my faith. During this particular peak of the anxiety disorder a lot that got me through was my faith. I believe certain events happen in our lives to bring us closer to God when we have become complacent. When we start veering off on our own and although still believers, we lose some of that spiritual spark. Many believers can talk a good game, but they end up, even unintentionally, treating God as a genie. Your life is going great and you go on your merry way and you’re just idling in your faith. You call upon God only when you’re in trouble. There is nothing wrong with calling upon God in times of trouble, but we should always be calling upon Him even when things are going wonderfully! In my opinion, this anxiety disorder is in my life so that I can use it to help others. I can relate on a personal level out of experience! I would never wish it on anyone nor do I enjoy having it myself, but it has allowed me to get here where I can share my story with all of you and hopefully make some sort of positive impact on your life. I want to give others hope who have been in those worst times and felt so alone and not “normal”. You wonder how far you can go before you actually snap and go crazy. At times, we already believe we are crazy. The great part is we’re not and we haven’t gone too far. We can always put our minds in reverse and come back to center! We’re not lost, we just took a detour! 🙂 I know the fear of opening up about it and having this image of someone taking us away in this white straitjacket and locking us in some padded room somewhere. It sounds unreasonable, yet many of us with anxiety have felt that fear. This is one of the many reasons I share my story with everyone so that anyone else having the same feelings can realize they are not alone and their feelings are shared by many other individuals. There is such power in reading or hearing someone who doesn’t even know you express exactly how you have been feeling; it offers a sense of comfort when you need it the most. I mentioned my faith got me through and it truly did. I would pray often or sing older hymns or modern Christian music in my head at night or even recite verses over and over until I was calm enough to fall asleep. I kept a book of verses with me specifically on the subject of fear. It gave me the boosts of confidence when I would need it and assured me that I would be able to make it through this. I so often cried to my husband or my parents that I would never be the same, that I would never find myself again. Anyone out there thinking that they are permanently lost and will never be able to find themselves again, I am here to tell you it’s not only just a possibility, but a CERTAINTY! You CAN and you WILL! At times, all we can do is buckle up and hold on and know that this will pass. I even purchased books on anxiety disorder, both religious based books and non and it helped me to better understand my condition and in learning more about the disorder I was able to regain more control. I am convinced I’ll always be a work in progress, but I am proud of how far I have come. I have a lot to work on still, but this peak time I have been referring to was 2010 for me, so 8 years I worked at it and still continue to! It’s unreal to think that I was married for just 2 years when this particular surge in the disorder occured, and I could never express my gratitude enough for my husband. I talked about how much I have endured, but he also went through all of the ups and downs with me. He stuck by me when most people would have run the other way and he not only stuck by my side, but he encouraged me and did his best to understand and help me along. He did whatever he could to ease my mind at times, yet he gave me tough love when I needed it most.  It’s hard on a spouse to see the person they love the most suffer through something and not be able to help at all, just kind of sit back and watch and not even fully comprehend what is actually happening with them. My husband, Brandon, he’s definitely a hero of mine ❤  Yet another gift from God!!

I want to pray for anyone at there who is feeling anxiety to any degree, especially those of you in these peak times that feel hopeless and alone! I want you to know that not only God is with you, but I too understand and you can turn it around. It may take years for you to feel like you’ve gained even some control, but it will happen! I pray for you all to have peace and comfort when you need it most. My dream is that my words, whether now or in the future, help even one of you out there!

Much love and God Bless ❤

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Yes Can Mean No

Late post today, I know!

The day is almost over, but I keep feeling pulled into a specific topic direction. It involves a personal subject that I was vague about in a previous post. I have never really spoken on it openly before, but I do know I am not the only one it’s happened to and there is not much awareness out there; so sharing would help way more than not sharing, although it puts me in a super vulnerable position.

Everyone has heard of rape, it’s something we have always known existed yet recently it’s been widely emphasized and many more people now have a much better grasp on the subject. Everyone is taught “no means no” we all understand that, but no one ever mentions when “yes” can also mean “no”…sounds confusing and made up, but just hear me out.

Have you ever heard of the term sexual coercion? This can take on a violent form such as several types of rape, but it can also take on a non-violent form. There is not much awareness with this as there is with rape, but I have read that it can affect some people (mentally and emotionally) in similar ways as the more well-known rape. People who have been subject to sexual coercion can suffer from anxiety, depression and even PTSD. I don’t want it to seem as if I am comparing it to rape, because although both are horrendous acts, I personally find rape (especially violent acts of rape) to be much more traumatic. I also do not want to seem as if I am down playing sexual coercion in any way either. When I share these blogs, I never desire to be seen as a victim in any way. I want my experiences to speak to someone else in a similar predicament and offer them peace and understanding. I already feel the anxiety trying to creep on me for attempting to write this, but maybe that’s just a sign that someone is trying to stop me and I should go forward and not be afraid.

I wrote a post and mentioned how ignorant we can be when we’re younger and naive and think we have a better grasp on life than we do. When we’re younger we tend to follow feelings instead of following our hearts. We sometimes find ourselves in situations that we know we shouldn’t be in but we’re there already. When I was younger, I found myself believing I “loved” someone and was willing to alter almost anything about my personality or my appearance to draw attention from this individual. It’s ridiculous, sad and pathetic…things I’m not, but for some reason allowed myself to be. At a time it seemed as if maybe I had caught the attention of this person…believing maybe it was just me getting older or the time I foolishly put in trying to be “good enough” but I thought I had reached that point. I was very wrong. We talked, we hung out, seemed like the norm for our age, but was maybe leading to the more formal “dating” where maybe you’d finally gain a title of girlfriend…or so I was led to believe. I was invited along to a movie one evening and how excited my younger self was believing I was maybe good enough for someone to be interested in. I went to this movie, even after receiving emails prior to basically setting out “expectations”. In my mind I thought if I agree I can go on the “date” and if I don’t feel comfortable with my decision I can always change my mind. I shouldn’t have gone out at all, but I did. My dumb decision. After this movie had ended, I was driven out to a secluded area where I guess would be more private. We all know what was expected of me that night. Leading up to that night I was sent messages such as you better not be lying to me about what you said would happen; if you don’t do what you said I will be mad, I won’t forgive you and I will never talk to you again. A lot of pressure was put upon me, especially leading up to that night. It was basically do what I’m telling you to do or asking you to do or we won’t be friends anymore, we won’t talk anymore, we won’t date at all and it would go back to acting as if I didn’t even exist. This person knew good and well how to manipulate, that was clear. What angles to work to achieve his goal. Sadly, out of fear and what I felt as obligation, I consented although I didn’t feel comfortable and I am absolutely sure this individual knew I really, truly did not want to go through with anything. I would have assumed the individual would have respected me enough to just stop the whole evening and take me home…then again, if he had respected me, he never would have sent all the messages he did trying to keep the pressure on and use manipulation to get his way. All of this from someone I thought was a friend. You can see why that betrayal cuts even deeper. In cases like these, when consenting out of fear or repercussions of things either said or implied you are now subject of sexual coercion. I always felt everything about what happened was wrong and something was off, although I tried to hide it or play it off as no big deal, I knew in my heart and mind that it wasn’t right. It’s not about regretting something later on, this was an entire process. This was a scheme. To add insult to injury, all the things that would have been taken away had I not agreed, they went away any way. Although I consented out of fear of what would happen if I didn’t, it happened any way. As if I was a ghost. Again, all of this from a so-called friend.

Although I never talked about it and how it affected me emotionally,  or events leading up to that situation, I knew something was just off about the whole experience…before and after. I never would have said it was rape, but after a routine check up at a doctor, having him ask if I was ever raped due to the way my body can react it was a bit eye-opening. I started researching because I often just blamed myself for letting it get to that point, for putting myself in that situation but the more I read the more it became clear that I was sexually coerced. I know many people go through similar circumstances and never say anything because “technically” they have no case because they weren’t “raped”…so we are left to sort out the emotional and physical effects on our own. If we talk about it we are viewed as trying to gain sympathy or attention and we are “playing victim” and trying to place blame. That’s not at all what we’re trying to do. We are trying to understand the issues we have as a cause of that instance or with some people instances. Sexual coercion, just like any other abuse or harassment, is wrong. We all know “no means no” but maybe now maybe you’ll think twice about telling someone they consented because they simply complied. If you don’t have all the facts, don’t assume that just because they may have shown interest in the person or “liked” the person, that their going through with anything was because they felt they wanted to.

I pray for anyone who has gone through similar circumstances and felt they couldn’t talk about it at all can find comfort, peace and healing. I pray you have courage to confide in someone you trust and I also pray for anyone affected my any type of abuse or harassment, especially those shrugged off or not believed. The more we talk, the more we bring awareness and the more we can all heal, together. Much love and God Bless xo

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“What Ifs” and Worst Case Scenario Mindset

I’m sure this can correlate with my fear post, but totally unintentional.

I can tell you I live in the world of “what ifs” and I am always thinking ahead and trying to plan for the worst case scenario because, to me, it WILL happen. This can most definitely go hand in hand with the anxiety and panic disorders, but I know others without those disorders who also relate.

Avoidance is one of the worst things you can practice when it comes to anxiety and panic, it only feeds that fear or anxiousness more. You want to familiarize yourself with your fear and in most cases even doing whatever action scares you or causes these “what ifs” and worst case scenario thinking. I will need something as simple as groceries, but I tell myself I cannot go today because my husband isn’t with me and what if I get into an accident on my way. My husband will want to take the interstate to get somewhere faster, but we can’t because some type of Final Destination-type accident will occur. I’ll think one of the semi trucks will hit us or a gas truck will explode near us or when we go over a bridge we’ll go off the side and how will I get both my sons and myself and possibly my husband out. It truly can be a vicious cycle…if you let it consume you and dictate where you will go and what you will do. I myself am still very much a work in progress, so please don’t feel like I am speaking as someone who is “over it”…you’ll never be over it, but you can be in control of it. There are just so many examples I could throw out there…avoidance of dental work because of what may go wrong (but most likely never will), avoidance of doctor check ups because you may find out something is wrong, avoiding going certain places because someone may go on a shooting spree or a bombing may happen. It’s stuff we worry about more so now because we see it on the news ALL the time. Should we let it control our lives though? It goes back to us wanting to be in control, convincing ourselves we’re in control, but we aren’t. That’s the truth, not one of us can control what happens to us. In some cases we can be, to a point, but only God truly knows what will happen before it happens.

Here’s a nice “what if” question…what if, in your avoiding accidents and the worst case scenario, you actually cause the worst to happen when it wouldn’t have? So many times this happens; something worse happens trying to avoid something that probably never would have even occurred! We focus so much on avoiding potential danger that we don’t live and experience. It truly seems like a waste when you sit and dissect it, doesn’t it? How many people are out there have serious illnesses with no cure or have serious disabilities yet they are living more than people like me, or maybe even like yourself?

I know I am so adamant on my children not learning from my anxiety, my fears, my avoidance, my worries etc. That gives me a special drive I wouldn’t have without them. I do the best I can to mask myself at certain times, but when you’re a stay at home mom and home schooling mom as well, the kids are always with you and sadly there are times they see you at your worst. In some of those moments I try to explain to my oldest about what’s happening and what are some ways to help someone else if he ever knows anyone with anxiety or the other conditions we have discussed. I don’t want to completely shield them, because maybe one day they can help someone who needs it. Maybe they will have that extra patience, empathy and love as their father does. However, I do not want them to fall into the same patterns. I wish for them to recognize and break the pattern. I want them to live without letting fear or anxiousness guide them.

It’s not only avoidance. There are times I can sit and be lost in thought of something bad happening to someone so close to me. I envision these horrible accidents and even death. It’ll bring you to tears, but it’s a bit like torturing yourself. It’s something that just happens, I’m not sure why, but people with a mindset like me can fully understand and relate.

Why do we let these thoughts in? Do we not have control over our own thoughts and mind? The beauty is, we do! We can choose to not let our thoughts drift to the doom and gloom. We can recognize it happening and turn it around, get our minds busy and refocused on something else. Much like with anxiety, refocusing exercises can be so helpful! I often pray in times that my mind starts to go over to “the dark side” and ask for my mind to be filled with things more positive and uplifting, knowing that He is working for me and has my best interest at heart. It can be like a boulder being lifted off your shoulders. Rejuvenating. You can also practice yoga, meditation, coloring/drawing, writing/journaling, going for a walk outdoors, exercise…something that refocuses your energy and helps you re-center. It can be easier said than done, but give it a shot and maybe not immediately, but over time you will start to see a difference. It’s very similar to trigger recognition in anxiety and panic; you start noticing the start of things that cause you to spiral and you can more quickly reverse them as you learn more about them and their origin.

My prayer for all of you today is that you all find solace in God and any one or all of those activities to refocus and re-center your minds. I am a huge advocate for the power of prayer; it has helped me tremendously, along with my faith and I cannot stress enough how without them, I would not be here today! I want all of you to live your lives to the fullest every single day, without letting your fears, your what ifs, your worst case scenario mindsets to dictate your days, weeks, months or years. I desire all of you to have confidence enough to step out of your comfort zones and explore the world around you, even if it means exposure to a fear or avoidance. Baby steps start off small and shaky, but as time progresses they get stronger and more steady. Please feel free to comment and let me know a fear/avoidance that you chose to face after reading this! I would love to hear about it! Much love and God Bless!

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