Sunrise Reflections

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As I lay here in bed, looking out my window as the sun rises, I am overcome with gratefulness. I’m sure this seems like a bit of an odd statement, given our current state of affairs, but gratefulness is the message today and everyday!

Not every season of life can be without hardships, but we tend to take everyday gifts for granted. It’s true that we open two gifts every day; our eyes! Life. The simple act of waking in the morning is often overlooked. I am always overwhelmed with gratitude for opening my eyes to see another day. I know sometimes we feel so negatively and can get so down that we grow apathetic towards life; we are so depressed that maybe we don’t care if we wake up or not. I hope anyone reading this today does not feel like way, but the sad reality is that most likely someone does. I have felt that deep despair, and it’s not a place in your mind where you want to set up camp! With so much craziness going on in the world each day, it’s easy to get lost in depression and anxiety. The unknown tends to strike fear in the hearts of many, but will our depression and anxiety halt the happenings of tomorrow or even today? No. 

 

One thing I have concluded about my own anxiety, after many years of dealing with it, is that the lack of control in a situation can really be a trigger. I will constantly obsess and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet and may not ever happen! I think my mind is under the impression that if I worry enough about today or tomorrow or next week or even next month or year, that it’ll somehow keep things from occuring. Maybe if I worry so much over something, I may be more aware of what’s going on and avoid potential disaster. I suppose that could happen, but you know what else could? I could also worry and stress so much about something that I create new problems that may have never even transpired otherwise! Isn’t that something? We worry so much and try to control a particular situation, that we create a whole new problem that would have never happened without our trying to play God, and even worse, the original problem that we were worried about initially, may never have happened to begin with! Mind-blowing I know! 

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There will always, always be something to worry about but there will always, always be something to be grateful about. I know many people are social distancing and isolated from most people, and that could bring on some unwanted emotions, but what if it was a good thing? I’m not meaning this virus is a good thing, but what if time away from the rest of the world was a good thing? What if instead of complaining about all you can’t do, you smile and accept all the gifts God has given you each day, that you may overlook in your normal routine? Open your eyes today to the beauty of God’s creation. Silence your cell phone. Turn off your notifications. Don’t turn on the news, it’ll still be there tomorrow, trust me. Watch the sun rise or even set. Make yourself a hot cup or coffee or tea. Sit in silence (if your kids aren’t awake yet 😜). Go out into your yard and soak up some rays. Watch nature happen all around you. Despite present world problems, the trees are still blooming, the birds are still chirping and hunting worms,

 

the bees are still buzzing around the flowers, the sun is still shining, the wind is still blowing, the rain is still falling and the world is still turning. We are alive today and in this moment, so please don’t take the gift of life for granted today or any day. Find happiness in the midst of chaos. Try not to let the media overwhelm you with negativity, it’ll be sure to set the tone for your day. Know that although bad things happen in this world each and every day, we still have a God above us that is for us and never against us. He wants to see us thrive. He wants us to come to Him with our worries and fears, so that He can give us the strength and courage to overcome life’s obstacles. We are meant for so much more than we realize and maybe we can wake up and see that we can do so much better than what we have been doing. 

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Dear God,

I pray that today and every day You give us the gift of seeing the world through Your eyes. Help us discover that there is more than the negative perspective. Let us take this virus seriously, but at the same time don’t let the panic and fear the media creates consume us. Make us aware that these types of things are always out there, some of which kill more people than this virus each year, but that our worry will not stop it from happening. Let us put our trust in You and find comfort in knowing that You are already helping us and guiding us through this season of life. I lift up those reading who are stuck in darkness, may they find their light in You! Thank you for all of us waking up to another beautiful day and may we be grateful today and every day. Amen!

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One more thing I would like to say about this virus. Remember that a Coronavirus isn’t new; it’s been around for years. This strain, however is new, but the flu has different strains as well. We have encountered different flu strains that we haven’t seen before, which also were deadly for many, but we never acted the way we are currently. The media will always report the negative side of things. They will always make sure you hear how many people have died from any illness, but they tend to leave out how many have survived. They also leave out little details like age and health issues etc. Positivity doesn’t gather ratings. I am in no way trying to downplay how serious this virus can be for some of us, but know that this virus was causing issues before the news ever reported it. No one was in a panic then because people weren’t aware of the virus and it’s name, they were only aware that they weren’t feeling good at all and doctors were telling them was they had upper respiratory issues or infections, or it’s viral so it has to run it’s course,  when really they may have had this virus but they just weren’t aware of it because the media wasn’t sending people into a panic over it yet. You will only ever find out about something when it can be hidden no longer. I’m reminded of the Flint, Michigan water situation. Those poor people, adults and children, were basically being poisoned (knowingly) yet it only came out because so many people were being effected by it, they could no longer hide it! Look at how long it was happening before anyone bothered to make those residents aware! We need to wake up and see that we are never given the truth and if we are we only get bits and pieces. I just want everyone to breathe a little easier. I want you to know that although this virus should be taken seriously, all illnesses that you can spread should be too! Washing your hands should be a very common practice as well as staying home when you are sick! I understand some will still have to work, but don’t take your kid to Chuck E Cheese when they’re sneezing/coughing and nose is running everywhere. Don’t send your kid to school to get everyone else sick. Don’t go around pregnant people or elderly when you’re sick too! As a matter of fact, not just when you’re not feeling well but when anyone in your family hasn’t been feeling well, because as I tell everyone, you can always be a carrier even if you feel fine! Say one of my kids were sick but I never got sick and felt fine, I can still carry it on to someone else. Give it time before running around everywhere. Again, I fully understand that some places you have to go and sometimes there isn’t anyone to watch your child if you go alone, but there is almost always something you can do to help prevent spreading any kind of germs. Our bodies are also made to help us fight off illnesses. Our bodies can build up a natural immunity to things as well. Please research any vaccine they roll out because it will not have been tested enough and although it may help you not feel like crap, it’ll leave even more crap in your body that your body will never rid of. All I’m saying is read, read, read. Most vaccines won’t prevent you from getting whatever it is for, it MAY lessen the symptoms or severity, but only on certain strains and no one ever knows which strain they will get. Just please don’t panic. Don’t be anxious. Stress and worry can only make the situation worse. So as hard as it is for some of us, try your best not to. We will be great! ❤️

Much Love and God Bless!

Jekyll vs Hyde

In life, I like to live my life as transparent as I can. With me, usually what you see is what you get. I believe the only exception is my mind. That’s a rather odd statement considering I share SO much, but at the same time I feel when it comes to how my mind and thought process works, I don’t share fully. Many times I believe I have shared completely when maybe I only share 50%. The problem is, I don’t think it’s possible for me to share completely all of my thoughts; there’s just WAY too many swirling around all at once. I tend to just stew because I feel like I will be a burden if I speak any of my “issues”, so I tend to just be to others what I need for myself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being the positivity for others, bringing light into their world, but it should cause you to neglect your own light. 

I, for as long as I can remember, have always been the light for so many, that when it comes to my life, I am dark. I am the complete opposite in my own life, for myself,  than I am with everyone else. Why? I have no idea. It’s as if I use up all my energy and positivity to build others up, until I just have nothing left for myself. In every aspect of my life, whatever relationship it may be, I always put others before myself and I move my own issues to the very bottom of the “to do” list. In my mind, when someone needs help, it’s MY job to fix their problems. I take their problems so personally, that their problems become more of my problems than their own; not even they would feel as troubled by their issues. I’m just such a feelings person. I swear to you, I can feel the feelings of others and usually without them ever saying a word…it’s like an extra sense. I always view it as a God-given gift. I truly live to help others and make them laugh and just fix their problems. I live to make others happy, but what happens when I need the laugh, the compliment, the conversation, the hug, the words of encouragement, the positivity, the smile or just the help? Who can help me?

We all have those people in our lives who will say, “I’m always here for you” but I’ve come to find that maybe, for most (not all), that these words are uttered out of a sense of obligation. Maybe they feel they HAVE to say this or it makes them feel better to say this, but most people mean, “I’m always here for you…IF I have the time.” Numerous times in my life, I have set aside my own issues to help everyone. I have been in full on panic and anxiety yet I say let me help or I just simply listen.  I didn’t always have the time, but I MADE the time. I put all else in my life aside to help. It’s hard, at times, not to let that cause bitterness. I am not that kind of person, nor do I want to be, but at times you have these thoughts that tell you that no one really cares about you. When you have so many thoughts swirling around in your mind, you tend to get overwhelmed and easily stressed out, so the negative becomes much more easier to believe. At times, you want to say that you need help, but you know no one would pay attention anyway, nor would they understand.

I am not writing this to garner sympathy, but rather to make people aware that even the most positive people in your lives, those who bring you so much joy or make you laugh or are always there for you, they need help too. They are struggling too, so don’t forget them when things are going good for you or when you feel better. I have so many thoughts going on all the time that I feel guilty for thinking most of them. I’m like, my life is good, I have God in my heart, my babies are healthy, happy and just so beautiful, I have an amazing marriage, I have a nice home,  I know other people with FAR greater problems than I have, yet here I am struggling to keep my head above water. There’s so much I want to get out but I can’t. I, myself, cannot even express fully every thought I have. I hear them in my mind, like people talking all at once and all I know is when I try to even get someone to understand the slightest little bit, my thoughts start to come out in the form of tears. Then it’s like why are you crying again? What do you have to be upset about? You’re acting foolish!

The guilt, the guilt will eat you alive. You have your struggles yet you tell yourself you have no reason to feel how you do. You assign so much guilt to yourself because, how can you be so positive for others yet in your life you’re being negative. You view life in worst case scenarios and you have such a negative thought process, yet if someone needs some cheering up, you’re all rainbows, sunflowers and unicorns. You show them how to look on the bright side and carry them along until they are able to walk alone again and then you go back to you own life, drained and barely breathing. You’ve now given away the best version of yourself to everyone else. 

I’m not even sure that this post will be cohesive, I feel as if I am just rambling, but hopefully someone gets something out of it! I hope that you can find a healthy balance between helping others and helping yourselves. I hope that you can remember to fill your own cup as you fill everyone else’s. For myself, coming to the rescue is like breathing to me, I just have to, but maybe I can be more mindful of my own needs. In my mind, thinking or even putting any amount of focus on my own needs is being selfish. I would tell others that thinking of their needs is not being selfish, bit in my own life if I do it then I am being selfish. I don’t know why I am so hard on myself, but I am! I am so great at giving the best advice, yet I cannot even give myself any words of wisdom. I hate to even make a post such as this. I have contemplated deleting this several times during my typing. I don’t like to out negativity out there and I feel as if that’s what I’m doing. I don’t want to come across as a complainer. I suppose sharing the negative can make us appreciate the positive more. Maybe in sharing some of my thought process, it’ll make someone else feel less alone in their thinking. Even the most positive of people can have a hard time, so please remind those people who are always there for you just how much they mean to you and don’t forget to genuinely ask how they’re doing or if they need anything. ❤️🙏

Dear God,

I pray for anyone reading this that relates to what I’ve typed. I pray that they remember to take care of themselves, even when they’re taking care of others. I also pray that you help them deal with any guilt they feel, may they know that it’s okay to think of themselves sometimes. I pray that they know they are never alone with You in their lives and that You are always willing to listen. May we all remember that You are a constant even when others come and go. Thank you for all the good in our lives and even the bad, for without the bad we would never truly appreciate the good! AMEN. 🙌

Much Love and God Bless!

Reaction or Response

As I sat here in my semi-cleaned kitchen, chomping on baby carrots (straight from the bag because I like to live my life on the edge) and sipping my sparkling water, I came across a thought-provoking post on a social media outlet. The question posed to the readers was, do you mindlessly react to situations or do you thoughtfully respond? A rather deep question, it would seem, for a person in my current state who was just asking herself the equally deep question, “…should I get some ranch to dip these carrots in?” In all seriousness, this question did beckon a response from myself. I felt the response I gave wasn’t all too shabby, so it sparked the decision to blog! Here was my response,

“I would agree, reacting can be this reflex action sometimes, but I try to be more mindful. As you said, some days we will be more successful with responding than others, but at least we are making the effort to self-correct! In certain circumstances, reacting can be momentarily gratifying but that is always short-lived. It goes back to the old saying, ” Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I try to reflect what I want seen in the world. Although our mind may tell us, “react, they NEED to see my reaction!” I think simply responding speaks volumes. Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset! ❤ “

I would like to elaborate more on my response.

Certain times throughout our days, people may disrespect us or try to provoke us and if you’re like me, your mind tells you REACT REACT REACT. We can’t fathom sometimes the act of just thinking before reacting. Instead of taking a breath and contemplating a more intelligent and graceful response, we want to show we can go toe-to-toe with this person and possibly one up their actions. We don’t believe we should be disrespected, so we think we will teach the other person a lesson by beating them at their own game. While I’ll agree that I don’t usually extend respect to someone who isn’t extending it to me, we can most certainly stop and think of a better way to respond. I’m often hearing a voice in my head reminding me, ” …quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger…” which comes from James 1:19-20.

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Sometimes, this appears as a weakness in the eyes of others. They believe if we don’t meet a negative with another negative, that we don’t have any self-respect and we allow people to walk all over us. Not true! There is a healthy balance where you can respectfully be assertive while thoughtfully responding to what has just been done or said. As I mentioned in my response, there can be a momentary sense of gratification after “putting someone in their place” and trust me, I KNOW some people seem to need that reaction or don’t seem to be receptive to anything unless you do choose to react, but those same people also get gratification out of provoking you; when they see you react they know they have the ability to control your emotions. Although they may be somewhat offended by you putting them in their place, they still feel pride that they were able to disrupt your inner peace and joy. Those individuals will love knowing that although they may not have gotten what they set out to get, they still caused you to react which will likely spill over into the rest of your day and onto others you come in contact with. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem worth it. It’s also worth noting that these individuals are prepared to meet reaction with reaction, so a thoughtful response rather than a mindless reaction can truly throw a monkey wrench into their plans and really throw them off their game.

Some people we encounter may not even intentionally set out to provoke a reaction from us, so once their mindless reaction is met with a thoughtful response, this serves as a wake up call and reminds them that grace is better than retaliation. This could also serve as a reminder to believers that we are to be a reflection of God to others, and extend the grace He freely give us to others as well. To reiterate, you will be more successful some day than others, but the important fact is that you are acknowledging and putting forth the effort for self-correction. It will not happen over night, or even all at once, but over time you will see that the little corrections here and there will retrain your mind. I am in no way telling you not to stand up for yourself, but choose a wise way of doing so. There are usually always those extenuating circumstances, but normally those aren’t  occurring on the daily.

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I loved what I had to say at the very end of my response and I think God gave me those words in that moment! “Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset!”  We like to believe that we don’t have the power to retrain our minds, but this is simply false. I can tell you that from personal experience with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more, that I truly have felt with all my being that “I cannot come back from this. I am too far gone.” Something I want everyone out there reading is to know you are NEVER too far gone! You can always come back to center and reset. Trust me, anyone who would have witnessed how bad things got for me, would have said there is no way to recover from this and certainly not without being heavily medicated. While I am in no way condemning getting help in the form of medication, what I am saying is you CAN get back! God allowed me to get so lost that once I was able to find my way back, I knew how to help myself and more importantly, how to help others! I found understanding and purpose! So, if you’re someone who feels that you cannot retrain your mind to be more positive, that it’s impossible for you, hear me tell you IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE and if you truly desire to, YOU CAN DO IT! Self-correcting once a month, once a week, or once a day is all equally productive! It starts off small and over time will multiply and before you realize it, you are thoughtfully responding rather than mindlessly reacting! It takes no effort what-so-ever to impulsively react, but it takes true strength and character to be mindful of how you will respond.

Much Love and God Bless XO

The Feeling Of Defeat.

Have you ever felt defeated?

Have you ever woke up and already felt like you’re one step behind?

This week, maybe even a little longer, has felt so crazy to me. I have felt overwhelmed and stressed out and just on edge. It’s as if more and more keeps getting piled on top of my shoulders and I’m starting to sink into the ground! One little thing goes wrong, which leads to another, which adds to the pile and then pretty soon I’m drowning in emotions…ALL of them! I’m down because there are SO many tasks to be done, yet there never seems to be enough time for them all. I will feel like a failure many days because I haven’t gotten every little thing done that I needed to or planned to. The expectations I set for myself may exceed what one person could or should do in a day, but I get frustrated nonetheless. This can just bring on more negative…depression, anxiety, lacking patience, anger and even self pity.  We as humans get into these “funks” and before we realize it we’ve already spent way too much time there. I do not like negativity at all, yet when I get into one of these funks, the output is negative-negative-negative!

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Recently,  I have started throwing myself into working out again and just simply being more active. Like I mentioned before, this week has been pretty crazy and I woke up feeling off. I checked the verse of the day and it was one that has carried me throughout most of my life. Isaiah 41:10.Screenshot_20190719-052516

I truly didn’t think much of it this morning and I went on with my day. I had this online seminar I was to attend at a specific time today…long story short, my internet connection is super slow and it would not work on my phone, so 45 mins into trying to get into this online event and no luck. I tried everything and still couldn’t get it to work. FINALLY I was able to get in and got the information I needed and was blessed that it wasn’t completely over with! That one thing that seems so minor now, just added to the pile and truly made me feel even more defeated.

A little later on, I got ready for my 2 mile walk. Just getting to the treadmill when you have 3 kids is an accomplishment in itself! I’m a fan of music; I have always loved a huge array of music and normally I’d put my Pandora on a station which is going to kick out rock of some sort while I am on my walk…today though, I felt a tugging at my heart to go to one of my Christian stations I have programmed on there. I go to the station, which would normally play songs with a variety of messages, as the first song starts I notice it’s a favorite of mine Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns.Screenshot_20190805-074029~2 I didn’t think much of the message it speaks, then the next song comes on In The Eye Of The Storm, which kind of catches my attention. Screenshot_20190805-074311This goes on the entire walk. Praise You In This Storm comes on and I think to myself, I hear you. Screenshot_20190805-074606.pngThe songs started out as recognition of being in the midst of these storms of life “I see you, I hear you…” then they turned to “now here is what to do.” It’s far too easy to get caught up in the negativity that piles up and just succumbing to it. We forget that most of it can be little issues which we have let turn into something far larger than what’s needed. I tend to tell others often, somewhere someone is wishing to have the problem you’re having because they’re going through something much more intense and then here I am giving into these negative feelings and thoughts which then adds to the guilt I’m already feeling.

Today I am reminded that there are indeed others out there who wish for my problems. I am also reminded that there are others out there feeling exactly how I am feeling and I am not as alone as I often feel! Let us learn to let go of the small stuff and let God handle it for us. With anxiety, you think about EVERYTHING, you obsess over little things and you worry constantly. God calls us not to be anxious for anything but instead bring it to Him. My life is FULL of so many blessings and miracles and they outweigh all the negative, hands down! I pray to see from God’s perspective daily. Screenshot_20190805-074940.pngI pray for the strength to only here the voice of truth through all of the things swirling around in my mind. I am thankful for the reminder that God is always there, no matter the circumstance and I am seen and heard. I am thankful that His breath is in my lungs and I don’t have to take on life alone. Every day, whether it’s good or bad, is a blessing. Every day is a day that God has already planned for you far before you were born. He knows just what should happen and when. He knows exactly what we all are going to have to stand against and He never leaves our side. I don’t know about you, but I feel very unworthy of that…especially when I am wallowing in my own self pity.

I pray for everyone reading this that if you are feeling defeated think of those out there who are literally fighting for their lives daily and still they wear a smile every single day. Our issues may seem big and they may just actually be big, but somewhere hidden in the midst of our struggles are blessings, we just need to change our mindset to find them.

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Much love and God Bless!

National Suicide Prevention Day 1-800-273-8255

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1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They also offer texts and online chatting prevention services. Light a candle at 8pm and place it near a window ❤
A middle school girl locked herself in her bedroom. She often cried behind closed doors so no one else would see her. She sat there, gun in hand, finger on the trigger and gun resting against her temple. With tears flooding her face, she desperately wanted to pull the trigger, yet something tugged at her heart and for a moment she thought of all the people it would impact. All the times she thought to herself that so many lives would be improved if she weren’t alive, they disappeared in that brief moment. Scared, sad, ashamed and alone she took her finger away from the trigger and slowly moved the gun away from her head until it rested on the ground next to her. Wiping her face, she got up and unlocked her door and snuck off to return the gun to where it belonged. No one ever knew and no one would have ever known. I know she credits God for that moment of clarity in such a chaotic time in her mind. I know she would have missed out on so much happiness, happiness she never thought was possible; a wholeness she never thought attainable. I know she would have never experienced true love, marriage and multiple pregnancies/birth. She would have never been called wife or mother. I know all these things because that middle school girl was me.

Even the people who seem the happiest and always go out of their way to help others need help too. You never know what storm lies within another, so be kind and always show others that you care and they matter.

The topic of suicide should be freely discussed without judgment. It should always be a safe topic. It takes only a few seconds to truly ask someone how they are and listen to them. If anyone reading this ever needs anyone to vent to, I am always available.

There is a story that only you can finish, so please keep going and hang on because as much as you don’t believe it gets better….IT DOES!

;    Your Story Does Not End Here!

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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! ❤

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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FEAR. The underlying culprit of many conditions!

FEAR.

Fear is something I will most assuredly discuss off and on for as long as I have this blog running. Every single person out there has at least ONE thing they fear or are afraid of. For some of us, like myself, we have a plethora of fears. I know there are people out there who claim not to be afraid of anything; they fancy themselves immune to fear. But here’s a question, what does fear look like? I can guarantee that when asked about fear, most of us think of phobias…spiders, darkness, snakes and it’s usually either childhood type phobias or all that is creepy and crawly. What if I told you fear is less obvious than your basic phobia. What if I told you it was the underlying culprit to many conditions?

I have anxiety, but more than that, I have anxiety disorder. I have panic attacks, but not just panic attacks, panic disorder. I have also endured depression, which anyone who has depression knows it doesn’t magically disappear, but it can go dormant as I refer to it. Just to reiterate, I don’t make posts like these for sympathy, I make them for one simple reason: to help others. Now, with that said, I want to touch on something for a moment before continuing on to fear. Over the last few years I have noticed many people saying they have “anxiety”. While they may feel the “normal” feeling of nervousness or uneasiness associated with your average person, the simple fact is it’s not consuming them. It’s not debilitating to them. It doesn’t affect their daily lives and paralyze them. It doesn’t morph them into a person whom they can’t even recognize in the mirror. I am not trying to judge another in any way, but when you actually have anxiety and panic disorders, it’s easy to recognize the authentic from the ones who nonchalantly throw the terms around. I’m very confident in the near future I will blog further about my experiences with anxiety and panic disorder, but let me get back on track to fear. The reason I brought up anxiety, depression and panic is because they all stem from fear in some form or another. In my case, lack of being in control is also a factor. Think about it for a minute, those of us with anxiety and panic disorder have many fears. We fear losing control/going “crazy”, others being able to tell something is wrong with us, things happening to us that are out of our control, having some sort of serious illness, no one believing us and our feelings and the list goes on. For myself, at an extremely bad time with my anxiety, I was like a zombie…lifeless. I sat there with no emotions on my face at all, no matter who talked to me or attempted to, I just looked off and never even acknowledged their presence. I wouldn’t eat because I believed I was allergic to anything and everything. I feared going outside of the house because all kinds of things could potentially happen to me. I missed many days of work because I feared leaving the couple of people I deemed my “safe people” who I found some sort of comfort in. I thought every day was my last day. I hardly slept at night because I was convinced I would die in my sleep. My body would go into uncontrollable shakes which weren’t as severe as seizures, but resembled them in certain small aspects. Fear plays a significant role in panic and anxiety disorders. Depression, in many cases, can be caused by fear. Some fear speaking up for themselves or speaking up about their past traumatic experiences and that can cause them to fall into depression.

I was asked, “What if you woke up tomorrow and all your fear was gone, what would you do?” My answer was, “I would live.”

It seems like an odd answer, considering I am literally alive…but often times I am not living. Many times I am controlled by fear; I let it dictate my life. It tells me where I will go, what I will do. In certain times it becomes all-consuming and I lose myself. I become a shell of a person, unrecognizable to those who know me best and love me most. When you’re in those hours, weeks, months or even years, you can become so discouraged. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re “crazy” and “broken” and you’ll “never be the same” and you’re not “normal” (whatever normal is!) kind of look at that last one as a positive 🙂 None of those are true statements. You have the ability to come back from all of it. I don’t want others to live in that constant struggle every single day. It’s like having to be a fighter every single day, whether you want to fight or not and you have no choice. It gets to a point where you just say, “I don’t want to fight anymore” and that is when you start to lose yourself. It’s not easy at all and it’s not “all in your head.” I quote movies A LOT and when referring to anxiety and panic I will use a quote from Titanic, “All the while I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.”  People feel like if they cannot see physical signs of your condition, you don’t really have any issues. They are conditions that others cannot fathom because they have never truly felt them.

The most important message I want to put out there is that there IS hope! You can come back and learn how to control your fears. I am not saying you will be “cured” or you won’t have times where you revert back, but you’ll have more confidence in your fight and in the end you’ll be the one still standing. Personally, I would not be where I am today without my faith in God and actually, I would not be alive at all. God has protected me through so much in my life, and it’s amazing to look back on certain situations I have been in and realize I made it out. God does not want us to live in fear, but to come to Him with anything that is troubling us.

I’m not sure if any of this was very cohesive,  hopefully it made some sort of sense 😉 I would urge all of you to think about you fears and how big of a role they play in your life. Try to learn more about the triggers of your fears and work on getting to know yourself more. The more you learn about yourself and your fears, the more you’ll be able to work on them more effectively. I believe in the power of prayer as well. Take time to bring your worries and fears to God and watch how He works in your lives and uses you to help others. Much love and God Bless. ❤

 

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