Do You Love Me, Really Love Me?

Sometimes in life I have often wondered if I was and have been truly loved.  As I sat in my counselor’s office, now E3F1B75D-1193-45B8-BB68-2E95FFD9DF51many years ago, I can still see her and hear her talk and help me understand what shame was and the unworthiness I had felt throughout my life that I had expressed to her. Simple words, yet I never connected them to make sense and tie it all together of how they affected me. Shame carries a boatload of issues.

177B77B0-0BDF-4CF0-B115-61270671FA07With me not understanding at first and for a bit honestly, I probably was looking at her as a deer in the headlights.  Then to say and ask me if I felt I was unlovable. Again, I never put a word (or words) to my feelings. These are just a few examples. Everything was starting to click. It was not her putting thoughts and words into my head of such but unraveling the chaos within and turning on a light for me to see and understand why my childhood and adult years that I have always questioned. Am I loved? Am I special to anyone? Does anyone really 8C3A11B6-498F-424A-9F7C-DCBCBF57BBC1love me? The BIG one was crying and screaming within, Please Hug Me! Even with that, I could not understand why.

In those thoughts and all the other thoughts in question that I was unsure about, I came many times to the realization that I am not loved really, I am just existing. Then, to wonder how I could even love myself. With all that, the enemy made sure I knew that it was me, something is wrong with me, again all shame based, toxic shame.

To grow up with no love shown, no hugs, no verbal words of ‘I Love You’ said, only in written form on a birthday or Christmas card with money and that only being, Love You. Where is the “I” at in those written words? Maybe the “I” missing reflected that they really did not love me, it is just expected being a family member, a daughter. Even as a small child I pondered a lot of deep things like that, like reading between the lines, observing any signs, questioning them and myself.  Perhaps I am not loved because it sure was not evident. I just existed.

0D39074B-6BEB-411F-A4B8-5B9A11ED2969Life goes on and still in the back of my mind, I often wondered what is wrong with me. It’s me, all me and I am a nobody basically. Oftentimes questioning why was I even born and in that I felt like an oops baby and no doubt I was, coming seven years after my sister. Existence in a chaotic world in my chaotic mind. My mind screaming, please hug me over and over again yearning for love, a mother’s love.

To be married, I thought this was it, my one chance that I would be truly loved. Having babies was a dream come true. As a mother, I wanted more for them as most mothers do. I knew deep down that closeness, face-to-face interaction was important and they had my full attention, always welcomed to be in my lap, definitely made sure I said ‘I Love You’ often, and I had happy, smiling boys, all the things I did not get. There was no hesitation in love or doubt of encouragement and support and they still have that from me, they always will.

It was my marriage that changed. Again, I went through the loops of it was my fault, I am unlovable, I am a terrible wife and the shame that I took on myself got quite heavy. As the old saying goes, if I knew then what I know now, things would be different. I took on the shame while he lived in denial. Again, existence.

With my previous counselor and the one now, hearing and understanding what my childhood was like, my BA3E5470-2B67-434B-B625-C9737E3D7853marriage and that shame latched onto me like a bloodsucking insect, they both have said and found it interesting that as a child and even in this marriage, the same, I just existed with no love. Yes. I just exist, again wondering if anyone really loved me. To second guess love is never good; as you doubt them, you doubt yourself and you doubt anyone expressing love, afraid also that it is not real. A wall of protection is built to keep me safe from the hurt although it hurts me more because of the isolation I placed myself in. Abandonment is all around.

To know you are a family member or wife but not shown love, you just exist and expect that love is present, is disheartening. Shame still exists of which I have to fight through, now the wall. Just writing this, I have had to wonder and push through the thoughts that it is me, again wondering what is wrong with me. Knowing now, the enemy is trying to hold be back with such, just as he did in my past. I am not taking those lies, they have been exposed.4B813433-8E42-46E5-8144-699FAFAB5E8C

We all have issues and we all come from different backgrounds and upbringing. My parents did the best they could with all of us children and responsibilities in life. In the lack of love expressed, I starved for it from others. I now understand through my counseling, that it was my coping mechanism that kicked in to receive love. I latched onto just a few, sincere mother figures that cared, made me feel special to them and would hug me. I needed those hugs to give me a sliver of hope.

While in counseling years ago and for many years, I understand moreso today that transference was in the midst, which is normal to build trust between us and for me to feel safe with her. I knew she cared and understood me, which was life changing to help me understand my past, deal with the present and have a better future, not just of not receiving love needed but in so many ways, of understanding myself. A light was turned on for me to deal with and heal a lot of the hidden hurts within. I remember asking her several times throughout or times in sessions, if I was special to her and, of course, she said yes, which helped me, as I needed that from her to continue. The childhood emotional neglect now 6FFE1D65-9FA1-482A-A0C0-DA3F7817BB50understood, too, caused me to doubt her words and she knew that, but I could be open with her and ask. My mind screaming, PLEASE HUG ME, became evident to her as my eyes was a telltale sign and of my shallow breathing in panic felt. We were able to walk through those moments in session together. Priceless! Somebody understood me, finally. Someone cared enough for me to make sense and unravel years of chaos I felt. Many times before leaving, receiving a hug from her. Some question whether a counselor should hug a client. In my case, YES, as she was wise enough to know, feel my hurt and lack of love within me.  Thank God she took the time to help me understand myself and why I struggled. Today, I do not yearn for those motherly hugs I so missed and craved all of my life. Understanding, brings healing.

0393888E-601E-443E-8002-E8FFAE753C51Knowing that God loved me throughout life, I even doubted Him, which is a normal response of such neglect. My relationship with Him has deepened through all of this, knowing He does in fact love me. He is my Father. He is my Husband. He is my ALL and I know without a doubt that I can trust Him to fill the void of love and move through daily life not searching or yearning for love. 6E86E103-29CD-4DCF-BAC0-6A032B681D54LIFE! JOY! PEACE! He handpicked that counselor just for me, I have no doubt, because even in my older years, He still has a plan and a purpose for me.

483DB30B-BA9C-4F37-B720-5D43BB711180He knew me in my childhood, in my adult years and now, today. He wants more for me than to yearn for love and to just exist, but to know deep down that I am loved by Him, if nobody else.

Just as He gives us grace, I believe I am to give grace to those that failed me of love not received, perhaps not knowing any better. Also giving myself grace to accept that I am lovable, I am worthy and I am loved. God Loves ME. ❤️DB593836-0F32-4E8C-9E94-657D58C32694

Perhaps someone reading of my life, feeling unloved, will be touched and know that you are not alone. Just to know you are not alone as such in this case, brings peace and normalcy within, realizing somebody else dealt with the same and the shame attached to it has to go. Know that you are loved, you are worthy.

God Loves You! ❤️ Trust Him.

FC8D951F-16F3-40CE-A4A7-9723ECCC31EF

A Thanksgiving Production

DF277E5B-F9B8-42AF-9532-9C1260DA1F91It’s about time! Time for family and friends to gather at my home and I am sure yours also or the home you are hopefully going to and celebrate Thanksgiving.

As I was getting my last-minute items, I was thinking while driving home that this is like getting ready for a production. The spotlight is on me, my home, my food, my welcoming each one that comes through the door. There was a slight panic but I have no time to panic, as I must continue on and keep my thoughts together and get everything done.  Somehow, someway, it always falls together.

Well, almost everything. I have learned through the years that if it is not perfect, it is okay. It does not need to be A73AB2C1-2C78-4EE2-9DD7-89399A60B732perfect, I do not have to expect perfection out of myself. What a relief. Actually, I forgot salad dressing. Before, I would stress and push myself to go get, adding onto my to-do list. This time, I contacted my daughter-in-law asking her to take care of this for me. My goodness have I changed, counseling has definitely paid off. For that, I am thankful. It’s okay to ask for help.

This time tomorrow night, everyone will probably be gone and another Thanksgiving is over. It is not worth being stressed although there are moments, of course, but to be in the moment and enjoy those present, that is what I want and need to do.  We all do!

Take time to enjoy and the others will also. My saying always is to make yourself at home. I hope they all feel welcome to help themselves and I think they do.

May the ones that walk through my door, feel the love and joy being thankful for all that we each have, as we are blessed. May the Love of God and His Peace cover each one that they know Him, to place C26128AA-8021-4D13-AA1D-56E2CC00CCBBChristians in their pathway to lead them and help where perhaps I can’t; put Angels all around each one as they leave and protect them. That would be my simple but heartfelt prayer.

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🍂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family/friends. 🍂

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Tears from Nowhere

This morning I had an appointment early to get my D171077C-9EA4-4CB8-AB0B-4889C4CE7CFDhaircut and was looking forward to a nice, productive day afterward as I prepare for Thanksgiving like many of us are doing.  A good morning overall even though the weather was not cooperating with a lack of sunshine.

C97D4E0A-7459-4C06-9CDA-E09FFE79966CHere I am, sitting in the chair and my sweet stylist doing her magic while we talked and laughed. In the background, Christmas music was playing and the song, Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson came on. I stated I had not heard that for a good year, since last Christmas, of course, making a joke. I knew with that comment, I could not hold back the emotions and the tears started. Where did those come from and why? It’s funny how memories are stirred by music and our emotions are affected.845A8C81-4406-49F2-ACF5-B6ECA5E16D32

Each tear we cry has meaning to our Father God. He keeps track of all our sorrows just as carefully as if He were gathering each tear and placing it in a bottle for His remembrance.” Jennifer Rothschild

Later, when home alone and starting to clean, I turned on the Christmas music, louder than normal with my sound bar and woofer level elevated, hoping the neighbors don’t E3BD3AFE-6084-492C-8935-E9854AE06A2Bcomplain. lol  Believe it or not, the first song was Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson, yet again. What is up with this song today? Just because of how odd and what happened earlier, I texted my stylist and told her. Her text back was that it was playing right after I texted her. Knowing we are not playing the same channels but for this to coincide, interesting for both of us now.

Christmas music is wonderful even when the tears start flowing. The lyrics go deep and touch our hearts. Once they start, they usually continue off and on for the day for me and sure enough today has been one of those days.

74B50E97-29BC-4AD3-B579-ABBD8C4298C3The holidays can bring up memories of our past, good and bad, the grieving of those no longer in our lives whether that be in death or an end of a relationship, being overwhelmed with many things going on in our lives, or a mixture of it all and the tears flow, but not necessarily depression.

When my son moved out of state after college, being five hours away that year, I found the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas a definite one to make the tears flow, which always reminds me of him still even though now an hour away. This song is not so good when driving to work and tears fall like a dripping water faucet. Why did I even put on makeup?

Feeling sentimental, as many of us are if not all, at this B4A63AF6-4D68-4D8D-AFF2-FDCA03F448D3time of the year, is normal. It is a time for families and friends to come together. With the Birth of Christ recognized, our worship and joy felt can also bring tears of thankfulness. Let your heart feel, allow your emotions that apparently are needed to cleanse and heal some areas within. It’s okay to cry, even in your hair stylist’s chair. I grew up feeling shame and embarrassment of crying in front of others, even my own family. Thankfully that has changed in understanding myself and the whys through counseling.

123F5BD4-90B4-423D-887E-FF3299488885If you find the tears are more than not and on the depressive side instead of sentimental reasons, please contact your physician, a counselor, a pastor, a friend. Reach out! It does takes courage but you can do this.

If more serious and nobody is available or you want to remain private, as many isolate during this time, please get help by going to your nearest hospital or call the suicide hotline. You are worthy and God knows your name and where you are and most importantly, He loves you. Trust Him!

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org  👉🏻 Telephone 1-800-273-8255  24/7

3 Ways God Responds to Your Tears

The Story Behind Willie Nelson’s Christmas Classic, ‘Pretty Paper’

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Terrified with Faith

I am at a point in my life where I am being pushed forward into the unknown somewhat, wondering if can I do it.  Questioning myself and God of how this situation A78CCC54-9AE9-4C38-A21F-22660E7039D5had all come about so perfectly but the doubt hovering over me with what if I fail?  The balancing act with many encouraging me and those that I have shared my hesitation with, their encouragement that will support me either way. At times, that did not help, still feeling at a loss as to what to do. In the past few weeks, a part of me desiring that somebody would say, just do it, taking my hand and leading me, helping me and conquer this fear. I’m scared, okay terrified.

BC147DB3-4AD4-429B-A91E-E087A8314780I am sure I am not alone when trying to make a big decision, allowing faith to manifest but fear lurking around every corner.  We all have to make decisions in life with jobs, marriage, education, purchases, etc.  Adulting is hard, even at my age.

As I was being encouraged by a lawyer friend yesterday to go forward and expressing my fear and hesitation, I asked him if he experienced this when going to law school. Without hesitation, he said he was terrified. Today, he is one of the finest lawyers I know. His position just did not happen overnight, as he had to face fear head on.  Just his words of, ‘I was terrified’ brought comfort, knowing what I am feeling is normal. Sometimes knowing normal is not just a dryer setting, can take pressure off of an anxious mind. I realized that when with my former counselor, a lot of what I thought and felt was quite normal. It is the shame-based thoughts that keep us bound by thinking we are not normal, something is wrong with us.

Dealing with the weight of this matter on my mind and 5C5859A9-7215-4E34-AA86-FE897089F51Bmaking a final decision this week, I felt encouraged upon waking.  I have dreams and sometimes they are so real, just like this morning. Sitting quietly in a church service but next to a side wall not in a pew, my pastor came over to me. He took my hands and held them, looking at me and just said, ‘You know He is with you.’ How encouraging! Yes, it was a dream a spiritual dream, but I do believe and know that God can speak to us in them. Perhaps because our mind is quiet and He can get our (my) attention.

ID0F6AF27-7611-4796-BB3D-EEC4392F8B2Dn my quiet time this morning, of course, with coffee nearby and before I start my day cleaning and enjoying my home, I was reading scripture.  Just so happened, guess what I turned to and read first?  Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” How awesome it is to know that God’s Words are LIFE words soothing our soul, that brings calmness to our spirit and giving power and joy to our day.  He is with me. He is with you. We just have to quiet our minds, whether sleeping and in a dream to be reminded or in the moment acknowledging Him as we go about our busy, chaotic lives.  That’s God. Trust Him.

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9 Bible Promises About Your Sleep, Dreams and Night Hours

 

I Cancelled Thanksgiving

5C2A1F8F-F0E8-4B04-B87F-AC23C8C8CD13This time last year, my life was going in all directions, feeling lost, abandoned, grieving, overwhelmed and well, you get the picture.

There was an excitement just months prior of me enrolling in a medical class, which was a big step for this old girl.  I finally felt empowered enough to move forward after many years of feeling hopeless.  Counseling for years was helping me cope and understand myself plus my faith knowing I could do this and my dreams and desires were coming alive. Wonderful.  Life was good.

It was in September though as classes started and my counselor of almost four years decided to close her office due to medical issues, of course, unexpectedly. While I understood and was concerned, I could not help but feel abandoned by her.  My heart was hurting and my emotions were everywhere.

I would work full-time, go to class in the evenings and when I left, I sat in my car and cried, the grief was too much.  This class was too much.  My life was too much. 6315B5C0-B00E-4882-B65D-6B42AD8F745AHow can I do this? Overwhelmed was an understatement.

Through all of this turmoil within, I also knew I had to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for my husband’s family and our own, although my oldest son, now married would be with his wife’s family several states away.  The month of November was one with my nose in the medical book, studying for finals the week before Thanksgiving, my house not ready and no desire to go forward, just managing the best I could. My surprise was to get a 94 on my final, which shocked me completely. The joy of the results disappeared soon after, as I was still falling apart within and now no counselor to counsel me, left totally in the dark.  Now the anger was more prevalent due to it all.

Being so overwhelmed and grieving, I cancelled  Thanksgiving.  I did. I was done.

Thanksgiving Day was lonely in my home, just like any other day.  My youngest son, living an hour away, decided to stay at his home.  I offered for him, me and his father to go out and eat but he had no interest. Loneliness all around with depression raining down on each of us.

Finally, it was late that night when I spoke to my son, instead of texting.  In the voice, a lot can be heard and discerned.  I knew he was sad over no Thanksgiving.  He probably thought that since his older brother was not present, he was not worth it.  Still, that thought brings 4BD339ED-93A0-4EE6-BECF-84F34CD16FEDsadness all over me.  I will NEVER cancel Thanksgiving or a family gathering again.  He did not know my circumstance and the struggle I was dealing with but I was wrong.

In our telephone call, with my motherly instinct, thank God, I told him to get ready as I am coming down to his house.  It was dark and late but off I went to be with him, I apologized and told him I will never do that again.  We went to eat, get groceries, do all of his laundry and went bowling at midnight.  We both had fun and I put a pot of chili in his crock pot to enjoy the next few days.  In the end, he received my undivided attention and his mother’s love. He needed me and I needed him.

This year we will have the family in for Thanksgiving and if I get the house clean, fine and if not, fine.  I learned my lesson.959C31B5-EC01-444A-AF14-044F96E476B1

Thanksgiving is the holiday where people come together. At least, that’s what most of us are conditioned to believe. While Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most inclusive and unifying holiday on the calendar — particularly for families — it also has the potential to generate the most loneliness.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201511/4-reasons-thanksgiving-is-the-loneliest-holiday

Holiday Depression, it happens! 

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

Self-Care During the Holidays, it’s needed!

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-self-care-during-the-holidays/

30 – 60

Next month marks two big events in my life.  I am unsure how to handle these occasions although they will come and go whether I like it or not.

2C0279E6-C4D8-48E0-B45C-04A63DC01C33Just yesterday I was in my twenties, thirties, forties and, of course, fifties.  Now, the BIG 60.  How did that happen so quickly? I also often wonder how I and/or we have made it to our 30th anniversary.  Wow!  30 years!389EAFA5-9581-4788-AF1B-6FC6D46B9E41

Thinking back, the twenties were me finding my independence and partying in the first part, being young and stupid. The second half, I realized that is not the life for me and because I knew, too, the Lord was drawing me to Him and needed to get my Christian walk straight. It was time to stop running, which I did. To have a complete stranger say to me one night, “You need to quit running from God” definitely got my attention. I knew that was a warning. Later, I met a man at church and we dated three years and married four days before my thirtieth birthday.

My thirties, well our first year of marriage was not enjoyable, to be honest.  Several days before our wedding, with all plans made, etc., I remember standing in the church parking lot looking at this man with the thought to call off the wedding.  Of course, I did not.  Thinking, it was just cold feet and nervousness.  Was it?  It did get better and even more so with my first and second child born in the next few years, they were and are my life. I loved our little family.

145F47B7-AD82-4284-AD28-7B1F1C3F5147As I was busy with toddlers and caring for my aging parents, things changed in those years. My parents passed within two years of one another, then dealing with the estate and family issues.  Sadly, my marriage died, too.  Alone within and being private while wearing a mask of us all being a happy Christian family. Taking this all upon me, as it was all my fault, accepting the lies and rumors being spread that I am a bad person, etc., was weighing heavy upon me.

I remember my fortieth birthday, like it was yesterday.  My small office had cream colored carpet that I had just moved into but it was dirty from the traffic pattern of the other person walking in and out.  I wanted a nice, inviting office with clean carpet. We were slow that day so I got on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpet, 4718957F-EA4C-495C-A61C-C9DD39DDC3D5thankfully not a large space.  While scrubbing, I remember thinking I am just like the fairytale we have all read, Cinderella.  As for much of the forties, I do not remember, as I lost myself in those years.  My focus was on my children and my energy went to them, otherwise depression was overtaking me.

In trying to better myself, I had a short stint of counseling before he moved his practice out of state.  I felt I was gaining ground trying to find myself but only at a snail’s pace. The sudden death of my brother and dealing with his estate and the same family members that stirred up strife before but now more hateful, which got the best of me. I allowed their words and anything and everything negative rip me to shreds.

Finally when turning fifty, I was attempting to get myself out of the pit by taking care of me by having weight-loss surgery.  Looking back, I dealt with emotional eating and I still do at times but I recognize it now, but I had gained well over one-hundred pounds in twenty years of our marriage.

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We are now both feeling the effects of having an empty nest.  We are two strangers in the same house, both working full-time jobs and just going through the motions. I know I was dreading my home life and feeling stuck and feeling the craziness of it all. Too much! Everything went to the wayside, isolating myself from the world around me.

I knew I had to reach out for help. It takes courage to do that so if you find yourself in this loop of hopelessness and despair, please reach out. I found and was blessed with a wonderful Christian counselor five years ago to help me see light again and have hope, when all hope was gone.  Had it not been…ADFEB088-C85D-43CD-BFEC-2B40D3DC6411

I am about to hit my Big 60. I can truly say, I am happier today than I have been for such a long time; by understanding myself and working on my issues? I cannot control others and had to know deep within and to hold onto the fact that God said in His Word that He will fight my battles. Is everything perfect and did everything fall into place? No. I have had and still have some rough moments, but I know not to let it all get me down for long and to pull me down into a pit of despair and depression. I am moving forward. I am stronger today in my faith, as counseling has held me together and I know that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for me, even at this age.

I am expecting that the Lord will use me to glorify His Name and bring hope to others as I continue to grow older.  I want that.  Trust Him.

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Peace and Quiet

9E1F0857-0CE8-475A-BFFB-26F3E4216F19Today, I embarked on a new journey in my life.  I have never done this before but I am taking a step forward.  We sing a song in church that says if you take one step, He will take two.  Well, I need that from the Lord as I don’t know what to do.  I feel like life is heading in all sorts of directions and I feel lost, standing at a fork in the road.

DCF2B457-52CE-4BD2-92E3-7AF6CBF5140BI arranged a getaway for four nights, just me.  I need to know me and I need the Lord to speak to me through His Word.  He is my Father.  He is my Husband.  I need Him.

As I searched for a location to go and be alone, I narrowed it down to two places. For days I agonized over which 57BCCF04-A58C-4C82-B209-6D05EBE799C1way to go.  I stood in my office before leaving with my arms outstretched asking if I am to go north or south. My final decision was to go north.

In my final decision and knowing more of the location, a private apartment of a family, I did my due diligence and researched them.  Odds are, they did me, too, although I did need to go through some hoops to be verified that I am a decent person, no serial killer.

67AA0790-E188-44BB-BF02-E72D8B051D9DI told my counselor that I would not be surprised if the owner is an attorney, as I would love to pick his brain.  To find out, he is a preacher.  Even better.  No doubt in my mind that is why I was drawn to this location.  I would not be surprised to have time to talk and be encouraged from him or his wife. That’s God. The Lord is so good. 4100A9CE-8E3F-40CE-B118-3BFFDB6EE487

So as I prepared to travel north and get settled in alone, I have to be honest, it was somewhat hard to do. Why do I want to leave the comfort of my own home, almost wanting to forget this trip and take a loss. With that battle in my mind, something will come of this trip and I pray it does.

I will find my place to focus on the Lord, in my writing and reading with no distractions of dust, dirty dishes or laundry pulling me away.

My beautiful view.

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“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16