The Wilderness

B112A881-D709-462B-8110-422DF57971B5Many years ago I went through one of the toughest battles ever, feeling lost in the darkness of my thoughts and feelings with nobody to turn to.  It’s interesting, twice this past week, this time of my life came up in conversations.  I discussed with my counselor but also listening and encouraging a friend the other night, who is experiencing total hopelessness in her life, wanting to die.  Sadly, I knew exactly what she felt and heard the screams of her begging God to let her die.

Taking day by day but really just existing, it got so bad I remember feeling actually numb and not knowing how I got from home to work, vice versa, and dealt with life.  I remember driving to work, knowing deep within that 7C031C4F-1822-45B7-AFEE-4A4AF7B3E0E0God was carrying me. He had to carry me. The Footprints in the Sand picture and the words that I have read many times, became real. One of those moments when you think or say, so that is what this feels like.  Yes.  He was carrying me and at times dragging or pushing me. Had it not been and had I not had my faith in Him, I do not know what I would have done.

Many in the church were present around me as I tried to go and worship but still, even in the midst, I felt invisible.  I worked closely with the Pastor with typing and tending to his paperwork and correspondence, but even he did not discern, acknowledge or offer to see through my heavy heart or hear my silent screams.  Alone in the dark for years not understanding or able to confide in others. I had been hurt so much by those that said they loved me and cared so how could I trust another.

Perhaps the walls surrounding me were so high, that I had built and rightfully so and normal, that they could not see or reach out to me. Still, if you cared enough, chip away at the wall to help me tear the walls down, as I needed freedom from the hell within. Desperate and hopeless, just as my friend.

Years progressed to more years and I felt I finally gave up.  One last straw broke me. Isolation and depression attacked my very being. My life was between going to and from work and home to repeat the next day. Being an empty nester, I did not have to act as though I was fine because I was not.  My husband was present in body only but nothing more, just keeping the legal form of our marriage license intact only.814A9057-3FDA-4418-9080-178EC9794093

Even though the dark days of this wilderness journey was horrendous for me, today I am much stronger in my faith.  It was through those times and many nights curled up in my chair struggling to live through the emotional pain and mental torment, but I had to trust in the Lord. He said in His Word that He has a purpose and a plan for me, He would not leave or forsake me.  I had to trust Him. Even when I was so angry with myself, others, my life and even God and then to express such anger to Him. My faith deepened even through my screams of anger at Him. He knew I was angry anyway, I had to be real with Him.

Wildernesses are not wasted by God.

As bad as it was, I know the trials that come now won’t last forever and hopefully not as long as the wilderness experience I had.  Tomorrow will be better.  No matter what comes, I must trust Him. You, too.

Know He loves you. He knows your name.  He knows where you are.  He knows all about you.  Trust Him! ✝️

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God does not waste any of our life experiences and promises that although, life might not feel good right now, he works all things for our benefit and for the purpose of transforming us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28-29). https://asistasjourney.com/2012/06/29/a-wilderness-experience-depression/

Wilderness Experience https://www.gotquestions.org/wilderness-experience.html

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Trust or Distrust?

6594C139-3701-4A6C-938F-FDE4ACD405B1There is a part of me that would rather you look me in the eye and say, I do not like/love you, I hate you, I do not want anything to do with you, etc., than to find out later it was all a lie, questioning our relationship.  While that would be horrific, at least I would know what I was dealing with.

To receive my trust, to know me, to hear me and to know I was loyal and then to crush my spirit, is like a knife in my back.  Sadly, that knife has been there many times.  I D4388487-BF85-4636-BCD1-D911E2A3AD9Fam kind of getting used to the sharpness and the dull pain it presents.  It just reopens and irritates the wound from before that I was getting over. How many times do I have to endure the agony?  It’s hard when it repeats itself, especially from those you would not expect.

As I was in counseling for years and still, trying to grasp the fact of this hurt, the betrayal, abandonment, rejection, distrust, lack of vulnerability, to name a few and realizing they were what I have dealt with in life.  Now, understanding the areas that get triggered and while pain exists through it, I know it is not the end of the world.   Thankfully, I can recognize and name the emotions felt.  Like, yes I have been here before and this hurts. It helps when you know what you are dealing with whether that be in the emotions, as such, or even the one causing the pain.  We may not understand what the other person is going through or the reason this or that happened but give grace and forgiveness, move on.

You would think that the ones that cared and loved you would not do such damage, but it happens. Shocking.

The question lingers… Who do you trust?E0C8227E-7587-4D3D-8938-E58FFA2A990C

It is hard to be vulnerable knowing that just this can happen.  You think you are in a safe place in a relationship but again, it happens.

3A9D2D89-A24C-47E1-A851-A5690FEADEEEThe walls get built to protect from letting others hurt you once again. Perhaps not allowing myself to be me, was something we discussed often in counseling, afraid to be vulnerable.  I understand.  How can the walls not be built to keep the pain away?  There is a distrust. It takes time and healing of such pain to dissipate, hopefully.  When you think you can trust again and it happens yet again, the walls go back.  The wall gets bigger.

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One thing I do know, is that the enemy wants nothing more to make us and help us believe the lies in order to stop our growth. The thoughts bombard our mind to just to stop it ALL.  I felt this so strongly the last few weeks. I do not know who to trust or to be vulnerable with and share; so the 52A72642-7651-4544-81AA-CDB596F1F7F5thoughts and decision of no more counseling, no more caring, no more nothing. Done! Just go to work, home and repeat. Exist. Exactly where the enemy wants me yet again, to be isolated and depressed.

I know better though because I went down that road before for years.  I recognize the enemy at work in my mind and my emotions.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and getting close to freedom in life and to feel joy.  I want that in my life.

The knife in my back yet again is just that.  What’s new?  I made it before, I’ll make it again. At least I know how to walk through this with more coping skills than I had years ago and I see it as it is.  The pain exists, tears come and go from the disappointment. Before, I would take it all upon myself, as there is something wrong with me or it is my fault, etc., but I am not taking the blunt of the negative feedback trickling in my thoughts.

Sadly, many get to this point as such or similar and consider the situation hopeless, too tired to work through the despair.  Suicide is rampant among us all. Keep going, you will get through this. Today might be rough but tomorrow will be better.

457B8EEC-3EEC-45DF-A2F5-FEA0AF846327As much as my heart hurts, I know that the Lord knows all about my pain.  I have to trust Him through this.  I did not have the energy before, years ago and for years, but now I do.  I will Praise Him through this pain and He will see me through.

Any negative thoughts, feelings and emotions that I have, not to forget the anger that rises up in my attitude, I know I must forgive the one(s) that hurt me.  I know, too, that I am to pray for them.2E833860-5258-4FC4-82A3-BA0B43CD1BB8

If you also are experiencing some pain or issues in life, trust Him. He knows your name and exactly where you are, too.  Life will throw us some punches and knifes in the back but we need to keep moving forward. You’ve got this!

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The Bible gives advice about trusting others after we’ve been hurt. Trusting God is the first, most important step. When we know that, no matter what men do to us, God will always be there, faithful and true and trustworthy, it is easier to handle betrayal or disappointments. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me?” 

The second step after being hurt by trusting others is forgiveness. As Jesus told Peter, if a brother sins against you seventy-seven times a day and comes back asking for forgiveness, we should forgive (Matthew 18:21–22). 

https://www.gotquestions.org/trusting-others.html

What’s Wrong With Me?

What’s wrong with me?  Ever ask that of yourself? DDBF941F-2326-4A39-9ABB-26BABFCD97A9

Today, I did. It’s been a long time, I realized, since I have asked that and I did not miss it.

I thought I would try to listen to my former counselor’s video today while working on a project at work. One of the best counselors out there, and I am thankful to have had her in my life. Even after today, an emotional ride.

Even though I made it through the video, once it was over my throat was tight of anxiety, I felt sad and immediately went to the question that I have been able to ward off, which is ‘What is wrong with me?’ Sadness hit me hard with that and all the negative thoughts of unworthiness, unlovable, etc.

If I wasn’t in my office and having the auditor in the next room, I do believe I could have cried a river. Tears still leaked out my eyes but a big gush was in there, I was about to burst, an emotional breakdown.  FD32BC50-03E5-40E1-913F-C05612E20B09

So many sessions over the four years together, and we have discussed this matter so often, but I apparently still get triggered.  Understanding my childhood of emotional neglect, shame, abandonment, etc., of which my blogs express at times, I will always be triggered.  It’s how I handle it.

Perhaps just the fact of hearing her voice, as we are no longer counselor/client due to her health issues, my own grieving with this loss but I also felt hurt by her. I just don’t understand the whys that linger in my mind and my heart. I will probably never know the answers to the whys. How can this be? Why?

0E29E2B2-DAE3-4CD4-9773-C65DD7979CBBMy heart hurts. Dealing with questioning myself once again, the shame tore at me. Something must be wrong with me for her to basically invalidate me and minimize my feelings and feel the rejection deeply. The one that taught me different and encouraged me all those years and knows better. I feel totally confused. 29BFD495-44A4-4007-8AB9-C6A078436980

My whole being shut down holding my breath in the emotional turmoil, as I do and have done in life. Experiencing this once again, is almost debilitating. I’ve done so well. Today, not so much.  Perhaps this is a lesson that I need to remember where I have come from and how I have grown through the years.  I do remember it well, and I don’t like it.

Changing my mindset will come, maybe not today though and tomorrow is questionable.  The rewiring of my brain, also taught by her, by reversing the thought pattern of knowing there is nothing wrong with me.  I am pushing through.  I have come a long way.  I am blessed. I am lovable. I am worthy.  A whole lot of ‘I Am’ statements will be said and will be in front of me to read. Most importantly, the Lord knows my heart, He knows my name and He knows exactly where I am.  My focus is and has to be on Him.

It will all come together and the positive side will surface once again within me, but as I feel the pain and acknowledge the hurt, I have to hope that healing will come.

What’s wrong with me? I just have a big heart and I care. There is nothing wrong with that.

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So if you have ever been in this place of hurt, let down, disappointed, even angered of a situation or relationship, you understand me.  It’s all normal. Most importantly is that the Lord loves me, sees me and I have to trust Him.  Same goes for you.  Trust Him.

039EC9C5-0D5F-4C09-AD99-901584023340Shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, dishonor, or regret. As a self-conscious emotion, shame informs us of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame is a clear signal that our positive feelings have been interrupted.

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My Heart

D586DFE6-BAED-434F-A9E4-9DB002A7E5F2There are times in life that you may not know what to do or to think of a situation, relationship, etc., at hand before you.  The questions within seem to linger with no answers.  All that you can do is take one day at a time, pay attention and feel the emotions but only on limited time.  Don’t let it steal from your day, if that is even possible.  It is.  Acknowledge, feel and move on.  Repeat, as needed. C3B6FEE8-AEB1-4B43-93AB-54DC4AFAD470

We may not understand exactly what we are facing or have dealt with as there are a lot of emotions that are wrapped in the midst, which is normal.  It is taking it all to God that will help you get through.

Scripture tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV). There isn’t a day or a tear that God doesn’t know about. He sees whatever we’re going though … and He knows.

Expressing what we feel to Him, that can be from joy and our praises but also sadness to anger. Yes, even anger toward Him.  One of my biggest faith moments in life, many years ago, was when I screamed out that I was angry with Him.  Seriously, He knows anyway. I felt bad for doing that at the time, but I do not regret, as I felt like my level of faith increased.

1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (NLT)

It is not always easy but as you know, time takes care of a lot of issues. As we recognize and come to terms with it all, of what we are dealing with, understand ourselves plus see the Hand of God at work in the midst, joy will return. He knows. He cares.

ED6D9A82-9B8F-4881-881A-632ADAA038A8Our heart may feel the pain and our emotions cause havoc but if we put our trust in Him to help us through, He will do just that.  Trust Him.

https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2016/09/26/in-case-you-were-wondering-god-knows

 

 

Bracelet Beauty

DED2117F-6DF0-433D-A905-12FA4A37EBF0I have a sweet friend that I met in Sunday school, sitting next to me, many years ago and we have been friends since that morning.  While we lived miles apart, we managed to meet several times a year to shop and soon developed our routine of favorite stores, etc.  On my birthday about a year or two ago, we met and she had a gift for me, a beautiful bracelet of friendship.  Soon, she and husband moved further away, in another state.  In that last shopping trip together, I gave her a friendship bracelet.  This move was good for them but we both missed our girl-time together so we decided to meet half way for a few days to shop back in the spring.  What fun it was to get away and enjoy hours talking, laughing, sharing and at times crying.  True, best friends.  In that time together going from shop to shop, we found bracelets and sure enough we bought the same.

Just recently, while she was in town, we met, shopped and there again found ourselves looking at bracelets.  So now we have a new theme to our time together. Bracelets.

It was this last trip that I was telling her about my first bracelet many years ago, that I had forgotten about wearing.  Some things in my past, I wanted to forget.

It was back, almost twenty years, I was dealing with some issues that no wife needs to experience or words to hear 14C97E8C-B4F1-4F96-BEBE-51E23A0968E3from her husband.  I was lost in the emotional turmoil and nobody to turn to due to shock and shame, thinking maybe it was all my fault.  I felt hopeless, ugly, unworthy and whatever negative word you want to throw in this mess I was in and dealing with.

A little girl on our street, about ten years old, would often come to see me when I was out in the yard.  I had boys so I was outside with them or checking on them.  The girl was selling jewelry for her class at school so, of course, I bought one.  I still remember that day, as if it was yesterday.

686BAD4C-585C-492D-ABD5-AE8A4BBFC909It was a stretchy soft-color bracelet and I thought how pretty it was and happy I bought it.  It was when I put it on to go to church one day, I guess I felt good that day.  I put it on, then I realized I felt different.  I felt pretty.  In shock with that feeling, I took it off, as I noticed a difference in me.  I put the bracelet back on and wore it all the time, thereafter.  It helped me to feel pretty when I did not feel pretty at all.  It gave me a sense of hope in myself when I had rather disappeared in life.

I still have the bracelet.  While I do not wear it nowadays, I keep it to always remember where I was then and how it helped me climb through despair.  There were a couple of years where I bought or was given bracelets as gifts so I have quite a few.

In those years, I wore the cheap, school bracelet mostly or another here or there but in time I took the bracelet(s) off as well as my wedding rings; I wore no jewelry at all but my post earrings.  Done.  No need to feel or look pretty.  If I had a good day, I knew it was short-lived.  No wonder I wanted to forget this period in my life.

0615FC93-BAED-4A83-9D80-6EF86150919AIt was just a month or so ago, I bought myself a new watch, I slipped on a bracelet with it and again the feeling came, I felt pretty but also knowing I am worthy to wear this bracelet.  Isn’t it interesting that just a cheap or any other bracelet can change the thoughts and feelings by wearing it?

9B3B740D-C2A7-45B5-8B6B-BDF675A6FE9CLife issues, marriage, relationships, etc., can take all hope from us at times but knowing the One who gives hope is what matters.  I gave up on everyone and even God through those years although knowing deep down, he was there for me. He was all I had but I even doubted Him..

Questioning the Lord of why I had to go through everything295382E6-CCC1-4B9D-8139-F816E2BAD317 that I did.  He knew that I would question Him.  He knew I was and felt hopeless and that I was angry.  He knew where I was and what I was going through.

I said this so often and I still do, as it keeps my faith alive: He knows my name and He knows where I am. 

You are welcome to use that, too!  No matter what you are facing, know that you take one day at a time.  Trust Him!

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I Sense an Attitude

At times I am confused and just shake my head, thinking what just happened. Questioning… you want me to talk and know who I am but then criticized for voicing my opinion.

Yesterday was one of those days. Actually, the last week or two of situations and issues at hand.  As I spoke about some of these things to my counselor, you know sharing the ups and downs, the good and the bad and frustrations in life.  Let it out, vent and feel safe in her office space, which I did and do.cef06755-b109-43fb-a442-78735c6b555c-9723-000001e5f99e7851

When I mentioned a couple of issues I had dealt with of what was recommended but not really necessary, my choice, I expressed that I was not going to do either.  I did not see the need and it is final.  It is okay to do that. Stating that and perhaps the frustration I felt while making my point and sharing with her, it was said by her that she sensed an attitude. I can see that but isn’t that part of all this, too, to work through?

f541fd80-78f5-47d5-befb-ea5b526585ca-9723-000001e5e17727faAn attitude?  Of course, being one that takes things to heart, that stuck with me.  Offended somewhat but also questioning if I was wrong for standing up for myself and in my decisions.  I have a right to speak up for me. While I knew she did not say that to be hurtful but it was her observation.

As a child and teenage years, I was silent.  When I became older, an adult, I felt more alive and was more vocal, which is needed with independence.  My confidence was better and finding who I was in life.  I was me.  A person that was more assured of herself and enjoying the new-found me, having a say and making my own decisions.  In knowing I was a Christian and trusted the Lord, I knew I was somebody also to Him.

While short-lived, not because of my faith in God but in people.  Family was the worst.  It was when I had to take control over my parents and make some decisions in healthcare, deaths, estates, etc., that I was ripped to spreads with words, opinions, lies and their attitudes.  Of course, they were right, I was wrong. Exhausting.  On top of all of that, too, my marriage took a hit.  Afraid to even ask, what else? Trust me, there was more.

During this time, I backed off and lost my desire to e9d01e20-2e08-42b7-ba04-b29bf81f85f4-9723-000001e793098ee9vocalize much at all.  I was done.  I lost myself. Depressed. It was tending to my children, which was my main focus, our home to keep it standing and in repair and then my own health and well-being to stay alive.  There were times, I felt I would be better off dead, as it would have been the easy way out of my misery but I held on for my boys.

Later, I did attempt to care for myself more and while slow steps, I was still moving forward. So now, being in counseling the last five years and growing, healing and basically finding myself once again, I feel and know I still have a voice. Sometimes it is like, I remember her, and it feels so good, as she is still in there.  When my counselor said yesterday, I sense an attitude, I was taken aback.  Am I to speak up for myself or not?  Yes! Yes, I am.  Even though her words made me stop in my tracks, I am right to c7d6611e-4adf-47f5-bf26-fb34573ab333-9723-000001ea7e95059fhave a say and I have a right to say NO. My boundaries.

I am not the same person that walked into my former counselor’s office five years ago, feeling crazy from life and struggling to live.  I am stronger today and I have fought to be here.  It feels pretty awesome, as I am moving forward.

While I want and we each need to speak up for ourselves, we can do that in a bold but pleasant way by not feeling and giving off the sense of we are all that and more.  I did have to question myself on that as I do not want to come off as arrogant.  I am just not going to sit back and not have a voice in what matters to me or for me.  I matter. You matter, too.7193b8ce-7f61-45f3-86ca-78c4b76c648e-9723-000001ebdc1308a9

I know I will discuss just this attitude matter with my counselor next week but writing through it helps, too.  I can do that.

We all have issues we are working through in life, that’s just life. While we may exhibit a bad attitude at times, give yourself grace. Offer forgiveness, as needed, to others or even to yourself.

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Lost and Found

2E35C2E4-F24B-457E-8FEF-68DC4587F2E4I am now in the final stage of my life with many years remaining and hopefully the best of them yet as my hope and joy are returning to me.  There is a spring in my step of this older, adult woman who is finally understanding herself and more importantly, accepting herself.   It feels good to feel worthy if to nobody else but to God.Lost and found vector motivational romantic philosophical quote

While the last five years have been tedious with counseling and digging in the dirt to see clearly, it has been worth every penny, the time involved, heartache felt and many tears.   I did this for me.  I made a choice that I want more in life before I die.  To know that only death was before me and hopelessness, only brought more hopelessness plus doom and gloom. Not a good place to be or to stay.

People get stuck and see no way out.  Like a cat in a paper bag.  Yearning for more but overwhelmed by all the negative that they have encountered and believing it all to be fact.  Nowhere to go, distrustful of others due to past relationships of hurts and basically alone.

As a Christian, feelings of despair in this lost state brings condemnation so that, too, must be dealt with and fought against.  People around us are lost as a non-Christian but many are lost in just hopelessness felt.  Not because of unbelief, as they just might have more faith than you may think in order to hold on, it is just no zeal to push through.  93F29398-D3FD-4E27-ACA3-581107A2823C

There were years that I walked through that mess.  While being unsure who I could really confide in or one that would believe the chaos that seemed to swallow me up.  The craziness that it brings because on the outside it all appeared normal.  I walked in a fog at times and for a bit, I was numb being so hurt and not knowing what to do.

I was lost for many years of basically feeling like a caged bird being F20671BD-9FD0-4B1A-A87E-62FDECEEAFD1unsure and afraid.  Plus, forgetting myself as my confidence, what little there was, removed itself from my life.  A zombie at times going through the motions of life, wearing a mask. People and circumstances can strip you of your whole being, of which happened year after year.

Today, I am not the same person I was five years ago.  Thank God.  Walking into my former counselors office the first day, sitting on her loveseat and being asked why I was there was the beginning of the me I am today.  I felt I was going crazy, which was my response to her and I 35B47D33-8A10-40F5-9B33-DCA08DA6C2EEbelieved it because of the imprisonment of my life.  Help me!

When we make a choice and decide to move forward, our faith ignites and the Lord will see us through the pain and struggles.  Trusting Him with it all and our lives, He will open doors and will bring the joy back into our lives that we have forgotten.  The excitement of living comes alive and in color like never 18132AAB-9AA3-4569-907C-C342433BAA19
before.  I forgot and lost myself in the past and for years but today I feel I have found myself once again and finding each day better than the last.  So the best years are ahead of me and I am going forward.

How about you?  If you are going through something that seems overwhelming and the hopelessness seems to be clinging to you, allow the Lord to help you.  Trust Him.

While I was a Christian, and have been since my early twenties, it came to a point of desperation and saying, Lord it is me and You.

He knows, He cares, He loves you. ❤️

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