My not so little princess!

Eighteen years ago, a precious little baby came into my life. She was my second child at 20 years old and I was already terrified that I would have another one just like my son.

Now don’t get me wrong, my son is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and he has one beautiful soul. But he was bad…. as a toddler…. it was so bad. He was a strong-willed little boy that let nothing get in his way and I was a strong-willed woman that wasn’t going to let him defeat me. I’ll hand it to him, he brought me to my knees a few times, but we’ve managed to develop a close bond.

When my daughter came into the world, she had this light about her. She slept the entire night starting at a month old, she was a squishy baby and she had a smile that would make your heart melt. She was always happy and cried very little. As a toddler, she was even cuter. Dressing like a princess was her favorite! She loved to dress up and pretend like she was a princess.

My favorite memory of her being little, she was about three years old and it was the weekend she would spend with her dad. She loved going to her dad’s house and on the Friday’s she knew he would pick her up, it was the longest day ever for her! I had an errand to run that afternoon and she followed me down the hallway as I made my way to the bedroom. She says, “Mom? Are you getting me dressed now?” I replied, “No ma’am, not yet.” Then she proceeds to ask me, “Are you going to draw me a bath?”

Now, the reason that is my favorite story about my sweet child, is because that is the very moment, I knew she was going to let me have it when she became a teenager. She didn’t realize it, but she just challenged me.. She didn’t realize it, but she just started the biggest war that we would ever fight. Who can out sass the other one… WHO is going to have the biggest attitude problem and who is going to be more sarcastic?

Challenge accepted…

Carol & Rebecca are nick names we use for each other. She told me one day that I needed to have an old lady name so she called me Carol. I then decided that she needed a new name so her name became Rebecca. (Don’t ask… I have no idea. ) When she got to the age when it was fun to embarrass her, man oh man. Teenagers have their own secret language these days, I hear things like, “Mom.. don’t be flexin’.” or my personal favorite, “It be like dat!” I always made it a point to use those phrases when she had friends around. Old people…

My daughter has always been very dramatic, so dramatic in fact that along he way her dramatic-ness started to obtain different accents. When she was in elementary school, I picked her up from the babysitters and she was all strapped in her little car seat, just as happy as a clam. She tells me that she can speak English. I was a little confused by that since English was the language that I taught her, but I just went with it. “That’s great honey!” She then proceeds to start talking to me in a British accent and it sounded as if she’d been doing it for years.

Her birthday was yesterday, and today she had her very first adult melt down. She just experienced the life is very overwhelming moment. I remember when I had that moment and it sucked. I’m so proud of her, she has a job, she goes to school every day and she does it all on her own. By that I mean, I don’t have to yell at her every morning to get out of bed, I don’t have to remind her on what days she must work. She is a very responsible young lady and she has turned into my not so little princess. She still dresses up, but she doesn’t twirl around the living room like she used to. Instead of seeing her in princess dresses, I now get to see her in a prom dress.

My mom didn’t get to see me in a prom dress because I dropped out in the tenth grade. So, not only did I get to see my baby in a pretty dress, my mom was there to see her too and be a part of this beautiful memory. This is where I had to let go of her. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do but if I didn’t do it.. then she would have never learned what real life is about.

I fed her everything bit of knowledge, motherly advice, the do’s and don’ts, the what if’s, the now this can happens, the say no to drugs and yes to hugs speeches. I gave her all I knew to give her and pushed her out the nest. She may have thought I didn’t care about her but I loved her more than she would ever know. I waved my white flag and said, “have at it.” She made it! She’s still a teenager but now she must be her own person.

This is where God comes in. Up until now, I’ve never truly been able to appreciate the significance of these mother/daughter moments. When I was her age, my mother couldn’t speak one word that was right in my eyes. She knew absolutely nothing, and she obviously hadn’t experienced real life like I did. I had it WAY harder than she did. Boy was I wrong… When the moment came in my life that I had to stand down and admit that my mother was right about mostly everything, it hurt my feeling. My mom got to stand there proudly and cross her arms, give a little giggle and even throw in a head shake… All while saying, “I told you so…”

Tonight, I got to experience that very same moment as I watched my poor sweet baby in tears because life is rough. She just let it all out and my heart absolutely broke for her. But…. there might have been a very small part of me that was getting a little vindication from this. I may have took a step back but she was starting to realize that she will always need her momma. You know how I know that? Because she went to her room in tears but she came back and gave me a kiss on my cheek once she got over it.

God is always with me and when I have those moments where life would be much better suited if I just handled things myself. God takes a step back and lets go of me, he’s always there when it’s time to run back to him. If I never let Jesus in my heart then I wouldn’t have the courage to share my words with you. Letting the enemy tell me that my words don’t matter to whoever reads this would be missing out on a huge blessing.

I had to let her cry through her boo boos, and God lets me cry through mine. And when I’m done, he takes me by my hand and he doesn’t let go. You don’t know what God has in store for you tomorrow… Just love him through it and it will always be a good day.

My beautiful princess in her beautiful princess dress

Let go & Let God!

Photo by Leah Riffe

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “But forget all that- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

If you read my blog, “The truth has set me free”, then you already know that I left an unhealthy marriage and am now living on my own. God has given me so many ideas on what to write about but I was holding back. Finally, I decided that enough was enough and I wrote the truth. Now I’m writing about life after the fact. What it’s like to live on my own, how the healing process took place and how I’ve learned to do simple things like grocery shop for myself. There has been so much that has happened over the past year and now is the time to share all of this with you.

The first week of living on my own was filled with a lot of tears and emotions. My brain was processing all that had taken place and I kept asking the Lord if this was what I was supposed to be doing. He basically told me to shut up and just sit there until he told me to move. Okay… he didn’t really tell me to shut up, but he told me, “just be still.” On my journey with the Lord, the words “be still” came up a lot. Well, I have a severe case of ADHD and being still isn’t an option for me unless I’m asleep. So that’s what I did, I slept… a lot. I pulled the covers over my head and I stared at the back of my eyelids. When I wasn’t asleep, I was crying. So, sleeping was just easier. The Lord let me rest, he covered me with his peace and with his love. He kept me warm and he would sing peaceful lullabies.

The first week was a blur but by week two, slowly but surely I was starting to feel like a human. The walls of my new apartment were bare. I would say my floors were covered in boxes but God blessed me with great friends. A girlfriend of mine came over and unpacked my kitchen. She also unpacked all of the boxes that were piled up in my dining room. God told me to be still and he sent his army to come help take some of the stress away.

Here’s the thing… God knows what is going to happen before you do. He placed all these women in my path. He made those connections for me because he knew they would all be faithful to him and would be there for me. I cannot stress enough the importance in having people in your life that are uplifting and speak truth into you. If you don’t have that person in your life, message me. I got you! That has been the biggest blessing for me through all of this, having those women be there for me.

My cross wall!

God guided me through all of this step by step and I didn’t even realize he was doing it. My brain was downloading new information and the download speed wasn’t very fast at that time. You can’t convince me in a million years that it wasn’t God that took my hands to hang pictures on the wall or place my decorations throughout my new apartment. He knows I’m a visual person and being able to walk through a nicely decorated place just makes me feel good. He hung all those pictures & crosses on the wall for me. By the picture, you can see that crosses are my thing. That isn’t even all of them! They just wouldn’t all fit on that wall.

So now that my apartment was decorated, it was time to fill up my refrigerator. Who knew a task so simple would be so hard? A few days after I moved in, I went grocery shopping. Everything in my cart ended up getting wasted because for one, I wasn’t eating anything and two, all that food was what my family ate. My shopping list was my married with a family list – not a “you’re now a single woman” list. My daughter was living with me but she was a senior in High School and was never home. Week one on being a single woman was a blur, but like I previously stated, by week two I had started feeling human again, so I tried the grocery shopping thing again. It was so stressful for me! My anxiety went through the roof and I seriously almost had a full blown mental breakdown right in the middle of Walmart. I had no idea what to buy, or how to cook for myself. I know this sounds so dumb but my brain was programmed to think only one way – how to please my husband. It wasn’t programmed on how to provide for myself. There is this app that I talk to my friends on, it’s like a visual walkie-talkie app. I got on there and said, “I have no idea what to buy? Why is this so hard?” My friend replied, “Buy stuff you like!” Well duh… but what do I like??

I had no idea what I liked to eat. How can I not know what foods I like? So, I kept walking up and down the aisles until my cart was full with food that I liked. Most of it was frozen food because my appetite wasn’t really there and fresh produce would just get wasted. I bought my food, went home, unloaded it all and I realized what an accomplishment I just made. Again, this sounds so silly but making my own decisions was new to me and I had to learn how to take care of myself.

So there I was, a nicely decorated apartment and a freezer full of food. Now what Lord? What’s next? What do I do now? He told me to just keep doing what I was doing. So I did. I went to work and I went home. I went to church and then I’d go home. Keeping myself busy was the only thing that kept my mind off things. Keeping myself busy kept the enemy out of my ear. Eventually, I had to slow down and the loneliness set in. Missing my husband started to consume me and ignoring him forever wasn’t going to happen. My need to take care of him and making sure he was okay was more powerful than taking care of myself. Why did I care so much?! Because that’s who I was and that’s what I do. Even though I left him, I was still married to him. That control still hovered over me.

God knew all of this and he protected me through it all. At the end of my first month of living on my own, I started to realize that I could do this and my brain was now processing the information it was downloading. It was all starting to calm down and it all started to make sense to me. I just got of an abusive relationship. I was being abused and taken advantage of. Those words were very hard for me to say out loud. Those words were very hard for me to process. I asked the Lord to reveal myself to me and that was the first thing he revealed to me. We think of abuse as a physical aspect but men abuse their women in many ways. The abuse I endured was mental and emotional, it wore me down. When you can’t even pick out your own food to eat you know you have a problem.

It wasn’t an easy process at all. It took time, a lot of tears and snacks to get me through some of it. But most of all, it took God to help me through it all. The Lord stayed by my side the entire time and as I write these words, I feel him next to me now. It’s confirmation that I’m doing something right.

There is a lot I plan to write about that has happened over the past year. This was just the beginning of what took place. I’m going to close with this verse and remind you once again that the Lord is so faithful. You just have to let go and let God. Believe in him, let him have just a piece of your heart. That’s all he needs to start working within you.

Isaiah 25:1 says, “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”

#justsayJesus

The truth has set me free

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine. We were praising God for the work he has done in both of our lives. We met at a rock concert in Charlotte almost 11 years ago. I won tickets off of a radio station and she had gotten tickets from a friend. Just so happens her seat was right next to me and in conversation we discovered we were both from the same city. We were both just as lost as could be and now we are head over heels in love with Jesus. It’s amazing the people God places in your life during a time you don’t even realize he’s moving. I’ve been told a million times, “It’s all in God’s timing.” It took a million times hearing it to realize exactly what those words truly meant.

As we were talking on the phone, I shared with her how my writing came to a dead stop. God was dropping things on my heart but I wouldn’t do anything with it. Because he wanted me to be bold, tell the truth and don’t hold back. The problem was, the word he was giving me to share was hard to share. He wants me to give you the raw truth and that is something I didn’t think I was ready to do… until now.

I have a note pad app on my phone and every time God gives me something to write about, I open my app, I write it down and then walk away from it. As I was scrolling through the million notes I’ve made, I saw one for 2 Corinthians 12:9 and I immediately opened up my bible to read the scripture. Boom! There it was.. It was confirmation. I’m holding back in fear of hurting myself & other people, but by writing and telling the truth means I will have freedom. I can boast about my weaknesses because it isn’t my weakness anymore! I’ve been delivered from it.

Men were my addiction. Not because of sex, but because I wanted to feel safe and loved. I know telling you that isn’t anything new but the way I’m going to share it with you today is the real version. From the time I turned seventeen until May of 2019, I’ve been in a relationship. Two of those relationships have been marriages. Both crashed & burned but only one of them brought me to God. On my career of being a professional man hunter, I got pregnant four times. Only two of them I birthed and the other two were abortions. Having two kids by two different men, being alone, no job, no self dignity made the choice not to give birth again easy. The fact that I was not emotionally connecting to anything or anyone also made it an easy choice. The guilt ate me alive and so I did what I do best. I pushed it way down deep and made myself get over it. The problem is I never got over it and yet I just kept going.

My first abortion was sometime in 2002, I have no idea what month it was but all I can remember about that day is that it was snowing outside, I walked inside of a building pregnant and came out not pregnant. The truth is, I was sleeping with two different men at that time. Neither one of them wanted any kind of real relationship but I hoped that if I just did what they wanted then one of them would be “the man of my dreams.” My life revolved around trying to feel something and the end result was always me getting hurt. The second time I had an abortion was 2006. Again, I don’t remember what month it was but it was during the summer months. Once again, I found myself pregnant by a man that I was in a relationship with but he didn’t want anymore kids. And once again… the fact that I had no emotional connection to anything made the choice to have another abortion easy for me. The memory of it was pushed way down deep with all the other horrible memories.

I was selfish and I willingly gave God two human lives. There is absolutely no excuse for my actions and there isn’t one word I can say to justify the horrible thing I did not once but twice. Though I pushed it way down deep inside, I carried it around with me everyday of my life. Picturing if those babies would be boys or girls, what their names would be, what they would be like and what they would look like. God’s grace has covered me and has confirmed that if I choose him, then I will be able to meet them one day. It’s God’s love & grace that helped me with forgiving myself for the horrible thing I’ve done.

When I was twenty-nine, I met a man that later became my second husband. That was the beginning of my journey of finding out who God really is. That relationship was so dark & sadistic that it made me hit my bottom and I had no choice but to either kill myself or cry out to Jesus. The thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up consumed me because living in hell was a lot better than living the reality I found myself in. I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on him, the look on his face made my heart cry out. He was so lost, so hurt, so used up in his own hell that he probably didn’t know what direction was up or down. The need to fix him over powered me and he took full advantage of that. My heart poured out onto him in so many ways, I was determined and I do mean determined to make it work no matter what. I gave him my heart and soul on a silver platter right off the bat. All my walls came tumbling down and all my defenses went packing. I left myself wide open and vulnerable… on purpose. If I walked into that relationship carrying every hurt & scar from my life, there was no way it would ever work.

The very beginning, he sucked me in with his need to please me. He was cute, charming and full of crap. The amount of times I caught him cheating on me should place me in the Guinness Book of World records. I already know what you’re thinking… Why stay? Why keep putting up with it? Because my life up until that point was filled with this mess. And it was obviously what I deserved.. It was obvious that my life was one big poop storm so this was what I got for living the way I have for so long. There was no other option but to make it work. There wasn’t one ounce of self worth inside of me and all I’ve ever known was hurt & rejection. Don’t forget, I was unable to emotionally connect to anyone, so I just kept taking it and pushing it way down deep.

The honeymoon phase of our relationship lasted about a year. After that year, we were basically living together and then things made a turn for the worse. He had an addiction to women, beer & drugs, the effects of all of that came right back onto me. When nobody was looking, I turned into his emotional punching bag. The “I’m sorry buts” were followed with excuses of why it was all my fault. If you didn’t do that or if you did more of this started to root inside of my mind. The more I heard it the, more I started to believe it. The more I started to believe, the more it became my truth. Something as simple as not doing laundry quickly turned into why he was talking to some chick he randomly met at a gas station.

We never went more than two or three days before another fight would happen. The fights went from verbal to both of us beating the mess out of each other. I allowed his words to bring me to very dark places, to the point that my eyes would black out and I had no control over what happened next. At that point I was no better than him because I wasn’t reacting to him in a healthy way. Pure evil would take over my body. All I did was make excuses for him and would cover up what was really going on because in my head it was all my fault. Even though I hated him… I loved him even more.

This went on for years and eventually I checked completely out of life all together. I lost touch with reality and because of that my kids were forced to fend for themselves. They had fallen victim to my bad choices and they had to witness all of it. It got so bad that I had no energy to be their mother anymore.. every morning I woke up, a list of the do’s and don’ts ran through my head all day long, it was my check list of keeping him calm & happy. Remember to pick up after yourself, remember to rinse the dishes off before you put them in the dishwasher, remember not to mention anyone you may come across that was a man, remember not to give too much detail on what happened to you in your past, remember to make sure you look decent when he comes home, remember not play on my phone too much when he’s around.. the list was endless. By the end of the day I had nothing left to give my kids let alone myself. I was literally just a body that existed in this world because my soul was floating off in limbo somewhere.

God intervened around February of 2016. He put a woman in my life that later led me straight to Jesus’ arms. There was a motorcycle club I was apart of and her husband met some of the fellow bikers in our group. One night, he brought his wife with him to our clubhouse and the connection between the two of us sparked immediately. The funny thing is, I don’t usually connect with women but she had this light about her that I was drawn to. You could instantly see the kindness and love that was within her. One night, I reached out to her about visiting the church she attended and I told her she would have to go inside with me because I couldn’t walk through those doors alone. That Sunday, I walked into The Building Worship Center for the first time.

The following Sunday, he (my soon to be husband) came with me. Right off the bat, he got his ah-ha moment and felt God’s presence. But me.. I hadn’t yet. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I got my ah-ha moment. The women’s group at church spent a weekend at this awesome retreat and I was able to go. That weekend, not only did I start gaining some clarity but I got baptized in a pond wearing jeans & a t-shirt. The previous Sunday was when I was supposed to be baptized but for some reason I didn’t feel as if it was my time yet. Two women that hold a very special place in my heart stood right in that pond with me and as I came up from the water everything looked & felt different. Life was going in a different direction for me but at the same time was getting worse in other ways.

Because we were living together and had been for years, the word marriage was coming up a lot by people at the church. My understanding of right and wrong was starting to form in my brain and I thought maybe if we get married, then it will save the both of us. God will honor us not living in sin anymore and our lives will be filled with blissful happiness. The fights that broke out between us got less and less, we seemed to be “happy” together, but something always lingered in the shadows. The darkness at this point was just laying dormant and waiting patiently for the opportunity to emerge again. Before we married, we were counseled by the Pastor and his wife and as they were explaining to us what a Godly marriage should be like, all I could think is “I don’t think he’s capable of being that kind of man.” I know… I had no faith in him. I didn’t believe that we both truly gave ourselves to God as a couple and there was no way we would survive this marriage unless God was in the middle of it. He had Jesus, I had Jesus but we didn’t have Jesus together, if that makes sense. We weren’t praying together, we weren’t worshiping together and conversations about God were very rare.

I was too afraid to speak up about what life was really like with this man, I didn’t think they would believe me. He was a great person, always willing to help out where needed and he was the perfect Godly man in the eyes of our church. The problem was, I couldn’t get that version of him to come home with me. Once we went over the threshold of our house, I got whatever was left over at the end of the day. Later, I found out he was airing my dirty laundry to anyone who would listen to him and because I wasn’t speaking up it was more believable. He knew me… He knew if I thought people didn’t like me or thought bad of me that I would disconnect and just stop participating. That’s exactly what he wanted… I was this carefree, fun spirited and faithful servant. I’m walking around with a big ole smile on my face because that’s what I do, and I was completely clueless to what was going on behind the scenes. God protected me from that. People kept their mouths shut when I was around them and because they weren’t speaking up, I was getting deeper and deeper into God’s presence. The plan the enemy had to get me out of the way was back firing in his face.

We got married in May of 2017, our wedding was beautiful and the day was absolutely perfect. We started to do bible study together in the mornings and I felt as if we were getting closer together. God was making a presence in our lives and it was really starting to show. Well that darkness that was laying dormant inside of him woke up. And then they woke up the spirits that were laying dormant inside of me. The fights were worse than they had ever been before and I quickly started to isolate myself. I hid from my church family and I kept my mouth shut. I was embarrassed to admit that our marriage was not working out. Finally one day, he slipped up and did something pretty stupid in front of some people we went to church with. Someone was finally a witness to what was really going on and I can’t begin to tell you the relief I felt when that happened. At this point, I was starting to open up about things that were going on and I’m not saying they didn’t believe me but it was just hard for them to believe it. He portrayed himself as this perfect vision of a Godly man and I was right there behind him backing it all up. I did that because now I was his wife and that’s what I was supposed to do.

By no means am I saying he didn’t try to be that Godly man that I deserved. He was pressing into the word and he was becoming more active in church. He later became a truck driver and the enemy had isolated him once again. I was so beaten down emotionally that I wasn’t strong enough to endure another season of it. The longer he stayed on the road, the more control he was gaining over me and the darkness was consuming me yet again. May 26, 2019 I finally gained the courage to leave him. It was a Sunday morning and I had no idea that day was going to be the day it was going to happen. I was already making plans of moving out but I was still debating in my head if that’s what I truly wanted. I loved him so much and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt him like that. We got into a really bad fight when he came home that Friday and he left on Saturday morning and didn’t come back. So that Sunday when I woke up, I cried out to God and begged him to help me. “Please Lord, get me out of here.. I can’t do this anymore.”

With tears in my eyes I called my mother that morning. She had an empty apartment she was holding for me that I planned on moving into at a later date. I asked her if I could move into it that day and she said yes. I went to church that morning and informed my friends what my plans were. After church, I came home with four vehicles, three girlfriends, two teenage boys and a partridge in a pear tree! I was completely moved out in four hours. The events that unfolded that day is nothing but a blur in my head. God told me that morning, if you are ready for this then we are going to make it happen and man did it ever happen. Not one time did I fear he would come home in the middle of all of that. The Lord had already confirmed with me that he was taken care of. Around 8 pm that evening I fell out, I was so drained in every way possible. My eyes closed that evening and when I awoke the next morning the reality of what just happened had set it. I cried so hard that morning that I gave myself two black eyes. My face was so swollen that I was unrecognizable.

This was the first time in my entire life that I ever lived on my own. I was now solely responsible for myself and I cried out to God once again and said, “Lord, what the hell do I do now?!” He said, “Nothing, you just be still I got this.” So now at this point, I had to learn how to live without him. As bad as it was, it was all I knew for ten years. I’d like to say that when I left him that I left him completely but I didn’t. My mind was telling me that now that I’m gone, he’s going to change and he will finally be the man I need. That November I filed for divorce and it was finalized in January. Even after we were divorced, I was still having a hard letting go because he still had this hold over me. His hurtful words were playing over and over in my head. You’re fake, no one knows you the way I do, you’re not a real Christian, you are only doing this for attention… it was non-stop. One Sunday morning during altar call, I walked up to my best friend and said please pray for me, I need his voice out of my head. It just so happens that he was at church that morning as well. When she prayed for me, I felt the Lord take it off of me and when I turned around he was gone. He was no longer a presence in my life from that moment on.

I know… this is a lot. Trust me sharing all of this with you has been very difficult for me and I feel like I’ve given too much detail but the fact of the matter is that I’m tired of hiding behind half truths. I can never really boast about my weaknesses until I let them all go and that’s exactly what just happened writing this blog. My ex husband was my weakness because the love I had for him in my heart was real. The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from him but I had to. He was getting in between my relationship with the Lord and I needed God a lot more than I needed him. I wasn’t capable of standing up to his darkness anymore. I am not and was not a victim of him. I only fell victim to the enemy because he placed a stronghold on me at a very young age that carried on throughout my life. I was my own worst enemy, because if I learned in the beginning how to stand up to him in a healthier way maybe this story would have a different result. I couldn’t walk this walk alone, I needed my husband to be strong too and he wasn’t. The strongholds on him overcame him.

Over the past year, I’ve asked the Lord to reveal myself to me. God has put so many mirrors up in front of my face and there were some hard truths I had to overcome, because I played a role in why my marriage didn’t work as well. I had no idea who I was and I’ve learned a lot about myself. When I became a single woman, it was hard. In the past, once I became single I was looking for my back up plan immediately. Being alone wasn’t an option. Taking care of myself wasn’t an option either. God took care of me in ways I can’t begin to explain. He showed me what love is, I feel his love everyday and I feel it on days when I don’t think I deserve it.

That is what God does, he pours his grace all over us because he loves us. He knows our hearts, he knows what we can do if we trust him to guide us. If I didn’t know who Jesus was when all of this started to unfold, I wouldn’t be here to give you my testimony right now. He pulled strength from within that I didn’t know I had. There were mornings he himself ripped the covers off of me, told me to go take a shower and get my behind out of the house. He slapped the cookie dough out of my hands, he turned off the bad thoughts in my mind and covered it up with worship music. He held me tight when I felt lonely and most of all, he kept lifting me up. He showed me what a beautiful woman I am, he showed me how talented I am. He showed me what a faithful servant I am. Through his love, I have become a better version of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still stumble and I still mess up because I’m human. My flesh overcomes me sometimes and I make the wrong choices, but instead of turning away I turn towards God and he guides me through the storms.

Everyday the Lord teaches me something new and my story isn’t finished yet… it’s just beginning.

#justJesus

Jesus!

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It took a long time for my brain to process that I could live on my own. I pay my own bills, I have my own apartment and I have four furbabies. All of that was accomplished because God hasn’t given up on me. The majority of my life was spent feeling like the mud that gets stuck on the bottom of your shoe. The situations that I chose to put myself in through out my life was because I had no self worth. Not one drop of it. My prayer for this journey that God has laid for me, is that you know it’s gonna be fine! Absolutely fine.. “Psalm 46:5 says, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”

Lord, In the beginning of every prayer I start with myself first.But this time Lord, I am saying Thank You Father. Thank you!Thank you for giving me the courage to open my heart,let my words be only of you. Lord, thank you for my past as it led me to you. Lord, help me to write the right words. Help me to do everything in love.You take over and l will be your vessel.”

Almost three years ago, God gave me the calling to write. I know I’ve told this story a time or two but I’m going to tell it again. Because remembering the night I heard his voice for the first time is something I need to remember. On April 29th, 2017 at 9:42 pm, I made a note in my phone. “God spoke to me and he told me to write.” That particular evening I was sitting alone in my garage listening to Christian music and making a cross for my mom. That evening wasn’t going too well for me and I remember sitting there just talking to God in my head. At one point this feeling came over me that is indescribable and instantly my eyes closed. The wind started to whirl around me but it wasn’t just any wind.. it was the Holy Spirit and I could feel his arms around me. It was nothing I’ve ever felt before and if you’ve ever had an experience then I you already know… The presence was so strong that it took my breath away and it kept getting stronger & stronger. It’s the first time there were no thoughts in my mind, no words on my lips and all I could hear was him. At one point it was so intense that tears started to stream down my face, then everything stopped moving and all I heard was one word.. “Write”..

Writing wasn’t really my thing anymore. I did a lot of it in middle & high school but it wasn’t really my “passion”, it was just something I was good at. Writing was my safe haven in middle school. Just in case you haven’t figured this out yet, but kids aren’t very nice to you when you are the girl that is a total weirdo. I was a tom boy growing up and apparently there is some unspoken rule that when you are a teenage girl, if you aren’t a “girl” then you’re weird… and being a girl wasn’t really my thing. Being vocal to people that walked all over me wasn’t my thing either. I learned real quick that if you act like it doesn’t bother you, then eventually they will go away. Since I didn’t have friends, I had a journal that I wrote in every single day. It was a year or two after my grandmother died that I put down my pencil. Not really sure why but I never thought twice about writing ever again.

Exactly one month after God told me to write, he led me to my very first blog. I made one of those free websites and then I posted my first blog. In the beginning, there was no pressure because I lived in a bubble where everyone is supportive & they are encouraging. After writing a few blogs here and there, my bubble was popped. My discouragement wasn’t coming from people reading them, it was coming from within.

Before I dig further into what I mean by that, I have to put out a disclaimer. Telling my story isn’t easy for me. I’ve lived 39 years completely alone… If it wasn’t for Jesus coming into my heart and opening my eyes. The burdens I walked around with would have eventually crushed me.

My addiction wasn’t drugs or drinking, it was men. Finding a man was my ultimate goal, because I was tired of being alone. I already knew being a good wife would be something I’d do well. I wasn’t a selfish person and I was an excellent door mat. The desperation that consumed me was so bad that if you asked me to lay down on the ground so you could wipe your feet on me, I’d do it without even blinking an eye.. that’s how much I wanted for someone to see how great I was. How great I am…

At the age of twenty I had two kids, living in low income housing and completely clueless on how to take care of myself. I was blinded by insecurities and if I had a man, life would get better. I was failing to see that myself & my children were already being taken care of. I lived in that apartment for a little over a year on my own before my first husband came along. He was in the military, I was young and he was my way out of a really bad situation. That marriage had no love, no Jesus, no respect and even though he laid next to me every night, I was still alone.

After that marriage was over, I moved right on to my next relationship and after that one was over, well… you get my point.. It was a vicious cycle that just kept going. At one point, I came to the conclusion that all men are stupid, I give up! Two months into my path of rehabilitation, I found myself at home on a Saturday night and this commercial for a dating website came on. Then those stupid voices started back up into my head, “the man of your dreams is out there waiting for you. You’re going to find him and be blissfully happy.” I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next? I started thumbing through the catalog of available men trying to find prince charming. What I should have been doing was thumbing through the bible and getting to know the man that was already in my dreams… Jesus…

This is the part where it gets really hard because being transparent is something that needs to happen. The man I was married to has a beautiful soul, I didn’t see any of his imperfections, I didn’t see any of his pain, all I saw was someone that desperately needed to be loved just like I needed to be loved. Maybe, just maybe I won’t screw this up and if I love him hard enough he will see how great I am. His life wasn’t an easy life and right off the bat I knew what I was walking into. It didn’t matter though, because I saw his heart and so I tried to carry his burdens. I pushed myself to the side because he was more important, I had to save him… I had to save him so he could save me. My ability to love myself went away, my ability to feel joy went away, my ability to feel anything went away.

It got to the point where the thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up were more satisfying than a box full of fluffy kittens. And if you know me, a box of fluffy kittens would have made my whole life. The first time I met Jesus up close and personal was the day my life changed forever. There was so much love coming from every direction that I didn’t know how to keep up with it. My eyes were starting to open to what life is supposed to be like. And wider my eyes opened, the more I realized the situation I was living in wasn’t a healthy one.

The more I tried to listen to God, the louder the voices got in my head to drown out his word. Those voices have been tormenting me for years. “You’re fat, no self respecting man would want to be seen with you on his arm. You’re fake, if they could only see what you’re like when no one is around. You only want attention.” Those voices were coming straight from the pits of hell and I was DONE listening to them. God released his light on me and he told me to walk towards him. I walked… and it’s been the hardest walk I’ve ever had to endure. The love I held in my heart for was so him pure, so real and it consumed me. God told me it was going to be okay as long as I trust him.

Since I’ve been on my own,I’ve experienced every emotion a person could have. Depression, anger, rage, hunger, snacks & drive thru restaurants. I may or may not have watched the note book a thousand times, but that’s for another time.

The point is, God needed me to stand here and give my testimony so I could reach out to women live and have lived in similar situations. It’s going to be fine and I know this because my Jesus is alive and well.

I surrender

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Do you remember your first memory? Think as far back as you can and what’s the first thing that pops up? My very first memory was my grandpa’s face. He was looking down at me with joy on his face and he was playing with me. My mom told me he would always come in before bedtime to tuck me in. She told me I was around the age of 3-4 when he passed away, but I remember him so vividly. I used to grab his face and ask him why he had salt & pepper all over his face. He would sneak me sips of beer when my mom wasn’t looking, so every morning when I woke up, I’d find myself at the dining room table drinking whatever was left over in his beer can.

I also remember the day he was buried… I hugged my mom’s leg and all I could see was a pile of dirt and a bunch of people crying. My little heart had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that the beer cans weren’t on the dining room table anymore, there was no more being tucked in and there was no more squishing his wrinkled salt & pepper face.

To give my true testimony, I must start at the very beginning, as far back as I can remember. God told me to write and that’s what I’m going to do. Growing up, I was a tom boy and I played with hot wheels & GI Joe toys. Many, many trees were climbed, tons of forts were built and it as always just me & my cousin Jeremiah. We fought over the TV, we stole each other’s toys but we were best friends. My mom was a single mother and she did amazing job being my mom. It has always been just here & I, So, growing up a lot of time was spent with my grandma.

My grandma was my best friend in the entire world. She had eyes on the back of her head, she was an excellent cook and we would talk for hours. Kids have a million & one questions a day and she answered every single one of them. She taught me about our family history, she told me what it was like when she grew up and she loved me. I was her favorite!

Around the age of fifth teen I got a little rebellious… Okay a lot of rebellious and I was shipped off to go live with my dad. It was the first time I had ever been away from my mom & grandma. My dad and I barely knew each other, I met him around the age of 10 and the only time I got to spend with them would be during the summer months. He lived in Massachusetts which meant I was a long way from Georgia, and I spent my second year of ninth grade in a high school with people I didn’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed living up there with my new family but that wasn’t my home.

It got to the point where my grandma was having some health issues, she had a heart attack at one point which lead to having a few major surgeries. So, when my mom called me to let me know she was having another surgery I wasn’t at all worried. My grandma was a superhero and there was no way she’d ever die. My mom had me flown back to Augusta since I was on spring break so I could visit. Grandma’s surgery was on Monday and I got there on Sunday. No one told her I was coming so being able to surprise her was such a blessing. I remember the look on her face as I walked into her hospital room and I also remember my mom & aunt leaving the room, they left me in there with her so I could spend quality time with her. It was like no time had passed, we talked & talked & talked & talked…. It was just like when I was little asking all my questions.

The next morning before the sun came up, all my family huddled around her hospital bed before they wheeled her off into surgery. All I could do was just stare at her as everyone kissed & hugged her. I was the very last one to kiss her and I will remember for as long as I live the final words, I said to her, “I love you grandma, I will see you soon.” She passed away during the surgery due to her lungs collapsing. My cousins & I were at my grandma’s house waiting for someone to call. My aunt Donna & Fritzie had pulled up first and they were crying, that’s when I found out she died but I didn’t believe it. My mom pulled up shortly after, the minute she got out of the car I seen it on her face. It was real… she was gone… and I felt like I had no one. There is so much to the relationship I had with my grandma and I grieved her for a very long time. She has always been a very hard topic to talk about with people, because I miss her so much.

SShortly after her passing I turned seventeen and moved back to Georgia. It was my sophomore year in high school, and I was boy crazy. It was time to fill that void, so I filled it with a bunch of weed & sex. I dropped out of high school and about 6 months later I was pregnant with my son. Since no one cared about me I just stopped caring about myself. I willingly gave myself to the flesh of this world without even batting an eye. Walking around this world existing was the only thing I knew to do. When my son was born, I was barely eighteen and I had no clue what to do. My mom worked her butt off to take care of me & her newborn grandson because having faith in myself to take responsibility wasn’t an option.

By the age of twenty, I had two kids & still completely clueless on what life should be like. I got my first apartment in low income housing and since I had no money, I didn’t have to pay rent. I lived off a small check, food stamps and determination to find a man so I could take care of myself & my kids. My self-worth was not a priority and all I wanted was a better life. If I could only find someone to love me then it would all be okay.

This was only the beginning on my path of self-destruction. Having to dig all this back up to share with you is going to be very difficult because there are things I don’t want to remember. I pushed it all way down deep inside hoping to never think about it again but the enemy keeps using it all against me and God knows I have a hard time talking about it but he also knew it would be easier to write about it. So here I am… I’m going to stay faithful to him because he’s always been faithful to me.

#iamawarrior

My man Jesus!

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Pastor Ray spoke about the three wise men at church Sunday. He talked about how long the wise men traveled to meet Jesus. It took them approximately two years, give or take, to reach him. When they met him for the first time, they worshiped him and gave him gifts because they knew he was their savior. My journey to Jesus took a bit longer than that, okay a lot longer but the result is unconditional love. So much love, that all I want to do is share it with somebody else. And this past Sunday.. God blessed me with that opportunity.

About three years ago, my friend Erica took me by my hand and walked with me through the doors of my new Church home. The moment I stepped foot into that Church it changed my life. Never in a million years did I ever think I would find myself siting in a pew on Sunday mornings. The more I went the stronger my cravings for the Lord became. I wanted to learn about Jesus and what his life was about. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church as a little girl, and I heard all the bible stories. Jesus was no stranger to me but truly believing in him was where I fell short.

So, here I am.. a total noob at this praising God thing and the desire to worship him just became stronger but the fear to show it overcame me. People all over the church would reach for the heavens, you could hear them all singing their hearts out and then there was this crazy lady that would stand up on the chair just so it would put her that much closer to reaching the Lord. (That’s a story in itself) Eventually I mustarded up the courage to tap my hand on the side of my leg and every now & then I would do the side to side swaying. There was no way anyone would catch my hands up in the air.

Now fast forward to present day, not only do I throw my hands up in the air, now I’ve gotten the courage to pray for people… in front of them… out loud. Praying has been my biggest hurdle. Lord knows I can talk a person to death but praying for them…. my brain flat lines. This anticipation builds up, I start thinking of cool stuff to say and my mouth opens… then nothing… just nothing! It’s so dumb! Why is it so hard to do?! Well, God chimed in and he said, “Just let me talk.” And he reminded me that I must keep walking forward with my prayer life so I can get closer to Jesus.

The past few Sundays at church during alter call I would stand up front if anyone needed prayer. The very first time I stood up there, my heart started pounding and I said, “Lord, please send me somebody easy.” I just wanted to pray for someone’s hurt toe or something like that! The more I got up for alter call the easier it got, but I would still ask God, “please just send me something easy.” This past Sunday, alter call came and up I went. This time I didn’t ask God for anyone easy. The spirit was all over me and I was ready to save the world. “Okay God, give it to me. I’m ready to do this!” Here came this lady, she grabbed me by the hand, and as I pulled her closer to me, I said, “How can I pray for you?” She started balling and buried her head into my shoulder. All I could do was wrap my arms around here and on the inside, I was freaking out! “What do I do Lord?!?! What do I say!!!!” I just opened my mouth and started talking, no clue what I said but after about 30 seconds my brain flat lined. She’s balling and I just kept hugging her! She needed to be loved on and that’s exactly why God sent her to me because he knew I would love her. God poured his blessings over both of us and I felt every bit of it. Even though I didn’t really say anything to her, I knew she could feel God’s arm wrapping around her and I was so blessed he picked me to witness it.

Prayer is what I feared the most, but it just takes practice. The more you stay faithful to your prayer life, the better it gets and I’m starting to see that now. Love wasn’t something I got a whole lot of and showing it to other people has always been a struggle. Now, I have no choice but to show people love because God keeps filling me up with it! It must go somewhere right?! My journey to Jesus is still a working progress but as my best good friend says all the time, “I’m not where I need to be but I’m sure not where I use to be.”

God is so good y’all! Open your heart and watch him work.

I am a warrior

About eight years ago, I was challenged to take a photo of myself every day for the month of November. To be honest, I didn’t want to do it, but because it was a challenge I just did it anyways. On the very last day, it was cold & rainy, I had no idea what to do so I just set up my tripod put my camera on self-timer & there you go. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized that this photo is a perfect reflection on how I’ve been living for a long time. It was dark, cold & I had no identity. I wasn’t allowed to have one…

My fears were preyed upon and used against me in a way that made me numb to reality. My very first blog I ever wrote spoke a lot about living a in a bubble of denial. Denial was my happy place.. it was the only place I felt safe from the boogey man. God laid on me to write and now I understand why, because the more I wrote about myself the more I learned about myself. When you start to realize that you truly are a good person, the enemy will press harder into you and he did… My heart truly believes that God led me to blogging because I needed you all to help me. If my fears, thoughts & feelings were put on blast then the enemy couldn’t use them against me anymore. By writing, I was setting myself free and God was working his way into my soul.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love.” Fear loved me and I loved him. Now, after all these years I realize… that wasn’t love. Nothing about it was.. This photo was also taken during the selfie challenge eight years ago. Again, my camera was on a tripod and the self-timer was on. The light was in my hand and I just let the camera do all the work. The title for that photo was the darkness was overcoming me. If my eyes were open to the truth back then my story today would be different. When I look at this picture now, I see God’s light reflecting away the darkness.

We must surrender to God’s will and not lean on our own understanding. For so many years, the little voices in my head kept telling me I was a nobody. No one loves you… you’re fat.. you’re not very pretty.. everyone thinks you’re stupid. When I started writing, those voices started back up again. You are irrelevant, you’re insignificant, you don’t deserve to be loved in a real way, you brought this on yourself, you’re getting everything you deserve, no one is reading your words…. nobody cares about you… So I would post blogs all the time, then I would stop… I would post all the time, then I would stop… because I kept letting those stupid voices get to me.

The only light in my life was the church I attended. If it wasn’t for Pastor Ray feeding me the word, if it wasn’t for my friend Pam that kept holding me up, if it wasn’t for Christy that kept speaking truth into me and if it wasn’t for my friend Erica that held my hand as I walked into church willingly for the first time, fear would have overcame me and I wouldn’t be here to share my testimony. So many people played a role in my salvation but the most important person was God. He placed all these women in my path that just kept loving me and feeding into me.

There is an entire series of blogs & vlogs I plan to release over the next few months and the vagueness I tend to use will all be revealed. God is pressing into me in ways that are taking me out of my comfort zone. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” So, I’ve made my mind up, I’m giving you my entire heart.. it’s broken, battered and bruised… Please pray for me, even if you have no clue who I am. I need strength, guidance & peace to overcome my fears.

My prayer for the women who live in similar situations is that you know you’re worth it. God created you in your mother’s womb and if you doubt yourself then that means you are doubting God. I’ve doubted God for a very long time.

I am beautiful.. I am enough.. I am a warrior…

I’m getting in the chair

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My ability to feel my own feelings was taken from me, or at least that’s what I thought. It’s been up to me to trust in God by not living in my flesh. I wasn’t living for God, I am living for myself. Psalm 130:5 says, “I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” I’m going to let you in on a big secret I’ve been carrying around for a very long time. I wasn’t counting on God to get me through the storms, I was counting on a figment of my imagination. I was waiting patiently for some miracle to fall in my lap and a lot of time was spent searching for the answer when I had the answer right in front of me… Jesus…

My prayer for as long as I can remember has been, “God, please help me. Reveal to me what I need to do.” He kept revealing what was being prayed for and I kept ignoring the obvious. So obvious that he was putting huge flashing signs right in front of my face and I will still wouldn’t listen to him. In my mind, I was putting all my trust & hope into the Lord. But day after day I continued to walk around in this fog like state. Not understanding what was really going on.

The word says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” Revelation 3:20. I keep writing about living for the Lord, I’m trusting him, I’m listening to him but it was all a bunch of lies. I figured if I could just keep saying it over & over that one day the words that were being said would finally come to life, but the version of reality I was living in was blinding me. God gives us all free will to choose what path we are going to walk down and how we are going to live our life.

“I’m getting in the chair” is the title of this blog and the link to that sermon is on the bottom of this post. I highly recommend watching it from beginning to end. The end of the video he tells a story about a father and son, the son doesn’t have the ability to walk or talk and was given the chance to communicate through computer technology. Through that technology the son told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5k run. His father wasn’t a runner so he trained by pushing 100 lb. sack in a wheelchair so he could push his son in the race. When the race was over, his son expressed that he felt free, long story short, his father continued to participate in these races with his son. Again, I encourage you to watch this sermon to hear the full story and basically the moral of the story is that we need to get in the chair and let God push us… so we can be free…

I on the other hand haven’t been sitting in that chair, it was decided a long time ago that I’m just not that worthy. Instead of just letting God talk to me, I put my fingers in my ears and gave up on trying to live life. When my eyes closed at night, I didn’t want them to open the next morning. Depression hit me hard and it was overcoming me in every aspect. The inside of me was screaming for help but on the outside, I just acted as if everything was okay. Every day was spent just going through the motions just hoping today would be better than yesterday. The longer I kept doing that, the harder each day got. There was a battle taking place that I just didn’t want to fight, so I just stood there with my arms open telling the devil to just come get me. I was a willing participant.. #butGod I may have been standing willing to let it all go but God said no ma’am. He stood in front of me taking all those daggers until I realized that life is worth living, especially when you live it for him. So, I got in the chair and I’m letting God push me.

Today God gave me the word for this blog. He said, just let me train you, let me mold you so you can see what I see. “Trust me” he said. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” My heart has been hurting for so long that I became dependent on that pain. Now, not to feel it anymore is something I have get used to..if that makes sense. Once I learn to organize my thoughts in a way you can understand this will all make more sense. At this point I’m letting God do his thing. A good friend told me, “when in doubt you stand still until God tells you to move.” I’ve hung onto those words ever since; those words have been my life line. It’s all in God’s timing and I’m slowly understanding what they mean.

My journey is only beginning and from this point forward I need learn how to put on my armor so I’m not a willing participant to fear. We all need to learn how to armor up, so we don’t fall victim to this world that is only temporary. Life sucks, it’s hard and it’s full of stuff that will bring you down. Even Jesus himself asked God, “Do I really have to do this.” Jesus took it all for us. He did it for us so he could show us it can be done. Stay strong, have faith and know that it will not always be like this. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

#justsayJesus

I can’t even..

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When I was in the ninth grade, (for the second time), I was tested, and I discovered that I had a learning disability. Basically, if you just stood in front of me and told me how to do something, my brain wouldn’t be able to process what you were saying. If you stood in front of me and just showed me how to do something, I would master it in seconds. My brain holds so much information that I can’t remember anything important like, where did I just put down my cell phone?.. It turned out that as a 16-year-old girl, my ability to learn by sight scored in the Albert Einstein range and my ability to learn by listening, well let’s just say that I am not smarter than a fifth grader. The devil knows that if I sat down to read my bible that I would learn so much and he knows how far I can go when I learn things. So instead of using my eyes, I use my ears and I listen to all the lies not learning a thing.

Right now, I’m not okay. I haven’t been for quite some time and in some ways, it was probably a good thing. I had to face the storm so I could be blessed by it. God blessed me with so much love that it was almost ridiculous. I mean I can’t even… I’ve let so much weigh me down for so long that I just didn’t think I could ever recover from it. When I tell you that I was hanging on by a string, I mean the string was on fire and I was hovering over a pit full of hungry alligators. For a good portion of my years here on earth, I have chosen to surround myself around people that don’t have nice things to say. Especially to me… I kept swiping it off my shoulder and “getting over it” because I thought I was strong enough to take it. Obviously, there is something way deep down that makes them say such mean things so, I’ll just sit here and take your words until you feel better. Well let me tell you where that got me… nowhere…

After a while, it just got to the point where the nice stuff came so far and in between that it was just harder to believe it. When you hear the mean stuff more than the nice it just means that something must be wrong with me right? Well maybe if I act this way then it will be better. Maybe if I just say this more then it will get better. My life has been filled with nothing but a bunch of maybes and I’m no longer going to stand for it. Jesus told me I didn’t have to do it anymore and I’m pretty sure he’s the one I need to be taking my instructions from.

I completely understand the meaning of forgiveness now. The enemy has stood in my way for so long and I let him block all my blessings. I can no longer keep letting that stuff weigh me down so I can receive the blessings that God has in store for me right now. All I can do is forgive and ask for forgiveness. Now I’m free… and now it means it’s about to get even harder for me. Tomorrow morning when I open my eyes, I must remember every word I just wrote, and I live my day for Jesus and for him only. Pastor Ray taught me that today, he started out saying that he was going to stomp on someone’s toes, and he stomped all over mine. Let me tell you, Pastor Ray.. he wears big shoes… Ouch!

Typically, you will find me in the sound booth at the Church I attend. When I do get to worship, I’ve found myself standing up front so I can throw my hands up in the air. I like being up front because everyone else is behind me and I can’t tell if they are judging me. I know.. it sounds stupid… Today was one of those days I got to stay on the floor, and I wasn’t up front. I stood in a row of chairs and looked at the screen the entire time. I didn’t dance, I didn’t smile… All I did was sway and cry… sway and cry.. I was so disappointed in myself because I had finally gotten to a point where I started to love myself and I started going backwards. I bought a pack of cigarettes a few weeks back and every puff I took I screamed at myself… STOP IT!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?! I didn’t listen, I just kept smoking them. Don’t worry, that phase was very short lived.

As I swayed back and forth all I could think was, God why do you love me so much? What about me is so special?.. Why me?… He said, “because I made you.” I felt so defeated today that I didn’t even know where to start. Church was over and I went straight to my car, my friend wanted to go to lunch and I turned her down. Came straight home and felt sorry for myself the rest of the day. I cried so much that my eye lids were folded over, I don’t even know how to explain it. I looked as if I had two black eyes and they were swollen. It was horrible… Then I just cried out for help and Lord have mercy the Army that God sent for me. They all came crashing down on me and told the devil to take his butt right on down the road. #butGod

I’m never going to start receiving the love God has for me until I learn to love myself. My friend Christina told me today, “God turns brokenness into beauty.” God is has taken my brokenness and he has taught me to share it with you, so you know that it’s not just you… Girl it’s me too! It’s all of us.. even the guys. God restored me is so many ways tonight and he will continue to do it every day. Every time someone tells me they love me; I’m going to believe them. Every time I tell someone I love them.. I’m going to believe me.

Lord,

It’s me Leah. I know you know me, I’m your favorite!…

Thank you for the struggles in my life, Thank you for the fear, the tears, the pain, the brokenness.. It brought me closer to you. I’m sorry… I’m sorry for not trusting you completely. Forgive me for keeping a part of my heart closed off. I spent so long believe that my words aren’t real, that my feelings were false, and my thoughts were wrong. I have failed you in so many ways, but you continue to encourage me. Lord, because of you, I can sit here and praise you. You give me all the time I need; you give me all the love I need, you give me all the attention because you made this world for me to enjoy. Through all the mess that goes on, you give me the free will to stop and enjoy the beauty of the brokenness. Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for all the love you poured out on me today. Thank you for never leaving me. I ask for strength Lord. A lot of it…

I love you..

I’m going back to my roots.

I want to go back to the very minute God put the word write in my head. When I was a teenager, I use to write a lot. Poems, short stories, songs, just whatever. I kept a journal and I wrote in it just about every day. The desire to move forward as a writer never occurred to me. Never in a million years would I ever imagine me trying to become known as an “inspirational” person. What would people find inspirational about me? There isn’t anything special about me, so why would you care?

Now that I think about it, God kind of nudged me into the writing career a few years back. A local magazine where I’m from asked if I would take pictures for them. Someone else would write the article but I would just take pictures. It ranged from local food reviews, to just taking a picture of someone they were writing about. One day I got an email, and this time instead of giving me my assignments, they offered me a spot writing about local businesses. I would go myself out and interview them &take their picture. No clue what I was doing but I said… okay… I did it a few times and they ended up selling the magazine to someone else. Even then, I didn’t really think about pursuing it any further and just like everything else, I just walked away from it.

Walking away is so easy for me. It’s easier to just forget about something rather than remembering it, especially if it’s something bad. I walked away from just about everything, because I didn’t think anyone would think I was good enough. Instead of just being rejected, I just became the person that would just reject you first. Photography was probably the only thing I really stuck with and the only reason why I’m not taking pictures now is because I don’t have a camera.

When I realized that Jesus didn’t find me but that I found him, my life started to change. Slowly but surely, I was starting to become the Leah he created. I was a total amateur at this whole loving Jesus thing and one night I was sitting still enough for God to whisper one word in my ear. He said, “Write.” It was the first time I truly ever felt the Holy Spirit and the first time I heard his voice.

I’ve given this testimony a few times, but the reason I keep going back to it is because I must remember that God wouldn’t have told me to write if he didn’t know I could change someone’s life with my words. My prayer is that if you are reading this right now and you don’t know who Jesus is, that it leads you to him so you can see exactly how beautiful his love is. Every day I struggle to stay true to his word because it’s so much easier to just walk away. Walking away is no longer an option! I’m going back to my roots; I’m going back to that night God told me to write and I’m going to keep writing about it until I can’t write no more.

Another thing that happened that night, is I raised my hands to worship him. I was sitting alone in my garage on a beautiful spring night listening to worship music. My playlist wasn’t very long but there was this one particular song that I played over and over again. The name of the song was Holy Spirit and when it came on tears formed in my eyes. I closed my eyes and instantly I could feel God’s arms wrapped around me. The wind started to wrap around me and I could just feel him there. My eyes were shut so tight but all I could see was his light. He was there and he was there for me, he left it all to come get me. At the exact moment I held my breath, all the thoughts in my head stopped long enough for him to whisper, “write.”

My first thought was, “write what?” That was on April, 29 2019 at 9:42 pm. and exactly one month later is when I wrote my first blog. I made a cheap free website and posted my first blog-ish. Tonight, I am re-writing that story because for you to know where I’m going, you have to know where I came from. I came from Jesus… No matter how many road blocks the enemy tries to throw in my path, I’m just going to keep over coming them until the day I don’t have to overcome them no more. When that day comes, all of this will be worth it. It will all be worth it, because there will be no more pain, no more fear, it will all just be a life of beautiful. Eternal life in heaven is what I will have.

There has been a lot of pain in my life and the majority I went through on my own. Never really talking about it, but I would always write in my journals. It was the only way I could release it because no one was around to listen to me. I didn’t think anyone would hear me, so I never reached out. My teenage years were very hard and when my grandmother died, I closed off from everything and everybody. If God didn’t exist, there is no way I would be alive right now. Many days that the idea of going to sleep and never waking up just seemed so much better. When I think back to some of the events that have taken place in my life, I see now that God has always been there even when I didn’t think he existed.

God was just a figment of my imagination; I knew all the stories, but they were just stories. My concept of what was real and what wasn’t didn’t coincide with one another. I put myself in a fantasy world filled with things that would make me happy. I used to call that my bubble of denial. Living a life of denial was so much better than what was really happening around me. It kept me sane! As a kid, if I didn’t have anyone to play with, well that was fine. Climbing a tree and pretending I was living in Africa watching baby elephants running around was a lot better than worrying about how many friends I didn’t have.

Now, friends are coming out of my ears. God has blessed me with so many good people that I can’t keep up with them all sometimes. As Pastor Ray said today, if you don’t know the word then hang around people that do and you’ll start to catch on. Was he ever right about that!! If I choose to surround myself with people who are debbie downers then I’m going to be a debbie downer. If I hang around people that are like, WOO HOO JESUS!! Then I’m going to be like WOO HOO JESUS!!! Now when I get around the debbie downers I share a little WOO HOO JESUS and I pray it rubs off!

God took my struggles and he made something beautiful out of them. Hearing what other people have gone through gave me hope that it’s going to be okay! Showing the love of Jesus can be as big or as little as you like. Giving your food to a homeless person or just helping a little old lady grab something on a high shelf at the grocery store is showing the love of Jesus. When God whispered that word in my ear, he gave me the ability to open my eyes and just enjoy the life he’s given me. If you are still enough, you can hear him too!

Remember, I came from Jesus and so did you…