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

Jesus!

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

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.