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

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…