When There’s No reason For Grieving

A few days ago I was driving in my car listening to a secular song called lifeline by We Three. I’ll post the lyrics for you.

The opening verse is what really caught my attention. I know we’ve all been there. There are days where we just feel empty. Stuck. Alone. Sad. Depressed. I’ve had many days like that. I’ve had seasons like that. Where I just felt like I was grieving, but I hadn’t actually lost anyone or anything.

The Holy Spirit put this on my heart and I really wanted to share it. Sometimes, probably most times, when we feel like we are grieving and we just don’t know why. The reason why we are sad is because we are missing the presence of God in our lives.

When I’m not disciplined and I’ve really wandered far from His presence I feel worn out and just freaking miserable. That’s my soul missing the connection with my father.

When I was younger and didn’t have a relationship with God I was diagnosed with several different emotional disorders at 12! 12 years old and in middle school I was labeled emotionally unwell. I was put on mood stabilizers. As a teenager, I became addicted to substances and men. Anything that made me feel alive, because I was dead inside. When I got sober and started to have a relationship with Jesus and then baptized in the Holy Spirit I got angry when I realized all those years I had spent thinking something was wrong with me and trying to find healing in the world when the answer was in a book right in front of my face! I was missing God and I just didn’t know it! My soul was crying out for Him, wanting to worship anything, because we are all made to worship something. We are created that way for a reason. The hope is that we will come to know and love our creator, but when we don’t connect the two, when we worship things in this world we are always going to be left feeling more empty than when we started. It happens to me still to this day. When I go to Netflix or my phone for refreshment I end up more tired than when I started it. The only thing that will ever fill me up, that will ever be enough is Jesus! He is the only one who can make me feel whole. No person, no label, no friend, significant other, no child, parent, family member, job, money- None can bring me peace and quench the thirst of my soul or yours. Only Jesus.

So next time you feel sad for no particular reason, ask yourself when was the last time you connected, I mean really connected with Jesus.

And if you have a friend who doesn’t know Jesus and has issues like the one I described above tell them about Him. I wish someone someone would have told me then what I know now.

Replenish Yourself in Worship and The Word

Prayers for humility as a wife and a mother!

Great read!

My purpose in this life is to serve my husband and raise my children up to love God with their whole heart and mind.

I don’t always feel like doing that. Some days I want to be selfish. I don’t want to rest in the Lord. I want to give in to my own desires of idleness and focus on myself and my wants. I think when I do this that I’m replenishing myself. Then when I wonder why I still feel so emotionally burdened, heavy, and tired. I’m not saying that it’s not okay to take time for yourself. What’s not okay is trying to replenish yourself in the ways of the world, instead of going to the Lord for healing and rest.

Only God can fill our hearts with light love that can then run over into others. Not binging on Netflix and social media.

When you feel run down, overworked, exhausted and you have no light to shine on anyone else drop to your knees. Don’t reach for the remote. Don’t immerse yourself in social media. First, turn the worship music on loud! Praise God for all, even if you don’t feel like it! Get into it! Dance! His presence will envelop you and give you energy to keep going. Read the word. We can only continue to pursue righteousness by reading the living word. Then pray!

Get out of yourself and go and be helpful. Do the the very thing that you didn’t want to, to begin with. What’s in it for you? Peace!

Then turn on the T.V.
Then partake in social media.
Serve first the kingdom of God and others. Serve yourself last!

http://www.mamaofthreeboys.com/becoming-humble-wife-mother/

Praise Him Even When It Hurts

I haven’t written in quite a while. My family and I have been going through an extremely trying season. Through it I’ve really learned what it means to to remain steadfast and faithful all while praising the Lord.

When things get hard. When it doesn’t look like it’s working out the way I would hope I have a tenancy to drift from God. I get angry and hurt, but even more so when I’m sitting there thinking, God! I’m doing all the right things, where are you? I believe that it’s a common misconception that God will deliver us from hard times if we walk the path. God never promises to deliver us from trials and tribulations. He promises to see us through them, if we rely on him. He demands we praise him in the process. We should want to praise him in the process, but I don’t always want to. Do you?

When we are in the midst of dark nights that seem so long, I often revert back to relying on myself and stand alone on my own two feet, all while saying something different. I often talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Then I wonder why I am miserable.

God calls us higher. He calls us to walk joyfully the path he has set before us and the instructions on how to do so are all written.

Recently, I’ve learned I know very little about who God is and who he calls me to be. How he calls me to live. He calls for us to live righteously, but how do we do that?

To begin, I want to share my experience with you that began this walk I’m on. Ten months ago my family experienced a tragedy. My husband’s daughter died of Leukemia. She was six years old. She was a beautiful and spirited child. She was fun and so incredibly smart. She was incredibly strong. She revealed herself to be so much stronger than we knew, because she fought her illness with smiles and laughter.

I wish so much that I had done better by her. I feel so much remorse about how selfishly I entered her life. She deserved so much better than that. I remember I was tucking her in one night. I told her I loved her and that I was so glad to be her stepmom and she looked at me with utter confusion and said your my stepmom? I remember thinking that, that should have been made clear to her long before I was ever tucking her in at night.

When I married her father I was a mess. I meant well. I truly did, but I still caused harm. I didn’t understand what being a parent meant. What a great responsibility it was to be involved in a child’s life. Her mother knew and so did my husband’s family. So of course when they learned of my relapse they fought like hell to keep me away from her and I don’t blame them now, but I did. In my sick and twisted way I knew they were right for getting involved. I don’t agree with all of what happened, but we are human and not perfect. Yet, I was still deeply offended and so utterly selfish that I was still so focused on myself. I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t about me. They could care less who I was and why. Their first and only concern was for her. I never hurt her directly. I never used around her, but I harmed her indirectly by my actions.

After my relapse no one expected my husband to continue on with our relationship, nor did they think he would go on to marry me… but my husband is so very loyal. He believed in me and stood by me when no one else would. He encouraged me and supported me and I thank God for him, He never blamed me for losing visitation rights to his daughter, despite me blaming myself and I do absolutely blame myself. He lost out on so much time because of my choices. His whole family did.

We didn’t start getting her back until nearly a year later. She was weary of me and she was confused. By that time I had been married to her dad for almost a year and she now had a little sister that she hardly knew. It was such a rough transition. She wanted to like me, but she was so confused about my place and although I’m sure she didn’t know why she didn’t get to see her dad for a year, she was such a smart kid, I’m sure she knew I had a lot to do with it.

We were just really beginning to bond when she got diagnosed. We knew something was wrong with her, but we never expected her to have leukemia. She began to get really weak. She was sleeping all the time. She had a really bad ringworm infection that wouldn’t go away. She had cough that seemed to last forever. Her grandmother and her mother took her to the doctor. They did a blood test and sent her over to the ER right away. Her mother couldn’t get a hold of Avery and they called me to tell us they were taking her to the ER and that if we wanted to come we could. We got there as soon as we could. While Kaylynn was off receiving tests, they told us why we were here. I’ve never been a witness to a more heartbreaking scene than watching her mother fall apart as they told us the news. All I wanted to do was hold her mother, but because of our history I stood silent and dumbfounded. I could see my husband reeling at the diagnosis. My husband began to fall into himself. He pulled away. There was so much tension between all of us, but especially between her mother and him. I was the mediator, but I wasn’t her father. I couldn’t will things to be different even though I tried.

Nearly two months after recieving Kay’s diagnosis I learned I was pregnant with my second child. I was filled with horror. I remember thinking how incredibly selfish it is is to bring a child into this world while Kay was so sick. I was terrified to tell Avery and I couldn’t even begin to figure out a way to tell anyone else. Most were supportive. I pulled myself together and decided that I would look at this child as a blessing in the midst of all of this pain.

Looking back now, on the months since we lost Kay, my daughter Elaina has been such a joy. She has brought much needed distraction. She has rooted me in reality. I didn’t have time to fret over our circumstances and my broken husband when I had to care for a newborn and a toddler. She has also been such a light. She was the easiest and most cuddly baby. My first was a handful and still is. Elaina has been my calm throughout this storm.

We got the news on Feburary 18, 2018 that Kaylynn had gone to be with Jesus. It had been months since I had seen her. My husband had completely withdrawn and I feared he would never come back to us. He was present, but not really with us. The worse Kaylynn got, the more Avery pulled away. Our daughter barely knew him, plus he traveled for work and when he was home he was so absent it was like he wasn’t even with us. He made jokes often about suicide. The more quiet he got, the more emotional I became.

My relationship with God was at an all time low the months following Kay’s passing. Without even knowing it I was blaming God for not saving her. The whole time she was sick I expected God to come in and heal her. The worse she got, the more I believed it was to reveal his glory. I never doubted that God would come in and deliver her from her illness. Even when she was sent home on palliative care I had hope. When we moved I packed her clothes, toys, and bed and they waited for her. I had held out hope that one day she would call our new home hers. We moved again after she passed and having to look on her things brought emotions that I hadn’t really dealt with.

So when Avery called me to tell me that she was gone. It was all I could do to keep it together. I was in shock and I felt so foolish for having hope and for the wasted time. My husband had completely given up while she was sick and I felt it wasn’t my place to be there when he wasn’t. While I maintained contact, I hadn’t gone to see her and I hated myself for it and I hated him for it.

There was so much grief. I had grief for her mother who had to go through all of it alone as a single parent. I had grief for my husband. I had grief for his regret. I had grief for all who had loved and lost her. I had grief for my girls who would never know her. I had grief for my regret and the relationship I had tried to build and failed at. I was so ready to love her and take her into my family and love her as my own. Yet, I felt I had no right to grieve. She wasn’t my child and with all of the history I had involving her, the thought of grieving for her felt wrong, like I was doing her an injustice. I felt I didn’t deserve to miss her.

Yes, I blamed God for not rescuing her and I blamed myself for not being better for her.

Sitting in church one Sunday was when I had the revelation that I was angry at the Lord for not healing her. The worship team was performing the song Do it Again by Evelation Worship.

Hearing the bridge was when it dawned on me that I felt betrayed.

I‘ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

I remember thinking as the music washed over me, this song would have been so inspirational when Kaylynn was sick, but bitterly I thought, but you didnt move that mountain did you, Lord?

Weeks later I was in my car on the way to my sisters and another worship song came on, almost like an answer to the question I hadn’t asked.

The song is called Even if by Mercy Me, the lyrics hit me like a bolt of lightening:

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain, well good thing a little faith is all I have right now, but God when you choose to leave mountains unmovable oh, give me the strength to be able to sing it is well with in my soul

Its not that God chose not to heal my stepdaughter. When the first family fell (Adam and Eve) sin and death entered the world. While Satan used Kaylynn’s illness to harm her and those who loved her. The truth is while Satan thinks he’s winning and we all feel like we are losing, the battle was already won 2000 years ago. God made good out of something so terrible, he healed her eternally something our temporal minds have trouble making sense of.

I was reading a blog post written by a mother who had lost her daughter to cancer, a friend of Kay’s actually. I was devouring anything that could give me insight to my husband’s pain during that time and I came across an article that changed my life. She said that God didn’t chose any of this, but we had better believe he’s going to redeem it. God has redeemed it, through Jesus and it will be revealed to all when Jesus finally returns.

Upon this revelation God began working in my heart drawing me in, beckoning me closer than ever before and I desperately needed him in this season of my life. My marriage was crumbling and my security and stability was gone. My husband’s job was unsteady. We were and are constantly in a financial crisis. Nothing was going right, I had no reason to feel at peace, but I did every time I chose to praise him in the midst of all of my fear. When I choose to praise him, especially when it was the last thing I wanted to do, I choose to trust that he is good and that he will see us through this season of doubt and hardship. God blesses me with peace and joy sees me through my doubt and fear.

As I grew spiritually my husband grew even more distant. My prayer became for God to reach him, because I was trying and failing. He was a shell of the man I knew. It was so hard to be patient and wait on God to move in his life like he was moving in mine. I felt that it was unfair for God to gift me with the revelation about Kay and not Avery. I preached and preached at Avery but I only pushed him further away. I was not the vessel God chose to bring enlightenment to my husband. That came much later.

A few months ago my prayers for my husband were answered in the form of a church. They have a men’s group that my husband goes to, at first reluctantly. They began to minister and love on him and life began to spark in my husband again.

We began a marriage class with the pastor and his wife and through that I’ve learned so many things and I’ve also learned that there’s so much about the Christian walk that I had absolutely no idea about.

Through this season of hardship my faith has been restored on such a deep level I never knew existed. My husband is healing and growing. My prayers have been answered. That is my miracle in all of this. We are learning to walk the narrow path with joy and praises on our lips. I am so incredibly blessed beyond my wildest dreams to live in the light of my Father. I will praise him before my breakthrough and I will continue to praise him all the days of my life!

The Choice

“When you choose selfishness instead of Me, you forget who I am.
When you choose greed instead of Me, you idolize this world.
When you choose envy instead of Me, you doubt I have given you enough and believe I am a God who doesn’t care for His children.
When you choose judgment instead of forgiveness, hard-heartedness instead of kindness, self-indulgence instead of self-forgetfulness, I am forgotten, too.

When you choose to keep ignoring Me, reading my words but following your own path, you are blind to my steps in front of you, deaf to my words whispered in you, closed off from possibility of new directions, new hope, new places where I want to take you.

Hear this: You are not stuck. You can be moved. You can change.

More hope is right around the corner. More possibility and further direction” – An excerpt from the loop subscription written by Jennifer Camp https://jenniferjcamp.com/loop-women-free-resources/

I encourage all women of Faith to subscribe to these. There’s also one called the Wire for men by her husband Justin Camp.

I wanted to talk about this loop I received today, because when understood, this action and having this attitude about your Christian walk can be life changing.

Living set apart as Jesus calls us to do is a daily thing that we get to CHOOSE. If we continuously die to ourselves and chose to remain steadfast in our walk with Christ and choose his goodness over our selfish nature we will literally reap the reward, but even better the more we do it, the easier it will be to do it again.

As complex human beings we overcomplicate this so easily. It really is as simple as it is written. Choose life giving things over dead things.

For example, do I react in anger, when I feel angry? Or do I step back and give myself room to breathe and pray for patience before I attempt to look at why I’m angry and address said person or thing I’m angry at.

Do I plug into my family or stay glued to my phone all day? Shoving responsibilities onto my husband?

Do I try to control my outcome by manhandling the situation or do I trust God and wait to see his glory in it?

Do I lash out at someone who has hurt me or do I pray for compassion and understanding?

Do I choose to spend my morning with God or instead do it my way, because I’m so busy and know what’s best?

Say I chose the worse action in all of these scenarios?

How do you think I’m gonna feel at the end of my day? I’m going to feel spent, frustrated, and anxious. I’m going to be overwhelmed, because I cannot arrange everyone and everything to suite myself. I don’t have the power to control those around me. I just don’t. No one does.

But when I act out on Faith and trust God with each of these outcomes I’m admitting that I don’t have control. I’m releasing that to God. I’m letting go, aligning my will with His. I’m choosing life. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way I would like, I didn’t waste foolish energy trying to obtain the outcome I wanted.

This attitude must be daily, because we are each given a daily reprieve from our own darkness. The more we choose to live our life to suit ourselves the more broken we are going to feel. The more alone we are going to feel. The more stuck we are going to feel. God only has room to move in your heart and life if you invite him into it.

Trust me, I know it’s not always easy. Those examples I’ve given are things I do, but what I’ve realized is that God isn’t calling me to be perfect. He’s calling me right now in this moment to do the next right thing. I could get all washed up and burdened down by my failures and say it’s too hard. I cannot go on, or I could persevere and choose life.

I know what it feels like to live my life for me and consistantly turn away from the sunlight of the spirit and it’s a really dark and lonely road. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I want to feel that I have a purpose and I want freedom from myself and my mind, I want freedom from the enemy.

We are all given this moment. We can all choose to the next right thing. We can all choose to have an intimate relationship with Jesus, and it’s our choice that invites him in.

God Is In The Waiting

There have been so many times in my life where I have been living in what seemed at the time a dark and hopeless existence, and I have wondered is this as good as it gets?

The honest answer if I had not looked up, if I had not sought out help, if I had truly given up for good, it would have been.

I remember some time ago I was standing on the ledge of my friends pool staring into the water, questioning would it be so bad? Would it matter? If I just took one more step? I was so gone out of my mind that I knew if I fell in I wouldn’t be able to swim out. I wouldn’t even try. I would just take one more step. I was on the verge of giving up. I had, had enough! I was finished. In my mind at the time I had tried so hard to live my life normally. I was done fighting. What was the point to live out my life if I didn’t care anymore? If I couldn’t achieve happiness? The pain was too great, too dark, too big for me to conquer by myself. I had spent years fighting against my mind. A mind that was intent on killing me.

What if I just finally let it?

The water looked so peaceful, so inviting and I was tired. So very tired.

The only reason I think I didn’t follow through was my husband gently pulling me back inside and I couldn’t bear hurting him like that. I promised myself another time.

Honestly, I barely remember that night, but I do remember the water. I remember the pain. I remember the hopelessness and futility of those moments. The truth is those feelings, are in fact just feelings, not facts.

I didn’t feel hopeless all of the time. Some days were better than others. I had things to focus on, like my family, but sometimes that DARK depression would hit me like a thousand waves and it would seem like I couldn’t breathe or hold my head above water no matter what I tried, but I remembered that there were moments, however fleeting, there were moments when it didn’t hurt as bad. Which gave me reasons to not give up.

If I had given up on myself, on Jesus, on my family, on life I wouldn’t have got to see the miracle. My miracle. I fought against addiction, depression, and myself for years. For what seemed like an eternity. I remember being in 7th grade something changed, probably puberty, all of sudden the world didn’t make sense any more. My parents weren’t the heroes I thought they were. Nothing seemed right. My home life wasn’t going well. My dad was wasted and my mom was never home, she traveled for work. I felt abandoned and lonely. I didn’t believe my parents loved me. I didn’t understand that they were just people with their own issues doing the best they knew how to do.

That’s really where my spiritual malady began to set in. I started trying to fill that void in my soul. I started harming myself, it worked for me until my sister figured out what was wrong with me. So I turned to people. That didn’t work either. People are not perfect. They cannot meet all of our expectations. Other people cannot save us from ourselves. I got really into music. That really helped. I started writing my feelings out as soon as I learned to write, but sometimes I was too upset to focus. It wasn’t enough.

I met a friend in 8th grade. She seemed so powerful, exciting, and like she just didn’t care about anything. I wanted that. I didn’t want to care anymore. I didn’t want to feel anymore.

She was my introduction to drugs and alcohol.

When the feeling washed over me, I felt like I had finally found the answer I had been looking for, for so long.

I finally felt at peace. My mind was silenced.

And so it began.

I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, because I was a bad person and wanted to hurt myself and those around me. I turned to them for escape, because I was drowning in my own sea of despair. They had become my solution, although at the time I didn’t know it.

And it worked, until it didn’t.

I remember at 17 I was sneaking out a lot. I can’t remember if I was coming or going, but I remember asking myself, why am I even doing this anymore? The sense of adventure, the thrill, the fun was gone. My mind wasn’t being kept silent anymore. The pain kept returning sooner and sooner. I was exhausted, but I kept on trying to heal my soul with substances for three more years.

I honestly don’t know how I’m still here. I could have been killed by someone else, by poor choices, or circumstance. After all the situations I got myself in, I should be dead.

My mom tried to get me help over and over again. Thousands of dollars spent on treatment centers and counseling. I would leave thinking finally, I’m not going to do it again. I’ve learned enough about this problem. I know what to do when my thoughts rise up and turn against me. I’ve got plans in place. Before, I even realized what I was doing I was wasted again. I had made so many reservations to stop. To be better. To do better. To try harder, work harder.

The truth was I didn’t really want to quit. Not for me, not really. I wanted to quit because it was the right thing to do. I was really tired of everyone being mad at me. I had lost friends to it, things, my home, not to mention my pride and dignity. While it was painful, I still didn’t want it, not really. I just wanted the consequences to stop.

I was 20 years old at a halfway house and I had relapsed while living there. I saw how happy my housemates were, and how at peace the women who carried the message were. I was so envious of their joy.

On a visit home, my mom caught me in my closet using. (I still do not know why people go to their closets to get drunk or high. I have heard several grown adults, who lived with no one say they always wound up in their closet. It’s a totally common thing, I swear!) She begged me to go back to my halfway house and just figure it out.

Then it hit me, that if I was going to finally get better, I needed to go out and try it my way. I needed to stop seeking out treatment just because other people wanted me to. I knew enough about the program that it only worked if it was my choice for me and nothing else.

So the hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my mother I was going to figure it out on my own. That I was just going to try it my way and see what happened. I still had this delusion that I could control myself. That I could do it on my own. That I could be okay, be happy, and at peace on my own terms.

Lets just say I didn’t last very long.

God had his hands me the entire time. It got dark and terrifying really fast. There was one incident that I am so lucky that I walked away as whole as I did.

Really, what had got my attention was a “friend” got caught stealing and placing the blame on one of us, I can’t remember.  He knew he was caught right handed and he just lost it. I watched him unravel right before my eyes. It was so scary. He looked me square in the eye and told me that I was no better than him. That he hoped I died a horrible addict death like my father.

I suddenly knew that the awful words coming out of his mouth were true. That I wasn’t any better than him, and that I could very well end up just like my father.

A month or so later I finally gave up and I surrendered. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was done. The shame and guilt was eating me alive and I remembered the beauty in those people and the message of hope they gave me and I trusted that and I called for help.

Really what it was, and all it was, is that I realized something that I wish I could go back and tell my 13 year old self. I couldn’t use my own power to save myself. I couldn’t use any other person or thing or substance to save myself. I had to admit that I was powerless over this addiction that I had turned to, to fix the gaping hole inside of me and that the only thing that would ever fix me was and is Jesus.

And I firmly believe this to be true for everyone who feels that same darkness. That same insanity. I firmly believe that it wasn’t my mind trying to kill me, that it was spiritual warfare.

If you are struggling with depression, with anxiety, with shame, with never measuring up, with insecurity, and low self-esteem, with addiction…. it doesn’t really matter what it is, there is a solution and it is so simple, but it’s not easy.

We as human beings make things so complicated, especially when there is feelings involved.

The answer is so simple.

You admit that you cannot fix you, or at least what you have been doing isn’t working and be willing to try something else.

God will meet you were you’re at, as long as you take the action and do the work. It’s not supposed to be easy, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than that pain you’re constantly living in.

A lot of times it’s in the waiting that God is answering our prayers.

If I had given up anywhere along that road I was on, I wouldn’t ever have learned what true freedom feels like. I wouldn’t have my husband, my beautiful girls. I would never have gotten to experience true joy and peace. I look back and I can so plainly see where God was meeting all my needs, but at the time it didn’t feel like it.

I could just as easily blame him for the grief, loss, darkness and all the awful things I’ve endured along the way, or I can blame the enemy and have hope in something greater. I truly believe we are all here for a purpose and that all the pain we’ve endured was and is not done so in vain.

If you are alive and breathing there is still hope, and there is still time.

Please think of that if you ever find yourself standing on the ledge.

 

 

 

My Truth of Becoming a Mother

Becoming a mother to me was like experiencing cultural shock. I was so out of my element and everything was so unfamiliar.

I found out I was pregnant only two months after getting married. I was still learning and digesting that curve. Not to mention months prior, I had relapsed after a three year sobriety stent, and due to my relapse my husband had lost visitation rights to his daughter from a previous relationship (story for another time, one I’m not brave enough to write about quite yet). Needless to say, I had a lot going in my life and I was sorely unprepared for my journey into motherhood. What mother doesn’t feel like that? That she couldn’t possibly measure up to the world’s standard of what a mother should be. That expectation I desperately tried to uphold myself to haunted me well into my journey, and still today I struggle with it.

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I was happy with the news, but it was a fearful happiness. I was extremely grateful, because I had actually been told I couldn’t have children. So seeing the two pink lines was kind of incredible to me, but I was terrified. I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. I was so selfish and broken. I remember thinking, how can I possibly bring a child into this world. I’m still a kid myself in so many ways. I mean really. I was living with my husband at his Aunts house. We couldn’t even support ourselves. No one was overjoyed with our news to say the least. Maybe a few friends, but mostly everyone was hesitant, because the truth was we weren’t ready. They were worried. Eventually, everyone came around to the idea. Today, I know they had every right to react the way they did. I was selfish and unpredictable. Bringing a child into that environment was incredibly thoughtless.

My relationship with God was at an all time low, because I was filled with so much fear, doubt, and shame I couldn’t manage to talk to Him. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, much less pray.

My whole pregnancy was kind of awful. I was anxiety ridden mess. I had morning sickness and I was so upset that I couldn’t use anymore that I sunk into a deep and dark depression. I didn’t get out of bed for months. I literally watched the animal channel for hours each day. My husband would leave for work in the morning and I would be in the same position on our bed watching penguins when he returned home. We joke about it today, thankfully. He tiptoed around me, trying not to upset me. Anything set me off back then. All he had to do was look at me funny and I exploded. He was a soldier, powered through it. I’m so blessed to be his wife. I can’t imagine any other man putting up with me the way he did. I was mean. I was a dry drunk, as they like to call it. It’s amazing we made it through.God had his hand on us then entire time,  but I was so blinded by my own self that I couldn’t see it.

My only solution to my internal condition, my spiritual malady, was substance abuse. I praise God everyday that I refrained from doing so while being pregnant. I refused, I wanted to be a good mom, I just didn’t know how. I managed to stay sober throughout both my pregnancies, I thought that was a good start.

My first daughter was breached, I had to have a c-section, and the little addict inside of me was thrilled. As awful as it sounds, I want to be honest. As Christian’s we are called to be transparent. I know my story sounds shallow and ugly, but that’s who I am without Jesus.

The day finally came and there aren’t even words to describe the crazy emotions I was feeling. I was going to become a mom. I was going to be responsible for another living human being, and I had to keep this tiny human alive.

The moment I heard her cry, my whole life changed. I thought I knew what love was, but upon meeting my daughter for the first time, I realized I had no freaking clue. She was perfect in every way. She was me made over. We called her Isabella, later she became our Izzy.

 

Taking her home was life-changing, and so was the prescription I got to take home for the pain. Through out my pregnancy I made all sorts of vows to myself, to my husband, and to my unborn child. I wanted to do it right. I was going to stay sober. I didn’t want to put her through what I had gone through as a child. I never wanted her to wonder why she wasn’t enough, like I had growing up in a family riddled with addiction.

I tried my best to keep it together. My mother and her boyfriend let us into their home to acclimate to life with a new baby. This was HUGE. Had you seen our relationship just four years prior, they were done with me. In my sobriety God had restored those relationships, now here I was hurting them again.

I quickly went through my prescription and then the cycle began.

I don’t really remember the first few months of my daughters life. I will never get those moments back. I vaguely remember thinking that as I was looking down at her little newborn face, but I couldn’t stop. I was devastated. I had promised myself that I would never ever be in this position. A mother who couldn’t stop using. I once heard from an amazing friend, if love were enough to keep sober, it would have done so long ago.

I love my daughters.

I love my husband.

I love my parents and sisters.

Yet, it was not enough to keep me sober.

I wish my children had been enough to keep me sober. I’ve heard so many stories like that, but it was not mine unfortunately for my family.

The only power great enough to heal my brokenness is my Savior. I had to come to the end of myself and accept that living life for me on my terms was and will destroy me. That is a daily thing. I have to do it daily. We are all given a daily reprieve with maintenance and perseverance of our spiritual condition.

I’ve gone back and reread this multiple times and all I can see is how selfish, manipulative, and entitled I was. I have been afraid to share this dark part of myself, because it‘s ugly.

It’s also true, and the truth is hardly ever pretty and easy to share. All of us have a story. We all have parts of ourselves we hope no one ever finds out about. I think if more people were honest about their struggles, their pain, and how they have overcome it, or haven’t yet, more people would seek out help.

None of us is alone, there is someone out there going through the same pain you are.

We all struggle. This life we were gifted with isn’t supposed to be easy and pain free. I think there’s a misconception out there that we are supposed to be good at living our lives, that we are supposed to know how to navigate all the trials life throws at us.

That’s a lie.

If we are already supposed to know the answer to our questions. If we are already supposed to know how to be perfect and at peace, then why would we need God at all? Why would Jesus have died for us?

The only reason I’m here today to tell you my truth is because I was willing to swallow my pride and seek out help. I surrendered my selfish ego and became willing to do something different. I gave up my life and sought out God and that doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t struggle anymore.

I was provided a solution to live life on life’s terms, or I now try live my life the way God calls me to . I still struggle. I still have trials. I still get in fear about if I’m doing the whole mom thing right. I still fight with myself. I still get into arguments with my husband. I still make mistakes. I still stumble. I still have absolutely no clue what I’m doing in regards to raising my children, but I’m doing a heck of a better job than I was doing a year and a half ago.

But I am sober. I am still trying. I am still fighting.

Motherhood for me has been a blessing. I didn’t even know I was capable of some of the things I’ve done. It’s empowered me in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I have a purpose not just in my own life, but in theirs. I’m a living example. Everything we go through and do, our children are watching us whether we realize it or not. That doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly, but I think if as mothers or parents, if we can do it honestly, and with love, forgiveness, and with strength in the Lord, those little ones will turn out alright. God blesses us with our children, but ultimately they are his.

The best advice that I’ve ever been given about being a mom was that God’s doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. I’ve already been given everything I’ll ever need to parent my children. He created them with me in mind. He gave them to me, blessed me with them. Each and everything I’ll ever need when it comes to raising my girls, can be given to me, by me relying on Him. God is the great Healer, the great Redeemer, and the greatest Parent. By trusting him and attempting to the next right thing he has promised that we will succeed.

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The thing I think we all forget is that, we already have won. Jesus won the battle we are all fighting today nearly 2000 years ago. We just need to invite him into our lives and into the midst of our struggles.

Today I love being a mom. I love being with my children. They give me so much joy. They challenge me in so may different ways. I’m so very grateful that I’m not missing out on their lives and precious moments anymore. I’m so incredibly thankful that I get to be present today. That is only because of Jesus and my program. Me, by myself, I would be lost and probably wouldn’t even have custody of my children.

I’m not saying it’s always easy and I don’t have moments where I struggle, but it’s infinitely better than where I was or where I could be.

I hope that if you’re reading this and relate in any way to anything I’ve said, that it helps you, and encourages you, inspires you, to share your story and struggles. Somebody can be helped by your story. You matter and so does your struggle. 

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My personal understanding of my relationship with Jesus

This is a revelation I’ve received recently in my walk with Christ.

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Love love this, but I think here is where people get the sense of good works and think if they are not perfect then God looks down on them. Which is absolutely not true. If you love Jesus and are inviting him into your home and heart and cultivating a relationship with him then your heart begins to change as well.

What was okay for me in terms of character defects are no longer okay today. Where a few years ago, just last year even, I didn’t think about certain sins being a big deal. I thought about it sure, but I didn’t try to invite God into my heart and correct the behavior. Where as today, if I catch old behaviors and thoughts coming up that don’t line up with my relationship with my creator, I take a look at that and pray for forgiveness and set out to make amends if I’ve harmed anyone. I think that is exactly what it means when it says to obey all that is written in the bible.

Obviously, some of the rituals in the old testament no longer apply here today, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, as well as the command that you must uphold the law and if you fail you risk eternal separation from God, but because of Jesus dying for me and for you, the law has already been upheld. There is nothing I can ever do to earn my place in heaven, to earn my salvation. The price has been paid, but without a relationship with Jesus and declaring him my savior I will never get to partake in the gift of Jesus dying for me.
I no longer have to be perfect.
Jesus is absolutely perfect for me. He died so that every sin I’ve committed and will commit is forgiven, but I absolutely must cultivate a relationship with him and seek forgiveness anyway, because if I don’t have the ability to see where I need to be granted redemption, which I cant, if I don’t have a committed relationship with him, than how am I able to know the reality of the gift he has given me? How would I truly know what my salvation means? How could I love Jesus and declare him my savior if I don’t know and love him and want to do the next right thing?
That’s what I’m called to do. That is what the marathon is.

It says that God has begun a good work in us. That it will not be finished until the day I am with him. So that means that I’m going to have situations come up where I’ve failed to meet expectations. I’m going to struggle. I am going to need to grow spiritually. I am going to have trials and tribulations, but all I can do until that day comes is not worry about how badly I behaved yesterday. I see it, I feel sorry for it, I ask for forgiveness and I receive it, which then means it is finished. Gone. Done. No longer seen. Then, I do the next right thing in front of me. I continue to pray, I continue to read the word and meditate on it. I continue to be a servant and love those around me. The greatest thing we can do to show people the love of Jesus is by living loved. It is all about attraction rather than promotion. People are going to learn so much more by your actions, rather than your words. You are a son or daughter. You are not an orphan. You are not a slave.

So take heart, do not beat yourself up for not being where you want to be. Jesus died for you. He took the beating for you. Seek forgiveness, it was granted for you two thousand years ago and try, try again.

Through obedience, is where you learn to be obedient.

Who am I, or who am I called to be?

Which is more important?

Who I am called to be? or Who I am?

I’m called to be a loving wife and mother, but I am a mess most the time. I’m a wife. I’m an addict. I’m an alcoholic. I’m a mother. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister and a friend. I am saved. I’m a believer and I’m a christian. My name is Kathryn, but I’m called Kaleigh. Sometimes mama, sometimes sweetie, and sometimes sponsor. My favorite is beloved daughter, by God, my Father.

When I got married and had my girls I had know clue who I was and I’m still learning daily. I spent most of my childhood hiding behind a book and lived in a fantasy world waiting for someone to save me. To love me, to NOTICE me. My teenage years I was so emotionally unstable, because I was so busy numbing my emotions with whatever I could get my hands on that my identity got lost and trampled on by my own choices and failures. I woke up at 20 and realized that I couldn’t go on with my life style. That it would kill me. I decided to seek help and get clean. After starting that journey I realized I had no clue who I was. So I decided to fix that by getting into relationships, because I thought that it would fill that empty hole inside of me. That had been my story for so long, I met a guy…. and then. Every time. It worked for a while, until it didn’t.

NEWSFLASH. Trying to heal and mend your soul with relationships doesn’t ever work. You end up alone and hurting and usually always end up harming someone else too.

So I began my journey with Jesus. I was broken, and desperate, and I needed something to fill my soul. I saw how having a relationship with Jesus worked in others. They seemed at peace and just had so much JOY. I wanted that so bad, because I was terrified and lost.

So I got on my knees. I took some steps. I had amazing people in my life encouraging me and literally carrying me through the worst time of my life. I detoxed on their couch and I opened my eyes and I looked in the mirror and I had no clue who the person was staring back at me. The pain of my addiction brought me to my knees and I met the one person who could make it better, who could heal me. I had met the love of my life and it wasn’t some guy like I thought it was then, I didn’t know it, but it was Jesus.

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My first picture in freedom. Sept. 22, 2012.

I mean, I knew that God was supposed to be my answer, but during that time in my life he seemed so far away… at that point people seemed an easier option to me. Can the codependents please stand up in support??

But, you know what the amazing thing was?

God met me where I was and loved me anyway. Even thought I could barely look myself in the eye, I felt his love and presence so strongly that it quieted that storm inside my mind. Of course, I had to invite him in, and I did. I did the work my sponsor gave me. I got humble, I got willing, and most importantly I got HONEST. For the first time in my 20 years on this earth I was FINALLY being honest. I had been beaten down enough for my taste at that point in my life to be willing to be honest and do anything to save my own life. I was headed for death and it broke me. I came to the end of myself.

The bonus of that was I finally had REAL friends and family. God provided so much more than addiction had stolen from me.

The bottom left picture is of my nephew Ethan. This is the earliest memory I have of being present mentally and emotionally for my sister’s visits. Not too long ago, she was trying to jog my memories of her prior visits and I could not for the life of me remember the events she was describing to me. How terribly sad is that? To have lived half your life and not have anything to show for it? My husband not too long ago asked me if I had any good and wholesome memories from high-school. I had none.

After, I finally got sober my mother and sisters wanted to be around me. I had a beautiful friend, who became like my little sister, and she looked up to ME, of all people. God gifted me with beautiful and real friends.

Today I am sober, I do not have 6 years like I should, but I am still trying. I will never give up. I will never stop. If your reading this and wondering if you can ever be free from the chains of addiction I’m here to tell you, that you can. That it is POSSIBLE. There’s always another chance, it’s not over until you stop breathing. So don’t ever give up. Don’t ever stop trying. Don’t let shame keep you from trying again, as I did so many times. 

Today my relationship with God looks so amazingly different than it did in 2012. Even better this time around.

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After my relapse in 2015, I got married. Thinking that would fix EVERYTHING.

See the thing was I hadn’t completely allowed my self to heal. I jumped in and out of relationships. Instead of focusing on Jesus and me, I was still looking at the wrong thing to save me. When I should have been looking up, I was looking for a man to be the answer. I thought if I got married and had children that I could destroy the label of addict I had tattooed on my life. I wanted to rip it up, and shred it, and never look back. I thought it would make me better, normal.

Guess what?

It didn’t. I was still empty. I had failed to enlarge my spiritual life. I quit working the program which had saved my life. I turned back to what I knew worked. Relationships and substances. Slowly it destroyed everything God had blessed me with and I damaged so many loved ones along the way.

Still God was Faithful even though I wasn’t. 

(And he is. He is Faithful. There are so many dark times in my life, looking back, that it is  so clear and evident that the only reason I’m here typing my story is, because God was there with me, carrying me through it all. Maybe, I’ll tell you about it some day.)

Usually men I dated where all sorts of wrong for me. Other broken and lonely souls.

I met a man shortly after my last boyfriend couldn’t put up with me anymore. He was so polite. A true gentleman. I fell in love so quickly and God was looking out for me. I truly believe that he put us together for reasons I’m sure I’ll post in the future. We had so much in common. We were young and dumb, but we loved the Lord and we loved each other. We made a lot of mistakes along the way and hurt a lot of people, but finally I had met a real live person who loved me in spite of me. He has put up with my shenanigans and loved me anyway. Truly loved me. I have hurt him throughout my relapses and broken his trust more times than I can count, but he believes in me, and believes in marriage. He has faith in God and in us. He has truly stuck it out for good and for worse,  through sickness and in health.

God has truly blessed me in my marriage. We have also been blessed with two beautiful girls.

Beautiful girls, that I don’t want to be raised by an addict, a sick one at least. Girls that I want to raise to love Jesus and be proud of themselves. Girls that I want to raise to be independent and strong.

I’m called to be a loving wife and mother. A daughter, sister, and a friend. I’m called to be leader, a lover, an example, a peace maker, a cook, a maid, an accountant. I’m called to be Christian, a woman, a productive member of society. I’m called to be all these things and many more. Today I wear so many different hats it’s sometimes overwhelming.

Because I’m still just me. Kaleigh. I’m a mess and sometimes slightly unstable. I get anxiety. I can be a control freak. I get angry and I get sad. I break down and I lose it more times then I would like anyone to know. I’m just a person.

I’m also an addict and today instead of cowering behind it. I own it. I let it empower me and strengthen me. It will forever be a part of who I am, and that’s okay with me today. My story has been uniquely useful to other people in so many different ways, it’s incredible. God has made good out of all of my darkness. It’s given every bad thing I’ve endured and done a purpose. I’m so thankful for my story today. So when it’s hard and you feel like giving up, remember that. Your life, your story has purpose. 

I don’t know who I am, but I am free and I’m so excited for what life has in store for me. For what God has in store for me.

Only because of Him am I anything at all. He enables me to go through out my day matching serenity with calamity. He strengthens me, when I ask it of him, and more often than not even when I don’t. By me doing the next right thing, he gifts me with freedom and it’s beautiful and messy, but I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.