Transitions and Convictions

Over the last couple of years my family and I have gotten serious about our faith. We’ve made radical changes in our lives, because we want to live for Christ. We learned by submitting our will and aligning our will with God’s will, which is lined out for is in the bible, this was the only path to true freedom.

We’ve made the decision to stop being lukewarm and fully live out our lives according to His standard. Walking the path of saying we believed in God, but clinging to dead things left us starving and struggling in deep rooted sin.



It’s not been easy, but through the power of Christ we’ve been granted freedom from sin that had been killing not only our marriage, but our bodies and our minds. I suffered for years with drug addiction and alcoholism. My husband had a secret pornography addiction. Once we buckled down and obeyed the Word and God’s commands we flourished in His grace and mercy. New life bubbled up inside of us. We began to change from the inside out. The power of Christ and His love breathed new life into our entire being. Through choosing to do the next right thing according to the Word we were both healed from our afflictions. We were changed. Our marriage healed. Everything began changing for the better, but it also opened our spiritual eyes. As we grew closer to Jesus and fell more in love with him, we began to see the things that we were doing and choosing to partake in that just wasn’t okay anymore, and infact led us into deeper sin.


Lying. Cussing. Anger. Whatever it was, we had to begin walking a righteous path otherwise, our flesh would rise up again. The more we grow in Christ, the more the Spirit changes us and begins to align our desires with the Father’s. Choosing God and His way everyday made all of that possible.


It’s not been easy, but there has been so much joy, many miracles, freedom, and healing that we never thought was possible. We are not perfect. We don’t do it well everyday, but it’s a path that we will walk for the rest of our lives and it won’t be completed and made perfect until we meet Christ. We should be striving to obey His Word in all things.


All of this change brought on alot of questions and grief with friends and family. There were some things that our loved ones just couldn’t comprehend.

For instance, our whole life began to be revolve around our church and our church body. Prayer night, church, and bible study became a priority.

That’s way too much church I would hear people say. Why can’t you miss bible study? Just go next week. Why do you spend all Sunday morning in church? That’s ridiculous. Don’t you need to have a life?


Our life doesn’t revolve around church. Our lives revolve around Jesus and we strive to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things and our activities reflect that. Our meetings together as a church body encourage, educate, and hold us accountable to each other.

There’s no time frame in the way the Holy Spirit moves so why do we only give Him an hour on Sunday morning?




Another one I hear often, is why do you always take that person’s advice. Don’t you have your own mind? Why do you want spend so much time with them?

We spend time with our pastors and those further along on this walk we are on, because they have something we want. They have the depth and weight of someone who has been totally transformed by Christ and emulate His Spirit and His goodness. We want that. They deciple us. Show us how to walk the walk. In order to live this path well, we spend time with them often. We go to them for advice. We seek them out. If you want to change your way of life for the better, wouldn’t you spend all the time you can with someone who was living that way? That’s what Jesus says to do.


These were just some of the minor changes that bothered those closest to us. There also some big things that God began to convict us on.

One huge transition in our lives that our family and friends are having issues with is how going forward we will be choosing to spend the holidays.

This has been a huge struggle for me as well. I loved celebrating all the holidays growing up. It was always a magical time where my family got together and we would all spend quality time together and have a blast making memories. It’s been a huge sacrifice in my own heart coming to the realization that how we celebrate these holidays will have to change or be let go entirely.

Christmas was an especially hard one for our family, but it was a no brainer. Santa Claus while fun and magical for children totally takes away the meaning of why we celebrate it in the first place. We also know that it isn’t truly Jesus’s birthday, but we’ve decided to celebrate it in a way that brings attention to Christ and glorifies him. These are our convictions that God has placed on our hearts. I don’t expect everyone to agree or understand. I also don’t condemn other people who choose to celebrate in their own way or the traditional way.

We specifically chose to banish Santa, because we are in agreement that it’s pure idolatry. I know St. Nick is based on a real person, but the Santa Clause we our teaching our children is not even in the same ballpark as the original man and while it’s a nice historical story, I don’t understand how it correlates with the story of the birth of Christ. All Santa does is distract from the main reason it’s celebrated in the first place. That is a tactic of the enemy. Even the Christitan radio stations replace songs about Jesus with songs about reindeer.

Also, when you get down to the facts about what we teach our children about Santa and compare the character with who God is, it begins to get very uncomfortable.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake.

Take a look at Psalm 139. The similarities are striking.

Why at Christmas do we need to teach our children to be good so a man can come deliver them presents? We should be teaching our children to be good so that they can live in eternity with Christ. We don’t need anything more than that. Isn’t the gift of salvation enough?

Well Santa is magical!
If choosing to not celebrate Santa takes away from the meaning of Christmas then we don’t truly understand the gift of who Jesus is to us.

Here is an article that totally solidifies my point for further reading.

click here for article

We will also be celebrating Easter differently. We will not be celebrating the Easter bunny. Even the word is pagan. Instead we will celebrate Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. That’s enough of a cause to celebrate for us.

We also struggled with Halloween this year as well.
I personally saw no harm in dressing up my girls and trick or treating. In my opinion, declaring it evil was giving a foothold to the devil. We are covered and saved. We weren’t committing evil. It was all fun and games. We weren’t worshiping another God. As long as we didn’t decorate with dead things, dress up in demonic and scary costumes, and go to haunted houses I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It’s for kids. I felt like going the religious route of banning it was overkill. If we believe in Jesus, we are fine. We are not satanic worshipers. No big deal right? Before leaving to take our girls out on Halloween night I prayed to God to open my eyes and show me the truth.

So we took our daughters to a town safespook. We had a blast. Nothing scary. It was very lighthearted.

Then we took our oldest throughout the neighborhood. Several of the houses had some really scary decorations up. One was based on the movie IT. Red balloons every where and clown costumes. Another house, people had bloody face masks handing out candy to small children. Further down, there was somebody revving up a chain saw. It was kinda over the top, but it’s Halloween. My daughter would not even go to those houses, because she was terrified. I kept telling her it’s not real. I asked her if she wanted to go home, she said no she wanted the candy.

There were some houses that weren’t so scary, but she was still a little spooked. I stopped and told her she didn’t have to go, we could skip. She said no, I want the candy. It’s not real.

Y’all spiritual warfare is real! It’s a battle we fight everyday.
No, we cannot see it, but on day that we can plainly see it, I’m teaching my child to ignore it for the sake of fun and candy.

The Holy Spirit answered my prayer and gave me the revelation I asked for. In that moment the Spirit showed me what I was teaching my child. I was showing her it’s okay to endure things that are scary and demonic if there’s pleasure involved. She’s being desensitized to it. She sees this big scary house with evil decorations, that we as adults totally comprehend aren’t real, but as a child alarm bells are going off in her head, and I’m saying it’s okay, because you’re getting something out of it. Imagine her at 16 deciding on if she wants to go to house party. Her conscious and the Holy Spirit are telling her, hey, that’s not good idea. Not very Godly. Some bad things could happen. Yet, for the first 10 or 11 years of her life I’ve been teaching her it’s okay to partake in unrighteous things as long as it’s fun. The Holy Spirit lives in us all. Her Spirit is warning her that something is off here. It’s not safe. I’m teaching her that it’s okay, as long as you’re getting something from it. I’m teaching her to ignore those warning bells for the sake of candy. I know it sounds stupid, but we can absolutely become desensitized to sin and evil and it starts the moment from when we enter the world.

This is how the enemy sneaks in, disguised as a children’s holiday.

Even if it is just all about children, why are we decorating our houses with scary decorations from rated-r movies that we wouldn’t even let them watch at home? It’s fun and we get a thrill from being spooked. You know what else is thrilling? All kinds of sin. Premarital sex, drugs, porn. Those can all thrilling at first.

No, Halloween is no big deal for adults that know the absolute truth and know who we are in Christ, but our kids don’t know any of that for certain. The enemy can absolutely disguise himself as an angel of light.
I’d rather safeguard my children than have fun for the sake of fun.

I know these are very controversial beliefs and not everyone agrees and some would even go as far to say I’m ruining my children’s childhood. To that I say the road is narrow and we are called to be set apart.

These holidays are deeply secular and rooted in pagan traditions. What does the word say about these kinds of things?

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A wise pastor once said:
One man considers one day more sacred than another (eg. Christmas); Another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-6)

I don’t think it’s wrong to celebrate Christ and glorify God. I think it’s how we go about doing that is what matters. When we add traditions of the world to it, it’s no longer about God. It takes away from Him. That’s what we teach our Children. We are teaching them that our lives aren’t all about Christ. The most important thing we can ever share with our children is the salvation we can find in Christ. Why isn’t that magic enough?

These are our family’s convictions. Convictions that didn’t come until we began fully seeking God. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. My advice, pray about it. Ask Him to open your spiritual eyes this holiday season. You might be surprised.

 

Count It All Joy: The Journey of bringing Shalom into Our Home

The start of my family’s story is a rocky one, and that’s putting it nicely. Our jourey began about four years ago. My husband I were two very naive and impulsive kids who fell in love and got married fast. Absolutely, no one thought it was a swell idea, and with good reason. We were not in very healthy places, but we were head over heels in love. We made a rash decision to get married quickly without really taking the time to consider how it would impact those around us. We were just kids and only thinking of ourselves. Nobody thought we would make it. Our decision changed alot of lives. The last few years have been ROUGH. We barely knew each other and we have endured so much heartbreak, most of which we brought on ourselves. We have been through the ringer together.

My husband lost his little girl to leukemia in Feburary of 2018. It completely wrecked us both. We did not handle it well or walk through it gracefully. There was so much we could have and should have done better for her. In the aftermath of losing her our marriage was nearly destroyed. We were so so lost. There were many times we nearly walked away, but God had other plans for us.

I struggled severely with motherhood and being a wife.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and my little girls more than anything in this world, but I kept finding myself drained..mentally and emotionally. I spend so much of my day serving others, I felt so lost in all of it. The life I was living certainly wasn’t the life I thought I would have. Spending much of my teenage years and the beginning of my adult life in addiction, when I finally got help and got well, I was married with two kids. It was a whole other ballgame that I was sorely underprepared for. I had to learn and still am learning how to be a thriving mother and wife.

The first year and a half after having my girls I was a total total zombie. I was literally dead in my soul. Everything was on auto pilot. I was severely depressed and just going through the motions.

My husband was more or less on the same spiritually dead path I was. He became a father at the ripe age of 15. His childhood ended abruptly, but in his mind he was still very much a young boy. He did things in his own time, and in his own strength, and understanding. He wrestled with a pornography addiction for much of his life, which crippled his self-worth and value as a man. We got married young and had children young. Needless, to say we were a mess. Constantly, trying to bring our house in order, we kept going about it in the wrong way. The wrong way, being in our own strength.

We would make attempts to go to church and “grow up”. None, of which lasted, because we failed to maintain our day to day walk.

It was in the aftermath of losing my husband’s daughter that we really came to the end of ourselves. God truly makes good of all things. Losing her destroyed us both. There was absolutely no where to go but up.

We started going to a new church and began a journey that changed my whole life. My husband and I committed ourselves to living righteously and deepening our relationship with God. I had read about all these things in my bible of course, but had never truly applied biblical principles into my own life.

In away, before I was living out my own religion, although I had claimed it was Christianity. I had one foot set in the world and my other in what I thought was right standing with God. I had thought it was good enough. It absolutely was not. I took what sounded good to me in the bible, and disregarded the rest.

That kind of half-measured attitude kept me from growing, and if we’re not growing, we’re dying. That much was obvious in my own life.

In the beginning of my family’s journey we began to press into the Lord and bring our household into right order with God. Meaning, the husband is the head of our household.

We are to commit ourselves wholly and truly to God’s word and obey his commands. Which by the way, is not for the faint of heart. It was rough! Talk about some late nights. We had begun a marriage class over this very topic. We nearly questioned our poor pastors to death!

I have always been a very dominating person, at least in my personal relationships. Very much so in my marriage. I prayed and prayed for my husband to stand up and become a man of God, and when he finally did I wasn’t ready to let him be the head of our household. I felt it was wrong at first, so last century. I’m my own woman, I don’t need a man to rule me was my thinking. It’s the 21st century. Women can be their own bosses. Yes, they absolutely can, but in a marriage things, biblically, should flow differently. The way I was viewing the order of the household was in a perverted way. That’s not how God planned it. The husband has duties, many more, duties to fulfill for his wife, than she does for him. The beauty of it is, if both spouses are walking with God and obeying His word and their individual spousal duties, then it should all flow seamlessly.

It was a rough, rough transition. I still struggle sometimes with submitting to him in some things, but I can’t deny the peace that has settled in my home as a result.

Men need respect, and I didn’t have much respect for anybody back then, much less my husband, who in my opinion at the time wasn’t doing his part. When he finally began doing his part, I still had issues slaying my flesh and submitting to him when I disagreed with him, or when he called me out on my crap. I was argumentative and had to have the last word. We had crazy fights. I was very volatile. It was chaos. Slowly, but surely as we started walking with Christ I began to settle down and work on my issues. God, calls us to respect our husbands, because they have a huge job. When they finally meet their maker, they are not only responsible for their own walk, but ours, and our children.

That fiery urge inside of me to refuse to submit to my husband is a consequence of the fall of man, which happened all the way back in Genesis. People, by nature are sinful and rebellious. This stems from Eve eating the apple and sin entering the world. The enemy came in and disrupted the flow of the universe created by God by tempting Eve. It had a lasting consequence that still reigns today in every home where the Spirit doesn’t live. It all originated in the fall of the first family. Satan comes to cause confusion, kill, steal, and destroy. What, better way to do that, then going after the order of each household? When the father and the mother aren’t living righteously, their children can fall prey to the enemy. They aren’t reared and raised in the word, they don’t know to obey the word, and that’s how whole families are destroyed. This is why bringing our homes in right order is so very important. It’s not just about our marriages and our salvation. It affects generations to come.

At first my husband and I had to have a complete spiritual overhauling as individuals and come to terms about our own walk with Christ and all the things that desperately needed to change. Then our marriage needed a complete spiritual overhauling. Now our parenting is in the process of being healed. That’s the beauty of bringing your house into Shalom..it all flows down. My husband, got well, then I did. Then our marriage did..now we are finally raising our kids according to biblical principles and we are beginning to see the fruit of it. We are in the process of being sanctified. We are walking out our salvation and it has not been an easy journey. There’s been a lot of tears, but this time for righteousness sake. We were deeply sick and had so much to learn, but when we began to put into the day to day work. Peace began to reign in our lives.

The day to day work is completely dependent on each spouse, but when we are in unity it’s supernatural. God can really began to move in big ways.

My husband conquered his pornography addiction… I was freed from my addiction, and not only that, but my label as an addict. The misery and suffering we were walking in has been totally healed. The day to work includes studying and obeying his word, slaying our own flesh, and living not for ourselves, but for the Kingdom.

When Shalom (Peace) reigns in a home, God has the ability to use it’s occupants to advance the Kingdom. When Shalom is not present in our hearts or home , it makes it near impossible for him to use us. In fact, if we as children of God go into a home that does not have Shalom, God calls us to leave it. The bible is very clear on this.

God can’t move in places where he’s not invited.

The great benefit of all of this work, and it is work, but when we live it out, it replaces our sorrow with joy. We literally come alive with hope and anticipation for what God is doing all around us. Our entire beings and life takes on new meaning.

We were living a miserable existence until we began this journey. Now, my heart and my life is so full, and I can trust and know God is absolutely in control and ALL things work together for the good of those that love Him.

It was not easy getting to this place in life, but we perserved and we definitely still are being pruned for His Glory.

My marriage is finally in unity, our spirits are in unity, but the work is not over. Now God is really moving in the way we parent our children. As a result of my husband’s and my own upbringing, as well as our laziness, and just plain ignorance, we weren’t raising our children to know God, or disciplining them according to what was right. We were selfish and neglectful with our attention at times. My husband’s relationship with my eldest daughter was in shambles. He wasn’t around much due to work, and when he was home, he was still absent emotionally. When his first child, got sick, he felt so disconnected with his other children, and felt guilty spending time with them, when he couldn’t bring himself to see his other daughter. Our daughter didn’t trust him, nor like him very much. Every interaction they had was negative due to him only paying attention to her when she was acting up.

I wasn’t any better, possibly even worse. I was using on and off the first two years of her life, but I was a constant so she clung to me. Back then I was so depressed and I looked at motherhood as something I had to do and resented my children for it. I was so utterly selfish. There was no joy in it for me. I resented my husband, and my daughter watched the way I treated him and came to regard him the same way. She didn’t obey him.

It all flows down, from God, to the husband, to the wife, to the children. Unfortunately, so does all the negative behaviors. Our children soak up everything like little sponges. I was an angry and demanding person. My daughter has picked up those attributes.

Now, we are in the process of correcting all of this since bringing our household into right order. My daughter and my husband’s relationship is completely different. She loves him, and she actually listens to him now before me. He loves spending time with our girls. He cherishes them and values them. All of this plays into the way they view themselves.

My days now are filled with wonder. Yes, motherhood can be daunting and exhausting, but it’s beautiful. I have joy and I’m at peace knowing I’m raising my children right. The most amazing thing is, now that we’ve corrected these behaviors in our own lives, we are giving our children a much better start in life. They are now three and nearly two. They are teachable still. I can’t help but shudder to think of much difficult it would have been had to we began this journey when they were older, but it is never, never to late. Nothing is impossible with God.

If as parents, we are failing to build our children up and raise them well, they will not have much of chance out there in the world as adults, but it goes so much deeper than that. If we are not watering their souls and loving them, disciplining them, how can we ever expect them to come to know and love the Lord?

How could they put their trust in a God they can’t see, if they can’t trust the authority they can see? If we are not training our children to obey us, with a desire to obey us, then how are we going to expect them to obey anybody else? Especially, their Creator?

This is why it is so important to bring everything into right order, because our position now affects our children, their children, and their children. My husband’s and my own addictions were passed down from our own Father’s. We were raised with the knowledge of God, but we didn’t understand and weren’t taught to obey and love him. We went through a world of pain to get where we are now. Thankfully, our children won’t have as huge as a road to pave as we did.

We definitely do not have it all together and we still have so much to learn and put into place, but I am so, so excited to see what the Lord is going to do in our lives. I am extremely grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy, because I need it every day. This way of life is so much better than the one we were living, it takes work, but we reap a harvest of joy at every turn, because we are being sharpened and refined.

For anyone that happens to read this and has any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email. I’m happy to answer anything! Thank you if you stuck with me for this long!

Failing to do the Good We Ought To Do

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There’s an old saying that goes, If we’re not growing we’re dying. Walking with the Spirit is intended to be a daily thing that must continue to go deeper. I’ve got a lot of experience with moving forward in my Christian walk and then growing complacent, then stalling out, and then I look around me and I’m suddenly immersed in old habits, clinging to dead things.

This path I’ve chosen to walk only goes one direction and there’s absolutely only one way to walk it out. I must continuously stay in the word and connect with the Spirit. I must follow His commands and obey his word. I can say all day how great my faith is, but if I’m not actually living out what The Word says to do, then what do I have? Nothing.

There’s a line in the big book of AA that says half-measures availed us nothing. This is true for the Christian way of life as well. If I’m only half-heartedly attempting to connect with God then I’m sure to be met with silence. Don’t get me wrong, God absolutely meets us where we are at. He is always present in our lives, but when I’m failing at staying true to my own commitment to Him I’m handicapping myself. He can hear me at all times, but when my head is filled with worldly things and I’m committing actions that aren’t righteous those thoughts are louder than His voice. I’m literally walking away from Him instead of toward him. The fault is my own. So when you’re sitting there wondering where He is, frustrated with your circumstances, don’t doubt Him, look at yourself.

Even in the worst experiences life can throw at us, we have no excuse to become stagnant. Read through the book of Job. In fact in the midst of the storm, we have many reasons to press forward and rely on the strength of God to see us through it. One of my favorite quotes is, when life becomes too hard to stand, kneel. We must trust that God is good no matter the season. Let him transform your pain into something beautiful. Your pain is a tool that can be harnessed to combat the enemy, not only in your own life, but somebody else’s. God will use what was meant to harm you to strengthen you, to help you, to raise you up and mold you into a warrior. He’s done it for me. Not that long ago I was a troubled and angry girl. I was doing awful and shady things. I had experienced tragic loss and endured what was to me great consequences. In my mind I was the furthest thing from a Christian woman, now I would shout about the mercy of God from the rooftops if I knew it would help someone. His love is life-changing.

I cried out to God in my anguish and he answered me. He met me in my pain and healed me, but only because to the best of my knowledge I obeyed his Word.

But!

When I fail to do so and don’t do the good I ought to do I can’t grow. I shut myself off from the sunlight of the Spirit. It’s a matter of time before old wounds start resurfacing.

The good I ought to do? What does that mean? It looks a little different for each person depending on where they are in their walk of life.

I can only speak for me, because this is the path I’m on. I’ve experienced these revelations through my own trial and error.

The good I ought to do for me is simple, but first:

For each and every one of us we are commanded to all obey the Word and live a righteous life. We are absolutely supposed to uphold the law written in the bible, but we are saved through grace, meaning we are accredited righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Meaning, yes, while I’ve sinned, Jesus’s sacrifice covers my sin, when God looks at me he sees me as righteous and holy. That does NOT mean the law does not matter. We are still called to uphold it, but without the power of the Spirit we absolutely cannot.

We must uphold the law, because we are still called to do good works, not to achieve salvation, because we are gifted it through faith, but because we have salvation.

If we are not committed to the the our good works, how can we say we have faith? Our faith is shown by our good works! Faith without works is dead. Faith is an action. Think of the story of Abraham.

The law was meant for good. The law was setup to save us from ourselves after sin entered the world. The law is just and perfect, because God is just and perfect. We are not, we once were. We were created in God’s very own image, but when we disobeyed him we fell from grace. The law was meant to bring us back into right standing, but because sin is in the world as we are in the world we failed it’s purpose. So God gave us an amazing gift. The Holy Spirit.

When Jesus died for us, we were then given the gift of the Spirit who resides in us. He sets us apart. He makes us holy and righteous, no longer a slave to sin. The power of sin in our lives is defeated, but ONLY if we live in a daily dependency upon our Creator.

Why wouldn’t we want too? Why wouldn’t you want to have an ever growing relationship with your creator?

When we fail to do so, sin sneaks back in. I say sneaks, because the enemy is crafty. He’s the ultimate trickster. He lies and deceives us and turns us away from the truth, but that can only happen if we don’t arm ourselves with the truth. How do we do that? Obey the word. If you don’t know it, how can you do it?

Sometimes we know the word, and then choose to not follow it and that’s how the enemy gets a foothold in our lives. Stealing, killing, and destroying everything he can, but only because we’ve left the door open for him to come in.

The good I ought to do is simple and not easy.

As a follower of Christ, I must obey the Word.

As a wife, I must submit and love my husband.

As a mother, I must raise my children up in righteousness.

As a daughter, I must respect my parents.

As a friend, I’m called to be loyal, honest, and giving.

As a citizen, I must obey the laws in my country, state, and town.

As a good neighbor, I must be helpful, loving, kind, and giving.

As an example to other believers, I must do all of those things and more.

Each of those areas are way more in depth than I’ve written, but to save time I’ve kept it simple.

When I fail to do any of these things I’ve listed I’m failing to do what I ought to do, meaning I’m a sitting duck for the enemy and I’ve absolutely allowed this to happen.

Then down the rabbit hole I go. Depression, anxiety, fear, control, anger, indulgence, and all kinds of different multitudes of sin have free reign in my life.

God provides a foolproof way to save us from ourselves and the answer lies within the pages of our bibles. You want to change your life? Read it. You want to be “right” with God? Obey it.

It is that simple. I speak of years of experience in the rabbit hole. I’ve found a way that truly works and that has saved and transformed my life. My way got me at the bottom of a bottle, staring into a pool, thinking it would be totally fine to just jump in and drown myself while my husband was looking on and my child sleeping peacefully inside.

I’m not sure where your way got you. It could be worse, or it could be better, but it’s nothing compared to living in true freedom with Christ. I can absolutely promise you that. So if you haven’t opened your bible today and intimately connected with Christ, you should do so.

I can only speak of these things, because I’ve lived out these experiences. All of this was absolutely learned the hard way♡♡ It doesn’t have to be learned in the way I had to learn it. I’ve lost friends, time, lengths of sobriety, and many opportunities as consequences for my stubbornness and foolish and selfish choices. Yes, obeying the word is a sacrifice. Yes, we must die to our flesh and it’s painful. Yes, for lack of a better word sometimes it just sucks to choose righteousness over flesh, but it’s nothing compared to the Joy that’s coming and the joy it can bring to your present life now. How free do you want to be? Then do the good you know you ought to do.

To The Mom Who Think She’s Crazy

I know you’re feeling overwhelmed and tired. I know that you feel anxious and over worked. I know you feel totally alone.

I know you love your children, you love your partner. I know that you wouldn’t trade them for the world.

I also know that on a particular rough day when the kids aren’t listening, especially if their teenagers or toddlers, when it’s little mess after little mess, and when you’ve been on the phone five times with the same company because of human error you feel like you might explode. I know when the dishes keep piling up, when the bills keep coming and no one understands how you feel, I know that you feel like you might break. Maybe it’s anger or that heavy, suffocating coat of depression. Maybe you dread waking up. Maybe, finally it’s that last little thing that could go wrong and it has, you just lose it.

This morning you found poop crusted into the carpet and you just kept swimming, but then your toddler destroys something insignificant and rage bubbles up inside of you. Your yelling and then after you calm down you hate yourself. Mom guilt strikes hard.

You start to wonder crazy things. Like, is this normal? Have I finally lost it? Am I going to scar my kid for life? Your thoughts are racing and you want to tell someone, reach out for help, but you can’t. You are so shocked at your own behavior, how can you explain this to someone else and they think it’s normal or not want to question your judgment as a mother?

I even know your darkest thoughts that you swear you’ll never tell anyone. I know the feelings that rise up inside of you that you shove back down. Your toddler or child is fighting against you at every turn. The baby won’t stop crying. You haven’t had a good night’s rest in ages. You stay up late devouring all the alone time you can and dread going to bed, knowing you have to do it all over again the next day.

Finally, your trying to get your toddler to take a nap and they won’t. They’re screaming at you. For a wild moment you want shove them down back into their bed and scream till your hoarse.

Instead you tell them firmly again, No, it is nap time. You hover outside their room and wonder am I losing it? Is this normal for me to feel such anger towards my child?

Can I be honest with you?

It is. It’s completely normal to blow your top at something stupid. It’s completely normal to overreact and lash out at your child with WORDS. Does it make it right? No. Does it make you a bad person? Also, No. It makes you normal. Every mother loses it sometimes. If she says she never does, she’s lying.

They’re books and studies on this very subject. There are memes poking fun on the hardship of moms and they are hilarious. There are forums with mom’s questioning their sanity looking for relatebale experiences. These resources are so numerous that it’s obvious that you are not alone.

I know this, because I do it, I’m doing it. Today my daughter got a hold of something of value to me and broke it, and honestly it wasn’t that big of a deal, but something inside of me snapped. Rage bubbled up inside of me and I’m yelling at my two year old, why, why would you do this? I’m so angry that in my anger I don’t see her face crumble with fear. Later, in the night my face crumbles as I realize all she wanted was to touch the pretty flower.

Moments like this, I wish never happened. When it’s done and over I feel helpless and disgusted with myself that I lost it on a toddler that really is just acting her age. I am wrecked with guilt so profound that I worry that I’m going to harm her if I don’t control myself. That I’m going to damage her in some way.

The crazy thing is I thought I was totally alone in my feelings. I thought that I was the worst mother in the world.

Until, I talked with some women I knew were good mothers. They all had moments like mine. They’ve questioned their abilities as a mother. They’ve felt the same heaviness of total defeat as a mother. They’ve lost it and thought dark and terrible things. They’ve felt totally alone.

I was so surprised, I really thought it was just me. I really thought that I was crazy and that I needed to go get evaluated. Then, I was pissed that this information wasn’t more readily available. Why was no one saying that yes, I totally sucked at the mom thing today. Yes, for a crazy moment I totally fantasized, shoving my beautiful and happy little 2 year old’s face into the carpet as she screamed and kicked me because I wouldn’t let her jump off the coffee table onto her sisters head. Yes, I snap and I yell. Yes, there are days that I fantasize about running away. Yes, sometimes being a mom is not fun and it actually is quite painful. Being a mom is the most selfless job on the planet. It is the hardest experience I’ve ever endured. I feel like a failure 94% of the time and then my kid kisses her sister on the cheek and gives her a cheerio, and I melt.

Then, I had a thought. What if the greatest trick of the Enemy is making us feel totally alone and that we can’t tell anyone any of these things, because they will think we are insane.

You know, the Enemy likes to make us feel like we have no one and nothing. That we won’t ever get better and that we are terrible parents, and yes because I’ve lost it on my kids that they’re going to grow up and become junkies. The Enemy is good at robbing your peace and making you paranoid. The Enemy is a master manipulator and wants to divide your home and ruin your relationship with each other and make you feel so far removed from God that you feel like nothing will ever get better. The Enemy is the creator of Mom Guilt. The more you play into his hands, the worse you are going to feel.

You are not alone. You are not crazy. Postpartum depression is a thing and I am totally for individuals to seek mental health professionals if advised, but how will you know if you are totally losing or if your just dealing with normal occurrences if you don’t reach out and talk to someone else?

If you feel like I wrote above all of the time and there is no sunlight, I would strongly encourage you to seek professional help, but can I tell you that every once a while dealing with these types of feelings is completely normal. Is it completely healthy? No, but no person that walks the planet is emotionally well all of the time. We all have seasons of stress and hardships.

The thing I’m learning that in these seasons of difficulty the best way to combat the enemy is by armouring yourself in the word. Praying to God and blasting worship music. Tell yourself, that you need a minute. Walk away and sink to your knees and pray for strength. Forget the dishes, put down the phone and spend time with your little ones. Take a bath, take a nap. Go easy on your kids, go easy on yourself. Show mercy and grace.

Most of all, read the word, talk to God, talk to your family, talk to your mom friends. Don’t isolate yourself from the spirit and other people. That’s what the enemy wants.

I want you to know that you are not crazy. You are not alone. You are not a terrible mother. This mom thing is tough and sometimes grueling, but tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning. When you trust God and stay in the word, breakthrough and revelation comes. You live out your life righteously and the light comes. I promise you that.

From another mom who thinks she was crazy.

P.S. I strongly recommend if your a mom and you struggle with any of this, to begin the Overwhelmed By My blessings series by Robin Meadows. It truly changed my life. You can find it here.

Also, if you are truly questioning yourself your ability to get through the day, please reach out and get help. Don’t be afraid. That is what the enemy wants.

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!

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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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.