2020 Vision

2019 was hard.

I really want to keep this post short and sweet. I’m doing an at-home chemical peel right now and I have around 7 minutes to get these thoughts out.

This last year had been an eye-opener. A very, very painful and necessary eye-opener. A year of growth.

I have been blessed with a job where I am truly appreciated for who I am. I have been granted forgiveness that I didn’t deserve, from someone that I care very much for. I’ve been shown an abundance of grace from Jesus (and people). I’ve sobbed uncontrollably. I’ve laughed until I cried.

I’ve learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be. But also I have learned about the parts of me that I hate. The dark places. I struggle daily still, but I give them to God. It’s a constant conversation in my head when I feel them: “No. Not today. We don’t act that way anymore. It’s 2020.”

I look forward to this new decade. I truly think it will be my best one yet.

Cheers to pruning!

P.S. I’ve decided to change my blog’s namesake. I’m open to suggestions!!

Supermom!

As I’m sitting here writing this, I am feeling not enough. In fact, that’s how this post was birthed. Not being enough. But what if I told you that we, as moms, don’t have to be enough, because through Jesus, we already are? So many of us are striving for a perfection that doesn’t exist. Now lets all take a deep breath and relax, knowing that we don’t have to be. I took these thoughts to Facebook, because I wanted to see how many of y’all were like me. I asked you what were your insecurities were as a mom. The most common thought that was shared was something along the lines of this:

“My life doesn’t look like the perfect moms I see on social media.” Ok, first of all, that’s fake. But that’s a whole different post. I’ll save that for another day! Second, who is perfect? Not her. Not me. Not you. We can be anything we want to be on social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s truth.

If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time now, you know that I like to overshare. Some think of it as a bad thing, but I see it as a gift. I know not everyone is comfortable being that open, so I want to say thank you to the ones that participated on Facebook. It takes guts to be so transparent and vulnerable. To the ones that messaged me, I hope this helps you on your journey. Exposure is so important…things being brought to the light so they can be dealt with. The enemy likes to isolate us (hello, Eve!) so we feel alone. When we feel alone, he can trick us into thinking we can’t share because people will judge/condemn us, so speaking out can feel scary (look what it did for Esther though) but you’re in a safe place here. When we hide in darkness, bad things can grow and take over. For example, mold. When left unaddressed, in a dark place, the spores multiply and eventually take over. Same for an infection. When left untreated, it will grow into something bigger and more toxic. When you treat these things early on, they don’t get that chance. Same with our insecurities and toxic thinking. When brought to the light, they can be shut down and destroyed. My weapon of choice? God’s word. I read it out loud so it filters through my ears and into my brain and takes root in my heart. I know that God’s word is truth, so my thoughts have to change. Even if it takes me reading it out loud over and over again until I believe it for myself.

I’m going to talk about a few insecurities I deal with as a mom. A lot of the time I feel like I have to be Supermom, but really, all I have to be is the Abiding mom. Abiding in Christ.

“I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”-John 15:1-4

“I can’t provide the life I want for them”

Yikes. As a single mom, I deal with this ALL the time. Sometimes, providing means the bare essentials. Like paying my water bill. Forget about taking a vacation! I get angry about it too. Or sad. Or discouraged. But the Bible is so encouraging…

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”-Psalm 34:10

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:19

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”-Matthew 6:25-27

“I’m not making a positive impact because _________________”

This one was left blank because you can insert whatever reason you want. Mine is that I don’t get enough time with my kids. They are gone for a week at a time. That might sound appealing to some, but I assure you, it’s not. Two different homes, equal amount of time. Two sets of rules. Two different parenting styles. Unequally yoked. It makes my job, as their mom and positive influence, twice as hard. My thoughts are usually something like this:

What are they being exposed to? How long were they in their rooms alone today? Lord, please be their filter while on YouTube. Are they getting outside play? Are they eating healthy?

Sheesh. It can get overwhelming IF I LET IT. That’s the key. Not allowing it to get to that point. So again, I turn to the scriptures.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”-Deuteronomy 6:6-7

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”Deuteronomy 11:18-19

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”-Proverbs 22:6

So, you see, it’s not about how much time, it’s about making the best of the time that you have. If you’re planting good seeds, they will become fruitful! My oldest is 14. She has lived primarily with her dad since 2015. The things I’m about to say next are NOT SHADE being thrown.  Looking back at the way things have happened over the last few years, it was an absolute blessing. He has done a great job being Bella’s biggest support system. But. They don’t go to church*.

*Going to church doesn’t make you a good person or get you into heaven.

They don’t foster a relationship with God. Had those seeds not been planted in her since the age of 3, things might look a little different for her. She watches messages from Louie Giglio and Steven Furtick. She also watches my home church, West Ridge Church, livestream on Sunday mornings. Without anyone telling her to. Talk about a proud mama!

These are all great resources, by the way, if you are looking for a home church or just to be fed spiritually!

“I am not enough”

This thought is so damaging. It doesn’t just apply to us as moms either. We use it when it comes to all of our relationships. Our jobs. We don’t feel like we are enough with Jesus either. We are constantly selling ourselves short. We don’t even try because we self-sabotage before we even start. But this isn’t what God says about us….

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”-1 Corinthians 3:16-17

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”-2 Corinthians 12:9-10

WOW!! I’m just gonna leave that right there for you to chew on for a minute.

I know, being a single mom, about feeling alone. We carry all the weight of our families on our shoulders. But that’s not a weight we were meant to carry. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the everyday, I forget that I have a husband I can depend on. Yes, I said it. A husband.

But you just said you were single.

Yes I said both.

“For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name-the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”-Isaiah 54:5

That gives me so much peace. Jesus is the ultimate husband. He will never leave me. Never forsake me. He will give me good things. He gives me hope and a future.

I want to leave you with one last thought. Once you have made up your mind to trust Jesus, stay planted in that. Don’t allow your thoughts to toss you back and forth, wondering if you can trust Him or not. Watch this message from Pastor Louie Giglio, from this past Sunday. He goes into more depth about it and it truly changed my thought process on so many things.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.-Isaiah 26:3

I hope this has encouraged you to at least not feel alone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, on any platform, if you need prayer. Before I write any of these messages, I pray over them. I ask God to be my voice and that it would help those that need it. So if you’re reading this, I’ve prayed for you. Thank you for taking the time to read it. If it has helped you, in any way, please feel free to share it, so it could possibly help and encourage someone else.

Remember. We don’t have to be Supermom. Just a mom that abides in Christ.

xoxo

 

This is a post about Garth Brooks

Ok, I lied. I’m sorry! It’s not totally about Garth Brooks. I will talk about him later though. But I’m glad I got your attention. Now that you’re here…

Let me drop a scripture on you real quick. It’s one that you’ve heard a lot, I’m sure. I realized, today, that it’s often used in the wrong context. Maybe this isn’t news to you, but it was to me! Since you’re here, you might as well read it. All 5 of you. Hi mom!

Sorry. Rambling. Ok here it is:

Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart– Psalm 37:4

I must confess, I have abused this scripture and twisted it to fit my lifestyle. I never took the time to look deeper into it; it was my (unsuccessful) way to get what I wanted. Of course I would misuse it. I believed in God…isn’t that enough? Imagine my shock when I learned I was wrong :::clutches chest:::

I was offended. God offended me. News flash. He doesn’t operate in anything less than truth and sometimes that truth is painful. But it’s also necessary for growth.

In order for me to get more from it than face-value, I did a little digging. Dictionary.com says Delight means “to please greatly” or “great pleasure”. But then I looked it up in the Strong’s Concordance, (which, by the way, is a GREAT study tool if you’re a word nerd like me). It’s translation of delight said “to be soft or pliable”, which led me to (stay with me…I’m excited) this:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26

That means that my heart would go from hardened and immovable, to soft. Pliable. Delightful.

Praise break. I need to stop for a moment and thank Him!!

Reading that was like a kick in the stomach. My relationship with God looked nothing like the definition said it should. I had to take an honest look at my life, my heart, my thoughts. A full evaluation of everything that I was allowing into my mind and heart, and everything that was coming out of my mouth. If I was truly and honestly taking “great pleasure” in my walk with Jesus, why wasn’t I getting the desires of my heart? Glad you asked!!

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9

How can I trust my own desires, and trust that God will give them to me, when I’m a threat to myself? Do you see where going here? I can’t possible know what is good for me if I’m walking only in my flesh. My flesh is selfish and self-seeking. A heart of stone. Not pliable. Not open to hear what God wants to do.

Let me say this rally quickly. I’m not ripping on myself (this time, anyway). This was a beautiful realization that set me free and I hope that it will help you too.

I decided to stop praying selfishly and start seeking God FOR REAL this time. You know what I mean! The closer I got to Him, the closer he was to me:

“Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you….” James 4:8 TPT

The closer He was to me, the more the desires of my heart changed. I started to see things through His eyes. My #JesusFilter, that I’m now calling it. I had been seeking the desires of my flesh. I want to clarify that fleshly desires don’t always equal sex…it can be anything that doesn’t line up with God’s word or His character.

To touch on Ezekiel 36:26 again, He says He will give us a new heart. A heart transformed. One that delights in the Lord. A heart of flesh. A soft and pliable heart. A heart that He, as the potter (Isaiah 64:8), can sculpt and change. One that seeks His will for my life and not my own selfish desires. The funny thing is, now, the things I used to want, no longer appeal to me because He’s lining my heart up with His.

Let me encourage you today to put on your #JesusFilter and take a good look into your own heart. Where do you stand? Can you be honest with yourself? If you think you don’t have any issues, you probably have a hardened heart toward the things of God. Ask Him to show you if you don’t know. The fruit that will come from the pruning will he worth every hard moment. My heart was hardened. Stone. I was miserable on the inside and it showed outwardly. Don’t walk around in darkness anymore. You don’t have to. Delight in the Lord and watch your desires change. Ooooh and the peace that comes with it? That’s the best part!!

To quote the great Garth Brooks…

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers”

Ain’t that the truth though!!

xoxo

An Open Letter

“It seemed like all I ever wanted was to prove I was better than the way you treated me. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that the tables would turn and life would prove you were wrong about me or, at least, I was right to believe in you. I invested so much of my essence into imagining what actions those feelings would produce if they lived in your chest. Could you finally give me the opportunity I had been praying for? So much time wasted on you that I never took the time to examine my heart. The truth is you hurt me. You hurt me more than I wanted to admit. I played tough and wanted to pretend like your words and actions didn’t brand my tough exterior with rejection and bitterness, but the poison seeped in. Now all I can wonder is who I would have been had I never let my expectations distort the reality of who you’ve always been. I see your true colors shining through now and I’ve made the difficult decision to not let them blind me any longer. No, not this time. I will take those colors in with all of their crazy, beautiful, ugly tones because I know the only way forward is to release you so that I can unleash me.”

-Sarah Jakes Roberts

Don’t Settle for Safe

Forgiveness??

If you were to make a list of the people in your life that you needed to forgive, could you be honest? Would your list have two names? 20? None? How many of those people are family members?

The family dynamics in Colossians 3:18-21 is God’s perfect plan. You can call me old-fashioned, sexist, barefoot and pregnant…I don’t care. It’s what I believe. Our family is supposed to be our first line of defense. Our parents to protect us. Our siblings to build and learn about friendships with, along with conflict resolution (even if that involves these hands! Right Lyss? You were so mean!). But instead we have strife. Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). And no, I’m not referring to the SEC…at least not today haha!! Go Dawgs!

If there is division, it can destroy the family structure, causing us to “wander” solo. No one by our side to hold us accountable…yes we have friends, but we can talk about that later….that’s how Eve was able to be tempted. She was alone. When a sheep wanders away from the herd and it’s shepherd, it’s more vulnerable to its predators.

The funny thing about this blog post is that I don’t have an answer or resolve to what I just talked about. Which brings me to my next topic.

Today was my first counseling session at Elevate. I had one major issue in my life that was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. That’s what caused me to make an appointment in the first place. I wanted some healthy coping mechanisms for when I felt anxious. God had bigger plans, y’all. I wasn’t ready!! My first session and I’ve already learned that I’m dealing with un-forgiveness. I didn’t even know!!! It was so profound that I’ve decided I’m going to make this journey public. I’m going to blog after each one of my sessions. I will share my revelations, my heartaches, my joy and my victories. My darkest places. I really hope that my transparency will help you to see that you’re not alone. No, I won’t be sharing names if anyone, in case you were wondering! This is for my exposure, no anyone else’s.

I thought I knew how to forgive someone, but today I found out that I don’t. I’m excited to learn and share as I go. My hope is that it will inspire you to seek it out for you and your family too.

xoxo

Dry January?

Alright y’all. I didn’t know that “Dry January” was a thing until a few days ago. I had unknowingly participated. Let me tell you about it…..

Today marks a month of no alcohol for me. My decision to stop drinking didn’t stem (wine…you see what I did there) from a “problem” per se. At least I didn’t think so at first. Just like everyone else, my personality would change when I would drink. But I was in denial. I didn’t want to hear that I was aggressive and inflammatory. Those aren’t exactly personality traits anyone would want to posses. Well, maybe some of y’all but no judgement!

When I would drink, I would wake up the next day with a tremendous feeling of guilt. It was like my soul was wired to reject alcohol. Even if I didn’t do anything worthy of that feeling, it happened nonetheless. This next statement might sound contradictory, but a lot of times I would forget things I said. I was a binge-drinker. I couldn’t enjoy just a drink or two. It was always shot after shot, usually Fireball or Jameson, followed by PBR or Miller Lite. No apologies. I’m a redneck deep down!

Drinking would always cause my emotions to go to the extreme. If I was happy, I was giddy. If I was sad, I was sobbing. If I was angry, I was aggressive. Insecure? Yes, you guessed it. It was terrible. I was terrible. So I decided to do some soul-searching. It was time to lay my relationship with alcohol to rest.

I’m happy to report, that it’s only been a positive outcome from it. No more feelings of guilt. I’ve saved money. Lost weight. My skin is clear and glowing. I’m just happier in general. However, one thing I wasn’t prepared for was having to face my emotions dead-on, without a crutch or something to mask them. That has been the hardest part. January has been one of the most challenging months of my life, mentally. Doing a competition prep, fresh off a breakup, school…it has been overwhelming at times. But now I’m in control of me. I’ve had to do a lot of deep breathing and most of the time it doesn’t work but I’m trying! Growth in 2019. That’s my goal. Like Cher said in Clueless “I needed a makeover…but this time I would makeover my soul.”

Am I saying I won’t ever have a beer again? No. Let’s be real. Braves. Beer. Some things just belong together. But now, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Being the drunken messy girl is not something I ever want to be again.

And to the person that forced me to see this reality, thank you. Hard truth isn’t something I’ve always been good at accepting, but thank you for loving me enough to hurt my feelings.

XOXO

Trust the Process

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve seen this phrase in the most random places. Trust the Process. Let me explain.

This Sunday marked my first full week on competition prep. It was harder than I thought it would be. The workout part is no big deal. That’s the easiest part of the whole thing. The eating though…that’s where you find out what you’re really made of. It takes a tremendous amount of self-control. Especially when you eat the same thing. Every single day. It becomes a task instead of something you enjoy. But it’s been worth it! I’m starting to see my abs. My pants are getting loose in the waist. My confidence is growing.

Some of you know that I’ve been flirting with the idea of doing a competition for a couple years now. My excuses would always stop me. What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What will people think of me parading around in a bikini? Am I being a good example for my kids? Am I too old? All of these things on replay in my head until they became too loud to ignore and I quit before I even started. I truly am my own worst enemy. BUT. Something changed after my birthday. When I first started working out, they were fueled by pain. My heart hurt so much that the only thing that took the pain away were the weights. Now that pain has subsided for the most part. Don’t get me wrong. Some days are better than others, but at least I don’t cry anymore! My workouts are fueled by this intrinsic drive that I can’t explain. Each day I wake up and strive to be better than the day before. Competing against myself, as cliche as that sounds.

I’ve always read that bodybuilding is a selfish sport, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. That’s why I don’t normally like to workout with anyone. You just get in the way. That sounds harsh, but I’m sure most people with the same goals would agree. That being said, if we’ve ever worked out together before or I’ve invited you, know that was a big step for me! I’ve realized that sometimes, it’s better together. There’s something about having someone to hold you accountable. A community. That’s why I overshare on Instagram. I want you to know my struggles and my victories. My highs and my lows. I hired a prep coach, and now I’m a part of a team. People to cheer for me on the days I struggle the most (Mondays) and celebrate with me when I hit a new PR. I highly recommend you get out of your comfort zone step out. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. I was tired of of acting insane. I got stuck doing what was comfortable. Now I feel stronger than I ever have before. Not just physically, but mentally. I’ve removed toxic people from my life. That “block” button does wonders! 😉 I’ve stopped worrying so much about what people think of me. I’m (still trying) to stop letting the negative words, of people that were dear to me, have said. Turn your pain into power. Let it transform you.

Transformation Tuesday isn’t just about the physical. What others say about you doesn’t make it a reality. Surround yourself with people that will help you create a new path for you instead of reminding you of all your past mistakes. We don’t live in the past anymore!

One last thing. My kids are my biggest cheerleaders. They see my discipline and dedication and me taking care of myself. They love to show me how many squats and push-ups they can do. I would say it’s turned out to be a pretty good influence.

xoxo

A Case of the Monday’s

Y’all know how I live to over-share. Today is no different than any other day. Excerpt it’s totally different. But not for me. Today was a typical Monday for me. Got to work, excited to start my day. Around 11:00, fall into a hole of self-deprecation. 11:15, feel sad. 11:30, beat myself up a little more. You know, the usual. Oh and by the way, I left my laptop at work so I’m typing this whole thing from my phone. Winning!

You’re probably wondering what in the heck my point is. Y’all know I like to keep you guessing!

It’s about my mom.

This Thanksgiving day, was the first time I have seen her in over a year. If you don’t know the story behind us, I’ll share some of it with you. And YES I ASKED HER FOR PERMISSION. I’m not yelling at you. I’m just making sure you’re paying attention.

My mom is an addict. I never realized it growing up. It was just the life I had become accustomed to. Drugs were never a big deal because they were always around. She would try to “protect” me by lying about it or trying to hide it from me, in true addict-behavior. But I always knew. Even when I wasn’t sure, I didn’t trust her enough to believe her when she said she was sober. Her drug of choice? Anything. I’ve seen her on cocaine. Crack. Pills. Alcohol. LSD. Ecstasy. All of it.

Stop. Don’t start making judgements. We all handle trauma in different ways. And she’s been through a lot. This post isn’t to paint her as the bad guy. It’s to give you insight. And hope.

I had given up hope. I waved my white flag and decided my life would be better without her. I held onto anger, bitterness and resentment towards her for as long as I can remember. When people would speak fondly of their mothers, I would turn up my nose in disgust. I wasn’t familiar with the feelings that came along with having a close relationship with your mom. I was also totally ok with that. Until recently.

My grandfather committed suicide this year. I was blindsided. We were never super close. He was always emotionally unavailable. But he was physically present. When my sister told me this news, my first instinct should have been to call my mom. But instead, I allowed my hurt and confusion to build up and eventually implode. Along with some exploding.

I promise I’m sane.

When he passed, it triggered something on the inside of me. Very slowly, mind you, but it happened. My heart started to feel compassion for my mom again, however, I fought it for a little while. My trust in her was so far removed and all it left behind was emptiness. Something I had gotten so comfortable with feeling that I didn’t even realize it was there until a few weeks ago.

Lori (that’s her name) had moved away this time last year, to a rehabilitation and sober living facility. Not before staying in a homeless shelter and in the hospital for week because she tried to take her own life. You see, she smoked flakka (I had to look it up too). That was what triggered this spiral. But also what saved her life.

Today, I’m so happy and proud to share with you that she’s been clean and sober for a year now. 365 of facing her demons head-on. I can’t think of a day, since I was 15, that she’s been sober an entire day. Let alone a year.

Mom. You are loved. You are strong. Funny. Brave. I’m so proud of you. There are a lot of things about me that I get from you. Some I love. Some I hate. Thank you for giving me strength. Thank you for showing me how painful and ugly life can be. I’m cheering for you every single day. Happy One Year of Sobriety. I love you.

I Couldn’t Think of a Clever Title

I want to give a quick backstory before I get into the meat of this post. In case you didn’t know, in July of 2015, I was pregnant with my son, Elisha. A week before I delivered him, my then-husband was arrested and didn’t come home for 2 years, leaving me to raise our family on my own. I’m not sharing this for sympathy, to play the victim or whatever other negative perception you might be having. I’m only sharing it so I can brag of God’s grace, mercy and goodness in my life.

Fast forward to now. God has shown me so much favor in a short amount of time. The past 3 months, especially. More than I’ve ever had before in my life. When my ex-husband was arrested, I was active in the church. Doing everything I thought I should be doing. But I wasn’t genuinely full of joy. I have lost everything and feel like I have more now than I ever did before. I’m in the process of getting it all back, but not material things. The important things. So why do I have more joy now, with less, than I had when I thought I had everything?

Heartbreak.

It took me losing everything, walking away from God and then being hit so hard in the face with reality that God pulled me back in. Swiftly.

I’ve had my heart broken many times. Very recently, actually. By people. Situations. Circumstances. By my own expectations being too high. I’ve also been the cause of my own heartbreak. I became very bitter and antisocial. I would say whatever it was that I felt with no regard for anyone’s feelings. But that’s not who I am. The truth is, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I allow people to hurt me for a lot longer than I should. I’m also very sensitive. If you knew me during my bartender days, this may come as a shock to you!

God has been showing me things about myself that I don’t like. Change is hard. Growth hurts. I’ve cried more times in the past 3 months than I have in a year. It’s overwhelming to carry all the weight of your family alone. But God has not failed me once. His grace and mercy have sustained me and I feel more grateful now than ever. That’s where the joy comes in. I feel the peace that passes all understanding. Is everything perfect? No. Not even close. Do I struggle with loneliness, anxiety and sadness? Yes. Some days are better than others.

It took everything falling apart in order for it to be put back together, the way God intended it to be. I’m still growing. Still working on changing. Still being put back together, one piece at a time.

My prayer for you is this. That you are grateful, wherever you are in life, so you too can experience the peace that comes with being content. I know trusting Him fully can be scary. But give him the pieces you’re holding onto. He can re-purpose them and sculpt the ashes into His perfect will.

xoxo

A Letter

I’v been reading this book today, Don’t Settle for Safe by Sarah Jakes Roberts. Very rarely have I read a book that impacted my life in such a short amount of time. I will go into more details another time, but I wanted to quote one of the last pages.

Side note, I’ve cried multiple times during the course of reading it. God used it and will continue to use it to propel me to what’s next. At first, I was resistant. Growing hurts. Pruning is painful. You have to look at yourself, for who you really are, and face the things you’ve been ignoring and forgive yourself. Ok. Enough with that. This is taken from page 153-154 of her book titled Don’t Settle for Safe….

             You can no longer afford to trust the treasure that is your heart to anyone who says you’re beautiful. Anyone can admire a diamond, but few recognize the quality and care required to keep it beautiful. For too long your insecurities made you so desperate for attention that you handed over your golden heart to people who’ve only handled glitter. This is not their fault; it’s yours. You ignored the signs, hoping they would wake up one day and see your worth. The truth is it’s time for you to wake up. You can no longer go through life unconsciously hurting yourself and asking someone else to heal you. The power for you to overcome is already inside of you. The longer you stay, the more you deny the strength you have to move on. You’re better than the you’ve subscribed to. There is still beauty inside of you. There’s nothing you’ve lost in this process that can’t be restored, but you must determine how you will spend your grace. Don’t give your patience away to people that will abuse it. Don’t give your courage away to people who don’t understand it. Surround yourself with people who can reciprocate what you pour. Let their validation be an overflow that allows you to touch the lives of other broken people. This is bigger than you. This is about redefining love and esteem in a culture determined to make us feel less than. You are the hero you’ve been looking for. So put on your cape, get off your knees, and stop begging for someone to love you. Love yourself. Seek God and all other things will be added to you. 

I really can’t think of an appropriate response to that. It feels like I should mic-drop and walk away. But I can’t. I know you are hurting. I know you feel lost. I know you listened to the bad things people have said about you and allowed it to take root in your heart. Maybe you’re starting to believe those things. But i’m here to tell you. You are not your past. You are not defined by the things you have done. You have the power to change your trajectory. I know because, while failing over and over again, I’m still here. God still reminds me daily of the things I’m called to do. Don’t let your past weigh you down. Also, don’t repeat the negative things you are or have been ashamed of. I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you. I’ll be the first to tell you my flaws. But I have some locked away in my heart that I’ve recently started dealing with, so healing can take place, and I can be a vessel of love.

Buy this book. It will change your life. But don’t ready it until you’re ready to face some things that will be painful. It’s time to be real with ourselves.

XOXO

Jess