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

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

The Weekends are Always the Hardest

I have so much I want to say today I’m going to try and share this with you in the best way I know how, which is real, raw and painful.

The holidays are my thing. I love having a house full of people. I’m constantly baking, Christmas music is always playing. It’s a magical time. It’s a reminder of why we’re all here. Jesus. But lately, I’ve been dreading it. All of it. I don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving. I don’t want to put my Christmas tree up. I hear Christmas music and I cringe. I’ve dealt with these type of feelings when I was a teenager/young adult because I always felt alone. My birthday is on Christmas, and (most) everyone forgets. Wah, wah, right? I know. There are bigger problems in the world. This year is different though. My husband won’t be here for Thanksgiving. He won’t be here for Christmas. He won’t here for Bella’s birthday, my birthday, Elisha’s first Christmas or Paisley’s birthday. Like I’ve said before, I know military mom’s do this all the time. And again, I applaud you for your strength. I look to you for inspiration.

I mentioned in one of my last bog posts the story of Mary Magdalene and how important this story is to me. I’ve always felt a connection to her. Her love was lavish, uncontrollable and it made people uncomfortable. She was an outcast, or as I like to call her, a wierdo. Just like me. She acted ridiculous in front of Jesus and His disciples. She didn’t care at all. Because this is the same Mary that was caught in the act of sex, with someone that wasn’t her husband. The Pharisees dragged her out into the street. I’m certain she felt shame. She was naked and vulnerable and humiliated. I imagine she felt like the lowest person on earth; like she was of no value.

I want to backtrack a little bit on myself. I grew up from the age of 15 without a dad. I didn’t know what it was like to feel the love of a father. So much like Mary, there were times (and still are) that I feel shame. Guilt. Humiliation. Vulnerable. My heart was hardened.

But just like Mary, my first encounter with Jesus, my REAL encounter with Jesus, set me free. He came down to my level. He lifted my chin and looked me in my eyes and told me I was valuable to Him. Ever since then, it’s been a battle in my mind to remind myself that He sees me as cherished and valued.

Mary had a special relationship with Jesus. Her act of love was instigated by her, not the opposite. She had fallen at His feet when He drew the line in the sand. She had fallen at His feet during her display of extravagant worship. She experienced His love, protection and deliverance. He cast  7 demons out of her!

Lazarus was sick. So sick that he died. Jesus took 4 days to get to Lazarus. Martha ran to meet Him, but Mary stayed behind. Remember, Mary loved Jesus on a level that some of us may not ever understand (although I hope to). I believe she was feeling rejected and forgotten. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When Jesus finally arrived, He comforted Martha but He knew the love that Mary had for Him. He called Mary by name. She didn’t run to the grave to mourn. She ran to the place of her Savior’s feet that had been a source of comfort for her. The same place where she met Him the first time during her moment of humiliation and shame, the same place where she poured out her love on Him.  He stands her up to look into her eyes. She says to Him “Where have you been? You’re late.” I see this as a moment where she was mad at Him for not being there. She couldn’t hide her feelings towards Him. But being the Jesus that we serve, He looks at her with tears in His eyes (Jesus wept) and said “I’m not late. Take me to see my friend Lazarus.” In other words, TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN. He tells them to roll the stone away and He commands the grave wrappings to loosen and free him. This is significant because Jesus wants to come to Him raw. NO matter how angry we are with Him. He’s saying TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN and let Me fix it. When we are real with Him, even though He already knows, the bondage that has us bound can fall off at His command and set us free. What the devil meant for harm, Jesus turned it around and made it into something good.

So next time you’re (me) weeping uncontrollably on the bathroom floor, so badly that you’re blinded, cry out to Jesus. Take Him to the source of your pain.

I don’t have all the answers. All these words sound great. But it doesn’t bring my husband home. It doesn’t bring my family back together. But it reminds me that Jesus is FOR ME. HE IS FOR YOU. Not against me. Not against you. He has plans to give us a hope and a future. John 13:7 says “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you understand.” If you’re impatient like me, which I’m sure you’re not, this is so hard for me to grasp. It doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me hurt worse. I know it’s supposed to do the opposite. I’m just being honest with you because I know there is someone out there that is battling something and you feel like God has abandoned you. He hasn’t. Even though it feels like it, He hasn’t. Keep your hope and keep your faith Even if all you can muster up is the faith the size of a mustard seed. He said that’s all we need. My precious Bella told me the difference in hope and faith is that hope is something you think or want to happen but faith is something you know will happen. Out of the mouth of babes!

DSC_0017

Luke 7:47-“Therefore I tell you, her sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little”

Be Blessed,

Jess the Haute Mess