Boundaries – the key to freedom

Boundaries/Margins/Limits are probably things I’m going to be writing about for a few weeks.   I’m so blown away by the things God is imparting into my heart on this topic…I’m also so thankful for these simple, yet life altering, revelations.

I’ve always been someone that doesn’t rest well…I’ve never been good at being idle.  I’ve been programmed to feel (through life wounds and experiences) that if I’m idle, the ‘other shoe’ might drop and cause catastrophe in my life.  I’ve felt that if I’m on top of things (controlling my environment and the things I can control) I will bounce back more easily when something I can’t control goes wrong.  Can anyone else relate to this?

Priscilla Shirer in “Breathe” commented that in a sociological study when group A kids were given a playground with no fence or borders, they stayed bunched up together and didn’t venture out.  When group B kids were given a playground with fences, they combed every piece of the area, explored and had a great time.  This is how we should view boundaries…boundaries give us the freedom to explore knowing we are safe within our limits.  We won’t be consumed and get off track.  This is such a huge revelation to me.  

I’m learning that I don’t have to do everything TODAY.  I’m trying to define limits for myself around work and even home chores.  I’m learning that no chaos will ensue if I leave a few things undone that can be done tomorrow or later in the week or whenever.  God is giving me peace through showing me how to set limits…otherwise, I have no limits and I exhaust myself…never stopping because there is always something to be done.  It brings me so much joy to realize that work can stop when I determine work can stop…it leaves me time to do the things that are in my heart to do – the things that bring me true joy and fulfillment (going about my Father’s business, spending time with Jesus, praying for others, being in the Word, filling my Spirit) and various other things that I never allow myself enough time to do because I have been so busy trying to do all of the un-fun stuff that I thought was necessary.

I find that I’m excited when I get home from work because I’m going to take time just for myself – to do the things that make my heart dance.  It’s amazing.  I’m realizing that the things I leave on the table undone will still be there tomorrow…I’m realizing that if Jesus could feed the multitudes on a few loaves of bread, He will also give me the freedom to walk within my limits and still get everything done in time.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this newfound freedom and the peace and joy that come with it.  If you are like me and have struggled in these areas (taking time for rest/setting boundaries), please buy this book by Priscilla.  God is changing my life through it.  This GIFT of boundaries is for all of us, and it truly is a gift.  The sabbath was a gift to teach us how to not be in bondage or enslaved to others or things of this world.  The Sabbath is a “loving, gracious gift that would break the chains that remained inside of them” (the Israelites and their mindsets of being enslaved as it was all they ever knew).  That gets me excited and is a gift I wholeheartedly am receiving.

Hallelujah Moments

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This is one of those posts that makes my heart weighted.  I’ve had it saved as a draft for several days because I knew I needed to have the emotional capacity to write it…not so much because it’s painful to write, but more so because this Hallelujah Moment I refer to is so pivotal – at least it was for me.  Maybe not everyone has one of these moments…maybe that’s something to be thankful for…each of our journeys is different because we are all unique with a unique purpose.  I love reflecting on this moment in my life – not the painful thing that caused it, but rather the raw and vulnerable moment with God that brought me to my knees at His feet in tears…my Mary of Bethany moment (John 12:3).

Have you ever experienced something in your life that makes you feel like your choices  altered the course of it and even altered your heart to the very core?  I’ve already blogged about that particular incident in my life (Buried But Never Forgotten), so I won’t rehash all of those details.  My hallelujah moment was many years later after much healing – after so many layers had been peeled back, and I was finally able to see the truth.  It was in that moment that I broke down into hysterical tears and wept and wept and wept…the beauty of it was that I wept at the feet of my Savior and my greatest Love while He stroked my hair.  I was finally able to look at Him and tell Him how sorry I was that I ran from Him because of shame instead of running to Him to make it right.  I felt like I had turned my back on not just myself and my values, but like I had forsaken Him and let Him down beyond repair.  It was a clear plot of Satan, as it usually is…he feels threatened so he tries his hardest to separate us from God…but those that love God with the deepest love can always find their way back to Him.  He is always there waiting with the most tender eyes and  loving arms – no anger just enormous love.

It was so freeing for me to tell Him how sorry I was for breaking His heart – it was so freeing for me to tell Him how heartbroken I was.  It was the most beautiful, healing moment.  I think the most healing thing of all was standing on the truth, cradled in His arms, reveling in His love…our hearts united at the deepest level knowing that they could never be pulled apart again.  Do you know how much our heavenly Father adores it when we go running to Him full speed ahead, unstoppable until we are in His arms?  He longs for that.  He longs for us to shower Him with our love.  Our love makes His eyes dance.  Our love makes His heart sing.  There is no moment that can possibly be more intimate.  This hallelujah moment puts you back on course – leaving that thing that took you off course at the foot of the cross while you take your Love’s hand and continue your resurrection journey.

There are several references to this hallelujah moment in the Bible – the two that stand out to me the most are Samson and David. It was the story of Samson that made me have this revelation…how he lost his power when he let Delilah shave his head(Judges 16:18).  My power was my heart and being able to love without abandon…I let someone take that from me, and it was indeed heartbreaking and had lots of consequences, but it didn’t make God love me any less – and in the end it made me love Him so much more.  My favorite hallelujah moment in the Bible was when David realized that he had sinned against the Lord with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).  I love David’s heart.  I’ve always loved his heart!  He loved God so much!  He was so quick, once he recognized the truth, to fall on his knees and weep before the Lord for betraying Him.

I pray that if you have something in your life that altered your heart, you will have your very own hallelujah moment – I pray you will find Him because He is waiting for you with more love than you could ever fathom.  I pray that this moment will set you back on course to experience life in your rightful place – you are His Beloved – Prince/Princess – Son/Daughter of a King.  You were created for a wonderful and significant purpose – it’s time to walk in that while your proud Daddy’s heart beats in tune with yours to the melody of His love!

 

 

 

 

 

When truth and love breed rejection…

I decided to write today because sometimes it is the only way for me to process things. I’m in an awkward in-between stage in my life.  Maybe it’s not really an in-between stage; maybe it’s a short, strange transitional season.  I have no idea where this journey of life is leading me – really, I have no idea where God is leading me.  I’m doing my best to wait on Him – to wait on His leading.  I keep feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and find myself in the familiar place of wanting to charge ahead into a space that I control – truly a space where I can hide and mesh into the fabric of being on everyone else’s back burner.  That place honestly sucks, but it’s where I have spent most of my life, so it’s comfortable to me – in a sucky kind of way.  The real truth is I hate that place, and I want something different.  In this moment I find myself manifesting the hurt of 35 years…this hurt has followed me my entire life – which really means this has been an on-going attack of Satan my entire life – one meant to cripple me – one meant to keep me from my purpose and destiny.  As much as I don’t like this particular place of vulnerability that I find myself in with Jesus, I hate the thought of letting Satan defeat me more.  I’m ready to step out and walk in my purpose, and I know this deep wound/scar tissue is holding me back.  I know that God wants to heal it…He has been pointing it out to me for weeks.  Every time I think I have moved past it, I realize that I haven’t.  Today everything caught up with me, and I find myself in a horrible funk.

I titled this blog when truth and love breed rejection.  I’ve always had a loving heart – I see the good in everyone, even when it is deeply buried.  It’s part of my calling (which took me a long time realize).  My point here is that I love with my whole heart.  I don’t hold back.  Yet I continuously find myself being horribly wounded by everyone that I hold dear and even those that are just a little dear.  Because I love using my whole heart, when people hurt me, it’s so hard to recover.  I’ve spent my whole life running from these wounds and accepting the lies of people’s actions as truth.  This started all the way back in elementary school in the 4th grade.  This grade was exceptionally impactful for me as it was my first year in school without my daddy.  He died at the end of 3rd grade.  I was already pretty lost because of his death – very unsure of what his death even meant for me – very unsure of who I was now.  I moved forward in the 4th grade making friends and giving my whole heart to these little girls that were now my friends.  As it turns out, maybe they really weren’t my friends.  Maybe they didn’t love me back – maybe they just pretended to love me back.  I stayed loyal to one of these friends all the way through 7th grade, and just continued to get hurt over and over and over again.  I don’t know why I didn’t just find new friends – I guess I just needed some sense of belonging.  The thing is that regardless of who my ‘best’ friend was over the years, they always ended up doing the same things…betraying me, saying mean things about me behind my back, chastising me about the way I dress, my hair cut, the way I dance, and all sorts of other things. This list of folks isn’t just limited to my best friends – I went through the same things with very close family members.  I went through the same things at several of my workplaces.  Throughout my life my love and honesty has bred so much rejection and deep, deep hurt.  Throughout my life I have been told by all of these people that I don’t have value; I don’t have worth; I’m not loved; I’m not special.  I felt I was allowed to stick around because I was willing to do whatever anyone needed me to do; but I never felt wanted, loved and adored or valuable.

I mentioned that I’m in a transitional season.  I resigned from my job in corporate America at the end of April.  The truth is that I pigeon-holed myself in a field that I honestly didn’t like.  Rather than doing what I knew in my heart was my passion, I chose something that I thought others would find more meaningful – I chose something that brought me no life in hopes of finding acceptance from others.  Guess what – it didn’t work so well.  My career of over 20+ years brought me more rejection and feelings of hopelessness because I felt like I wasted my life. I had true successes throughout my career, and I made a lot of money – none of that matters to me.   I know now that my life nor these years were a waste – God uses everything for good for those that are called according to His purpose.  After much prayer and waiting, I knew it was time to leave that long path of un-fulfillment in April.  I honestly feel like it’s time for me to move into my calling, my purpose, my passion.  I know that God is telling me that I have been created for a time such as this.  I know in my heart of hearts that God has the most spectacular journey laid out for me, and it is something that will bedazzle my heart.  I know it is something that in an instant will make me feel like those long years behind me barely existed…a thousand years is but a day.  I also know that in this transition there are places in my heart that are still so wounded, and those wounds need to be healed in order for me to truly experience everything God has for me moving forward.  I spent the first month after my resignation climbing the walls – staying home with nothing to do or no purpose was so foreign to me.  I’m in the second month now, and things are better – I have a bit of a rhythm going, and I have some things I’m working on that are truly my passion.  During this time God has been digging deep into my heart and showing me the dead parts.  He has already healed some of the things He has shown me during this transition period, but there are other things He has shown me that are still there causing death in my heart.  Mainly the things that remain are all of the things I have talked about here – how friends, family, etc rejected me and wounded me.  I’ve known the root for a few weeks – God showed me where these things originated…but my healing still hasn’t happened even though I tried to convince myself that it had.

God uses things we find bizarre sometimes to point us to our wounds.  I woke up today like any other normal Saturday – the whole day ahead of me with really nowhere to be or nothing pressing to do.  The first thing I did was look at my phone – there on social media was another one of these things…someone I had poured my heart into decided that people that were so mean to me were more acceptable and more valuable than I was.  Something else on social media caught my attention –  a former Voice finalist was shot and killed after one of her performances.  Seeing this put me in such a deep funk – it made me feel so wounded.  This is what I mean about God using bizarre things to point to our wounds.  My feelings about her death were irrational.  She was very talented, but beyond watching her season of the Voice, I really had not followed her career.  Yet all morning I have felt so much bitterness from this.  I realized that I identified with the characteristics her shooter projected onto her – clearly he thought she had no value or worth – so much so that he took her life.  I’m certainly not trying to say that anything I have been through compares to this – it clearly doesn’t.  What I am saying is that it makes me angry that someone else decided her fate – that someone decided to play God with her life.  She was a beautiful, young girl with so much passion and love for everyone.  She had her whole life ahead of her – a life to touch so many people…and in an instant it was gone – someone had snuffed it out.  That’s the part I identify with – I feel like I’ve had several people snuff me out…they didn’t literally kill me, but they have been killing my soul year after year.  I know now that this has been the master plan of the devil – trying to keep me hidden and isolated – making me feel invisible – making me feel rejected, unworthy, unloved and devalued.

As a result of my wounds,  I learned to just fade into the background.  I learned to stay on the sidelines loving people and working hard and never being seen or acknowledged.  That empty place is where my soul has resided for over 35 years.  Frankly, my soul needs a new home – a home that is filled with love and adoration – a home where I’m valued and of worth – a home where I am accepted fully and loved just because I am me – a home where others actually want me around because they truly enjoy being with me.  What God is showing me in this very moment is that regardless of the hurts, I have always been someone that people  have valued and loved and adored and wanted to be around.  Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy – and he has done a fantastic job up until now…I am just realizing that the lies we receive from people’s actions are truly lies – just because they make us feel a certain way doesn’t mean it is truly their heart for us.  It doesn’t mean they don’t love, accept and value us. Satan will use every opportunity to bury us or to snuff us out – and the best way to do that is by using everyone we love…we are all pawns in his nasty game.

The first step to freedom is always recognizing the lies we believed.  The truth always brings light to darkness.  The truth is:  You are a Princess/Prince – the Daughter/Son of a King,  You are wholly loved, You are wholly accepted, You are beautiful, You are adored, You bedazzle your Daddy, You have captured His heart, He delights in you, He created you for your very own unique purpose, He will never leave you or forsake you, He loves you as far as the East is from the West and then some, He is the lover of your soul and He carries your heart, He catches your tears and washes your heart with them, He dances with you, He carries you when you are faint or weary, He holds your hands every day and walks with you, He is your best friend, He is your greatest Love, He is your Truth, He is your Delight, He is your Honor, He is your Defender, He goes before you, He walks beside you, and He walks behind you.  He is the Vine, and you are His Branch.  His sweet and gentle spirit dance all around you making your heart sing and soar!  Bask in His truth today and always! Wrap yourself in His love – His love is yours!

As I close this post  I pray that you would be able to recognize God’s knock however it may come – whether through a song, a current event, a book, the Word, a movie or anything else in this world.  We are meant to have abundant life and joy.  We are meant to walk in freedom with purpose.  I pray that your heart would be open to His healing always!

 

Buried, but never forgotten…

I sit here scared to write this post…truly no idea what words will end up on this page when I’m finished…this one little piece of my heart is so hurt and so damaged.  I’d rather not dig out all of the gravel that I’ve used to fill up this hole because I know it is going to hurt like hell.  This hole has been in my heart for 26 years.  God has already started the process of digging out the gravel and bringing this nasty, ugly, hateful piece of my heart to the surface.  He has been exposing it.  This is not something I’ve wanted to revisit.  I haven’t wanted to feel this pain again…truthfully, I’ve been feeling the pain for 26 years and it has wreaked so much havoc on my life.  I’m beyond tired of being a victim to it.

I’ve often thought about my testimony and how in the world I would speak about it if asked because there is just so much to it…so many nuances.  I’ve had so many twists and turns in my life, and God has so beautifully taken me on a drive down that winding road called my life letting me visit those things that crushed my soul in the safety of His arms while He took charge of my heart – making it new – replacing wounds with flesh.  It’s strange how I sit here today realizing that this one particular ‘relationship’ has been at the root of so much pain in my life.  I always thought my father’s death when I was 8 shaped my life – I thought most of my scars were born at that time.  I’m sure a lot of scars were born on that sad day in April – in fact I know that they were, and honestly, maybe those scars set the stage for this one – the dreaded one of which I keep referring.

This person stripped me of my innocence.  He stripped me of hope.  He stripped me of worth.  He made me dirty.  He made me feel so ashamed.  I’ve been carrying all of this around for 26 years never even realizing the depths of this and the branches that grew from it.  I loved him – I honestly don’t know how that was ever possible – but I did.  It was an unhealthy love, and it was clearly never returned.  My heart sought after him for a good year, maybe it was even two years – so hard to remember now – he would pop in and out of my life as it served his needs…and I always welcomed him with open arms…and I was always deeply saddened when he went away again never knowing when or if he would be back.  Every time I saw his car or saw him, my heart would skip a beat.  I don’t understand how I got so sucked in…so charmed by him and his lies.

There was one night in particular that he had told me that he really needed to talk to me.  He came over and told me how much he missed me and that he wanted to be in a relationship again.  He was drunk, but he hadn’t been drunk earlier in the evening when he so desperately needed to talk to me.  I wanted to believe him.  I needed to believe him.  He kept trying to have sex with me, but I just couldn’t do it.  I was too exhausted by him.  My heart was weak and weary.  He was on top of me drunk and heavy – he kept persisting – kept telling me how much he wanted to make love to me.  I told him no over and over and over, but he never gave up.  He wore me down until I gave in – powerless – no fight left.  I didn’t open up to him longingly.  In my soul I knew I couldn’t trust him.  I wish I would have had the power to fight him off that night and rid him from my life, but I didn’t.  Honestly, I don’t remember when he left.  What I do remember is waking up and going to the bathroom the next morning and feeling sick.  Something was different.  I felt different.  I still loved him but it wasn’t with a hopeful heart.  It was with a heavy heart, a violated heart, a heart that had been torn in half, a heart that was so damaged that it is still in desperate need of repair this very second as I write this.

The string of events that happened over the next 2 months compounded the nastiness of that night.  The same day I found out he was engaged to someone else (and had been all along) is the day I found out I was carrying his child.  There I was – in the situation I swore would never happen to me…after all, I was better than that.  I was a good girl.  I felt crippled…I felt afflicted.  I just wanted the nightmare to be over.  I had no one to confide in – no one to talk to.  For the first and really, the only time in my life, I seriously contemplated suicide…not just contemplated it, but was in the moment when I was about a millimeter from moving forward with it.  The only thing that stopped me was the thought of breaking my mother’s heart – she had already been through too much in her life.  I also new this pregnancy would disappoint her – I was so ashamed of myself – so depressed – so distraught.  I decided to do the only thing I thought would fix it.  I ended my pregnancy.  I gave a fake name. I knew I was a bad girl and needed to be punished, so I wouldn’t let the doctor give me anything for pain…I laid there and felt every last bit of the pain from that procedure – physically and emotionally.  The procedure took my baby away – the procedure allowed me to keep my secret – but that procedure never took away my pain.  That pain is still very much alive today.  I’ve lived all these years with the shame of what I did.  I’ve lived all of these years with guilt – not just because my baby was gone but because I couldn’t claim her.  I’ve publicly claimed my babies that I miscarried after I was married – saying that they are waiting for me in heaven…but I’ve never been able to claim this baby because she was kept secret – buried and hidden.  I’ve been angry for a long time – angry at him because it was his fault that I couldn’t claim my baby.  I realize that I get very angry at anyone that slights me and makes me feel helpless and defenseless and invisible.

What I’ve been realizing over the past couple of weeks is that I still feel so ashamed and so dirty.  I imagine myself alone with God, and I can’t even look at Him right now.  I’m not worthy to look at Him or be with Him.  That’s not normal.  God has always been my safe place…the place where I’m always delighted in and beautiful and adored.  This revelation is what led me to the point of dredging all of this up – I know God wants to heal my heart.  I’m so thankful for that.

I’ve been keeping this piece of my heart hidden without realizing it.  I’ve given everything to God, but He has had to dig through so many layers of my heart and slowly bring me to this point…this point where I could finally handle this deep pain that altered everything about me (or so it felt).  God has been with me all along even through the years that I deemed myself unworthy to feel His presence.  He loved me all along – all of me –  my hurts, my wounds, my imperfections…He saw my heart not my sins. He saw my brokenness, and He caught my many tears and wept. He has been in the dark recesses of my heart – clearing a path for the light.  I’m finally understanding that these were my circumstances, and yes, they were awful.  No, I didn’t make the best choices…but these circumstances never defined me.  My identity has never been tied to what I did or didn’t do.  That is very freeing.

Psalm 23:  The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.  Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

He prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies…my enemies are shame, guilt, worthlessness, sadness, anxiety, death, fatigue, emptiness.  These enemies have haunted me since that dreadful time in my life, but it’s time to say goodbye to them…time to remove the shackles that I’ve been dragging around.  May I have the faith and love of Paul and Silas moving forward, and may I always grab ahold of my Love for my Savior in remembrance of all that He has brought me through…famine and feast…and know who I am.

Today I tell you that I am the daughter of a King.  I am the mom of three children:  Paxton Ann, Geneva Grace and Jack Charles.  My babies are the lucky ones – they are being raised with God and the angels and will never know anything except for Love.  One day I will be with them all, but for now and always, I will hold them in my heart and love them with all that I am.

The truth is what sets us free, and as scary as it is to hit publish on this post, I know it’s what I need to do.  It is my sincere prayer that other ladies with similar struggles will be led here and will find healing in these words…most importantly, I pray that they will find themselves in the arms of a Savior that loves and adores them, and that they will know no shame as they gaze into His loving eyes.