Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

Exhausted Temporarily

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I have a terrible habit of comparing my beginning to other’s years-long journeys.  The social media posts out there drip with humble brags and accomplishments.  In my early twenties, many of my peers had finished college and entered the workforce, I was right in the middle of enduring trauma.  My confidence and motivation were squashed by my circumstances.

As life progressed, I got married, and we had a child.  Also, I have been a stay at home mom for the last 12 years.  Even though I was productive in raising a child and running a household, I felt low because I did not make any money or feel I was in the right place in my life.  My past tormented me, and my self-worth was still low.

Yesterday, my friend sent me the above-referenced meme.  Even though she sent it to me to show how it encapsulated her life, I felt it represented my life as well.

Honestly, I am exhausted.  Years of anxiety and fear have drained my mind and body. But I have worked on restoring my nervous system and quelling the anxiety and fear through therapy and self-reflection.   I have learned I cannot expect to change overnight when I have endured years of turmoil.  Every so often, I see a reminder that success can happen later on in one’s life.

Do not let a bad day, week, or even year persuade you that your breakthrough will never come!

Lesson Learned: Your timeline does not need to reflect the successful person next to you.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me from the trauma I have endured in life.  Remind me of your plan and purpose for my life.  Expose the lies from the enemy and show me the resources that will help me become committed and prosperous.  Forgive me for not trusting in you, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

 

 

 

Uncover Your Faith

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Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Making Waves

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

Certain situations rile me up with anxiety. A visit to the dentist guarantees an anxiety attack. It would upset me that I couldn’t go to the dentist without an issue. The shame was real. I would ask myself, “why couldn’t I get past this?”

A typical visit would entail sweating through my clothes, crying, or blacking out. I remember the dentist shaking me as she yelled my name and telling me to breathe. I gasped for air and came back. It was embarrassing and scary.

I experienced trauma as a child and adult from trips to the dentist. One hygienist yelled at me when I was seven years old. She said, “I will sit on you if you don’t stop moving around.” She was a large woman, too. As an adult, one dentist told me to never come back to his practice because he couldn’t handle me. Those situations, combined with the money I spent and the pain I endured, made dental visits unbearable.

As I sought therapy for anxiety, I worked on settling my nervous system and giving myself a lot of grace when I knew I had to face a difficult situation. I have to go to the dentist every four months to get my teeth cleaned and checked. My dentist is near the beach and a beautiful Outlet Mall. I decided after a dental visit, to go to the beach and do some grounding work by stepping into the sand and water and watch the waves go back and forth for about 15 minutes. Then I would get lunch at the Outlet Mall and walk around and window shop. After a few times of doing this practice, I soon looked forward to a trip to the dentist.

Here are some pictures of going to the beach after my last dental visit.

I never took a gentle, loving approach in dealing with difficult situations. I took the advice of “suck it up, stop complaining and deal with it.” That approach hurt me instead of helping me.

My healing from anxiety has not been quick. It has been a long journey. As much as I wish God took the anxiety away, I needed to go through a process. There are three therapists who I have come to know that have helped me get through anxiety. I have also learned to eliminate a perfectionist attitude.

My road to recovery has looked like this. Seeking God first, establish boundaries, treat myself gently, learned ways to ground to keep my nervous system out of fight or flight, and know I am worthy and deserve peace.

If I can stop being anxious, you can too! Healing and restoration take determination and consistency, and it is worth it.

Lesson Learned: I am deserving of a life that has joy and peace. Victory over anxiety is worth the work.

Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I allow you to heal me in the areas of my life that need healing. Forgive me for holding onto things I cannot control. Reset and restore my nervous system. Remind me who I am in Christ. Whenever I face scary situations, show me that you are right there beside me. Thank you for the victory over anxiety! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

We Need to Stop Believing the Lies of the Enemy

I wrote the post below for #lionslightinternational

This is Colette, here. I run the social media for #lionslightinternational

Honestly, I feel like absolute crap. The issue is I allowed myself to believe the lies of the enemy. I believed I am worthless, un-lovable, and non-existent to others.

The enemy loves to distract us from remembering all the ways God has saved us and helped us in our life so far.

I cried out to God and asked…

Where are my friends?
Where is the love? Have I been forgotten by everyone?
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

Immediately, I heard God say, “I’m right here, right now, as always.”

I saw an image of Jesus embracing me. I Googled an image and this one, I posted feels just right.

Most of my life, I have felt like an outsider. I feel quirky and different from other people. Whether with my own friends, other couples, other moms, women at church…I still felt alone.

But, that is a lie from the pit of hell. We are never alone when we know God.

So this post is for anyone who needed to see this precious picture of Jesus holding a child. Jesus loves you and He will comfort you.

Stop believing those lies like you don’t matter. You do matter! This world needs you!

 

Not Sure How That Worked, But It Did

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

There is a fantastic skill which I possess (insert sarcasm).  When I plan, it is for every possible scenario. I can think of every disaster that could happen from a “1” to a “10”.  It is exhausting.

My lovely parents asked if we wanted their slightly new couch.   We have to come pick it up. We do not own a truck, and they live 150 miles roundtrip from us.  Since it was free, my husband said he would figure it out. Of course, he didn’t explain how he just said he would take care of it.  My parents and I, of course, annoyed him with all sorts of questions. I asked if we need to rent a moving truck and who would help him move the couch.  He just said, “Chillax lady, I will take care of it.”

That answer did not suffice.  I began to think of the couch falling out of our SUV and landing on a busy Southern California freeway.  My husband would hurt himself. Then, I remembered, I am married to this man for almost 16 years, never once was there a disaster.  He quietly calculates and plans and figures things out. He tries never to let anything beat him. So, I decided to be positive, even though I was quietly thinking about what could go wrong.  My parents vocally worried.

Up until my husband was driving away from my parents home, they were still calling me and freaking out.  I calmly said, “I trust him, he will be fine, and I will call you when he arrives home.” He arrived home with the couch still safely strapped in the car.  He carried the three sections in all by himself. We put the couch together, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  He said, “I told you it would be fine.” I called my parents and told them he made it here safely.

After a much-deserved rest, he was enjoying the new sofa.  He turned to me and said, “you and your parents had no faith in me.  I calculated the measurements and knew it would work.” At that moment, I realized this is how God does His will.  God hears us whining and complaining about things taking too long to come to pass.  The same thing happened when the Israelites when they were traveling to the promised land.  God knows every detail. He knows what we need. Things may look impossible, and we wonder how God will come through, and He always does. We need a bit of faith.  It may not be how we want it, but it is the right way.

Lesson Learned: Have faith and trust our Heavenly Father in all situations.

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for doubting your abilities.  Let my faith grow every time; I see your marvelous works. Remind me of all the times that you answered or protected me.  Let your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It’s Not About Me

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

 

Our relationship with Jesus is a personal one.  Jesus pursues us deeply.  He is always trying to meet us daily.  When we actually focus, we can see it and it fills all the emptiness in our lives.  However, when we hear from the Lord, it may not be a specific message for us, but for others.

 

There are times when I pursue God and hope to hear a specific word for my life.  I have been to conferences at different churches, where there are evangelists and pastors speaking and teaching.  There was one specific gathering where there was a pastor blessed with a prophetic and discerning gift.

 

In the past, I have been to two of  his gatherings.  At both of them, he called me up and spoke these amazing words over me.  So, in anticipation and expectation, I was hoping for it to happen again.

 

Before the sermon began, we had a time of worship.  One of my friends came over and stood next to me.  I felt the Lord gave me a vision for her.  I saw an old vase cracking and break a part.  Then, she came out of the vase, ever so beautiful (and she already is a beautiful woman).  The Holy Spirit continued to give me words of encouragement for her life.  I told her and hoped they would give her strength.

The service begun.  The pastor began to speak encouragement and prophesy over some of the people there at the service.  Lives were being changed as the Holy Spirit moved.  The service ended without him saying anything specific over me.  I was jealous, upset and angry.  Not something you hope to feel after witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

As the days continued, I felt more depressed.  I knew it was because I was still upset, there wasn’t a word for me.  There was a young woman, at this same meeting,  where the pastor spoke  over her life that matched exactly what I would have wanted to hear of my life.  But I knew I need to ask for forgiveness, because these depressed feelings were not of the Lord.

 

I began to pray and asked the Lord to forgive me and take any feelings of jealousy.  I heard the Lord say, “It doesn’t have to always be about you at these things.  There was a whole room of people who didn’t get a specific word from this pastor.  You were there for your friend, to give her that word of encouragement.”  

 

As much as you attend church or gatherings to hear specific words from the Lord, what you hear may be for someone else.  It means that God trusted to use you for advancing his Kingdom and to bring people comfort.  We shall never take that for granted but still remain in expectation for that good word.

 

Lesson Learned:  God is everywhere, we just need that heart of expectation and ears to hear it for whoever it may.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being jealous of others when they receive blessings from you.  Refine my heart and mind to align with your heart and mind.  If there is a good word for someone, give us the courage to share it.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

I’m Terrible at Perseverance

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12

 

The dictionary defines “perseverance” as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”  And I am terrible at it!  I have heard more about this subject in the last week, than in my lifetime.  God is telling me (and you all) to persevere!

 

It is difficult to fight or work towards something when most things in society are instant or takes minutes to receive.  How many times have I yelled at the microwave to “hurry up!” when only 30 seconds has elapsed?  Losing weight or exercising?  Ha!  Forget it, I want to lose 15 pounds in a week, instead of exercising and eating better for months.

 

While, I am learning how I need to embrace perseverance,  one of the pastors at my church had a sermon on this very subject.  He brought up several points as to why most of us cannot do it.  He gave the church a list as to why we “quit the race” (I have experienced and done these things to myself in any situation that seems difficult).

 

  • Fatigue and unbearable pain
  • A lack of support
  • Constant questioning from critics
  • Comparison of ourselves with others
  • A sense of personal inadequacy
  • A dryness in our soul

 

God reminded me of a time when I pursued something difficult and it was worth it.  In college, I took a class called, “Human Physiology”.  While I loved the subject matter, it is straight up difficult!  It was the hardest class I took my entire time in college.  But I had to do it.  If I gave up, my college career could suffer.  I studied more for that class in that semester.  The final was a killer too.  I ended up with a B+ in the class.  It was the hardest B+  I ever worked for in my life.  But the satisfaction I had for working hard for those 3.5 months was greater than taking the easy route and  just giving up.

 

Jesus is our greatest example.  Our pastor pointed out Hebrews 12:1-3.  We must keep our eyes set on Jesus.  We will stumble if we look at our circumstances or to ourselves.  Suffering is what brings us maturity in our Christian life.  So, don’t ever give up!  

 

Lesson Learned:  All good things take time to develop. Nothing good happens in a hurry. Pain is going to be there sometimes and it will end up strengthening us all the way.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, give me strength to endure hard times.  Show me how I have come through with your guidance.  Forgive me for the times of giving up so quickly.  Show me when to pursue things and when to be done.  Thank you Father.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Little Victories

“But thanks be to God!  He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:57

 

Live one day at a time.  Anxiety doesn’t let you live one day at a time.  It has me thinking of days, months and even years in the past or in the future.  In 12 step recovery programs the advice of taking “one day at a time” is given.  I have never been a part of a 12 step recovery program, but I have learned how much value there is in being present with each day and living today for today.

 

My life overall, has been less anxious than it was a year ago.  But then there are some days where anxiety camped out in my mind.  My friend started a small support group for those dealing with anxiety.  I look forward to it, but ironically I get anxiety going to group.  The anxiety is from being vulnerable in front of others and for not overcoming anxiety once and for all.

 

Last week we met and I was having the hardest time settling in after we started.  The leader put on some worship music and wanted us to breathe slowly and think about a place in our body that felt calm.  But I couldn’t.  I did not like the song.  And I felt guilty for not liking a song about Jesus.  The song had a fast rhythmic beat which made me antsy.  I could feel a surge of panic because I knew I had to be still for the next 5 minutes until this song would be over.  There seemed to be no place in my body that was calm and settled.

 

For some reason, I looked at the palm of my right hand and noticed a vein that would pulse.  I began to focus on that and felt my breath slow and relax.  The following thought crossed my mind as I observed the pulse.  Even though I felt out of control, my body’s physiology was still working.  With anxiety, I feel like a floating head, a zero connection with my body.  But this time, my mind and body connected and I relaxed.

 

We went around and shared our experience with the song.  I shared my pulse story and the leader congratulated me.  It didn’t feel like a big deal to me.  But she explained how that was a victory for me and I found something to go to any time I felt anxious.  I finally found something to quell the anxious feelings.

 

Afterward this leader encouraged me to be thankful for the little victories I have won over these past years.  She reminded me how much I have improved on relaxing and have less anxiety.  I thought of those that deal with addiction to alcohol and drugs (or other things) and how each day is a victory when they don’t succumb to their former vices.  Praise the Lord for those good days and continued strength for the daily battle to live in victory and freedom!

 

Lesson Learned:  Little victories won every day, will beat the lifelong battle.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for equipping me with what I need to win the battle everyday.  Thank you for the strength you have given me Father God.  Remind me what you have carried me through.  I thank you for the little victories you have blessed me with in conquering these issues.  Praise you and thank you Lord Jesus for the ultimate victory you won when you died for us.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”