Happy Mother’s Day: An Ode to a Step Mom Who Stepped Up.

canva-photo-editorI’d like to say that I fell in love with you right away because I was over joyed that you made my father so happy.  Yet, I was 17 and full of myself and only thought about how this new relationship would effect me, so that first day I met you my only thought was, “Great, now I have to share my Dad.”   I was not very welcoming.  You stayed and loved me anyway.

You navigated the pains caused by your husband’s previous divorce and the effects that hard times had on his children.  My anger, my pain, and my blaming everyone else for how terrible I felt often times fell on you.  You were a target of my misery and immaturity more often than not.  You stayed and loved me anyway.

When I made choices that were highly questionable you tried reasoning with me, but of course when I didn’t listen you still took me into your home, nurtured my daughter, loved me through my own consequences, and did everything you could to enable me to eventually find success.  You were going through your own major health struggle while helping me to put my life together and never once did I ask if you were okay.  You stayed and loved me anyway.

12246935_10208175426529083_1384143604972145985_nWhile you waited for me to grow up you always openly shared your thoughts and opinions, your hopes and dreams for me, and while I may not have heeded all of it right then, your voice has a place in my heart today.  It is a kind, wise voice.  As it speaks to me I recall every birthday, every holiday, and every life event that you were present for, that you made so special, and every sacrifice you made in your own life, for my sake.  There has been very little giving from me, I have taken much.  You stayed and loved me anyway.

I’ve never found a way to say how deeply you have impacted my life.  I remember that first day when I was so upset about having to share my father.  All these twenty something years later I think, “Thank God he shared her with me.”  You stayed, no matter how hard I pushed you away.  And you loved me despite how difficult I made it to do so.

11149311_10153200379202177_5074328793623752731_nI’ve never found the perfect words to tell you … thank you for being my mom and now, I’m grateful we can be friends too.

Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who probably should’ve ran for cover a long time ago, but instead built a home and a life for a family who desperately needed her.

I love you.

 

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Brave Crates: Give the Gift of Strength

bravecratesKnee deep into my husbands fourth deployment overseas I am told often by others, “I don’t know how you do it, you’re so strong.”

Fun fact:  I’m not strong all the time.  Truth is, if it weren’t for the small village I surround myself with I’d be falling apart on a daily basis.  It’s only like a once a month basis now.

The state side of deployment is filled with worry, fear, anxiety, and loneliness.  Constantly well aware of his safety and my sanity I completely and totally rely on networks of others such as the Military Mama Network, my best friends, and phone calls with family members at least two to three times a day.  It absolutely takes an army of supporters to endure deployment at home.

Then I saw an ad come across my screen for “Brave Crates,” a single woman named Becky with a heart of gold who knew exactly what I needed.  The reminder that deployment has purpose, it can be what I make it, and that it’s not always about being “strong” but about being intentional.

Many others often ask, “How can I help you as you go through this?”  Honestly, a lot of the time I don’t know how to answer that.  NOW I DO!

If you know of a spouse who is going through deployment, there is a gift option for you to send her a one time Brave Crate, three months worth, or even six months!  Give her the blessing of survival tools, inspiration, goal setting, and motivation to keep her moving forward with purpose and intent.  These crates offer tips and ideas and games for her to play with her spouse through video chat or phone calls even!  YES!

Please, even if you don’t know a spouse personally I ask that you share this message on your page so that someone somewhere out there who is probably feeling as lonely and isolated as me sometimes sees that there is a huge support out there for her that she can tap into.

Brave Crates … The Monthly Box of Motivation!   

 

Happy Birthday Mom! Musings and Messes From Your Daughter.

Remember when you’d spend hours upon hours making breath-taking wedding cakes in the tiny little Alabama kitchen with me and my sister playing at your feet?  How when a cake didn’t turn out right, instead of tossing it into the trash you’d give it to us so we could spend hours on end making messy roses and crazy frosting patterns that you deemed were a masterpiece?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember the way you smiled at me.

Remember when, after the divorce, we were struggling and living on patio furniture in the living room and you decided to go back to college while working full time and taking care of four kids?  How when you’d lock your bedroom door and we’d hear you crying from the other side, and we’d have cinnamon toast for dinner?  Then, when you graduated.  When you walked the stage and took that diploma in your hand and owned every minute of every struggle so that you could better your life, our lives?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how inspired I was.

Remember when, after we were estranged for so many years, you came to visit me and we stood in my living room in Iowa and didn’t know where to start?  How you took a deep breath, looked me right in the eye and admitted that sometimes as a mom you didn’t feel worthy?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how I was so relieved because I felt the same way too as a mom and how we decided to love each other anyway.

Remember when I was a self absorbed brat who blamed everyone around her for her pain?   How I now call you everyday, sometimes twice a day, even though I’m 40 something and a Grandma myself because I can’t go a single day without hearing your voice?  How your sense of humor, prayers, and gentle reassurance that I am loved comforts me. Your patience did that.  And it is good.  And I remember, everyday, how much I value what you, as a woman, have gone through and how you, as my mother, have loved me.

Remember when we, one day, decided that the past wasn’t going to overpower the future and that we were super women hero’s who could defy all the odds and be best friends in the end?

Remember when I wrote a birthday letter to you and put it online and embarrassed the Sh&t out of you?

I love you mama.  Happy Birthday.

Thanks for being exactly, wonderfully, amazingly you.

momandme2

 

 

 

 

Motivated to Love: From Death’s Door to Heaven on Earth.

Everywhere we look we are inspired to love.  From self-help books to the Bible to do gooder’s on social media who remind us that there is hope in mankind; when we look for it, we see the evidence of love.  Love though … sometimes it’s not as easy as paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru or making smiley face chocolate chip pancakes for the kids.  It’s hard.  It’s selfless.  It’s messy.

I had been married for 19 years when my husband divorced me.  Oh, he had every reason and they were all good.  I was a selfish, manipulative, strung out bi-polar with no intent on changing.  I’d had several suicide attempts but yet refused to get help.  My husband, despite how much he loved me, knew he had to let me go.  I was either going to face reality or drop off the cliff, but he was no longer willing to go there with me or allow our children to witness the chaos of my ignorance.

Homeless, jobless, money-less, and without any family I ended up staying with an old friend,  in her basement.  It was late one night when rock bottom came crashing down around me and having lost everything I’d ever loved I got on my knees next to the mattress on the floor and I decided that I was going to end it.  I was tired.  Tired of the fight, tired of the failure, tired of never being good enough.  I thought everyone would just be so much better off without me messing everything up all the time.  Yes, I decided, I was doing the people I loved a favor.

Compelled by some reason to pray first, I bowed my head as the tears flowed and I prayed, “God, if you have any favor in me, please accept me into Heaven despite what I’m about to do.  I’ve tried everything, everything, and nothing’s worked.  I’m too tired now.  I tried.”

As I prepared to stand to go get the pills, I was racked with shivers, as if electricity shot through my head down into my toes and it froze me in place.  Then, in my mind, I heard the words loud and clear, “You haven’t tried everything yet.”

Now, I’m not going to say it was the voice of God, and I’m not even going to say I understood what was going on, but it was enough to quiet me.  It was enough for me to pause, and wonder … what haven’t I tried?

“You haven’t done it MY way.” I hear.   Love.   Truly, authentically, unselfishly, perfectly love.  I collapsed.  In a whirlwind of thoughts swimming around me I could see how, for all my life, I’d been in survival mode.  It was all about me and what I could get, what I needed to make it another day.  Approval, validation, praise.  In my insecurity, which started as a little girl who was abused for many years, I operated in performance  mode.  If I did this, you’d do that.  If I say this, you’ll say that.  If I act this like, you’ll act like this back.  I saw how I’d pushed so many people away because I was so needy to be accepted.  I was loving others, not because I truly wanted to bless them, but because I needed them to love me back.

“Okay,” I said into thin air.  “Okay.  It’s not about me, I get it.  I’ll do it your way.  I’ll love without expectation.  My motivation will be only to show my family how much I truly do love them, so that they know.  Once they know … I’m taking myself out.  You get 2 months God.”

I still didn’t get it obviously.  But, it was a start.

I did everything I could possibly do to begin building my life again.  Once I decided to live, even temporarily, and once I decided to love, without expectation, things slowly began taking form.  I did everything I could to re-build from tossing newspapers at 4 am to working in a call center collecting debts, and finally a retail sales job with education benefits.  My husband allowed me to see the kids every weekend, and while I felt so incredibly guilty for not being able to take them anywhere because I was so broke, we spent our weekends playing dance off party, at the park, or simply sitting around talking.  I was re-bonding with my babies.  I started college.  I rented a little house.  All in month one.

Then, the bigger step.  Getting help.  Therapy and medication started.  I knew going into it that it was only for another month, but I’d promised myself I’d try everything I’d never tried before, so I went for it.   Another week came and went, and my ex-husband, sitting in the garage on his new motorcycle, said as I came to pick up the kids, “You look different.”

“I do?”  God he looked good on that bike.

He nodded, “Yeah.  It’s a good look.”

“Well, that bike looks pretty good on you too,” I say.  We laugh.  For the first time.

He calls on me to help when help is needed and I am there.  I begin to make enough money to treat the kids and give them their own bedroom in my house.  I work 40 hours a week and do several online classes and two on campus classes and every ounce of my time outside is spent with the kids.

I’m 7 weeks in and my youngest daughter says to me, “I like the way you are now Mama.”

I wonder.  Maybe I’ll extend another month.  Heaven can wait a few more days.

As my motivation to love shifted from getting my own needs met to meeting the needs of others, my life started to become easier.  I wasn’t thinking about who cared about me, who was paying attention to what I was doing, or if I was good enough.  I was just, well, living.  The joy in my heart grew every time I gave.  My confidence sky rocketed.

I slowly began to see that I had something of value to offer, and that it was good.  It didn’t need a billboard of praise or a gift of thanks, it was the first petal on a Spring flower that bloomed after the freeze and existed even if no one ever saw it.  It just was.

Two months turned to four which turned to six.  I was excelling at work, my children were beginning to trust me, I was facing some dark demons through therapy, and the new medication was curbing the mania.  I began reaching out to my extended family, asking for grace and forgiveness for the pain I’d caused and hoping to start again.

Eight months later I went to pick up the kids and my ex-husband, in the garage working on his bike, caught me off guard, “Hey, uh, I just wanted to say thanks.”

“Thanks for what?” I ask.

He stood, slowly and came closer to where I stood.  Taking my hand in his, “For loving us enough to change.  I  see what you’re doing.  It’s a good thing.”

Later that week I got a call late at night from him, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d wanna do lunch tomorrow? If not, that’s cool, just asking.”

Never in a million years did I ever expect that my ex husband would ask me to go to lunch with him.  I was treading lightly on the soft waters of his heart, and I knew, going into this, he deserved the very best I had to offer and if I was honest with myself, I had to also ask if I was that best.

“Friends, right?” I asked over a Panera Asian salad.  He smiled, “Yeah.  Friends.”

I saw my ex in a different light that day, a man who had loved me more than anyone else ever had but who had the courage to stop being an enabler and protect his children from further damage.  I saw the pain in his eyes, the having to let me go, but I also saw a new light forming there.  Confidence.  Trust in himself.  We had both grown through our loss of one another, having chosen to be motivated to love without condition.

We started secretly getting together behind the kids’ backs.  Motorcycle rides through the country side, late night phone calls, lunches, and often times just sneaking off for a few hours to sit in the car and talk.  Friends.  Just friends, I kept telling myself.

Nearly a year later I was washing dishes in my kitchen in my little rental house when the kids came rushing through my front door.  I was surprised because it wasn’t my day or weekend to have them, “What are you doing here?”

Their eyes were wide, their breathing rushed, and I could tell they were so excited about something.  My youngest daughter spoke first, “We gotta tell ya something!”

They pulled out a chair and sat me down in it, all gathering around me.  Then, without warning, in walked my ex-husband.

With the children gathered around me, he got down on one knee.  They all said, at the same time, in unison together, “We want you to come home.”

My ex-husband and I remarried in 2013 and have been blissfully overcoming our past history for a glorious five years and counting.

I get down on my knees almost every night before bed, and I pray the same prayer …

“… Thank you.  Hold my spot.  I’m not coming anytime soon.”

I continue to check myself daily, asking the hard question … what is my motivation?  Am I self-seeking right now, am I wanting something in return, or am I simply loving to bless?  Am I being the real me, a woman who has value, or am I performing so others will give me the feedback I think I need?  It’s an on-going process, a daily refresher course, but what I do know for sure … what will always and forever be true for me isn’t just the fact that the night I wanted to die God saved me; but that he taught me love.

I hope you get the opportunity to love today.  I hope that my story reminds you that you are worthy to be loved, as much as you are called to love others.  Sharing the ugly, dark parts of my life is not easy, but we all have them and we’ve got to stick together to remind one another that we’re not in this alone.  Be kind to yourself, and love with your whole heart.

And chocolate chip smiley face pancakes help too.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Cry After I Workout

I can’t look at myself in the mirror when I get out of the shower.  I avoid the reflection, telling myself that should I accidentally look, there’s another woman in here with me.  Surely, this is not me.  I have to call for my daughter to help me put my new sports bra on.  I am too fat to maneuver it by myself.  I don’t look her in the eye, I am ashamed.  My breathing is elevated, my heart rate’s up, I’m already starting to sweat, and I have to sit on the toilet to get my pants on because I can’t bend over far enough.  When did I do this to myself?  Just getting dressed is an effort.  Who am I kidding, putting on these dumb work out clothes.  As if it’s worth anything at all at this point.  I think I am too far gone.

I sit in front of the building that holds a large sign reading, “Empowering Fitness.”  Empower my ass, I think.  I sit there.  I don’t know if I have the courage to go in.  I am so fat.  What if I can’t do it?  What if they all stare?  What if I make a fool out of myself?  I catch my eyes in the reflection of my rear view mirror, and I see how afraid I am.  I grab onto the fear, as if it has power, and suddenly from a place deep within me I get angry.   I get really angry.  Angry at myself, angry at my husband for deploying again, angry at my kids for growing up and leaving, angry at my past hurts, and angry that I have somehow allowed myself to get up to an enormous 250 pounds.
I grit my teeth, “I will NOT be afraid,” I tell myself in the car before I watch my hand going to the door handle, pulling, and opening the door.  My feet are pounding on the gravel leading up to the door, as if I have to be a force of rage just to put myself in that place.
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They start jogging as a warm up.  A warm up.  I can’t jog!  I fall in line and give it my best, even though I’m not as fast as everyone else and it hurts so bad that I’m screaming inside, getting dizzy, and want to puke.  I can’t do a damn plank, or a burpie, or a power squat, or Jesus, anything.  What am I going to do?  I grit my teeth again and tell myself, “You’re just going to do what you can.”

 

Then, it was over.  Just when I couldn’t make one more move, the workout ended.  The class all applauded, high fives were handed out, and several people told me, “Good job.”  From the pit of my stomach grew a sob … I had to get out of there quick, I was going to explode.  From the inside of my car I cried and I cried and I cried, it spilled out of me like a pressure cooker whose hole had been covered for a few hours.  An explosion of emotion.
I’d done it.  I’d gone in, I’d worked out, and I’d faced my fears.  Why was I crying?
Day two, three, four ….. all the way through the first two weeks I go through the same routine.  I have to work myself up to go in, and I have to bring myself down when I come out.  It is an emotional roller coaster that I’m not sure I can afford to be on but I’m riding it out none the less.
My whole body aches.  I don’t think I’ve lost any weight, but I’m too afraid to see the number on the scale and face what it means and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter as much the number but how I feel.  Damn, I feel great.  I feel accomplished.  I feel proud.
And I cry.  I cry it out because I need to release the pain I’ve put on myself so that I can make room for the beauty that is me.
I am worthy.   Despite being weighed down by these physical pounds, I can see now that all I needed was to believe in myself.  So I did.
I step out of the shower and smile.

Give Yourself Permission to Cry.

8d0f69ef7e45bda62769ad9315a3131f--sweetest-quotes-quotes-loveSometime between the hamburger I could hardly stomach and standing right there in front of him, I resolved that this was going to actually happen.  My husband was leaving for war.  Again.  I knew logically that I’d done this goodbye before, that I knew I could survive deployment, and that the only thing I needed to focus on was that he needed all the love and support I had to give.  The thing about logically knowing something and actual feelings is that they live on separate planets that eventually collide.

Over 500 Iowa soldiers said their final “See you later”‘s on Saturday.  We lifted our eyes to meet our best friend’s gaze and forced out the words that we’d play over and over and over again in our minds for weeks to come.  One last hug.  One last “I love you.”

In that moment time stops.  It’s not necessarily what you say but how you say it and it’s not really about the “goodbye” but more so freezing that second of time to hold onto.  It’s a moment we cannot have regrets with.  It’s a few seconds of time that we spend knowing we may never get it back again.  It’s being willing to let go, but being strong enough to hold on.

Hundreds of wives came back this weekend from Texas without their husband or boyfriend with them.  Each of us carry a sort of grief that can often go unnoticed because we are, in fact, military wives and we are strong.

As a 23 year military wife with four deployments I am here to tell them, “It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to vent.  It’s okay that you came home, looked around, and felt utterly and totally alone.  It’s okay that you want to stay in your jammies and binge netflix Hallmark movies.  It’s okay to miss him already.  This is the hard part.   That last hug still resonates and we have yet to get into our deployment routines.  Right now, today, is probably the worst pain you are feeling or will feel.  Let it be what it is.  Cry it out.  Scream it out.  Give yourself permission to feel this.  If you don’t, you’ll bottle it all up and it will spill out into the deployment in ways that could hurt you, your spouse, and your children.  Don’t listen to people who say, “Just be strong,” or, “It will be over before you know it.”  Listen to your heart.  Feel what you need to feel in these next 72 hours.”

Then, we will pick ourselves back up and we will forge ahead.  We WILL be strong.  We WILL be tough.  We will do things other wives could not fathom to do.  But for right now, while that kiss still lingers on your lips, please give yourself permission to feel.

Journal it out, call a friend who will listen to you (without trying to relate to you or give you advice), pump out some reps at the gym, get a babysitter and lay in bed with his pillow and bawl for an hour.  Whatever it is you need to do to process this monumental life experience, do it.

Even if it’s just to have someone acknowledge that you are a bad ass who just went through a hell of a hard time; find that person.  You deserve to be heard, validated, and loved through this.  It’s essential, because after about a week it’s your job to suck it up and get on with it.

In the chaos that is this kind of pain, never forget, while few will understand there are those that do.  Find them.  Hold onto them.  Reach out.  Don’t isolate.

A good cry never felt so good.  Have at it ladies.  Get it out.  There’s plenty of time for us to be tough.  And tough we will be.

 

Empty Nesting is for the Birds

The day my baby girl left for college, the last of my three children to fly the nest, I found myself in a heap on the bedroom floor.  I did all the right things saying goodbye like not bawling incessantly, not clinging to her clothing and pulling on her to stay just one more minute, and while I did get tears in my eyes when I saw her own mailbox; I let her go with some ambiance of grace.  Coming home, however, was a different story.

The house was empty.  Like, empty, empty.  The pitter pat of little feet had long subsided and the busy noise that lived here had taken it’s exit.  It was eerily quiet.  I paced.  I paced for a little while and then stopping short on the hallway of memories I keep on the wall in my living room I realized … those days were gone.  It was over.   My parenting, as it were, was no more.

Down to the floor I went.  I grieved, I cried, I bawled, I wretched.  Lying there, memories flooded through my thoughts and I saw vivid images of my children growing up.  At each memory I felt sicker and sadder.  While everyone had told me, yes everyone, “It’ll be great!  What a relief!,” about empty nesting, this was so far from the truth I was screaming my shock.  No, I was a grieving mama and I simply had to sit with it.  No one told me how empty I would feel.

I thought, “I was just getting it right,” then they up and leave.  I thought, “They’ll never need me again,” or, “Did I do it well enough?”  All my chances, in that moment, were gone.  What was done was done.  Yes, I was in a very dark, scary place!

I went to the internet to read up on other empty nesters and all I got were thin definitions of the term I was living in and several lists of things to do to “get by.”   Create lists of things you’ve always wanted to do, start a hobby, call on friends, volunteer, etc., etc.  But these are all just busy things to avoid the real issue that I knew I was going to have to face.

It had to be about me now.  That’s the example I could set for my children.   That life goes on, is still wonderful, and that under no certain terms do you ever give up.  I knew, in those first days of empty nesting, that I had to go through the stages of grieving successfully and then come up with a plan.  Not a “stay busy to avoid thinking about it” plan, but a real one.  Something with meaning and purpose.

With my husband deployed I couldn’t focus my energies on him, though I do have a dear friend whose empty nesting resulted in the healing of her marriage and that is exactly the kind of thing I knew empty nesting was supposed to be.  A time of healing, changing, growing, and getting back in the game.

I could write, I thought.  But, about what?  I pulled out my laptop, dusted it off, and went through almost two pots of coffee just staring at the blank screen. Okay, that’s not going to work.  I tried reaching out to friends.  Some of them, in their busy lives, were too busy.  I was even actually told I was high maintenance by one friend.  That made me sad.   I didn’t want to be high maintenance, but I did want healthy friendships, so I paid attention to the friendships that filled me with purpose and inspiration and decided not to feel bad about the others.  Still, something was lacking.

My Kiddo's
My three fly the nester’s

I volunteered, thinking that if I could get involved with a cause I was passionate about, that would fuel me to continue to become a better person.  But, I was told they were “Cutting back,” and even though I had some ideas, it just wasn’t the right timing.  Back to the drawing board.

The thing about empty nesting is that it’s not that your children will never need you, want to spend time with you, or not come around on breaks and holidays.   They will, and mine do.  It’s just, well, different.  They’re adults now.  They don’t need to be mommy’d.  It’s time for the relationship to change, and while it eventually will turn into something astronomically beautiful … the in between of figuring out what that looks and feels like is hard.

For instance, when I text my son and he doesn’t respond I can’t get upset.  He’s busy.  It’s not a personal thing.  If he comes over for dinner and leaves right after, at least I fed him and I know he ate that day.  If my daughter calls me because her stipend didn’t go through at college and she’s in a panic it’s not my job to fix it, it’s my job to encourage her to fix it.   When my children, when being the key word, come around or call or text … it’s my responsibility to be the mom they need NOW.  Not the mom I was.  The kind of mom who listens.  The kind of mom who validates.  The kind of mom who doesn’t stick her nose in their business.  The one who shares her thoughts, not necessarily her opinions.

And as we morph into those kinds of mama’s we absolutely have to look at ourselves as women.  For this is the time that we, as women, show our children who we are.  Creepy, scary, difficult; but this is when they’ll get to know us on a brand new level.  I want to show up for that, don’t you?  I’ve just got to find that woman before they notice I may have lost her along the way.

So, I write.  Starting with this, on this new day, I am determining myself a woman of value who has the opportunity to get to know herself all over again.  What I do, where I go, with whom I do it with is totally and completely up to me – it’s time to rebuild.

So I started rebuilding by having my daughter and my grandchildren move home.  What?!  Okay, so I didn’t navigate that as successfully as I’d have liked too.  Ugh, don’t judge.  It was a timing thing, with my husband being deployed and her rent having gone sky high, it worked out to have her come home for a year.   I have my beautiful, amazing grandchildren to dote on, love, spoil, and pay attention too.

So, while I’m still working on me – yes, I’m writing right now! – I’m enjoying life’s little rewards that come at times in our lives when we absolutely need them the most.  Now, my next story is going to be, “How to live with your daughter and her children when they move back home after being gone for years.”   HA!

To all my empty nester friends … you’re not alone.  Let’s do lunch.

From Fear to Fearless: This is YOUR year!

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When Amy was alive she always told me, “Be fearlessly you!”  She was a woman who lived by her words and yet for all the years she told me this, I never grasped it.  I lived constantly in my own self doubt.  The shadows of all my mistakes and shortcomings over-rode any light I thought I might possibly have buried deep down somewhere.  No matter what I tried to do, whether in career or relationships, it seemed like I was a vacuum sucking people dry because I hungered so much for validation.  I never stood independent of how I thought others thought of me.  So how could I change that?  What could I do differently this year?

What could I do so that when I looked into my children’s faces I didn’t see all my regret that I could have done it better before they left home?  What could I possibly change to see my husband take  a sigh of relief that he no longer carried all my pain or purpose?  My friendships, how could I operate in love in such a way that did not demand reciprocity?  How could I possibly be independently fearless and stand in my truth that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a beautiful being with something to offer?

I think we all struggle with this at one time or other in our lives.  We look around at those closest to us, those we’ve lost through filters through the years, and those we hope to become closer to in the future and we wonder … do I have what it takes?  Am I good enough?   Do I have value?

Fear.  Fear of being wanted, loved, and liked.  Fear of loss, fear of gain.  Fear of failure and success.  We become stagnant in our doubts, almost sometimes to the point of being frozen in it.  We stop going out, we are isolated with work and friends.  We shy away from socialization.   Then the voices really start up, man, they can be harsh.  See?  I told you, no one cares.  See?  I told you, no one notices you.

How do we overcome that kind of fear?  I went to my bedside one day and knelt, shaking, on my bedroom floor and I prayed, “Lord, my precious Father, you did not have this in mind when you created me, did you? With Amy gone now, I feel lost to courage and bravery.  I feel lost to me.  Help me to see myself as someone who can love as you love. Change my heart.  Mature me.  Please, give me opportunities to shower my world with faith and friendship and love and laughter and not do so with a selfish heart.  Train me up to stand in the gap for those I love, rather than whine about being the gap myself.  Let me be the light.”

After I was done praying I heard the word, “Act.”  Then, from Scripture, “Do not be afraid.”  In my mind I could hear the trumpets of Jericho.  Bring the wall down.  The wall of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  Shake it to its core so it has no hold over you.

I heard Amy, “Be Fearlessly You!”

I’m determined that this will be a year of letting go of fear and falling fearlessly in love with my life, my family, friends, and the path I am so blessed to be able to be on.

I pray, for all who read this and can relate, that you have the courage to stand on your knees, be humble to God, and become an action person verses a reactive person!  This is going to be a great year.

 

 

 

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