The Truth About Hurt

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I am currently going through a divorce. It is what it is. I cannot change it. I cannot go back to the way things were, and in all honesty I don’t want to. As each day passes I see more and more the reality that this truly is a blessing but I still hurt. Hurt has come in waves for me. It has taken many forms: anger, frustration, pain, heartache, fear. I could make a list a mile long but what I wasn’t understanding is why I was hurting so badly over the loss of someone who had truly caused me suffering for years. Why would I cry over that person? Why would it hurt for that person to leave me?

I realized that I was not hurting over him. I was hurting over the loss of the good.

In divorce we often focus on the negatives: he neglected me, he’s leaving me, what will I do now? We are often so focused on the negatives that we completely miss why we are mourning so heavily. In every marriage there are good times. There are good memories. I believe, in my case, that is why I have been hurting so badly. I had some good times in my marriage. I had good aspects of my marriage that I will no longer have now. I had stability and freedom to chase my dreams. I was protected behind guarded gates because we were military. I had food on the table and didn’t have to worry about where it would come from. I had a roof over my head and, again, did not have to worry about losing it. We traveled to see family. We walked beaches. We spent time with friends. Those things, the beneficial and positive things, are why I am mourning so hard.

I am also fearful of the future. What will it look like?

Losing all the good to an unknown future is terrifying. Let’s just be real for a second. I don’t care how much faith you have, a future like that is going to cause your broken human mind to fill with anxiety. Especially as a single mother. I admit, I am fearful but I am not afraid. I am fearful but I do still have faith and I don’t want one more person to tell me that I cannot have fear and faith at the same time. Yes…. I can!! I will not be made to feel less than because my earthly mind is short circuiting right now in the middle of the faith I have that everything will work out. I know it will. I am just broken and need time to mend.

I also don’t want to hear that God has a plan. God has a PURPOSE. He does not have a plan. I am the one that needs a plan that will come alongside God’s purpose so that I can move forward confidently. But first, I have to let go of the hurt.

Letting go of the hurt is the first step in moving toward a new life that will have more good than this season of life ever did. It has always been that way. Each time I let go, I was moved into better. That is not going to change now. The hurt needs to go.

Today, I will share my gratitude for the good that God gave me and then I will hand it right back to Him so that He can give me the gifts He has waiting for me in this next season of life. I believe it will be good. I have full faith in that.

Overcoming Rejection

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In ministry you need an aggressive mindset. Hear me clearly when I say you need an aggressive mindset, not aggressive behavior. As a warrior for Christ we are all members of Christs army and no army goes forward with a retreating mindset. An aggressive mindset stays focused on the needs of hearts. It steps outside its comfort zone and stays strong in Christ. It endures hardships and is not occupied with what others think about them. Aggressive mindsets stay focused and rejoice in the struggle. They remain bold and accept His power and express it through love. They remain calm and self-controlled. They remain focused on Christ and make every single day about Him.

Every day is a Jesus day!!

Yes. Every day is a Jesus day for those with a mindset that aggressively loves and aggressively seeks to serve others in the name of Jesus. On most days, I find that I have this aggressive mindset. I love hard. I love deeply. I love without limits. I love without expectation. I put Jesus first and do everything within my power to ask myself what Jesus would want me to do in any given situation, but, there are some days that I fail…..miserably.

Aggressive mindsets do not worry themselves about worldly acceptance. This is the one area where I find a retreating mindset in my spirit. I sometimes take rejection personally and over the past 24 hours I have retreated just as I had made great strides in forward movement in my ministry.

Rejection is like an arrow that penetrates my armor and induces a retreat mindset that I struggle to overcome. It has been this way from childhood. I grew up a codependent and continued as such well into adulthood. If I am honest, I still struggle with it but Jesus is the overcomer that strengthened this area in me over the years. The devil knows it is my weak spot. It is where I am most tempted and most tortured. It is also where I have most been healed and strengthened.

Yesterday, in a moment of strength after spending several days in prayer and knowing, and I mean really knowing, that I had come to a place God would use for His glory I humbled myself and made a social media post that I normally would not make. I asked for help. As I published the post I had a panic attack. I knew I was putting myself out there and I could be rejected. I did it anyway because I just knew it was the right thing to do. Rejection followed fairly quickly. As it happens often in social media, there were very few likes and shares and only 1 person felt called to help. Rejection at its finest. The oldest and deepest parts of me surfaced and instead of continuing on boldly in my decision, I retreated.

I retreated out of concern of what people thought of me. Do they think I am crazy? Are they making fun of me? Are they laughing? Do they think I am pitiful? Within 8 hours of posting I was in tears. I cried myself to sleep. I woke and retreated even deeper. I deleted the post. I closed the fundraiser. I cried some more and then, as He often does now, God lifted my tear stained face and asked me, “My sweet girl, where is your faith? Why are you not focused on me?” In that moment I realized I had made it all about me and it was time to reclaim my aggressive mindset. I overcame rejection and moved forward by accepting that God’s view of me is all that is important.

I didn’t repost the fundraiser because I realize I posted it in the first place because I thought God needed it out there to provide the building I need for my ministry. Oh me of little faith. God does not need me to perform miracles. What He wants is for me to remain aggressively focused on Him, trusting and knowing that what He has called me to do will come to fruition in His timing with His provision. He wants me to seize every opportunity to advance His cause and that means seeing the opportunity even in the midst of rejection.

Tonight I find myself energized with forward movement in my heart for a space that will cover first responders and veterans with love and healing. The building will come. Until then I will remain steadfast and aggressively focused on God’s word for this ministry. I will follow Ruth’s example and glean in the fields as I continue training. I will do what I can do and I will let God handle the details. I will let Him Provide. It will be more glorious that way because His abilities far outweighs mine!!!

Deserted Space

If I had to take 5 things to a deserted island, it would be the five things you see here. My Bible, my peppermint essential oil, my yoga mat, my yoga wheel and my inversion stand. They each transform my yoga practice in different ways and without them I know my practice would not be the same.
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Funny thing about this thought today is that I had been living in a deserted space for quite some time and didn’t even realize it. I got by, day by day, through prayer and belief that God is good and will provide, but inside I was empty. It was deserted space. I was surviving, not thriving.

Three years ago I was at, what I would consider, a prime time in my life. I was part of a large community of yogis, I was closer to the Lord than I ever had been, my family life was perfection and I was practicing yoga with Jesus every day. My skill had improved greatly. It was an amazing time. My space was filled with all the wonderful things I had been searching for, but one by one each aspect of my life began to crumble and slowly my space became deserted.

The community I thought I had was not what it seemed. My marriage began to struggle. My children were struggling. My heart was struggling but at least I had my time on the mat with Jesus, or so I thought, until one day that was taken in an instant with one wrong step. We had taken a trip to see my kids and grandkids and as I turned to walk to the car to leave I stepped wrong and both ankles gave way. Today I can still hear the snap as my ankle shattered and I fell to the ground. I looked down to see my foot hanging off the side of my leg. I knew I would need surgery. I knew I would be dependent on my husband, who at the time, was one of my biggest struggles. In the moment, I gave up. I could not understand why my amazing life had to turn upside down and I became upset with God and I gave up. I gained more weight than my body can handle. My health declined. My emotions were everywhere. I had given up.

Why did He call me to community just so they could reject me? Why did He give me a husband just so we would struggle to love and forgive? Why would he give me children that would turn their backs on Him? Why would He give me yoga, running and the desire to be healthy and then take it away? Why would He give me an autoimmune disease that would be a lifetime battle and cause my healing to take much longer than it should? WHY?

It was in that moment, that I saw that ankle, that I entered a desert. A very dry one. I questioned everything. My heart hurt. I was angry and frustrated. I gave up on teaching yoga, on my desire to use yoga to help others, on my marriage, on my kids, and on myself. I told myself that I could not give up on God, but my time spent with Him became shorter and shorter. I did not know it then, but I was angry with Him.

Fast forward three years later. I am in a state of healing. Healing from rejection. Healing from trauma. Healing from pain. I am healing and today, as I spent my first really good day back on the mat, I realized I am no longer in a deserted space. God is filling it. He is replacing the people I lost with an abundance of amazing people that benefit me in my walk. He is replacing my anger with acceptance and forgiveness. He is building a stronger marriage and growing my children. He is right beside me in my battle to live a life where my autoimmune disease does not affect my quality of life. He is building a pathway to the dream I have always had to help veterans and first responders.

My space is not deserted anymore. It is full and it is overflowing because over the past three years because I had to let go of people and things in my life that were standing in the way of God’s call for me and even when I was angry at God He was not with me. He never left my side and when I veered off into the wilderness He came and found me. He is my solid rock and foundation. I have grown closer to Him and love Him more today than I did three years ago and as I look back at it all I realize that maybe I needed that broken ankle so I would learn how to depend on God. Maybe I needed to learn how to let go of my pride and allow my husband to care for me. Maybe I needed to have a community reject me so I would begin looking for the one that I belonged with. Maybe I needed to go through trauma so I would understand what I meant to overcome it. Maybe, just maybe, God knew what He was doing.

No….He defintely KNEW what He was doing.

In This Space

Space. Isn’t it oddly intriguing how often space dictates our feelings? When we feel crowded we want others to give us space. When we want love we invite them back into our space. When we need acceptance we will search for that space that fits us well.  It surrounds us every day yet we often overlook the importance of space.

Fifteen years ago I had the “perfect” space. It was this tiny little oddity of a closet off our master bedroom at Eglin AFB in Florida. It had no place to hang clothes. There was no shelving. It was just a room off the master bedroom. I loved it. It became my sanctuary. It was my space where I went to express my deepest feelings to Jesus as I moved and breathed through different asanas.

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It wasn’t fancy. It was simple and clear of clutter. There was no distraction. It was quiet and peaceful. It was my space.  Outside that room my space was also quite charming and tranquil.  My marriage was dreamy. My children were happy. I had a community that meshed extremely well within my soul. Life was good and my space was amazingly beautiful…but….life has its way of tossing a space in a second. Just like the 4 hurricanes I endured that year, life swept in and took away my space.

I have been searching for it ever since.

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I have searched and felt unsettled for the past 15 years. Its not a feeling easily shaken off. I set up many new yoga rooms and the peace was not there. The space that surrounds me in my own life has been chaotic, and that is putting it mildly. Incurable illness, tension in my marriage, three adoptions, 8 moves to different states and countless moves within each state, children lashing out at life through drugs and alcohol, and death are just the “highlights” of the past 15 years. The time in between those “highlights” were often nightmarish and heartbreaking. No yoga room could ever provide the peace I needed. My space was a spiral of despair and I was entrenched firmly. My walls were built strong and my defenses were in full force. I even took out a few bridges just for insurance. I was hit hard but I stood strong…not because of a yoga space but because of God’s grace.

There is absolutely no other reason I am here writing this today other than by the grace of God and His presence in my space. Without Him I would have succumbed to the fragility of human emotion. As I look back today, I realize it wasn’t the room that brought the peace, it was God’s presence in that room. That room was a refuge from the many years of abuse I suffered prior to meeting my husband. It was a space of release and, at times, a place of waiting. Above all, it was a space that I invited God to enter and focus specifically on Him.

It was just a space and I no longer need a specific room to have that same space. I simply need to invite Him in wherever I may be because space surrounds me everywhere I go. Peace comes into that space when the Spirit enters it. It is that simple. Space is life and life lived in the presence of God is space well used.

 

Think Carefully about YOUR Ways

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Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on Pexels.com

I admit it, I have been down and discouraged lately about my health and my weight. In my mind I have tried and failed over and over again. I have asked myself why things aren’t working and have lied to myself to feel like I was working really hard. I felt that I was asking for God’s help and nothing was coming of it. With all my hard work it must not be me causing the downfall of my healing journey so why isn’t God answering?

This morning I was given a healthy dose of truth and the truth ALWAYS sets us free.

I opened my Bible to the Book of Haggai and began reading chapter one. It was painfully obvious that I was being given an answer to my desperate pleas for my health and my weight to change.

Haggai had prophesied the rebuilding of the temple. He oversaw the rebuilding. I imagine He spent time encouraging God’s people to rebuild God’s temple, especially after they had been freed from exile. In the beginning they were filled with vigor and built the foundation and the alter but then discouragement began to spill into their spirits. They became derailed by a lack of focus. After two years, they left the temple to sit while they focused on other things. They had excuses, but the one that truly caught my attention was in v.2 “the time has not come”. They had determined in their minds that the time was not right, God’s timing was not here so they didn’t need to work on it.

I am sure they had some great reasons to feel that God’s timing was not there yet. I am sure the work was very hard. They were broke. (Haggai 1:6) They suffered crop failures and drought. (Haggai 1:10-11) Enemies were resisting. (Ezra 4:1-5) and of course the all time favorite excuse of any human being: they fondly remembered the easier times in the past.  In other words, by speaking against God’s timing they were rationalizing the many reasons they didn’t need to work on the temple.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Action expresses priorities” and in this case, as is usually with all cases, the action exposed the priorities of God’s people. They were more concerned with their own homes (v.3) than they were with God’s house. As a result, nothing was filling the God-shaped void in their lives (v.6) and they were unfulfilled. All the hard work they had put into their homes and their land was for very little return (v.9). Their priorities were way out in left field and no where close to hitting a home run.

I found truth in the command God give in verses 5 and 7, “Think carefully about your ways.”  God’s people should have found no rest until God’s work was prosperous and they should have been willing to sacrifice their own discomfort to make it so. In verse 8 God tells them to do the work and He will be pleased and glorified. When God is pleased we reap reward and we see God’s hand working diligently in our lives. God was waiting for their participation and when it wasn’t there He caused a drought to get their attention. (v. 10, 11)

Think carefully, my daughter, about your ways. Where have your priorities been? 

It was like a major mic drop moment for me as I sat there soaking in the truth. Clarity, although quite difficult to accept, began to flood my mind.  The truth is, my priorities have been off. Healing begins with God and requires our participation. Yes, God performs miracles, and there are also times that He requires our participation. Participation that keeps priorities straight and a heart that  understands no one else can do this but me. God will heal. God will guide. God will provide. He wants my participation and is waiting on me to get started. The drought I have been in with. my health and my weight loss and many other things has been brought on by my priorities being out of sync.  It’s time to put God first and let Him be glorified and in that process healing will come.

Let’s talk excuses now. I often say I cannot eat healthy foods because I do not have enough money to do that. I often say I cannot exercise because today I feel sick and am in pain. I say I cannot focus because I feel overwhelmed. I have a list a mile long. Do you? The answer to all my excuses is priorities. Instead of spending on the clothing that I hope not to fit in because I will lose weight, I could spend that money on healthy foods. Instead of thinking I cannot exercise because I can’t do it like the girls on Instagram, I could do what my body allows. I can do something to exercise even if it only starts out for 5 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching tv all day because I am so overwhelmed, I could pick up my Bible and get some focus. I can gain strength in God’s word. I can find direction in God’s word. I can find hope in God’s word. I can find LIFE in God’s word.  It’s time to put away the excuses and work on God’s temple. I am God’s temple. You are God’s temple. It is time to make God’s temple a priority and glorify Him with the one and only temple we have been given!

Vulnerability in the Middle

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I found myself imagining the Israelites as they stepped between the raging waters as shared in Exodus. Exodus 14:29 tells us that “the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides.”  I imagine it was amazing to see but quite unnerving to participate in. They had no clue when the waters would fall. In those moments, walking between the waters of the Dead Sea they were at their most vulnerable and had only their trust in God to see them through to the other side.

Isn’t that what happens to us the in the middle?  When we are in the middle of suffering and no matter which side we look  are walls that seem to want to crash down on us we are forced to allow Jesus into our vulnerability and trust that He has our lives in His hands. In the middle isn’t always pretty. In the middle can be messy. It can be difficult. It can be beautiful or it can be devastating. It can be painful or joyous. The middle is where the meat of life is found. It is where everything is at stake. It is where we are formed and made for more in His glory. It is also where we find ourselves at the peak of our vulnerability.

At the peak of our vulnerability Jesus wants to meet us and get us through to the other side and when we get there, if we have trusted in Him, we find that it is better than we ever could have imagined.  Right now I am at the peak of my own vulnerability. We are in the middle of our adoption journey and I find each moment of the day comes with different emotions. I am trying to hear God’s voice but the waves of doubt, fear and uncertainty are roaring on either side of me and I am in the middle: vulnerable and scared. The need is so great for families that it has overwhelmed my empathetic soul.

Today, I looked around and found myself angry and frustrated. Pushed over the edge by the words of another so much that I wanted to give up but then I heard God say “Be Still”. As I sat I was taken to Exodus and the splitting of the waters. I was reminded that the minute they stepped into the middle they were vulnerable but their trust in God was greater. I have to trust. I stepped into the middle and now I must trust the process. I must trust that the waters will not crash down. I cannot give them a voice louder than God’s.  I have to stand, in the middle, and zone out the waves to allow God’s voice to be heard trusting that moving forward will bring something so beautiful that I never could have imagined how wonderful it will be.

If you are in the middle, trust God. He is leading you toward a future that will go beyond anything you can imagine!

Struggling with 50

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To be honest, I am struggling with turning 50. Im not there yet. I am 47 but the idea of 50 has been an issue since I turned 45. I started feeling out of sorts. Like I didn’t fit in. Im no longer young and I am also not old. I’m in the middle and the middle is not comfortable. It’s the most uncomfortable space I have been in because my youth is gone and I am facing old age. I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis because I don’t feel like I am in a crisis, maybe a midlife awakening. I am realizing things about life that I never thought of before. I am seeing things much more differently than I did as a younger woman. I am feeling the depths of life changes and how they mold us into the human beings we are meant to be.

Right now I am standing at an edge looking into the unknown just as I have in the past yet this unknown feels more important. It feels like it really needs to mean something. It feels like my opportunity to “do it right” and really make an impact in this world. How big of an impact really is up to God, but now, in this moment of my life as I stand at the edge ready to dive in, I feel the urgency to reinvent myself into a new woman God can fully use for His glory.  This new season of life just doesn’t seem to be a “me” season, but rather a “HIM” season and that feels good.

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But, again if I am to be honest, I am mourning the loss of my youth. There were so many mistakes I made that I wish I could change, but I can’t go back. There are so many moments that I cherish: having my babies, watching them grow, time with loved ones that have long since passed to Heaven. I don’t want to let go because it has made me the woman I am now. Every heartache, every tear, every laugh…they are all a part of me and even though I went through a lot in my youth, I love my life now and I don’t want to watch it end as quickly as it has taken for me to get where I am.

I guess I am mostly afraid that the last amazing half of my life will go just ask as quickly as the first half.

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So what is a woman to do? I don’t want to be one of those mid-life crisis women. Instead, I want to enjoy a mid-life level up. I want to take a good look at the past 40 years and determine what aspects weren’t so great and then I want to transform them. I want to renew things like my health, my spirituality and my relationship with others. I want to take time to be still, truly still and enjoy my surroundings. I want to walk barefoot in the grass, take up running again and enjoy being the free spirited woman that I always have been. I want to read my Bible every day and soak in all that I can so that I can pass it on to others and live my life fully in His grace. I want a deeper relationship with Christ, much deeper.

The best part? I can. I can reinvent myself. I can let go of past strongholds and just live free from anxiety, fear or regret. I can be who I want to be and I can step into a whole new level of living in Christ. The reality is, I would have never figured this out in my 20s or even my 30s. I have figured it out now, in my 40s standing in this big empty space called “the middle”. I believe it has felt empty because I now have a new canvas on which to create the life I truly want to live so today is a celebration of the renewing of my life.

Cheers to the next level!!! I suspect it will be amazing!