Tag Archives: Fear

Will You Hope With Me?

It’s been over 7 months since I penned my last post. If you want to know the truth as to why, it’s because I’ve been fighting an intense battle within myself. A battle of whether or not to eat the meal. A battle of whether or not I should run the mile. A battle of whether or not I should continue living. 

As most of you already know, I struggle with debilitating mental illness. For many years, my life has been a struggle of ups and downs. I’ve been okay and I’ve been completely crumbled and broken. I’ve been happy and I’ve been engulfed with despair. And now, I’m in a place where I have never been before. I have no fight left in me. I’m tired. I’m scared. I want to be free. I want to feel joy. I want to be healthy. But to move on and experience life, I have to push through all the things I’ve spent nearly 29 years running from. 

So, in order to be the me that God made me to be, I’m taking a leap of faith and going to a residential treatment program for eating disorders. I’m leaving within the next week and that terrifies me. But THIS is the only life I have known. THIS is the only me I have known.

I am a control freak. There are very few things in this life that are within my control, but one of those things is my eating disorder. I hate my eating disorder, but I love it at the same time – which is something that most people cannot understand. It’s like being held hostage and unable to break free, but once it takes its hold, the captor becomes comforting and reliable. When the rest of the world is chaotic and nothing makes sense, ED brings me comfort. ED is like a trusty friend who will always pick me up when I’m down. ED loves me and I love ED. It’s a dangerous and toxic relationship that I don’t know how to get out of. 

I feel like those closest to me want answers. They want to know why. The want to know how. They want to know the “truth” about why I feel the way I do. But explaining these things to someone who has never stood in my shoes and experienced the things I’ve experienced, is the most difficult thing in the world. 

From a “logical” perspective, all of this seems ridiculous. I feel lonely, so I isolate. I feel hungry, so I don’t eat. I feel full and satisfied, so I purge. I feel anger, so I want to hurt myself. I am capable of stepping outside of myself and seeing how all of this makes absolutely no sense. But that doesn’t change the dynamic inside my very sick brain.

Although it may not look like I’m really trying, I am. Although it may look like I’m just blaming others for my problems, I’m not. Although it may appear that I’m trying to “get out of” being an adult, I’m not. 

If you’ve never had a mental illness or addiction, there really is no way that you can understand the horror that goes through my mind every day. However, I appreciate your support and compassion. I don’t need “tough love” or hostility. So if that’s what you have to offer, please kindly go away. 

Right now, I am fragile and extremely over sensitive. It’s hard to think rationally or logically when your brain and body are malnourished. So please stop telling me that I should “know better” or that I should “be able to control it” – because right now, those statements only add fuel to the fire. 

I am very unstable – thus the need for treatment, to get to a place where I am stable; to get to a place where taking my own life does NOT seem like a viable option. 

I am sick. It’s not just my mental health anymore, my physical health is beginning to crumble as well. And  even though it’s taken me many years to admit it, I can finally see that I need help. I need help and I deserve help. I deserve love and happiness and joy and acceptance. God says that I am worthy of love and its up to me to decide whether or not I will believe Him.

If you’ve known me for a while, you are probably tired of my “excuses” or fed up with my “inability to take responsibility for my actions.” I can understand what it looks like from your perspective and I am sorry that I haven’t “gotten better” yet. I’m sorry that you have had to bear the pain of my mistakes. I sincerely wish I could take back every time I have caused you pain. But I can’t. All I can do now is try to move forward and hope that, one day, we can all find forgiveness. 

All that I ask is for you to please, try to see things from my point of view as well. Please give me space to be able to move on. I am trying to learn how to set HEALTHY boundaries with those I love. Please be patient with me. 

I have hope that I will be able to experience freedom within this lifetime. Will you Hope with me?

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Joy, Where Are You?

Some mornings I can barely find the energy to get out of bed. I’m exhausted and worn out and in pain and I simply don’t want to do anything but lay there. This morning was one of those mornings. My alarm clock (AKA, my children) started screaming in my ears and I had to get up and face the world. Before I could even get out of bed, the girls were already dressed for church and chattering in their fastest, most excited voices about what they might do at church today. So, begrudgingly, I got up, showered, and got ready for church.
And I’m glad I did. 

We sang some of my favorite Christmas songs, which immediately lifted my mood a bit.

  

“I rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

Today’s sermon was titled, “Joy” and based on Luke 2:8-20. My first thought, from anxious and depressed mind was, “oh great, joy. That’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.” But that’s exactly why I needed to hear it. 

Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭ESV

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

So apparently, joy is command. My pastor opened up the sermon with that and all I could think was, “great, we’re starting the morning off with something I suck at.” But as he kept talking, I understood it more. God doesn’t want me to have fake joy, like the fake smile I tend to plaster on my face when I tell everyone I’m doing great. But God wants me to a real, genuine joy – the kind that only He can give me; the kind that comes from being awestruck by an amazing God. 

  

Let me be real here for a minute, the last few weeks I have been stuck in a cycle of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. I’m having brain surgery in four days and I’m scared – really scared, about all the “what ifs” and things that could possibly go wrong. I really haven’t felt much joy at all. I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been reading my Bible. I’ve just been quietly simmering with anger at God for not making me healthy. But the more I’ve ignored God, the worse I’ve felt. The more I’ve pushed Him away, the angrier I’ve gotten. My joy has been nonexistent.

I feel like an outsider in this world, like I just don’t belong anywhere. I have some wonderful friends and great church family – but often, I just feel different, like I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel lost. My pastor’s first point today was that joy is for the outsiders. We explained how God sent His angels to the shepherds, of all people. He could’ve sent the angels to someone powerful, like a king or ruler, but He didn’t. He sent them to shepherds – to the outsiders. 

In the same way, in our current society, God doesn’t come only for the “insiders.” He doesn’t come just for the powerful and popular – He comes for the outsiders. But here’s the thing, if you really think about it – we’re all outsiders. None of us in this world are insiders; we are all OUTSIDE of Heaven. And my pastor made a good point, even the people who I look at and think have it together and appear to fit in so well – even they struggle with feeling like outsiders, it simply part of being human. And we all feel like no one else feels the way we do so none of us talk about it; but if we did, we would know we weren’t alone. 

  

So in acknowledging that others feel like outsiders as well and many of us never speak of it, how well do I reflect God to others? How well do I reflect God’s love to those who feel like they don’t belong?

The second point that my pastor made today was that joy comes from Heaven. We don’t create joy from within ourselves. I can be sad or depressed or going through a rough time and still feel joy in my heart. God is perfect and Holy and separate from us, but He is also imminent and close through Jesus. 

The glory and power of God reassuring, but it should also leave a healthy fear in us. When the angels came to the shepherds, they were scared because they felt unworthy of their holiness. But the angels told them not to be afraid, for they had new that would bring great joy. The birth of Jesus brings us joy by reminding us that even though we may be going through a rough time now, even though we’re scared, even though we feel lost, even though life is hard – a savior has come to save us. 
How much different would my life be if I believed, I mean rally believed deep in my heart, that Jesus came down from Heaven for me? 

  

Lastly, my pastor touched on having joy in the valley – this was, I felt, the most fitting part for me today. I’ve had “mountaintop experiences” – times where God’s love and glory are so apparent that I am in awe and filled with joy. The goal is to live out the joy from those mountain top experiences while we’re in the valley. God wants me to treasure His words in my heart and live my life in faith. It doesn’t sounds THAT difficult. But when you’re in the valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative – the fear, worry, pain, and anxiety. But God calls us to remember the things we know to be true, to remember the mountaintop, remember what His closeness feels like – those are the things that will bring us joy in the valley. 

Each day that God gives me in a gift and I should rejoice in every day – even the days when I’m in the valley. 

So let me rephrase my current thoughts and worries…

  

I’m having brain surgery in four days. I may be scared, but even if the worst happens – if I were to die, I would go Home to Jesus and have no more pain. If it’s successful, I will stop going blind and my vision will be saved. If something goes wrong and I come out of surgery with some type of disability, God will use that to glorify Him. I am scared and I really don’t want to go through with it. But just like He always does, God has me in the palm of His hand and whatever happens will not be a surprise to Him, He already knows and He will care for and provide for me no matter what.

I simply need to trust Him and find my joy in Him, not in this world.


7-in-7 Day 6: Help Me

I’m at a loss for words
I just don’t know what to say
This world is broken
And I don’t know how to pray
It feels like it’s over
Like You’re not even here
I’m just trying to trust you
In this gut-wrenching fear

Life or death
That’s the question at hand
Trust and doubt
I just don’t understand
To be blind or have vision
Help me to see
I can’t see like You do
Help my unbelief

You’re holding my life
You know my every moment
Even though now
I feel so forgotten
Where is Your hand
Why aren’t You moving
If life is a war-zone
This is a battle I’m losing

Life or death
That’s the question at hand
Trust and doubt
I just don’t understand
To be blind or have vision
Help me to see
I can’t see like You do
Help my unbelief

Caught up in doubt
Confused by my fear
Are you weeping with me
I really can’t hear
I’m hoping for more
Longing for grace
Do I have faith to believe
That You’re in this place

Life or death
That’s the question at hand
Trust and doubt
I just don’t understand
To be blind or have vision
Help me to see
I can’t see like You do
Help my unbelief


Miscarriage vs. Abortion

I haven’t written a “compare and contrast” essay since middle school, but I’ve had some thoughts weighing heavy on my mind and I can’t think of a better way to express them…so let’s compare and contrast two very tragic experiences – miscarriage vs. abortion.

On the one hand, abortion is a choice that a woman makes to willingly take the life of her unborn child and abortion is the unplanned, spontaneous loss of the baby. But on the other hand, abortion and miscarriage both result in a stopped heart beat and the loss of a life that was beautifully woven together by the hands of a creative God. They both result in a woman wondering what could’ve been.

Let me give you some examples:

A young wife found out she was pregnant, and although it was unexpected, she was thrilled by the thought of the new life growing inside of her. She touched her hand to her belly in excitement and anticipation of the changes that would take place in the coming months. The undeniable beauty of the pregnancy glow began to shine across her face as she filled with glorious anticipation.

Until the day she saw blood. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she tried to process what it meant; she already knew. She went to the emergency room while her heart cried out for God to protect the small life inside her. Minutes felt like hours as she sat in the waiting room with her knees to her chest, trying to hold back her sobs.

Finally, the moment of truth. She was lead to an exam room and the doctor brought in the ultrasound and he said the words she had been dreading.

“There is no heartbeat.”

The world around her seemed to go black. Doctors and nurses were still talking and doing their jobs. But she couldn’t make sense of any of it. The words, “no heartbeat”, were playing on repeat in her head. A nurse reached out and sympathetically touched her arm. She was startled back to reality by the touch and the tears started. Her hands slid down her abdomen to the same place they rested just a week before. Instead of life, she now felt a void – like a small piece of her heart was missing.

The process of an abortion is much different. Abortion requires the heart-wrenching choice to choose death over life. A choice that, at the time, may seem like the only answer. A choice that looks like an “easy out”. A choice that will stop the beating of a tiny heart. A choice that, like miscarriage, steals a piece of her heart.

I won’t go into as much detail here about what the scared, pregnant, college girl goes through as she decides the fate of her unborn child. I’ll let you read about the scars of abortion separately.

Abortion and miscarriage have nothing in common – until you look at the aftermath. The young wife who lost her baby at five weeks due to miscarriage is depressed and confused and angry at God. She does not understand why and she struggles with her doubt. But what may come as a shock to many, is the scared girl who chose to abort her baby at eleven weeks is also grieving.

The woman who chose abortion may not grieve immediately. She may not grieve for many years. But when she grieves, when she feels the weight of her choice, she will feel the same confusion and anger. When she grieves, she will trace her hands over her abdomen, feeling the place where her baby once rested soundly. She will crumble into a pile of regret.

I was both of these women. I was the scared woman in the emergency room who desperately wanted to hear the strong heart of my unborn baby beating under my belly. I was also the scared girl in the abortion clinic who just wanted to find a way out.

And in both situations, I grieved. I didn’t grieve my abortion for five years, but the grief was the same.

So what’s the difference between the five week old baby that I miscarried and the eleven week old babies that I aborted? One was wanted and one wasn’t – that’s it. They were both people. They were both little bodies that were, just like you and me, hand crafted by God for a reason and a purpose.

When I miscarried, I told friends and family what happened. I was given a lot of support, hugs, and prayers. But after my abortion I hid in silence for five years before I let myself grieve and when I did, I was still too ashamed to ask for much support.

The point I want to make in this is that, whether a child is lost due to miscarriage or abortion, or even still-birth, the life of ANY unborn child had value and purpose. A woman who aborted her baby and the woman who miscarried both have an equal right to grieve the loss of their babies.

The only answer to the grief, no matter the method of the loss, is the truth of the Gospel and the hope that can only be found the Christ. God can handle our doubts and our anger. The only choice we have, if we want to find true healing and not just a band aid, is to trust God with our deepest hurts.


Who do You Trust for Protection?

For most of my life, I could only wonder at what is was like to be protected. I longed for that kind of protection that only a daddy could provide. I longed to feel like I was worth being protected. As I got older, I threw myself, head first, into horrible situations in hopes that it would be in that situation that a man, any man, would step up and protect me (it’s only in retrospect that I know the reasoning behind why I was doing such crazy things). But all the reckless behavior and perpetual lies only led to more disappointment and resentment when no one ever protected me they way I thought they should.

Through a series of unexpected, but fortunate, events, I’ve come to know that there’s only One who can protect me the way I want; the way I need. And I can’t expect my husband, my parents, or anyone else to protect me the way God can.

Last week, I was driving Robert’s truck down the highway at 70 mph with my parents and my kids in the truck. Out of nowhere a car comes over into our lane, running us off the road in the process. As soon as I saw that car, I gripped the wheel as hard as I could and swerved onto the shoulder, I was all I could do to control the truck once it hit the gravel and I did not think that I was going to be able to control it. I was sure that we would were going to crash into the guardrail. But somehow, the truck came to a stop. Shaking and scared, I looked at the backseat; my girls were safe, smiling, and ALIVE! But that’s when I noticed that Rylinn (2 years) had pulled her arms out of the straps in her car seat. IF we had wrecked, she likely would have been killed. If the car had hit us, the truck, most likely, would have flipped because of the height of the truck, the lowness of the car, and the slight angle of the road. I believe, had that happened, my mom, who was in the passenger seat where the car would have hit, and Rylinn would not have survived and that Mackenzie (3 years), my step-dad, and myself would have all been severely injured, if not dead. I don’t know what the outcome would’ve been if we had hit the guardrail, but I don’t think it would’ve been pretty and I don’t think Rylinn would have survived that either. These scenarios have played over and over in my mind and each time I think about it, I am simply amazed by God’s power and His great, great love.

After later talking about it, my mom told me not to give myself so little credit about not being able to control the truck because I did great and she was proud of me. But here’s the thing, I don’t think I stopped that truck – God did. It was definitely a “Jesus, take the wheel” moment. It only last a few seconds but it felt like hours and it was, quite possibly, the most terrifying moment of my life. It was a moment where, I believed, the lives of four of the people I love most in this world were in my hands and my actions would either save them or kill them. But what I’m realizing in retrospect is that their lives weren’t in my hands at all, they were, and are, in God’s.

That was the first time in my life that I have, that obviously, witnessed God’s hands protecting me. If it were only within my power, I would’ve lost control of the truck and we would’ve wrecked. I am so very thankful that I don’t have to go through life on my power alone; that God is with me through every step.

So my next point is about trust. Every day we trust in so many things, without even realizing it. When we get in our cars, we trust that they will work properly and get us safely to our destination. When we get on the road, we trust the drivers in the other vehicles to drive safely and abide by the laws of the road. When we eat at a restaurant, we trust that food we are ingesting will not make us sick. The list could go on and on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture by now.

We have to put our trust in something or someone, so where is it? I know that I struggle every day (at least once, if not more) with trusting in my own power when I have seen obvious situations (like the one above) where it is only by God’s power that I was able to be successful.

It’s only in trusting in God’s power and protection that we will be able to make it through this world with peace and joy. This world is hectic and chaotic and dangerous and without the understand God is ultimately in control of it, we’d be lost and drowning in our own worry.


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