truth

Responsibility

The tape repeats, it’s your fault.

It’s your responsibility.

You did it.

You need to be the one to carry it.

To hold on to it.

But what if you paused the tape and put it down, just for today.

What if it wasn’t your fault?

What if it isn’t your responsibility to

Carry it.

To hold it.

What if today you put it down.

What if you laid it down at the feet of Jesus.

Can you lay it down?

You have carried it long enough.

Yes, you can!

You lay it down and you walk away.

Jesus knows what to do from here.

And even when you want to go pick it back up, please don’t.

Talk to Jesus and walk away from it again.

Do this until.

You can lay it down.

You need to lay it down.

You don’t have to hold or carry this anyone.

It’s not your responsibility to hold or carry or beat yourself up day after day.

Lay it down.

Lay down what is weighing you down.

Jesus heals.

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My Truth

Stop Staring At A Closed Door

I heard this several years ago and recently was reminded of it…’Stop staring at a closed door’.

Walking away from staring at a closed door is about acceptance and moving forward.

Valerie Burton is author of 13 books on personal development, founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute and an international speaker on resilience and happiness. She is amazing. I have read several of her books and met her in person.

I love what she said about staring at a closed door. Valerie said ‘…Often times there is a lot of pain. But I have found that usually the pain of a closed door has more to do with the fact we are pushing against it. And if we just accept it. If we simply say ‘you know what, I don’t understand it but maybe this is the way things are supposed to turn out’’

Is the door a job loss?

Is the door a relationship that ended?

Is the door a job that you didn’t get?

I have experienced all of these closed doors.

How I felt when I’ve had a door close and why I have stayed staring at the closed door…

  • because I was not the one who closed the door
  • because I didn’t have input of the timing of the door closing
  • because I was in disbelief that this door just closed
  • because I was trying to make sense of what I didn’t understand
  • because I was grieving what I thought was
  • because I had false hope that the door would reopen

But when I was ready to walk away from a closed door I have learned…

  • what if God closed the door to protect me
  • because God knew that I wouldn’t leave the door on my own
  • what if there is something better for me at another door that I don’t know about yet
  • there is a this thing called God’s perfect timing
  • that I don’t have to understand why something happened to move forward

This all leads me that other saying that most everyone knows…when one door closes another door opens.

Romans 8:28 reminds us ‘And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose

So next time when I find myself having a door close, I will know that there truly is a purpose and everything will turn out even better than I ever imagined.

My journey continues…

My Truth, Processing Through Painting

Processing Through Painting

Hello hello, it’s been far too long.

My focus has been pulled in a different direction for a while but I am still working my program and still learning and growing to become a better version of myself.

I’m always a work in progress. Perfectly imperfect.

I’ve been painting. A lot. It’s become a really great outlet for me and a place where can be quiet and I can listen to God.

A lot of times my paintings reflect how I feel. Sometimes it’s intentional and I start with a plan but a lot of times it’s after I’m done, I see it…..this painting is one of those.

Here is what I see and feel…

I found myself in a place that I did not plan, hoped for and even wanted. But here I am. Confused, maybe hurt, sad, feeling alone but in emotional pain. Feeling powerless. Notice there are no footprints on the left side.

So I pace, not knowing or understanding why. Not wanting to be there. Not knowing how I will get out of these feelings. Sometimes feeling sorry for yourself. Notice that the footprints are chaotic.

Then I start processing and become ready to move forward. Well, that process and time between ‘how did I get here’ and ‘I can move forward’ can leave some beautiful things behind. (notice the tree and the gems)

This is not just for me, but so that others can see that processing pain is beautiful. And everyone benefits from it. Witnessing someone work past their pain, is beautiful.

And well a wave will come and wash away this story of pain but then there is new sand and gems for the next story.

I know I am not alone. But sometimes there are things that need to be worked out alone. And a lot of that alone time is really, alone time with God.

Maybe you will see and feel me what I do. Maybe you see and feel something different. Let me know in the comments.

My Truth

What’s in your cup?

So You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?
“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.

The same thing applies in recovery… when life comes along and bumps you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it… until you get bumped.

So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?…Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? OR Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

YOU choose how to fill your cup. That is what taking an inventory (Step 4 and Step 10) is all about.

Finding out what is in you, how did it get there, why is it still there and then allowing you to make some changes and choices over time to exchange what is bad with the good.

Gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others

What’s in your cup?

My journey continues…

Sober Living

Recovery is like…

an onion.

There’s layers of hurts, habits and hang-ups to work out and once you heal and pull away one layer there is something new revealed.

But I think this is an incomplete picture of what my (and I’m sure many others) recovery looks like.

Yesterday I went to Sunflower Farm with a group of recovery friends. Sunflowers at sunset. It was delightful. I’ve been there several times but no one else had and to watch them enjoy the farm, filled my heart.

I was looking at my pictures and found a different and I think a better way to describe my recovery other than an onion.

Recovery is like a sunflower.

Have you ever seen a sunflower bloom? Well, I took these pics and will explain my recovery journey.

Starting off, I felt closed in. Lonely and not focusing on anything else but my own pain.

I started opening up. Trusting the people in recovery with my hurts. Being willing to be open. To heal what hurt and change my behaviors.

And as I worked the 12 Steps and the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery to the best of my ability, I opened up more and more. Revealing who I am. My true self.

Seeing for myself, who I was becoming. Understanding the gifts that God gave me and putting these gifts into practice.

Seeing those around me, for who they are, who they are becoming and watching with delight, watching them bloom.

But here’s the thing about recovery. Well mine anyway. I’m not done yet. i don’t think I will ever be done. I may have healed what initially got me into recovery, blooming, using my gifts and I’m walking along side others but life happens.

I will get stung. I will get hurt. But I also know that first I have healed before and second, I have a recovery community, a forever family to stand with me. I am never alone. And I am loved.

And look what a gorgeous pattern in the center of sunflower. God is amazing. Just like he knows every hair on my head, He made these beautiful flowers with nothing overlooked. No detail too small.

FINDING FREEDOM IN RECOVERY

I have found freedom from my past hurts and decisions. And I will continue to work my program to the best of my ability so that I can continue to bloom.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Pain Is Pain…

Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a Christ centered 12 Step program for ANY hurt, habit or hang-up.

It’s unique in the fact that it’s not issue specific. I actually love the fact that the program is set up this way.

Because we may have each learned a different way of coping with life, substance or behavior. We all heal the same way. When we take the substance or behavior away, we can see and feel the pain underneath. We can all learn from each other’s pain.

You see, pain is pain. No matter where the hurt originated.

At CR we learn to work through our pain. We get tired of running from it, ignoring it, pretending not to be in pain. And we realize that what we’ve been doing is just not working because the pain is still there and it still hurts. We work the 12 steps and learn to lean on God and not ourselves. (To follow are the 12 Steps but shortened)

We admit we are powerless.

We come to believe God can restore us to sanity.

We make a decision to turn our lives and will over to God.

We make a searching inventory of ourselves.

We admit our wrongs to God, ourselves and someone else.

We become ready to have God to remove our defects of character.

We ask Him to remove all our shortcomings.

We make a list and are willing to make amends.

We make amends.

We continue to evaluate.

We seek God.

We can’t stop talking about what God has done in our lives.

And it’s after we admit, come to believe, decide, search, confess, ready, ask, become willing, make amends, continue, seek….only then we are able to share with others what God has done. And our pain is healed.

And here’s the thing, NO ONE, says my pain is greater than yours. Or my pain is not enough. Pain is pain. And we rally around each other until.

Whatever until looks like.

Did you ever notice the 12 Steps starts with We and not I? That’s because we are not made to do this alone.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that, Iron sharpens iron. This is our sponsor, our accountability partners, our recovery community. They know pain.

Being in community gives us the opportunity to be around people at different stages of recovery and walk alongside each other. What an amazingly beautiful gift.

Bob Dylan is credited with saying ‘Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.’

My journey continues…

My Truth

Perfectly Imperfect

6 years ago on Facebook, I posted one simple word. ‘Broken’. When I read it, I was immediately pulled back to that time. Where I was. How I felt. And what was about to happened. I was broken.

I had plan. I wrote THE letter. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.

I was suicidal and afraid to tell anyone cause I didn’t want my kids to be taken away from me while I was thinking of taking myself away from them.

But I stopped.

I sat in those feelings today for just a little while. So sad for who I was at that time. I wanted to hug her and say, ‘it’s going to be ok. Better than ok in-fact. It may not feel that way right now but I promise you God has a plan.’

Thank you Jesus that I stopped. I had already been seeking God. And trying to figure out what happened to my life.

Well it took me 6 more months to find myself again and get spiritually, mentally and emotionally strong enough to say enough is enough. Enough of the madness. Enough of the lies. The lies I was told and lies I told others to cover up how broken and lost I left. Enough of the living in fear of where I was and where I was going. Enough of being in denial. Enough of trying to save someone from themselves and their addiction.

Feb 2016 I went to my first Celebrate Recovery (CR) and I have never looked back.

From working the 12 Steps and 8 Principles of CR, I have learned so much about myself and how I learned to cope with life with codependency and why. I have gained awareness of my behaviors and now have new ways of coping.

I have learned so many amazing Bible verses and now actually read the Bible. And I apply them all the time.

For example, there are days that need to put on the Armor of God and well maybe I should be putting on these 7 pieces of armor everyday. Ephesians 6: 13-17 “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

And I strive to live up to The Fruits of the Spirit. These are the 9 attributes of someone who is living in accord with the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

When my mind wonders and I’m feeling down, I am reminded of what to think about in Philippians 4:8-9 “In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.”

I’m grateful for being in this place today and the direction I am going. I am grateful that I stopped 6 years ago. And I am grateful for the last 6 years and every step along the way.

I am grateful for being perfectly imperfect but working every single day to become who God always knew I was.

Perfectly Imperfect in every wonderful way!

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Self Care

Ever thought about what they say in the safety message when you take a trip on an airplane. And how it applies to life outside that flight? I have.

They say something like, ‘In the unlikely event we lose oxygen. Oxygen masks will drop down from above your seat. Place the mask over your mouth and nose. Make sure that your own mask is on first before helping others.’

Why do they say this? Because when we must take care of ourselves first before we are able to take care of others.

Imagine in the plane, if the person next to you was struggling and then you helped them, now you are suddenly struggling. And the both of you panic and can’t figure it out. It can happen so quickly.

Self-care starts and ends with God and His will for our lives.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

I love that, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ And of course ‘His good, pleasing and perfect will.’

Truly trusting God and His will for my life is transforming. I’ve seen it first hand in others and I’ve lived it.

Self care does not come easy to me. For a long time, I ran until I was empty having nothing left for myself. Self care sounded selfish. I wasn’t getting my my needs met so I’d fill up all of my time with taking care of others. In all parts of life.

But now I have a new perspective. I need to put my own oxygen mask on. I need to fill myself up with healthy habits. We can’t pour from an empty cup.

Can’t pour from an empty cup!

Attending meetings is part of my weekly self-care routine. I’m a better me and am able to serve my family, friends, Church, Celebrate Recovery and work. Prayer and journaling daily are also part of my routines. I guess it’s living Steps 10-12 or Celebrate Recovery Principles 8 and 9.

Ready to take some action steps and make self care a priority? Tell me about it!

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

From a place of love…

As someone who struggles with codependency, I heard an amazing yet sad reminder over the weekend.

I went to a Church service where a guest Pastor spoke about his addiction and recovery through Jesus Christ. Part of his bottom was when his Dad unexpectedly passed away. And the next time he relapsed, his Dad was not there to help pick him back up.

Later in the day, at the Q and A session, he shared that if his Dad was still alive, he likely wouldn’t be.

That was such a difficult reminder to hear but an important one.

That hard truth of when a codependent or enabler ends up causing harm when we were just coming from a place of what we thought was love. That place where we want to soften their fall but we just end up prolonging their bottom and pain.

I know for myself, I wanted to soften the fall of a now ex boyfriend. I would be screaming inside….where is your bottom. As I picked him up from jail or from someplace else he shouldn’t have been. He needed to feel his own consequences from behavior he was choosing. And my softer version while well meaning, was not helping him.

I kept giving him chances and covering for him as I thought, this would be the time that he would get sober and if I didn’t, I would miss it. I would miss being there with him, living a sober life together. if I just loved him enough, he would stop drinking. Or thinking, if he really loved me he would stop.

But that’s not how that story ended.

That story ended with me reaching my bottom before he did. I had to untangle myself from this crazy train of addict and enabler. Which included a protective order because I was afraid.

Then I found Jesus Christ through this little program called Celebrate Recovery.

That story ends with me not only learning that Jesus wanted to be in relationship with me the entire time and I just needed to turn towards Him. But also that God loves me so much that He sent his beloved son, Jesus here to live a perfect life and die for my not even done yet, sins. To pay the price for me. To take on all my burdens. All of my hurts, habits and hangups and replace those things with freedom, joy and love.

I also have learned to love myself and have learned how to have real meaningful relationships with others. To fellowship with like minded people who love Jesus and each other right where we are.

My journey continues….

My Truth

What Alcoholic Behaviors Looks Like

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that alcoholism is not my issue. But I have been around it my entire life.

This post is from my point of view. The person loving the person who struggles with alcoholism and what their behaviors look like.

One thing I didn’t realize is it’s not the same for everyone. Which seems funny to say because it just isn’t. But I really didn’t realize how different the behaviors could be until I experienced it with different people in my life.

Growing up in the home of an alcoholic, I witnessed a high functioning alcoholic. One who was successful professionally. Maintained a home and provided for the family. And most people would have never known looking in from the outside.

My mom died from cirrhosis. It was the most terrible thing I have ever witnessed. Fluid backed up and had to be drained. Her skin cracked on her legs and fluid dripped out. It was terrible. She was shutting down from the inside out.

The man I married, drank nightly just like I experienced growing up. But he also used his words carelessly and was mean and thoughtless after drinking. There were times he was embarrassing to be around while he thought he was the funniest person in the room.

A turning point for me when I realized that this was a bigger problem, was when he was drinking at inappropriate times. Using a big gulp cup to cover that he was drinking something much harder than a soda. And telling the kids that it was ‘daddy’s drink’. Or having a flask at the pumpkin patch became normal for him.

A few years after my divorce, I got into a relationship with an alcoholic. He was a white knuckling alcoholic. Sober by forcing it but that didn’t last long.

He was a binge drinker. Black out drunk daily. Unable to keep a job. Hiding alcohol. Planning his next trip to the liquor store. Buying a small bottle cause ‘it’s the last one, I promise’. But then going back a few hours later for the next last one. Withdrawing. Needing to drink to stop the withdrawal. Hospitalized. Arrested. I became afraid of his unpredictable behaviors and was issued a protective order.

And my friend. Lying about where she was. Or how much she had to drink. Kinda wanting to stop but was just not ready to give it up.

As you see there is a wide range of behaviors and what alcoholism looks like in each person I have known who struggles with alcoholism.

The basic definition of Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.

What all these people have in common is they each used alcohol to cope with life. That alcohol numbs feelings. And covers up deep hurts of the past.

Alcoholism stole my mom away from me.

Alcohol changed who people I loved were.

Alcohol lied to the people in my life that with alcohol, life is better.

But

I have also seen what it looks like to break the chains of alcoholism. And they are the most amazing people I know.

Lyrics from Chain Breaker by Zach Williams

I know that all of us do the best we can with what we know at the time. And when we know a different way, we do better. I have seen it, I have lived it with my own struggles of depression, codependency and body image.

There’s a better life.

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving. He’s a prison shaking savior. If you got chains. He’s a chain breaker.

So who is He? He is Jesus Christ. And He wants to be in relationship with us. Not only that but He wants us to live our best life. To heal the pain of the past and live and love in today.

It takes a lot of work and action to break the chains of any past hurt. But I know personally and witness everyday that all things are possible with Jesus.

I do have to acknowledge that not everyone breaks the chains. My mom, she found freedom in heaven. At least that is what I believe. I wish that was different but it wasn’t what happened.

I find comfort in knowing she is free now. Rereading those song lyrics….He’s a pain taker….she’s no longer in pain. He took the pain away in a different way than I’ve thought about before.

Thank you for letting me share.

My journey continues…

PS I drew the picture in this post

My Truth

One yellow tulip tells a beautiful story…

I went to a tulip farm this past weekend with some friends. As I walked by this some section of flowers, I knew I had to take a picture and there was more to this story. I had many things come to mind and I wanted to share it with you.

Here is what one yellow tulip said to my heart…

🌷Be yourself. Flowers don’t look around and see what other flowers are doing, they just bloom.

🌷Positive Perspective. When you think you were buried, maybe you were planted.

🌷Resilience. Look at the ground. Dry, Rocky dirt. Looks like nothing would grow here. And yet it does.

🌷 Be open to what ever today brings. Some days are dark and rainy 🌧 but that helps you grow stronger.

🌷 Give fully. Flowers do not close when Bees 🐝, butterflies 🦋 and people approach, they openly give nectar or pollen or even themselves when someone picks them to take home.

🌷 A flower lives for as long as it does. It doesn’t stop blooming because their season ends next week or tomorrow or in a month. They bloom until.

One yellow tulip tells a beautiful story.

My Truth

Finding peace in sharing my story…

Getting up and sharing my story seems really hard. There is fear of judgement and ridicule. Fear of not being believed or laughed at.

Fear that suddenly people will change their mind of how they see me. And well maybe they do.

In my story, there are things that we just don’t talk about. We don’t say out loud.

But you see, it’s not just my story. It’s God’s story.

No hurt is ever wasted. And while bad things happen to me and I did things that I am not proud of but God was there to help pick up the pieces and hold them, while I began, with Him, to put myself back together.

I did not do this alone. I had the right person, at the right time encourage me to go to Celebrate Recovery (CR).

The right people were at Celebrate Recovery. In fact, 5 years of the right people walking along side each other in this journey of finding healing, love and acceptance from life’s hurts habits and hangups.

5 years of working the 12 Steps
and living the 8 Principles of CR

I have found peace in sharing my God story.

I get to share my God’s story of this little girl who was hurt by no fault of her own. How this little girl who struggled to learn to read and He gave her the gift of writing to encourage others on their journey to serenity.

And to be able to stand up at a CR meeting and share God’s story of love, hope and healing from life’s hurts habits and hang-ups.

God’s story of how addiction adversely impacted one life and that we can break the chains of generational cycles of addiction.

God’s story that everyone can find love and acceptance in a Christ centered 12 step program called Celebrate Recovery.

God’s story of how you can find joy in trials. God’s story of unraveling one’s self from codependency and learning to cope with life in a new way.

And only with God, was I able to turn my mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into a victory.

So getting up and sharing my God story gives me peace.

My journey continues…

My Truth

I Am From – Parts one and two

Part One

I am from pink plaid flowered wall paper and a canopy bed

from tigger and a little pink blanket with satin edges

From sucking my thumb, quiet and shy

I am from cedar trees and mint

Who’s fragrances permeate my soul

And place where when Church bells meant dinner was ready

I am the youngest and forever the baby

And I lonely

Lonely in a houseful of people

No one noticed

No one sees

I am a struggling student

Letters, sounds, I see them but I don’t understand how to link them

Years of tutors and summer school

Nothing makes sense

Nothing is helping

Nothing is helping Because they don’t know

They don’t know that I think it’s my fault

That I am afraid

I’m distracted and confused

I am from alcohol

From a place of forgotten conversations, but I was not the one who forgot

That place where I disappear

That no one notices

That what feels like no one cares

I am older now, I want to tell

But I can’t, I’m too afraid

Now too much time as passed

It doesn’t matter anymore

The damage is already done

My slate is forever changed

Part Two

I am from self reliance but

Hate to make decisions

It’s easier for me to allow others to decide for me

I am from broken promises

From saying one thing and doing another

I am from a place where my partner in life sees an obstacle as a stop sign

And I want to climb over it

Or dig under it

Or figure out a way around it

A place that if we can’t do those things

That we will take the hit together but

Right before the hit, I am alone

I am from a place where everything is funny if you have a few drinks, well funny to him anyway

From a place of forgotten conversations, but I was not the one who forgot

That putting others down makes him feel bigger

From a place that my fears or dreams were not heard, acknowledged or addressed

From a place that silence meant everything was ok

That at some point, I gave up

And he didn’t notice

So when I left, he had no idea why

Alone

Unlovable

A shell

The enemy knew I so desperately wanted to be heard.

To be from a place of love

To be from a place where I mattered, where I was enough

And he came along

He quickly gave me those things that I was thirsty for

I then was from a place of denial

That things that should have been stop signs, I justified

I overlooked

I lied to myself and everyone else

Others saw what I was blind to because that being from that place of love and acceptance meant more to me

That place was short lived and I was shattered

I am now from a place of covering him

From putting myself in harms way

I am from fear of someone finding out

From alcohol

From a place of forgotten conversations, but I was not the one who forgot

I am from a place of his lies

His disfunction

A place of waiting for him to hit bottom

I am from a place of letting everyone down

And wanting to end it all

I am from these places but I’m not in those places anymore

My journey continues…

Writing Part 3