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Be Strong and Courageous

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

There are so many people struggling with anxiety for a variety of issues today.

There are many who are battling with issues Covid-19 has caused. Many are battling the virus, while others may be feeling the effects of having their jobs impacted, or are being forced to live in isolation. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, if you are battling with anxiety, then this feeling is real to you.

Some may be experiencing health related issues, or the uncertainty of pending surgeries. These medical concerns may have you consumed because of the pain you are in, or the fear of the bills that may be created as a result of this experience. The anxiety it is causing is real to you.

Some of you who are in school or are going to college may be stressed over the amount of work you have to invest in each class, or the papers you need to write, the exams you need to study for and take, as well as the numerous amount of deadlines that need to be met. This struggle is real and the anxiety is insurmountable.

Some may be in difficult relationships with spouses, family members, or friends. You know the relationship is toxic, but you are not sure how to end it or if you should. What you are certain with is that the pressures and the stress it is causing is more than what you want to continue to live with, but how do you make the changes that need to be made?

It does not matter what the struggle is. What matters is, the struggle is real.

It is my desire and prayer, God will use this Sunday Reminder to give you the strength to “Be Strong and Courageous.”

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Do not be dismayed because God is with you. He is guiding you. He is giving you the strength and the courage you need to battle your anxiety.

Be sure to spend some quiet time with Him today and ask Him for the guidance you need to fight this battle and know He will deliver you the peace and comfort you are in need of. He will walk you through the difficulty and you will begin to experience a peace you didn’t think you could have.

Rest in your Master’s arms and allow Him to free you from all that concerns you today.

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Rest, Breathe, Repeat

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

Update To Previous Blog Post / “Living My Real”

I’m not sure about you, but I for one, am thankful for the weekend to finally arrive.

While we still have no resolution to if my daughter will have her health insurance come Monday morning, (see my post, “Living My Real” if you are unsure what I am referring to), I have to accept I have no control over the outcome over this stressful situation.

We have done everything we needed to do. We faxed the paperwork to them, not just once, but twice. We faxed their information Wednesday night and again Friday morning.

Now we have to “just” sit and wait and pray when we check her insurance Monday morning we will see nothing has changed. We will see she is still covered like she has been her whole life.

After being consumed by all of this, I had a realization yesterday while I was in my back yard. God revealed to me, no matter how difficult life may be, His beauty is still around us.

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

He revealed to me, as I was pruning my roses, that no matter how beautiful life may be, there will always be the thorns in our lives. The thorns keep us alert, but they aren’t meant to consume us. The beauty of the bountiful roses is what we are meant to see.

Many times the beauty is hard to see, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Are you too, going through a difficult time? Have you forgot what it was like to just “breathe” because your circumstances are all consuming?

Today I have a challenge for both of us. I want you to breathe and open your eyes up to the beauty that surrounds you.

I know so many are experiencing a quarantined life, but I want you to go outside and do something that brings you peace.

Is this the sound of the ocean water and seagulls in the background or the quietness of a hike in the woods?

Is it a quiet walk or a relaxing bike ride?

It doesn’t matter what you do, but I would suggest just going outside, breathe in the fresh air, and just open your heart to God will do wonders to restore your heart and your soul.

Share with Him your need to release this stress and allow Him to replace that stress with a peace that only He can give.

My friend, take some time this weekend to Rest, Breathe, and Repeat.

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Living My Real

A Day in The Life of Our Medical Journey

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

This is how I am starting my day again. Sitting in a doctor’s office parking lot.

Today is a bit harder though. Today I could just sit here and weep as my daughter walks off by herself to go get 25-30 nerve blocks in her head for another month.

I’m choosing to not give in to my emotions though in just the off chance the “Corona Police” are not at the front door inspecting everyone (please, do not criticize my response). I know they are there to help and protect others, but when you live what we live, it isn’t easy to run into this “all” the time.

Thanks to this Corona Pandemic she has to do all her doctor appointments alone, because they will not let me anywhere near the building.

Seriously people, who wants to get all of these shots in their head and do it alone?

I can speak for myself, no, not me! I hate shots and I’m talking just the ones you get in your arm.

But for my precious daughter, she is getting them in her head to help with her chronic migraines. It is the only way she can manage them now. She does this once a month, but who knew we would ever get to a point in life where she would be forced, by others, to have to endure this all alone.

Today is one of those difficult days to watch her suffer and struggle.

I have already texted my husband asking, why?!? Why does she have to battle to live a “normal” life.

Why does everyday have to be one where she endures pain and overwhelming fatigue?

Why can’t she be healthy and live a “typical” college kid’s life?

This has been an exasperating week for us, which is probably why I just want to sit and weep and maybe even just cry.

Our health insurance, which is suppose to be the top of the line, has decided that because she reached her “projected” graduation date that they are going to cancel her health insurance in a matter of days.

These are the same people who pay a “ton” of money for her health care already.

So we have had to jump through some mega hoops to get the proof from her college, (that is closed down due to the Covid-19 crisis), to prove she is still in college.

I am completely baffled as to how and why this is happening still.

We are left now praying that everything we submitted will work to prove she is still in college. If just one person slows this process down, she will be left not covered by health insurance.

Without health insurance all her treatments will stop, she will not have access to the specialists we spent years trying to find, and we will not be able to afford all the medicine she is on.

This is such as scary thought as I write it. It should be something we shouldn’t even have to be going through. The system is seriously broken for this to be occurring. This was something we knew would be coming on her 23rd birthday, and that we were prepared mentally for, and would not have waited until the last minute, or in this case, second, to fix it.

No, in this situation, someone made a serious mistake 2 years ago and we are just now finding out about it and have literally hours to fix it before the damage it will cause to my daughter will be massive, debilitating and permanent.

So, I sit here with a knot in the pit of my stomach, looking at a busy parking lot. There is an ambulance and a fire truck at the entrance where I keep looking up to see if my daughter is walking out of.

I’m left to sit here asking God why? Why does she have to suffer? What will be her story? What will be her testimony? Why does every day have to be a battle?

Until God decides the time to reveal those answers, I know I just have to keep trusting in Him for the direction, protection, and discernment.

Are you in a similar battle? I know others are. Please know I’m here with you. I know the lonely feeling this life brings. Please know if you are, I standing beside you.

You’re not alone!

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There Is A Reason For The Season

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

Encouragement Today

My friend, Today’s Encouragement will be a simple reminder that no matter what you are going through, whether everything is going well, or whether everything is going badly, there is a reason for all of it.

God reminds us in Ecclesiastes,

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

If you are going through a difficult time remember this and be encouraged that with every second and every hour God is growing you and molding you for a better plan and purpose.

He never allows us to go through the muddy waters of life without allowing us to use those difficulties later and somewhere else.

I have experienced some great difficulties in my life and as I was going through them, my greatest consolidation was that there was a purpose for it. Whether the purpose was to help me conquer a trial later or if it was to help encourage someone else, I knew in my heart there was a reason for everything I was going through.

It didn’t come easily though, because there were many days I remember saying, “Lord, this is hard, this is really hard, but if you can use this hardship later to make someone else’s life a bit easier, then I will be okay and I can do this, but only with Your strength.”

I needed to know there was a reason and a purpose for the difficult season in my life and God was always there to reassure me there was.

My friend, if this is you today and you are struggling in a difficult relationship, you are struggling financially, or you are struggling with a sick family member, a close friend or even a spouse. It doesn’t matter if it is all of these or none of these. What matters if you are having a difficult time is to remember these simple, but powerful words;

“There is none like You, Lord.”

Jeremiah 10:7

Stand tall today, hold your head just a little bit higher, and know your God knows you, sees you, and above all else, loves you.

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God Will Light Your Way

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

My Friend,

Are you struggling with a difficult situation and you just feel beat down and alone?

Do you feel like no matter where you look, you only see the darkness of your circumstance?

Well, I have an encouraging reminder to share with you today.

You are not! You are not alone, no matter how lonely you may feel and you are not surrounded by the darkness that has you consumed.

God is here to remind you, today that, “His Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” Ps 119:105

Be encouraged knowing God is with you, every second, every minute, and every hour. He is with you and will provide the light you need to see through the darkest of times.

Lean on Him and you will not feel alone. Lean on Him and you will no longer be consumed by your circumstances. He loves you and He is holding you up today.

Be Encouraged Today, You are not alone.

Blessings, Broken, Courage, Depression, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Faith, Grace, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, pain, Peace, Storms, Strength, Stress, Trials, Weakness, Weariness

Waiting on God Does Not Lead To Disappointment

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Do not be discouraged if you are going through something and you keep praying over it, and God keeps saying, “No, not now”.

My friend, God is hearing your prayer and is wiping your tears, but no matter how discouraged you are, He will not answer your prayer until His timing is perfect.

When His timing is “perfect”, you will only be able to say, “Wow”.

Wait for His timing. Wait for your, “Wow” and know you won’t regret it.

But until then, keep praying as He hears your prayer.

He has not abandoned you. He wants you to lean on Him. He wants to know you need Him.

Trust God and His timing, even if it doesn’t make sense. Trust His timing even when the pressure of others is intense. They do not know what He is doing, just as you don’t, but don’t give into their pressure.

If God is not directing you, then continue to wait.

My friend, you’ve got this no matter how difficult your trial is.

There will be a reward for your wait. It may come in an hour, but it may take six years or more, but keep trusting in God and know He will meet your need, no matter what it is.

Wait for your “Wow”.

Anxiety, Bible, Depression, Discouraged, Grief, Journey, Life, pain, Stress, Trials, Weakness, Weariness

Our Broken Spirits Are Healed

Today’s reminder is a simple one!

Are you feeling alone? Are you feeling overwhelmed?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms‬ ‭34:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This reminder is to encourage you to know, despite how you may feel, God is with you. He is saving you from all you are feeling.

Turn your eyes towards Him and allow Him to heal your heart.

Lastly, no matter how you may be feeling, you are never alone!

Anxiety, Bible, Bondage, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Rawness, Real, Strength, Stress, Trials, Weariness

What Do You Have In Your Boxes

Psalm 9_9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Journaling Thoughts

Choosing Which Box to Open

I must just sit down and take some time to decompress from the stress of life. I feel like I am trapped on a hamster wheel and I cannot get off. I know everyone has problems, we are all human, but how we handle them is completely different.

Box of WorriesI for one, compartmentalized my stress and worries. I have so many issues and concerns that worry me that I have found if I place them all into their own individual boxes then I can open them as I need worry about them.

As for my boxes, they look a little like this…

  • One for finances.
  • One for my daughters’ medical issues.
  • One for my husband’s medical issues.
  • One for my blog.
  • One for my business.
  • One for staying on top of managing my home and family.
  • One for trying to be a good wife.
  • One for trying to be a good mom.
  • One for trying to be a good daughter.
  • One for trying to be a good friend.

And the list can go on and on and on.

Unfortunately, for me, I can have all my boxes opened at one time and have all the contents, or in this case worries and concerns, laying all over the floor in a big heaping mess.

In the “picture perfect” world, I would only open one box at a time, but not me. I am that “raw” and “real” mess and I am exposing myself to you today with the hopes of encouraging you to know, if you too are like me, you are not alone.

I am not, by any means, saying this is healthy, as I know it is not, but what I am saying is that it is real and there are others who live in this messiness, we call life.

By living this way, it is impossible to give all this the focus it needs to be done efficiently and therefore it feels like everything in my world is either getting ahead of me or I am constantly in a state of it all falling apart.

I juggle all of this and because I do, nothing on this list gets my undivided attention and as a result, makes me feel stressed out, inadequate, and frustrated.

Do you have a set of boxes similar to mine and find yourself feeling the same way?

Psalm 9_9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.My friend, if you do, I am going to share with you what God shared with me this morning.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of trouble.” Psalms 9:9-10 

We can use this verse as a means of strength when we are weak, as a source of courage when we are scared, and a source of comfort when we are lonely. 

When life has us knocked down like I described above, He is always there to guide us back to a time of stability and normalcy and strengthens us from our time of fragility. He is always there, even in the middle of our biggest messes, when we choose to open all our boxes at one time and then we feel overwhelmed and frightened by what awaits us.

My friend, God is our source of strength even in our darkest and weakest of times. If you have wandered away from Him and feel like you have strayed so far that He has forgotten you, I am here to remind you, you have not. He knows you and remembers you. He wants to be your comforter and your source of strength. He wants you to know you are loved unconditionally.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (1)Remember the familiar bible verse that so many of us learned when we were children or new Christians,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

He loves us all unconditionally. He loves us no matter how messy our lives are. He loves us despite how many boxes we may have or how many we may have open at one time.

There is one thing that remains consistent as I write this blog post and it is this; God keeps reminding me that no matter how many boxes I may have opened or how many boxes I may have dumped all over the floor at one time, He is reminding me that it can all be picked back up (similar to our children doing clean up and putting all their toys away) and that once it is all picked up and placed back in the box, the cover can be closed and we do not have to see the mess any longer.

My Friend, as I close out this post, it is my desire through exposing the rawness of my life, that you are encouraged by knowing no matter what you are going through, God is still by your side. He is there comforting us as we open our boxes and wants us to turn to Him while we navigate our way through the boxes.

Be encouraged and know that no matter how dark and messy life may seem, there is always a hope to cling to and that hope is our Savior who is “ALWAYS” by our side. We are never alone no matter how lonely you may feel.

Peace and comfort my friend as you finish reading this. It is my desire if you struggle with the same messiness I struggle with, that God can use my ugly revelation today to encourage you to know you are not alone and that above everything else to know God is and will always be by your side.

 

Anxiety, Brave Art of Motherhood, Broken, Burn out, Discouraged, Exhausted, Journey, Life, Rawness, Stress, Trials

Changes Are Powerful

Revealing All Sides of Them

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

I am popping in to say I am still here. Last week ended up crazy busy because Kiddo stayed well enough for me to in fact paint the inside of my house while my husband was gone. I am so happy I did because I have a “real” confession to make, my house was filthy.

When I began to tear it apart to get into the crevasses and corners you do not see on a regular basis, I began to see stuff that made me cringe. It truly broke my heart because Kiddo is highly allergic to this kind of dust. It makes me wonder how much our own home was contributing to her sickness?

Well, it is clean, updated, and fresh again. As we were making these changes we were both excited because we like change. Change breathes life into whatever it is you are changing. It to us is not a bad thing because we love it, however, to my husband he was not impressed when he came home to my freshness and change.

He hates change, but I was to be able to paint and make over rooms in my house in the past. I suspected he was not happy this time though because when he came home from being away his silence was deafening. I was not able to get everything I wanted to be done because he was not gone long enough, so he did not see what I have envisioned yet. I was not able to get the trim painted or put up the special signs I am going to make. At this point, I have decided to wait on painting the trim as I think this will truly be too much change. He needs to sit on these changes for a while.

I have an immense “raw and real” confession to make, this rejection hurt me to my core. I do everything I do to keep our home running efficiently while both he and my daughter spend more time sick than they do well. I run them to their countless doctor appointments so I can stay on top of their health issues and so for me to do this because it made me feel good was beyond disheartening.

I got extremely upset Saturday night and had a complete meltdown. I was yelling and screaming (not my finest moment or one I am proud of), but it was because I was tired of hiding my hurt and exhaustion any longer. I was tired of hiding behind my mask that says it is okay you hurt me again. Unfortunately, I crushed my sweet daughter in my rant because it started with her and I arguing with each other over my not willing to go to Washington DC for Veteran’s Day, but that was not even what had me upset. I was upset with her dad and his stubbornness to see these changes were important to me and that I needed this for me to find my happy place again. She didn’t know this. She only saw my emotions boiling out of control to the point they erupted like an out of control volcano.

I told you this to share my deepest and real feelings which I hide from behind my mask, the mask that says I have it all together when in full disclosure, I have nothing together. As my husband told me the other night in my fit of anger and yes rage at one point, I have become psychotic and I need help. This is only his perspective. I, however, stand on the truth of my own emotions. Unstable is the least of my problems. I am however over-worked, over-burdened from carrying the load for both of us for so long. I am exhausted both mentally and physically and depressed for the lifestyle we are living in now and will continue to live for him to be happy here. What he does not realize, understand or see, is that if I was as unstable as he believes me to be, I could not continue to carry the unbearably heavy load I carry to ensure he has a happy life while he struggles with the burdens of dealing with his own PTSD.

I am not sure how it has happened but since 2012 I have tap danced around my husband’s war triggered PTSD and anger. I have walked on cartons worth of eggshells to keep him happy. We stopped doing things we enjoyed as a family. We stopped attending events that were crowded because that was an anxiety trigger for him. Now both my Kiddo and I have found (as of this weekend that crowds make us both nervous and uncomfortable). I knew change upsets him so I make few “big” changes so he will not get upset, but my friends as I have found years later, giving in to all of this is not healthy for you as an individual. Your attempt to help them all the time is actually enabling what will become bad behavior and behavior that can, in turn, cost you everything. Everything meaning your happiness, your identity, and your life. 

Be careful how much of you, you give away to others. I have done some serious soul-searching over the past couple of days as I was on a personal quest to make changes within myself to find “me” to be truly happy again. Now I find myself at a crossroads because if my husband hates change to the point of me writing my deepest and rawest heart out here, then I have a much bigger problem of making changes within my own heart. He is not going to like the personal changes I make within myself because he will feel the effects of some of those changes.

So this is the question I am left with … do I continue my journey of self-discovery at the cost of everything, that meaning my marriage of almost 25 years and my family? How much is my need for change worth to me?  

Please forgive me as this post is deeply personal and I am writing from my rawest moment this morning. I am at this moment of pondering this simple quote written by Rachel Marie Martin in her book, The Brave Art of Motherhood,

“Be brave,” says my spirit. 

“Wait,” says fear.

“Have courage,” says my soul. 

“Not yet,” says worry.

“Dare,” says my heart. 

– Rachel Marie Martin 

The Brave Art of Motherhood

Where does this journey take me? Where does God want me to be in five years? How do I regain stability in my life again? All of these are questions I have and still need answers to. As I continue to find my way in life, I will continue to write about them as it is my deepest desire that if my heartache can help someone else to know they are not battling their own battles alone, then all of this pain will be worth it in the end.

 

 

 

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Seeing The Colors of Life

Encouragement Today

pexels-photo-602579-1

Today’s inspiration comes from the beauty of the fall leaves during this season. There is something inspiring and encouraging about how the leaves display their colors and how they eloquently and beautifully shine through this period of transition.

As we approach the season of fall, take some time to think about the similarities between our lives and how we accept the changes in our lives versus how the leaves in all their beauty handle the changes in theirs. Do you shrivel up and hide in the darkness hoping for life to just go away or do you pull yourself together and walk out your door with your head held high knowing no matter how difficult life may be, it is not going to knock you down to your knees in a state of paralysis?

My friend, think about how the seasons affect the growth cycle of a leaf. During this season of fall, before they die they will show their greatest beauty and when that passes they fall to the ground and feed the soil as they disintegrate thus providing the food and nutrients the trees need to flourish and grow again.

As you think about how the seasons evolve and go through their various cycles you will see how eventually fall will turn into winter and winter back into spring where the trees will begin to grow their tiny little red blossoms that will eventually become leaves again. As the leaves grow bigger and stronger they will endure the struggles of life as well. They go through storms, droughts, winds, rain, heat, and when they are lucky they experience the perfect day of sunshine and warmth. Unfortunately, even for the leaf, this is not something it experiences every day. It experiences more days of difficulty than it does easy days but yet it remains strong enough to stay on the tree through all of its adversities until fall presents itself again.

autumn autumn leaves blur close up

Think about the similarities we too experience. We have times when life is just going along easily. The sun is shining and the warmth of the day allows us the ability to just breathe a sigh of relief knowing everything will be okay. Then what happens when the storms arise and darkness sets in? Drought dries us up emotionally and heavy rains leave our lives flooded and paralyzed until the sun comes back out.

 

How do you respond to these challenges? Do you survive as eloquently as the green leaves do or do you let go and fall to the ground to shrivel up and pass away earlier than you should have?

adult blur camera dirt road

My friend, this is a tough analogy for us as humans to accept and to evaluate, but there is truth to it. Today’s challenge is to seriously make you think about what your life looks like. Are you the green leaf hanging on the tree limb determined to stay no matter what the weather conditions are until you can shine beautifully in the fall with your bright orange, yellow, and red colors? Or are you the green leaf that will be knocked to the ground prematurely to miss your season of beauty?

 

No matter how easy or difficult the spring and summers may be, the leaves continue to grow and remain green and fresh until the fall season arrives and they can show their majestic colors again. This is how God wants us to live our life. He wants us to remain strong in His loving care until our time comes to shine through showing others our true beauty. He wants us to live a life where we can continue to see the beauty of life that while not being consumed by all the adversity that surrounds us.

My friend, God wants us to look at life through the lens of a camera. Even when life is at its most fragile state. That lens has a way of showing us the beauty that hides on the other side of it. Open your heart and your eyes today to see the beauty of the fall colors that are all around you to include those that are in your life. 

Lastly, remember you are as beautiful as the most beautiful leaf you have ever seen.