#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Blessings, Challenge, Courage, Encouragement Today, Hope, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

Do Not Grow Weary

I do not know what your week holds for you. I do not know what blessings you will receive or what struggles you will battle, but one thing remains week after week, day after day.

This constant is God.

Today’s reminder is to encourage you with these great words from Galatians,

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV).

Do not give up my friend!! You’ve got whatever comes your way.

#Findingyourcourage, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Blessings, Bravery, Challenge, Character, Courage, Encouragement Today, Faith, Focus, Grace, Gratitude, Hope, Journey, Life, Motivation, Peace, Strength, Thankfulness

The Path Less Traveled

You’ve got this Friend!

 “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go; just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” -Unknown

You’ve got anything life can throw your way.

God has empowered you with the strength, determination, and endurance to battle what lays ahead.

Remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 ESV.

Take one step at a time and lean on God for your strength as well as your refuge.

One day you will look back on today and give God the praise for helping you get through it.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 ESV.

Hang in there and know, whatever you may be going through, it will not last forever.

You’ve got this Friend, you’ve got this! 💜

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

Turning Frustrations Into Determination

Are you having one of those days where you just wish something would go right?

Maybe you were up all night or you got up and your car wouldn’t start, or you just received a phone call from the baby sitter saying you need to leave work to pick up your sick child?

It doesn’t matter what you have struggled with today.

All that matters is that you are still moving forward.

Instead of allowing your frustrations to manifest in your soul and consume your entire day, try releasing all the penned up anxiety and turn it into the power of determination.

Use that extra adrenaline energy for something good and redeem your day.

You will feel better when you do.

You’ve got this Friend! 💜

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Challenge, Character, Courage, Encouragement Today, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Motivation, Peace, Strength

Take One Step At A Time

Encouragement Today

You’ve got this today!

No matter what lays ahead just focus on right now.

One step at a time while you tackle one task at a time.

Breathe in and out.

You’ve got this because I believe in you!

#Findingyourcourage, Anxiety, Bible, Comfort, encouragement, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Strength, Weariness

Love, Strength and Sunsets

The Same Love That Created The Sunset, Loves You as Well

I hope my daughter doesn’t mind my sharing an absolutely beautiful sunset she sent me last night as she was crossing over the water on her way home. This sunset can only be made by God, it’s Creator.

Today’s message is short, but my prayer is that it is meaningful.

My friend, I am here to remind you today, no matter what you may be facing or what obstacles you may be trying to hurdle, that the same God who created this sunset is the same God who will walk you through your situation.

Here is a verse to cling to if you are in need of His promise to love us unconditionally,

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:5 NIV

‭‭I do not know what your circumstances are, but I know one thing that is true, God’s Love is always and forever, with no strings attached.

He loves us even when we forget how to love our selves.

Lean on Him today, My Friend! He will give you the strength you need.

Hugs to each and one of you! 💜

Anxiety, Burn out, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Journey, Life, Weariness

Fallacies Do Not Equate To Truth

design-45Encouragement Today

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Are you feeling like no one understands why you are frustrated?

Are you feeling lost even within your family?

Are you feeling invisible?

Are you struggling with being misunderstood?

Are your emotions misunderstood?

Are you constantly working, while others see you struggle, but offers no help?

My friend, these feelings of hurt and frustration are real. There are valid and legitimate reasons, circumstances, and events that have occurred in your life leading to these feelings.

Unfortunately, the feelings may feel real, but it is important to identify what is true and what are the lies we tell ourselves. 

I know when I am frustrated and I say things out of that frustration, and my daughter quickly reminds me, this is what I am telling myself, but those thoughts are not real.

We can easily fall into the trap of constant disappointment and hurt and as a result, the enemy is in our heads feeding us these lies about ourselves.

  • He tells us we are a failure.
  • He tells us we are not important.
  • He shows us all of our negative emotions and how out of control we are.
  • He tells us we are irresponsible.
  • He tells us how unloving we are.
  • He tells us how ugly we are.
  • He tells us how bad we are at being daughters and sons, wives and husbands, moms and dads.

My friend, he shouts these lies loudly so we can not miss them.

What we need to do is shut him down and for everything you hear, shout back and say, No…

  • I am not a failure, I AM SUCCESSFUL in x, y, z.
  • I am not out of control. I AM IMPORTANT.
  • I am not irresponsible, I AM RESPONSIBLE.
  • MY FEELINGS ARE REAL and valid, but I will not let them run me.
  • I am not unloving, I HAVE PLENTY OF LOVE to share with others.
  • I am not ugly, I AM BEAUTIFUL or HANDSOME.
  • I am not a bad parent, daughter or son, or wife or husband, I AM the Best I know how to be.

My friend, take the time to evaluate where the truth is in with what you are experiencing. By knowing what the truth is, you will be able to see the lies in what you believe. The enemy’s objective is to tear you down and destroy you physically and emotionally so you do not fight back. Resist these lies and fight back standing on your truth and principle. 

“Hold your head up high and fight back against what is not true. Just because you feel it, does not make it is real.”

Remember this fact and truth… you are worth fighting for. You are strong enough to fight back against the lies you tell yourself and the lies the enemy tells you.

You are… enough!! See the truth and believe it!!!!!!

 

 

Death, Grief, Journey, Suicide

Be Someone’s Ray of Light

This picture reminds me to seize the day and be someone’s sunshine on a cloudy day.

This week has been wrought with a lot of questions and the pondering of the meaning of life.

Now that the week has come to a close, I am reminded that our lives are inner-twined into so many peoples lives, whether we know it or we do not.

Reach out to those around you, friend or stranger, and be a “light” to their lives. You may never know the impact you have on others, but they will.

I know someone who did this for me and I will be forever thankful to her for it 💜. The brightest of days and the darkest of days, she will forever remain in my heart.

Her words, her smile, her genuine love for others has left a lasting impact on me and I am beyond thankful for this. 💜

I am richly blessed by the people God placed in my life. There is a “special place” for each and every one of you, but to one “special” lady, you touched my heart the day we became friends.

The encouragement you gave will always be cherished, more than you will ever know. You are loved by many and are beautifully etched in our lives forever.

Broken, Comfort, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Journey, Life, Strength, Weariness

Do Not Let Labels Define You

Encouragement Today

design-121As we were driving down the road to go to another doctor appointment for my daughter I was thinking about all she has been through over the past couple of years. I was thinking about all the pain she has endured and all the sickness she has experienced, but because she is such a medical mystery she has not been labeled with a “formal” one problem diagnosis.

She has various issues which she struggles with, but not one formal diagnosis which ties it all together. As frustrating as this can be, I think in the long run it has helped her.

She knows she doesn’t feel good and she knows she is always in pain of some form or another, but there is not one thing she looks at and says, “Why me? Why do I have this diagnosis? Why doesn’t God heal me of this _________?”

As a result of this, she does not allow herself to be identified by a label and she does not allow herself to be limited by her label either.

She gets up every morning ready to conquer the day. Whether she is to battle a day of pain or sickness, a day of school work, or if she will go to work with a fresh mind. To her, every day is its own day, but for her, it is a day that will not be based on the limits of her diagnosis.

I think of this because I recently had a discussion with someone who does have a diagnosed medical issue and they allow themselves to be limited by their diagnosis. They allow that label to not only define who they are, but they allow it to run their life.

Today’s encouragement is to provoke you to think about what hinders you in life? Do you battle a disease, a handicap, or a hardship that has caused your life to change? Have you allowed something in your life to change who you are or what you have wanted to do with your life?

My friend, think about what labels you have attached to yourself? Take some time to think about how those labels have changed or limited your ability to live your life to the fullest?

Do not allow your chronic illness, PTSD, amputation, MS, cancer, homelessness or whatever you can fill in the blank _________ with, hinder you from living the life you wished to have for yourself.

Look at your label today, identify it, and tell it, “No more ___________ (place your label here) I will not allow you to run me for I am regaining control over my life.

My Friend, you are stronger, braver, and more courageous than any label you have that is controlling your life. Take control back.
Broken, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Faith, Journey, Strength, Weariness

You Are… Enough During Your Times of Darkness

Encouragement Today

6CAE17F5-3B96-4DED-9AF1-02C8075D801BToday’s Encouragement is sparked by the rawness of life.

I am writing today out of 100% pure exhaustion so I am not sure how well this will all come together, but it is my deepest hope and most sincere prayer it will touch someone else out there today.

I live a life where I am going to be brutally honest and admit I have enabled my family to totally depend of me for their everything.

If you were to ask them they would completely disagree with me, but if you looked at our life through the window I think you would see what I see.

I am not sure psychologically why I have allowed this to happen, but I can tell you a few physical reasons I have allowed it to happen.

Since my husband’s PTSD diagnosis back in 2012, I have done everything I know how to do to make his life easier on him.

I felt bad for him because he was struggling with so much stuff that to add any extra on him was more then he could handle. I picked up doing his chores, both inside and outside. I do all the yard work and everything I physically can handle and know how to do. I rarely asked him for any help or advice because that would add more stress to him when he was already maxed out on that to begin with.

Now jump ahead to 2014, this was the year he lost his job of 15 years. Let’s add an ugly situation to an already bad situation, need I say more?

I continued to do everything I knew how to do because now we were in a bigger mess. We needed a job and quickly. My husband was struggling with fighting with his former employer over his termination because they violated his ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) Rights. He was fighting with the Department of Veteran’s Administration to get his disability appeals through the system as well as seeking advice in how to fight City Hall (per say) with our job situation. They recommended he go through the Labor Department and seek assistance from them, which he did, only for them to be of no assistance. They waited until we had exhausted every and all means of our monetary existence before they decided we had a valid and legitimate case to be looked into. By then it was too late. We needed an income and we needed it now.

While all of this was going on I was struggling with how to go get a job to help us when I homeschooled our daughter (and had from day one of preschool) as well as tending to her with her multiple medical issues. I just did not know how to do all I was doing in our home and work outside our home as well. This was and is a continuous struggle for me because this issue seems to never go away in our home.

I truly had to trust and rely on God for every step, direction, and guidance in how He was going to help us out of this ugly mess we found ourselves in. I clung to Him with white knuckles. There was nowhere else to go. You don’t tell people this ugliness of your life. It is mortifying, humiliating, and degrading. You kept this ugliness to yourself.

I am sure if you asked my husband he would say I didn’t do that great of a job with handling all of this mess. It was a fearful and scary time in our life. I spent a lot of time in tears behind closed doors and at night crying into my pillow. The stress our home endured was just totally insane, but in the end God blessed us with a job and he went back to work after nine very long months of no job.

God did protect us. We kept our home and our bills paid. Food was sketchy at best, but we still ate. Every little bit, no matter what it was counted when there was nothing coming into the house.

So back to work my husband went. We were ever so thankful to have a job again, but unfortunately this isn’t the end of our financial struggles, because the pay is nothing compared to what we were making at his previous job. We just keep making due and holding our breath from pay day to pay day.

I still do everything around our house, continued to homeschool my daughter through her high school years and added multiple doctor appointments a week to our already busy schedule due to her decline in health issues.

I carry a huge burden on my back to keep our home running efficiently because when you live as close to the edge as we do, one wrong step and life goes into crash mode again. I wish I could say I strive to keep our home a happy one while we continue to struggle, but happy it is not. We have been and continue to remain in existence and survival mode.

My husband shows little emotions any more. I went through many years of anger and rage with him. You learned to not say anything. Don’t rock the boat, so they say. Now, years later, the VA has worked out his medicine and he is stable for the most part with his anger. Thankfully the rage isn’t seen very often any more, but the damage is done. The damage he doesn’t see any longer. The forgotten hurtful words, the constant pushing away, all that is a distant memory to him, if it is even a memory, but the effects are permanently embedded and etched in my heart, my soul, and my existence.

It is hard to walk away from everything we have been through and not be scared, but one thing is for sure, you don’t talk about it. Do not show emotions because they are wrong. Well, as a result, I have become a very angry person. The tables have turned because of years of living like this.

I am tired, worn down and broken, but there is no time for any of those emotions, Stuff them and move on. Reach down, pull up your boot strings and move on with life. There is too much to do to keep this house running then to feel sorry for yourself. Finish homeschooling, tend to medical appointments (now with both of them), keep up with the chores both inside and outside and take care of them when they are both sick or injured. This is what I do.

This is the raw and ugly side of my life. I am writing this because I feel God wants me to share this ugly side of my story to touch someone else who might be struggling with their own difficult situation.

I am sharing this today to share with you the hope of a brighter tomorrow. Today may be hard, but tomorrow you might have a day where the sun will come out and you will breathe in the fresh air and God will show you there is hope again. He will show you there is hope in a new tomorrow.

My friend, the key to my long and ugly story is that no matter how dark life can get, God remains by your side constantly and continuously. He will never forsake you. When you think you can not take one more step, He is there holding you up, encouraging you to take one more step, good job, now one more, and one more. It is Him who gets us through these tough times in life. Him and Him only. We are never strong enough to wage these kinds of wars, but with God by our side, He always gives us the strength we need when we need it.

Trust me, I am living proof of this. Even today as I am writing this in my state of pure exhaustion (for a different reason I didn’t cover here today), I can not continue to do what I am doing in this state without His strength. One day this present situation will end and life will go back to normal, but until then I have to lean on God to get me through.

I just wish I could learn to do it more gracefully and happily. It hurts me to my core to be angry (when this isn’t normally my personality). It hurts me even more so when my husband calls me on my behavior in a not so nice and loving way when I stood by his side when most wives would have left and I didn’t when he was so ugly.

I guess this is where I would offer some encouragement to those of you out there in struggling marriages. It is never a good idea to knock your spouse down when they are already hurting. Anger is a sign of hurt. It is a superficial emotion which is most times masking the real emotions that lay beneath it.

If you love your spouse and you see them struggling, whether physically or emotionally, love them enough to reach out to them, hold them, act like you care about them, and listen to them. Do not get so busy in being hurt that you forget they need you. You might even be surprised that what you offer in the form of love might be just what they needed and had been lacking.

Just a few random thoughts to my humiliating story I told. God and I had made a deal many years ago that I could continue to live this hardship, if and only if, He could turn my wrong into a good. If my hardship could help to encourage just one person then I would know my struggle was not in vain.

“If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:9-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

My friend, hold your head up high and know you are a child of the King and no matter how hard life may seem right now, you have a home already waiting for you with Him. You just have to be strong enough to trudge through the dirty and mucky waters of life right now, but always remember, you are never alone!!! God is holding your hand right now! 

Lastly remember this…

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

You are… enough!

Disclaimer… please do not think badly of my husband. In order to truthfully and honestly tell my story, there are times he may not come out in such a loving fashion. This is what makes writing from those tough and raw emotions so difficult. I have to decide if I am going to share my story when God leads me to, that it will not be pretty which is counterproductive to our social media platoform today where everyone only sees everyone in their most beautiful and perfect state. Their families are perfect, their marriages are perfect. They are beautiful, like runway beautiful at all times, but my friend, life isn’t all of this.

There are messy hair, stay in your pj’s kind of days. There are days where you may struggle to like your spouse that day or your beautiful kids are about to cause you your sanity if you hear one more time, “moooooooooom!”

This is the ugly and raw side of life. This is what I vowed to write about in an open and honest venue such as my blog.

So again, I beg you to please not think of my husband or my daughter in a negative light. We all have our faults. Mine are so many, you can’t possibly count them all.

I am sure you are the same way whether you dare to be open and honest about it or not.

Comfort, encouragement, Envy, Journey, Strength

Hope Shines Through The Power of Envy

Hope Shines Through The Power of Envy

Do you ever struggle with the thoughts of wishing you could run away from your life?

Are you living with the pain of a child who has some behavior issues and you have tried everything, but don’t know what to do now? How are you going to get them to listen to you? Time out doesn’t work. Taking electronics away does not work. They just continue to be out of control, disrespectful and ugly. Are you struggling with how to get them back under control before this gets worse?

Is the person you’re married to not the same person you married years ago? Have  the pressures of life allowed for the manifestation of unhealthy behaviors which you don’t like now? Are you struggling with how to set up healthy boundaries allowing for the change that is necessary to heal your marriage? Now the only thing you can see is an unhealthy marriage with no possible way for change, love, regrowth, or happiness. The only thing you can see now is the way out, not the way to stay.

Disclaimer, please know as I write about marriages, there is a time to leave. Please DO NOT STAY in any relationship where abuse is involved. Please seek help for you and your children if this is going on. The relationship struggles I am referring to are less then abuse.

My friend, there are many faces of pain and strife that plagues people today. I only chose these two topics to serve as an introduction and as I did God pointed out I am in a season of writing about how difficult life is.

I feel this is because pain runs deeply in the lives of many and seems more prevalent today then what I remember in the past. Maybe it is because my heart seems more sensitive to people who hurt today then it has in the past.

img_1725I see this pain all around me. I see it in broken marriages and struggling relationships. I see it in the pain of cancer as well as chronic invisible illnesses. I see it in people who are struggling with the darkness of depression and often times go so far as to try to end their lives as a result. (Remember the 22, where we loose 22 Veterans a day to suicide). One of the hardest things I have ever seen is to see a Soldier cry. That will tear your heart out. Unfortunately, pain is real and it is alive.

As you examine your life or look around to those you know who are struggling do you find it easier to look at others and envy them because you think their life is easier than your own? 

Do you find yourself wondering how hard can they have it? Truly? They have a big beautiful home, they drive a nice car, they have a spouse (who seems wonderful to them), and beautiful well behaved children. They seem to be living the “American Dream” right? They don’t have the problems you have and you find yourself envying their life. “Oh man, if only I could have this just for a short time. I could get away from all the burdens that weigh me down everyday.”

How many times do you follow someone on social media and you follow them from day-to-day and what they portray is “perfection” made easy? As you continue to follow them you envy what they have. Then you begin to look in the mirror and wonder why you can’t have that. Why does your life have to be so difficult?

My friend, there is a common theme going to magnify your already difficult circumstances and this is found in the word, “envy”.

“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Envy is an evil trick the enemy plays on us. It comes in the form of deceitfulness. If we could just hide from the pain of our own lives and live in the lives of others, life could be so much easier.

My friend this is a very dangerous trap. While you are envying another persons life, you are not taking care of your own life. 

Before you waste your precious time longing and wishing for someone else’s life, it is time to seek God for the help to get through yours.

Take your difficult situation to Him and seek His counsel, strength, wisdom, guidance, and truth. The advice and direction He gives you will be healthy and honest.

He can heal your relationships and difficult situations to bring your life back to you.  Your answers may not be easy ones, but one thing you can guarantee is that His advice will be honest. God doesn’t hide behind the darkness of deceit and lies like the enemy does. The enemy wants us to only see our lives as the pit of despair.

“But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

My friend, fight back the urge to waste your energy envying others. Just because you can’t see the burdens they carry doesn’t mean they are not living a similar difficult life as you. Don’t believe the lies and deceit that is being fed to you.

Take your burdens to God and allow Him to heal you from them. Stay focused and know this may take time depending on your circumstances remembering while you wait that this may take time doesn’t mean God has not heard your cries, pleas, or prayers. He is with you, holding you, and healing your brokenness. Remain hopeful in a future you can not see. God can change these difficult circumstances into beautiful blessings if you remain faithful to Him.

Hugs my Friend! You can do this! The pain may be heavy and real, but there is nothing that is to big for God to heal if you will allow Him. There is a brighter tomorrow with God leading the way.