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Darkness Turns To Sunshine

Today’s Encouragement is to remind you no matter how difficult life may seem, remain hopeful there are brighter days ahead.

God uses these hard times to grow us just as parents do as well.

How many times as a parent have you allowed your child to learn a difficult lesson only because it was something you could not save them from?

I, for one, have experienced this a lot over the past couple of years as I have stood back and watched my daughter struggle with her multiple health issues. As her mom, I can’t do anything to take away the pain she suffers with, but what I can do to encourage her is to, pray for comfort for her, hold her when the pain is unbearable and just let her know she is not alone. I can’t do anything to fix this problem or even take it away, but I can promise to encourage and comfort her during her greatest difficulties .

My friend, God is the same way. He can’t take our circumstances away, but He does promise to never leave us. He is always with us during our darkest of hours.

In a bible study over the weekend we were addressing a topic on pain and how God uses our pain to prepare our journey for something beautiful. I heard this great quote which was so inspirational and encouraging;

” God may have allowed your suffering, but He didn’t cause it.”

– stacha Ashburn and Lisa Dolinger

My friend, even in your darkest hour our God is still there. He has not forsaken or forgotten you.

Cling to this hope,

Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Hang in there dear friend, if you are hurting and if your pain is deep. Please know there is hope for brighter days ahead. I do not know how long this will take, but I can personally vouch for the fact the pain does eventually go away and the sun comes back out. Cling to the hope of knowing your darkness will turn back into light. Your tears will dry up and be replaced with the smiles you have longed to experience again.

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You Are Stronger Than Your Greatest Weakness

““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today’s Encouragement is to remind you how important you are.

Do you question your value or your worth?

Do you struggle with the difficulties life offers?

Do you ever question, if this is how life is going to be, then why did God create you?

My Friend, I am here to remind you God doesn’t make mistakes. He created you with a specific purpose, one which is specifically unique to only you. He knows what you can handle.

This is why no matter how familiar your story could be to someone else, it is still only yours, uniquely yours.

God reminds us in Jeremiah 1:5 that,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Today’s gentle reminder is that you are not a surprise to Him. Your circumstances are not a surprise to Him. He knew you and what you would be doing long before He created you.

My Friend, find peace today in the assurance that if God brought you to your pain or crisis, He will bring you through it. He created you for this situation. Nothing is a surprise to Him.

Be encouraged My Friend. God will strengthen you today and will provide you a peace that passes all understanding.

Accept His grace to conquer your battles and rest in His peace today.

Breathe today My Friend! You’ve got this. Walk in the peace and assurance today that God is with you. You are not alone because the same God who formed you in the womb is the same God walking with you through this storm.

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You Are Brave, Capable, and Loved

Encouragement Today

I have a simple reminder for you today in case you forgot…

“You are stronger than you know. More capable than you ever dreamed. And you are loved more than you could possibly imagine.” Unknown Author

Do you doubt yourself from time to time?

My friend, believe today that you are brave, capable, and loved.

Do not believe the self doubt words you tell yourself.

They are lies.

Order yours today @HL&E Designs… Price $30.00 (s/h included). To order your today,… See disclaimer below.

God made you perfect in every way.

He made you to be brave and courageous. He made you to be Bold and beautiful!

You are His handiwork.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My friend, today is the day to believe in “you” and fight back against the lies you tell yourself.

Lastly, remember you are Brave, Capable, and Loved!

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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! 💜

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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, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Faith, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Self-worth, Strength

You Are Never In Total Darkness

Do You Struggle With The Power of Darkness

I am feeling God has a few of His own who are in need of some encouragement today.

  • Are you struggling with finding your self worth and identity because somehow over the years and the busyness of life you have lost who you are? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you struggling in a difficult relationship? Do you struggle with a battle within you to know if you stay and fight for your marriage or is it time to walk away? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you fighting with health needs? Are you in pain all the time? Are you frustrated with fighting with the doctors or insurance companies to get them to listen to you, to hear you, and to help you? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you in a season of struggling with your child/ren to get them to listen to you. Do you feel like they are distancing themselves from you and your family? Are you frustrated and discouraged? My friend, do not walk away from this struggle. Keep pray, keep loving, and keep reaching out to them. They need you, even though they may not feel as though they do. Fight for your child! Remain their safe place. Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you a new parent who is fighting sleep deprivation and as a result feel the weight of darkness all around, but you do not tell anyone as this is suppose to be one of your happiest times in your life, as you hold the love of your life in your arms? Know, you are not alone.

My friend, God gave me this verse for you, who are in pain today.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”” John 8:12 NKJV

No matter how dark life might seem, please know there is a light that is wrapped around you. This light is so you will never remain in total darkness. It is God’s light which surrounds you and has you consumed because one day you believed in Him.

Allow that light to shine on your darkness while you use it to light the way out of this dark time. Follow it until you find the peace and comfort you need to not feel alone.

My friend, reach out to those who are closest to you. Allow them to help you, pray for you, and encourage you.

If you feel they are not enough and you would rather reach out to someone who doesn’t know you, feel free to leave a comment below. I am here to lift you up in prayer.

My hope God uses today’s encouragement to touch your heart and to remind you, you are not alone.
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.

 

 

 

Anxiety, Broken, Comfort, Depression, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Grief, Hope, Journey, Life, Peace, Strength, Weariness

Seeing Beauty Thru The Tears

Encouragement Today

design-191Are you struggling tonight or today? My friend, I am here to remind you your pain is real.

Are you feeling the pain of an illness that has you worn down and exhausted? Are you struggling with the darkness of depression or PTSD? Do you have tears running down your face, but no one sees them?

Are you grieving the loss of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or close friend? Do you feel the pain so intensely that you can not fathom what life will look like without them?

Are you the caretaker of a loved one battling the ugly disease of cancer? Do you hold their hand and stroke their forehead to comfort them while you choke back the tears in order for them to see you are strong?

Please know despite the darkness which is all around you that there are brighter days ahead. It is hard to see right now but know during this time of your deepest sorrow that it will become a source of your greatest strength.

Take the time to think about this analogy. When a thunderstorm comes rolling in, does it not darken the sky and override the beauty the sun provided? Think about your life as a thunderstorm. You did have the joy of the sunny days, but the storm clouds rolled in hiding those experiences from you.

The wind begins to blow and the rain begins to fall. As the thunder gets closer and stronger, does it not begin to feel fierce? Well, this is where you may be right now. You are in the thunder part of the storm. The thunder is clapping, the wind is blowing harder, and the rain is pouring. You are in the darkness of the storm with the tears streaming down your face, but hold tight, my friend.

Just as every thunderstorm passes, so will your trials and struggles. Be sure to look back and watch for the brilliant rainbow that often appears after a bad or severe storm. As you dry your tears, ask God to show you the beauty of the storm you just went through.

How many times have you noticed, as you look around after a storm, everything has a brilliant shade of green to it. The leaves on the trees, the grass on the ground, the flowers in the gardens take on a sharpness to their colors. Despite the storm, the wind and the rain, the lightning recharged the ground and providing an electrical charge to our nature all around. Only could God take something as dangerous as lightning to make His creation beautiful.

Just as God does this with our environment, He does the same with our lives. Consider your trial and hardship right now as the lightning of your storm. It does not last forever. It will pass no matter how severe it was and the same will happen here. Take the time to see the brilliance of the trees, the grass, and the flowers. Ask God to reveal what you are to learn from all you are going through while you ask Him to show you His rainbow of grace, so you can move past this trying time.

Keep your chin up no matter how hard or dark this time is for you. I am here to remind you that no matter how difficult this time is, there will be brighter days ahead. Just as the storm truly passes, so will yours.

You are stronger than you think, My Friend. You will get through this time of darkness!
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.