Winning the battle

Lately I’ve been in a warfare of sorts. An internal battle which engulfs me and entangles me to the point of not being able to shake free. I feel pulled down to where it becomes difficult to find the way out, to see the light for the darkness.

Some days are harder than others. There are days when my past failures flash before my eyes; comparisons drown me; and self-doubt makes me wonder if I would be missed were I not here.

I’ve been taken prisoner by the lies of the enemy.

And while I know the way to freedom — the key to opening the door to this cell I’ve been locked away in — there are days where I feel zapped of all my strength to pray.

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place.”  ~Psalm 118:5

 

This post today over at Ann Voskamp’s blog really spoke to me this morning as I woke up determined to fight this battle I’m in — determined to win over those lies which distort my thinking and view of myself.

01 Breakthechain_zpsa9889784

If you are battling lies in your life, please jump over to Ann’s blog and read her post, and remember that God is bigger than any battle we may be in and He has already won it for us.

“Save me, for I am yours;
    I have sought out your precepts.”  ~Psalm 119:94

 

Blessings!

01amy-signature2

Advertisements

Speaking love

“Imagine if we all spoke of the things we love about ourselves instead of the things we don’t like…” @paleohacks

01 a heart2

Wow…just wow. Could God speak any louder to me lately?

It could possibly just be hormones, most likely it is, but lately I’m struggling. Struggling to be content where I am and struggling to speak love to myself instead of criticism.

So when this quote popped up on my Instagram — yay, for social media! —  I just felt the Lord speaking directly to me especially after the hard day I allowed myself to wallow in.

For too long in my life I had criticism slapped in my face and negative words spewed at me, and very rarely was any love spoken to me. Over time, I soon became my worst critic. And some days I’m still really good at it — like today.

But when I read the above quote I thought — what if I allow myself to believe fully in God’s love for me — believing without a doubt how I am wonderfully made by Him (Psalm 139:14) — and I only spoke love to myself instead of being self-critical of all the things I don’t like about me?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ~Psalm 139:14

 

What if we truly believed God loves us not for who we are, but because of who He is?

What if we took each and every negative thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and weighed it against what God’s Word tells us is true? And while I believe this verse is speaking more of spiritual warfare and being discerning of false religions and teachers, I think that any thought which is negative and hurtful, even to ourselves, should be taken captive and not allowed to hold us hostage to wrongful thinking — including negative thoughts we have about ourselves.

We are told God made us in His image or likeness, so if we think of ourselves as lowly and unworthy, ugly and invaluable, then those thoughts are contradictory to who scripture tells us God is, and therefore, untrue about ourselves.

Some days are difficult — and many days are made more difficult because of our own critical voice directed at ourselves. Comparisons bombard us daily making a way for discontent to creep into our lives over time until one day we find ourselves doubting our worth, judging our value and just feeling crushed beneath the weight of thinking we’re not enough.

 

So perhaps, if I speak love to myself those critical thoughts will not have a chance at controlling my days — they will be taken captive.

And perhaps, if I truly believe God to be who He says He is, then I can look at myself in the mirror with love and acceptance, just as I believe He does.

01 a enough3

 

There will always be hard days, some harder than others, but may we all find our love and worth through the eyes of God who created us and loves us, not for who we are or what we do, but because of who He is.

Blessings!

01amy-signature2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The true me

20158084_1387468464635941_4500688048216778777_o

Something about this saying, which I saw Facebook, really spoke to me…

After my ex walked out eight years ago I started finding myself. And no, I don’t mean in some weird spiritual sense where I traveled the world trying to figure out who I am…makes me think of the movie, Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts who travels to various countries seeking to find herself or perhaps really seeking something more, but that is a whole other post. LOL

The day he walked out the door of the house we had moved to 6 years earlier, that was the beginning of finding out who I really was — who I really am. You see, the real me who had been buried for so long, 20 years to be exact, started coming out little by little, with each step I took down a long, hard, often lonely road. Layer upon layer of stuff was removed and slowly I discovered things about myself.

And the truth is, the harder the journey was, the more of me I found. The true me.

The me who was done being afraid to speak the truth.

The me who discovered how to feel again after years of repressing so much.

The me who learned what it was to forgive, but to move on and stop looking back for something that would never be.

The me who while being told was bitter and hateful, was actually unfolding into a loving more forgiving person.

The me who stood up and said, NO MORE!

And the me who emerged was stronger, more confident, and more beautiful than she ever knew or believed herself to be.

 

What had been meant for harm, God used for my good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28 NIV
This was our message at church on Sunday — God can and does use everything we walk through in this life for our good. We may not be able to see it at the time but every little event we walk through is the catalyst for the next thing which ultimately brings about goodness in our lives.
 
And usually it is hard to see the big picture because we are so caught up in the little things. Just like the surreal scene which unfolded in my life eight years ago. While at the time it was difficult to see past that moment, I now look back on it and see how it was the beginning of many things which God would use for my good.
01 woman 505310301
The road can often feel treacherous but it’s during those times we develop into the person God intends for us. And it’s that road which God uses to bring goodness into our lives if only we will trust Him.
Blessings,
01amy-signature2

What a joyous day!

Eight years ago today — February 13, 2009 — was the beginning of the end of a twenty-year destructive marriage. And today is a joyous day indeed as I celebrate the beautiful life God brought forth from those ashes.

Two years ago I wrote this post about that very day and when it popped up in my Facebook memories today I found myself smiling as I read it. A smile filled with happiness and a heart bursting with thanksgiving at being so far from those years and having survived an abusive marriage.

cropped-summer-woman-field.jpg

Today is a truly joyous day and I thank God for not only setting me free but redeeming those years in a way I would never have imagined.

The Day You Left…

Blessings!

01amy-signature2

 

 

Pulling myself up by my bootstraps

As I pulled on my boots this morning to get ready for some long overdue grocery shopping it reminded me how some days, many days in fact, I have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, putting on one boot at a time. And today was definitely one of those days where I had to remind myself — one step at a time.

01-a-boots

It’s over halfway into the new year and this new season of my life as an empty-nester. While the letting go has many times felt like a crushing weight, I’m finding that as the days of the new year are already swiftly moving one into the next so to the ache in this mama’s heart lessens with each passing day. And while I still strain to hear the sound of a car door out front or glance expectantly at my phone throughout the day for a text, the pang of disappointment in the silence is not so heavy these days.

Funny how when my boys were infants and needing constant feeding, diaper changes, soothing and all other form of no-time-for-me attention, it could at times feel like a life sentence with no end in sight. But I very clearly see how those times were a life-giving force bringing beauty and meaning to my days — days which quietly slipped away into the past.

Bagging my groceries today — yes, we have that kind of grocery store — I oh-so-subtly watched a young woman and her preschool-aged son across from me. Smiling at the little boy, I asked if he was helping his mama to which he quickly replied a resounding, “no”! As the woman and I laughed, I commented how much I missed my boys being that age and ‘helping’ me. With a weary smile, the young woman loaded up the last of her groceries and taking her little boy by the hand said goodbye. Walking to my car I couldn’t help but smile in remembrance of days past where little tow-headed boys would be riding on the end of the cart, under the cart, or ‘helping’ to push it! LOL

Days can quietly slip into the past while we are busy looking towards the future until suddenly we are standing in the midst of it wondering where the time went.

01-a-clock2

Some days, perhaps most days, are meant for pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and taking one step at a time — one breath at a time.

“The years were short, son. The years can be too short, and all the ways you fell short, too long.” ~The Broken Way

Those highlighted words in my book kept jumping back at me with all the truth they bear. The years are so very short and even seem to quietly slip away faster and faster the older I become. But isn’t it also true how our shortcomings seem to hold on far too long.

I admittedly fell oh-so-short all those years trying to raise my sons the best I could or at least how I felt was best those long-ago days. I got a lot wrong and made a lot of mistakes, some of which continue to haunt me to this day. But it was never for not trying.

A couple years ago my oldest son angrily reminded me of how much I’d failed him, how much his childhood was ruined because of me. Yet even through the pain of his words ripping apart my mama-heart — words sown from his own pain — I tearfully agreed with him about my mess-ups and falling short as a mother. “But,” I countered with these heart-wrenching words tumbling out from deep within my soul, “I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but the one thing I got right was loving you and your brother with my whole heart.”

The one thing I never got wrong in all those fouled up years of his was loving my son, both of my sons, with a love that can only come from the very depths of a mother’s heart. And I tried my best — at the very least, wanted the best for my boys — even if they didn’t see it as good enough in the end.

My love for my boys never fell short, even if I as a mother did.

Ann Voskamp writes even more truth-felt words as she contemplates her short-comings as a mother:

“I never expected to get so much wrong. I never expected love like this. I never expected so much joy. Be patient with God’s patient work in you.” ~The Broken Way

Yes, I never expected such joy that comes from being a mother. Such love. And also getting so much wrong, at least in my eyes. How grateful I am for the Grace of God which covers all my mess-ups, short-comings and failed attempts as a mother.

Isaiah 54:10

I’ve always wondered how my boys didn’t seem to understand what had really happened with their father and I. How they could blame me as I struggled to find my footing after their father left us. How did I turn into this ‘bad guy’ who had been out to destroy their lives while they showed favor on a man who treated them abusively throughout their childhood? How is it I was held accountable for the things their father had done? Why is it they could so easily heap the blame and persecution upon my shoulders while I was already stumbling under the weight of two decades of blame for another person’s actions?

But the truth is, I never spoke of those years with my boys because I did not believe they needed me to heap more on their shoulders, things which were not for them to bear. My boys will never really know what I walked through all those years, because no matter how similar one’s path is to another, no matter whether people are victimized by the same person or living within the same walls — no one can truly know the extent of how another is affected.

We may have lived under the same roof but my boys have no idea what I endured in those twenty years with their father. And I cannot expect my children to understand the depth of pain I felt all those years. The lack of love, the lack of respect, the lack of a real marriage. Yes, they had their own struggles with their father and yes, they were victims of his abuse too, but perhaps they did not see my struggles as the same as theirs because I chose their father and continued choosing to stay.

Perhaps their lack of respect for me evolved over the years of watching their father treat me disrespectfully or perhaps it developed because they watched me succumb all those years to that type of treatment not respecting myself enough to stand against the evil in our home.

Letting go of my sons as they’ve walked out my door into their own lives has not been easy as it never is for any mother left in an empty nest. But much of my heart-ache has stemmed from wanting to make up for all that was lost to my boys. I would give anything for them to have not lived through abuse and the fractured family it produced. Some days I yearn for just one day to go back and make things right for them, but then by doing so would change the course of the future — the place where we are currently standing.

01-a-abuse

I yearn for my boys to know how very much I loved them and tried my best when they were still those little tow-headed boys. I want them to know that my staying in the walls of abuse were not necessarily because I lacked the courage and strength to leave, but because of my love for them and thinking, however erroneously, a fractured family held together with tears and heart-ache was somehow better for them than leaving. And while I know better now, I truly tried my hardest back then to do the right thing.

“And there he is at the end of boy and becomes man while we both were just turning around. And that is all this has ever been, a passionate process of turning all that’s been into velveteen.” -The Broken Way

In the book The Velveteen Rabbit, the rabbit wonders what it takes to become real and if it hurts. Yes, being real hurts but until we choose to be real we can never experience love to it’s fullest.

01-a-bunny

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse…”When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once…” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time…but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

-The Velveteen Rabbit

One day I turned around and there were no more tow-headed little boys fighting to ride on the end of the grocery cart or reaching their little hand into mine. Bit by bit, the years slipped by until two young men stood in the place of those little boys and it was then my velveteen became Real. And I can never be unreal again for who I am is who I am. Being a mother changed me forever and the love between a mother and her children lasts for always. There is nothing which can break that bond — no amount of miles, hurtful words, or silence.

Perhaps we develop into our real selves by being fully unconditionally loved or maybe it’s when we fully love with abandon that our velveteen becomes flesh and blood — we become Real.

Some evenings the deafening-quiet of the house is broken by the sound of the clock tick-tocking away the minutes which turn into hours overflowing into days, months and years. Bit by bit over the years, my worn, shabby velveteen has been made into something real because of being loved beyond measure and in all my realness I’ve wanted nothing more than to love my children with my whole heart. And I have.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” -I Corinthians 13:13

And when tomorrow comes I will again pull myself up by my bootstraps and remember who I am — I am Real because I’ve loved and been loved.

Blessings!

01amy-signature2

Save

Save