He Calls Me Daughter!

This week has been the HARDEST and yet the most blessed week of my entire life.  Have you ever wanted something so badly it physically pained you.  You’ve longed for it.  You’ve fantasized about it.  You’ve spent time planning it.  You’ve even gone as far as to “place an order” with God. (*I’ll take a Tall Dark and Handsome with a side order of kindness, a HUGE dollop of unconditional love and joy sprinkles on top. K thanks.*)  Have you ever experienced a longing that deep?

I have.

Have you ever then decided that you could figure it out all on your own?  You already KNOW what you want.  You’ve only spent your entire life dreaming it all up, so why aren’t you qualified to do it all on your own?!  You know why?  Because this life simply isn’t about you.

**SLAP** (Yes. That was a slap from Jesus.)  Jesus has slapped me in the face this week with that reality, but let me go back to the beginning.  Jesus didn’t slap me at all.  He so gently has guided and directed and whispered and begged for me to talk to him.  God has given me scripture and peace and comfort.  Jesus has met with me in my quiet place and shown me visions of his love.  What I so desperately long for; He so desperately wants to give to me.  When I am seeking him first.  

The past couple of months I have been constantly reminded of the story of the woman in Luke chapter 8 who was very sick and bleeding constantly (12 YEARS of bleeding.  Imagine having a period for 12 years straight. I don’t know if it was period bleeding,but seriously ladies..could you imagine bleeding for TWELVE YEARS?!) Anyway, she believed that Jesus could heal her.  She believed that just touching the bottom of his robe when he walked by would heal her.  When she reached out and touched his robe, Jesus could have done so many things in that moment.  He could have scorned her.  He could have mocked her.  He could have politely told her he was too busy.  How many times in our own lives have we “gently” avoided someone in need because we were on our way to do something.  Jesus was a busy man.  He had an entire human race to save…it LITERALLY doesn’t get any busier than that! In that very second he was actually on his way to save a DEAD GIRL…and you know what Jesus did in those sweet, sweet moments?

DO. YOU. KNOW?!

He looked down at her and he called her “daughter”.

Let. That. Sink. In.

“Daughter”

 For me, this speaks to my entire core.  To the deepest parts of my soul.  I have a father who has so many worldly addictions that he has chosen over me time and time again.  Wounds that literally cut to the bone.  And here is a man who wasn’t like on his way to grab a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, but on his way to RAISE A GIRL FROM THE DEAD and he still, still took the time to heal her and call her daughter.

God has been so sweet to me.  So sweet.  Constantly I think I am able to do this thing called life on my own.  I stumble.  I fall.  I make an idiot of myself.  I hurt people around me.  And Jesus shows me grace that I just plain don’t deserve.

The second story God has brought me to just this week is of another woman who is at the feet of Jesus.  She is a well known sinner in the town.  (Go Here to Read the Story) and she finds out that Jesus would be eating at a Pharisees  house.  This woman determines that she has to see Jesus and upon entering the house she falls at his feet, sobs and wets his feet with her tears, then dries them with her hair.  She then puts perfume on his feet.  The entire time these men at dinner are talking about her and scoffing.  Again, Jesus shows this woman compassion.  He sticks up for her against the other men in the room!  And you know what else? He gives her grace.  He forgives her sins.

Jesus has just constantly been reminding me that there is grace at his feet.  That when I humble myself not only is there HEALING, but there is forgiveness.  I cannot adequately convey the overwhelming feeling of unconditional love I have felt this week from a Jesus I thought I had known since I was a child.

So, you ask.  What does this have to do with my original question?

It’s this:

God knows the desires of my heart.  He knows what I want.  He knows what I desire.  And as I have poured out to him this week, he has poured into me.  As I have begged him this week for clarity, he has shown me grace and mercy.  I go to him broken and he has healed me.  I have no doubt in my mind that Jesus is going to give me the desires of my heart and it is because for the first time in my ENTIRE life, I am able to say I’m not afraid to let him have control.

SERIOUSLY I COULD JUST SCREAM HALLELUJAH!!

God knows what he is doing and my job in the meantime is to seek Him first.  In seeking Him I am preparing myself to be the kind of woman who is suitable to be married.  When I think I have it all figured out and attempt to do it on my own accord, I am a FRACTION of the Godly wife God wants to shape me into.  My future husband deserves more than that from me.  Beyond that, marriage isn’t about me anyway!  It is literally a bonding of two people to be a light in the darkness!  Marriage is supposed to represent the church.  Marriage is about honor, and respect and love and (dare I go there) SERVICE to your spouse and more importantly…your GOD.  Lord, forgive me for ever making it about me!  This is so not about me.

This week, I have found comfort and grace.  I have found peace and love.

The following are specific words God gave to me as I was driving home from Graduate school tonight:

It’s not about me.
It’s all about you.
Why can’t I see it?
My days here are few.
Feelings are fragile.
Feelings will lie.
When I am weary,
The truth is my guide.
No longer a sinner,
but I am Christ’s Bride.

God knows my inner most desire.

And, guys:

He calls me DAUGHTER!! ❤

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God Answers Prayer, Even When I’m a Butthole

So this journey is an interesting thing.  One that gets haphazardly posted on this blog from time to time.  Generally after I have spent a week or so in a mental or spiritual battle and God sorts me out and puts me back on holy ground.  God answers prayer. He does. And he does it even when I’m a butthole. (*GASP* Am I allowed to say butthole on a Christian blog??) Yes. And I just did.  For good reason, too, because I meant what I said.  God answers prayer!  He answers and he will show you his grace time and time and time again.

So, tonight, I want to showcase how awesome God has been to me.  I am constantly reminded of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and sees Jesus walking past and touches the bottom of his cloak.  She believed if she could just touch the bottom of his cloak that she would be healed.  In this moment, Jesus could have done so many things.  He could have been annoyed that someone was tugging at his clothing and scolded her.  He could have ignored her completely, because after all, he was on a very important mission to go cure a dead girl.  He could have rolled his eyes.  He could have even sent someone else to talk to her instead.  You know what happened?  He spoke directly to her.  He showed her compassion.  He gave his time.  AND he called her daughter. Daughter.  How sweet is that?  We serve a God who knows the innermost wants of our heart a soul.  He knows the longings.  He understands the desires.

It is interesting to me that this story stands out so much when it is literally only a small snippet in scripture.  Either way, tonight, God has answered prayer for me and given me confirmation.  I am praising him for it!  I am thankful for it!  I am comforted because I know that even when I am a butthole, he is not.

Matthew 9:20-22
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”  Just turned and saw her.  “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

Break Ups Are Hard

Break ups are hard.  They are hard for a lot of reasons.  You mourn the loss of the presence of a person–a person who has become more than just “a person”.  They take on significance in your life.  That person is your boyfriend, your confidant, your best friend.  These people, the ones you spend the most time with, the most life with, the most laughs with, become “your person”, ya know, like Meredith Grey is Cristina Yang’s person, like that.  So when a break up happens, it’s a lot more than two people parting ways.

It’s a mourning process.  Right now, I am mourning all of the dreams I had schemed up in my mind.  (Maybe this is only a woman thing, I don’t know)   I am saddened over the little house and the white picket fence that will never be.  My heart aches knowing that the pretend children I had stashed away baby names for will never come to be.  I am sad because my twelve year old self is screaming “ANOTHER PERSON LEFT YOU! YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH!”

I cry because my soul aches to be someone’s everything.  I cry because I want my efforts to be matched and for my efforts to be GOOD ENOUGH.

My only hope tonight is to know that I have a God who loves me unconditionally.  I AM ENOUGH for him.  I may struggle to believe it, but just like the father who’s son needed cured from demon possession, I am asking God to help me overcome my unbelief.  I trust God whole-heartedly.  I am just STINKIN’ SAD.  And you know what? I’m allowed to be.

I’m mourning dreams that will never come true.

But I know that my God has bigger dreams for me than I ever had mapped out and I am trying to live in that place.

For tonight, though, I’m going to be sad.

And that’s ok.

Ringing My Bell

I am pretty terrible about writing consistently.  To be honest, I’m pretty terrible about doing anything consistently! LOL But tonight I was doing some reading for my Bible Study group.  If I’m honest, I was probably dreading it since last week because I saw the very first heading for Mark chapter 10:

Divorce.  

The people closest to me know that my divorce is something I have struggled with.  So tonight I do the reading, and the enemy starts talking to me and inevitably, I start believing his lies.  “You’re wrong. You’re a sinner. You can never get married again because you’ll be an adulterer. You’re disgusting. God doesn’t forgive adultery.” 

Lie after Lie after Lie after Lie! Until I find myself in a mini panic over my divorce.  And then I remembered! I remembered this blog.  I remembered an incident that happened about 8 months ago pertaining my divorce.  I remembered the guilt. The shame. The sorrow. And then you know what else I remembered?! THE FORGIVENESS! 

Which brings me to tonight’s post.  I need to document the happenings of my life here.  Sometimes I think it’s because I want to reach TONS of people and touch lives and make a difference (and I do!) but I also need this for me.  I need a reminder of where I have been, what God has done for me and where I am going.  When I start to stumble, this blog provides a place of reference for me to turn to.

So, I can now say I have read Mark10 and though I still have worries, I am trusting that God will bring guidance and comfort to me when I begin to doubt.

In earlier posts about my “self discovery” journey I was begging God to speak to me.  I felt like I was talking to God and he just wasn’t listening to me.  I even tried bargaining with God. Like, “Ok God…I’m going to read my Bible and then I trust that YOU are going to speak to me.” Because that’s how it works right?! We just go ahead and let God know what WE are going to do and he then responds with what we WANT him to do…HA! I think we refer to that as Genie God.

Anyway, there has been a sequence of God’s words to me.  It started Easter Sunday.  I visited a church with Bethany and Patrick (a full gospel church by the way–those people know how to party for Jesus and I was totally on board!) and as the preacher began to speak he was talking about the miracles that Jesus performed.  One in particular was raising Lazarus from the dead.  At one point the paster is reading (YELLING) scripture and he says, “Martha, do you believe!!?!” (my real name is Martha) I was sitting in my pew and I was like I hear you Jesus!! 

Sometimes God does cool stuff like that to me.  He straight calls me out. He uses my name too! He doesn’t play around.  Then as the service was coming to an end, a woman came OFF THE STAGE!! from the choir and approached me.  She told me that the whole time she had been singing she couldn’t stop looking at me.  She asked if I wanted to pray and when we went to the altar, she asked what my name was.  When I told her “Marti”, she started to cry and told me that I could find my Lazarus there. God is one clever dude.  I had been BEGGING for God to make himself real to me.  And twice in ONE CHURCH service God was like “Let me show YOU what I have in mind for us communicating.”  AND he used that woman to speak to me.  God’s miracles aren’t just for Biblical times. God’s miracles are real for me too!

The week continued in the same manner.  I was reminded of the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha’s house. “Martha, Martha”–Jesus says to her: “You worry about many things…”  (NEEDED TO HEAR THAT!)

Then there was the story in Mark 9 about Jesus saving the little boy from his demon possession.  The dad says “if you can help” and Jesus gets all Holy (ya know, because he IS!) and he’s like “IF?!”  –Like Dude, don’t you know who I am?!– But what the Dad says back is so comforting.  He says “Help me overcome my unbelief.” I needed to hear that too! My doubt about Jesus is nothing less that my human disbelief.  This father asked for the ability to overcome his disbelief! That is powerful to me.

Jesus has been ringing my bell the past couple of weeks. I’ve heard Him! My heart is starting to soften to his words again.  And tonight, when I was struggling, he used my own words to comfort me.  He has forgiven me already for my divorce, whether it was right or wrong.  It’s been forgiven.  I need to live in that forgiveness and keep moving forward.

Keep ringing my bell Jesus.  I’m listening!

Go Now and Leave Your Life of Sin

Some scripture that is speaking pretty clearly to me tonight…

John 8:11–After the woman who was found guilty of committing adultery is brought before Jesus to be stoned.  He told them that whoever hadn’t sinned could throw the first stone.  Every last man disappeared.  Jesus asked her “Has no one condemned you?”  When she answers no, this is the sweetest response Jesus could have given.

He says to her, “Then neither do I condemn you.”  And then this–This spoke to my very core.

GO NOW AND LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN. 

And that right there is how Jesus works.

Mark 7:6–When Jesus witnesses the Pharisees practicing in rituals before they eat he tells them that they are hypocrites.  “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”  It’s too easy to fall into this ritualistic behavior and then go into the world looking just like it.  I’m guilty.  I struggle.  There are times no one could tell me apart from anyone else.  This spoke to me.  I don’t ever want to be guilty of this scripture.  I don’t want my worship to be in vain.

Mark 5:34–There is a woman who had been bleeding for many many years.  She had spent all of her money and had seen several doctors without any relief.  She knew that if she just touched Jesus’ cloak she would be healed.  When she touched him and was healed, Jesus wanted to know who touched him.  The woman approached him afraid, but she told him everything.  His response to her, I can’t explain the feelings it gives me.  Mostly because he calls her daughter.  “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

I have several prayers tonight.   As I am sorting through all of the messages I received this weekend, I want to hear God’s voice.  I want to recognize him talking to me.  I also want to have faith that is strong enough that I can be freed from my suffering.  I want my faith to be strong enough that I can “Go and leave my life of sin”.

Take Time to Be Proud

When the nights come that I am wide awake in late hours of the night worried about my future, I start to think about how exciting it’s going to be when I read back through this posts at a different point of my life and realize how far I’ve come.  How far God has taken me.  This realization, of course, comes after I’ve spent a significant amount of time beating the ever-living tar out of myself for all of the horrible things that I’ve done in my life and all of the failure I’ve experienced.  When I allow myself to go to that place I forget about all of the accomplishments I’ve made.

This post serves two purposes:

1.- to document the real, raw emotions I am feeling about the uncertainty of my future. Specifically relationally.

&

2.-to remind myself of all the things I should be proud of.  Sometimes you just need to remind yourself.

Dear Marti,

Please remember the following things:

You are independent. In the past year and a half you have managed to take a stand and remove yourself from a relationship you knew was sinking and unfulfilling.  After that, you managed to finish your first year of teaching, take care of your family during a horrific situation, find a new job, apply and be accepted to a graduate program.

You are a good teacher.  There are moments when life gets tough, the lesson planning gets overwhelming, the children become demanding and the parents are a little exhausting.  BUT YOU ARE DOING IT.  Every day you get up, you take care of the kiddos and you show them the love and acceptance of a teacher.  When all the bull crap gets tough, you’ve managed to still love those kids and realize that they are your purpose for being there.

You are strong.  You own your first apartment.  You are paying all of your own bills.  You are making it.  Every day you put your key in the lock and open your front door, know that you have worked hard for this.  You are doing good things in spite of the bad things that have happened to you.

YOU AREN’T YOU’RE PARENTS.

You are making progress.  You have completed your first month of counseling.  You are making an effort to understand yourself, to understand where you come from and to change patterns that haven’t been working.  GO YOU.

Take time to be proud of yourself.

Because sometimes, no one else will.

Love,

Your Struggling Self

I Want to Obey

Last week there was a discussion about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is done not for the other person, but for yourself.  That is something I have heard and experienced a few times in my life; however, last week there was a conversation that really stuck with me.  Forgiveness is about your relationship with God and ultimately it is between you and him.  That is something I hadn’t really considered.  We are called to forgive.  Therefore whether I forgive will ultimately effect my relationship with Christ.

This is the other thing that stuck:  You may not have it in you to forgive.  You literally may not have the feelings necessary to forgive.  You literally don’t feeling like doing it. That gave me so much freedom.

This is a journey that is between me and God, which means I am able to be honest and say “I don’t have it in me.”  I can tell God, “I don’t feel like forgiving.  I literally cannot feel what it takes.”  I can come broken.  I can come stubborn.  I can come honest.  I can come repenting and begging for help and every time he welcomes me back.

Tonight I am struggling with anger.  Anytime there is conflict and injustice the rage comes streaming back.  Anytime I see my sisters fighting to feel love and acceptance from our own mother I am sickened.

I am taking time to blog and open up to God via this little slot on the internet so I am able to process some of my anger and know that forgiveness is something that is between him and I.  I don’ have what it takes to forgive tonight, but I do have the desire to obey and build a stronger relationship with him.

So I think in this moment, it begins with honesty.  I want to obey.  I want this ache in my chest to go away.  The anger I feel is only killing me.  I don’t want to forgive, but I want to obey.

It begins with honesty.

It’s Worth It

I wasn’t sure how to start this post, but here it is.  The lyrics of the song Come As You Are by Crowder touched the depths of my soul tonight.  As I was driving home from graduate class, processing the hour long conversation I had during counseling earlier in the day I began to cry.  The kind of tears that are big and fat and turn your cheeks into rushing rivers, those are the kinds of tears I was crying.

Grief.   Utter Sorrow.

I took a few minutes and allowed myself to feel sad.  I allowed myself to come as I was and I showed my broken heart to God.  I laid down my hurt and I found mercy.  My pain isn’t instantly gone, but I just kept telling myself that God knows every tear.  I couldn’t make legitimate words, but as the tears fell I thanked God for his ability to decipher tears.  I am thankful for a God who is patient.  I’ve been fighting so hard.  I’ve been telling God how scared I am and he’s still, even in my reluctance and my BLATANT disobedience, been faithful in showing his love to me. Even as I am sobbing driving down the highway, God was wrapping his loving arms around me.  The lyrics of this song washed over me and covered me like a warm blanket after playing in the snow too long.  I cried harder out of gratitude and just soaked in the lyrics:

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

I never wanted to believe that the people who are closest to me that I love the most may literally be incapable of providing my needs.  For a few weeks now we have been talking about how God will meet those needs.  How God will provide what I need.  How I will find validation in Him.  I believe those things.  A couple weeks ago Jill told me a story of how God showed her love through the comfort of her pet.  I began to think of all of the ways that God has shown me love and I’m making a list.

My Sisters- The love that I feel for each of my sisters is so strong it is something that I will never feel again and for any other people.  This is the kind of fierce love that I can imagine God has for me, except WAY stronger, because his love is perfect.  Also, how much must he love me to GIFT me with them?  They are mine, God gave them to me and I cherish each of them.

My nephew- It is absolutely impossible to not feel the love of God in the little boy.  When he giggles the pure JOY that he brings is just unbelievable.  He has created such a bond with each of us and brought my sisters and I closer.  I know that he has been an absolute gift from God and I am so thankful.

My Cohort- My graduate class is wonderful.  Each week we become closer and closer.  I love the community and the unity that I feel week after week.  The understanding that is provided through these people is a gift.  My need to be understood, loved and needed is met through different people within my group.  I literally don’t have words for the thankfulness that I feel towards each and every one of them.

My students- Some of my best and worst days are given from my students, but I have learned so much.  I know that each and every one of my students has been a gift in one way or another.  They have taught me things about myself, about the world and about teaching that I will always cherish.  Each and every one of them a gift from God, a God that loves me!

He is a God that understands each of my needs and meets them in very REAL ways.  It’s just taken me some time to realize.  I don’t understand the love of a parent well enough to understand what love has looked like outside of what I have tried to fill the void with, but as I’ve reflected on Jill’s story about God meeting her needs with the love of her pet, I began to see that NOTHING in my life has been an accident.  I don’t understand why my life has been what it has been and I may NEVER understand, but what I AM starting to understand is that God has placed people, and very specific circumstances in my life to meet every need that I have if I am willing to grasp onto it and hold it close.

Tonight, I am brimming.  I brought my broken heart to Him.  I came to him JUST as I was (blubbering, tear stained cheeks and all) and he comforted me.

Maybe you need to hear the song.  Maybe you’ve had a tear-streaked-cheek kinda night too.

Come as You Are.

It’s worth it.

Marti’s Messages

Week 3 of the rest of my life:

It goes a little something like this. Struggle, hesitance, fear, resistance—Counseling. Jesus. Prayer.

This week I really struggled with the thought of giving up the old. The old has “worked” for so long. The old is ALL I KNOW. All of these coping mechanisms, all of these masks are being taken away. It’s down right terrifying.

How will I feel loved? How will I know I have value? How?! For so long I’ve met these needs through people pleasing, working super hard, trying to overachieve, seeking approval, sexual relationships. It’s filled the void for so long. How will I understand who I am without everything I’ve ever known?! You’re telling me Jesus really does this? I’ve learned the idea of it. I’ve heard the stories. I believe the stories. I just don’t think I believed them for me.

Tonight I was introduced to the Core Needs:

 Love

Significance

Belonging

Understanding

Safety & Security

Purpose

 Then I was introduced to the idea that we are given messages about our worth and ourselves starting at a very young age. Who gives us these messages?

Parents

Siblings

Church

Neighbors

Friends

Co-Workers

Then—The hard part. The painstaking part. The part where I have to analyze what my messages have been. The negative ones. These are the ones she wants to know about, because there stems the dysfunction. In those messages are the roots that have borrowed so deeply into my soul causing this constant treading of water.   Immediately I felt fear. I know what my messages have been. I know what’s happened. I don’t know that I’ve analyzed them quite on this level and certainly not in front of someone I’ve only spoken to 3 times.

But—I did it. In this, there is healing, one painstaking adventure at a time.

The Following is:

Marti’s Messages

The message of abandonment: being left and forsaken.

The message of insecurity

The message of being unattractive and overweight

The message of being unimportant, uncared for and unloved

The message of being a disappointment, excluded and not fitting in

The message of guilt and feeling responsible

The message of being unwanted and undesirable

The message of not being good enough and being misunderstood

That’s a pretty hefty list of GROSS messages. Here is where I find peace. We didn’t leave the session on that note! After we read off every nasty, horrible, despicable message I’d been given, she looked at me and said “I want you to picture your nephew.”

..Immediate tears..

She said to me “I know he means a lot to you. I can tell you love that little boy and he holds a very special place in your heart. You want nothing but the best for him and you would do anything within your power to make him feel loved. To let him know he has significance and belonging, and that you understand him and want him to feel safe. That his aunt Marti always has his back.”

As much as you want all of those things for him, God wants those things for you more. She began to quote scripture to support what she was saying. I am the apple of his eye. Jesus came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. She let me know that there is a pure kind of love that God wants to provide in my life and that his love is without condition. God understands the importance of feeling adored and admired. These are innate needs he placed within us, which also means he can fulfill them.

The journey is still hard. I am still hesitant. I still scare easily and worry that completely giving up my power means I may not get exactly what I want.

Either way Marti’s Messages are slowly being re-written.

One page at a time.

Wounded

I am hesitant to post such raw things on this blog, but I am doing so for a couple of reasons:

1- Authenticity.  I don’t want to ever present as someone that I am not.  Also, it is normal to have feelings that are less than stellar.  I have been so hesitant for so long to post anything that wasn’t positive, but let’s just be real here!–SOMETIMES LIFE JUST PLAIN SUCKS.  I am doing myself and ultimately others a disservice by hiding my hurt and pain.  Perhaps someone is like me: searching.  Needing to know they aren’t the only one struggling.  It is so easy to hide behind the screen and present a perfect life.  I refuse.

2- Healing.  I want this blog to literally document every battle that I have fought and ultimately will win.  With God’s guidance and loving grace, I want this blog to be an inspiration to others and testimony to what God can do in a very broken person.

So, that leads me to this post:

I am wounded.  Like many other people my wounds are deep.  They have developed over many, many years and the coping mechanisms that I have adopted to mask the pain from these wounds has caused me more pain.

I’ve started my journey of self discovery.  (At this point it’s more self preservation than it is anything.)  This is week two of the rest of my life.  I currently have a lifetime’s worth of patterns and coping mechanisms to examine and change.  What I learned tonight in my second week of counseling is that I am basically stripping myself down to the very atoms of my being.  Everything that has shaped WHO I am and WHAT I value about myself has to change.

I’ve spent a lot of years putting my value in fixing people, fixing situations, and caring for people.  In general, these are all wonderful qualities about a person; however, I have done it to the point that I am unable to know what my own needs are.  I only feel valued and loved when someone NEEDS me. I don’t really know what I want and making decisions is incredibly difficult because I worry so much about what others with think of me.

My Wound: Codependency. 

This week, my life long battle has developed a name.  My patterns of behavior have become a label.

My father abandoned me at a very young age.  He physically, emotionally and spiritually left me without any way to have my needs met.  He didn’t just leave me; he left my 3 sisters and my mom.  As a result, my mother check out emotionally.  I’ve been essentially abandoned by both of my parents.  This abandonment has left me with serious trust issues.  Because my needs were not being met, I learned to compensate.  I had to be good.  I had to be perfect or at least try really hard.  Anything to please. Anything to get a compliment.  Anything to feel validated and appreciated.  Anything, Anything, Anything–to make her proud.  To try and fill her void.  If I am good enough, she will smile for just a little while.  If I am funny enough, she will laugh and feel good.  If I make dinner.  If it tastes really good, that will make her happy.  I had to fix it.  I had to validate her.  I had to try and create some sort of peace.

As I grew a little older, that’s how my relationships have formed.  I’m a doer.  I’m a fixer.  I’m a caregiver.  The love and affection I was missing from my father started to be filled with unhealthy relationships.  Unhealthy boundaries. Anything to feel loved.  Anything to feel attention.  Anything to fill the void of a missing father.  The abandonment is deep.  The trust is shattered.  The fear is real.  The wound is bloody.

Abandonment: To leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert

The weight of that word is a lot heavier than I have ever processed before.  This journey is going to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  Even as I sit here tonight I am meeting needs in ways that I should not. I do feel the guilt, which is a start.  14 years of coping mechanisms don’t disappear overnight, but I’m in a battle for my soul.  This isn’t just about this world.  This is about my eternity.

I am reminded by the word forsake, in that definition, of when Jesus is hanging on the cross and he says “My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me.” God was Jesus’s father.  There is literally no feeling, no pain, no suffering that Jesus hasn’t felt.  Jesus EVEN felt the abandonment of his own father.

That is a powerful, powerful thing.

Maybe you stumbled across this post by accident and you are wounded. Maybe you’ve been abandoned and have overcompensated to the point of codependency.  Maybe no one will ever read this besides me, but either way, I’ve not hidden behind my pain and suffering.  I am sharing it and declaring that Jesus is my rock.  My coping skills are all I have ever known.  The way I’ve met my needs is the only way I’ve ever known.  This journey is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am not alone.

I am walking with a God who even understands the wound of abandonment.

So, here is to REAL life.  Here is to REAL pain.  And here is to a REAL God.

Stay Tuned.

This is only the beginning.