How love changed me Part 2

How do you unpack 14 years of abuse, neglect and never knowing what will happen to you next? I never felt safe in my home. I wanted to die over and over again. I tried to commit sucide and I couldn’t even do that right. I just got really sick and had my stomach pumped out. Something you only try once. When I went to Oregon one Christmas. I went for a walk in the wilderness with my good friend. A woman who helped me see that not only was God with me all those years of calling out that He often held me. When I thought I was alone in my many bedrooms. My friend prayed for me to see that God was always there for me. This time in the wilderness we both kneeled in the dust and sun among the Sage bushes. We prayed and I forgave my dad and stepmom and I laid all my addictions at the foot of the cross. I asked God to forgive me for using addiction to run from my issues. We both prayed together and I forgot that my friend was with me. It was just me and God. The sun beat on her faces in December. It should have been snowing that day but instead it was a really warm day.

After that prayer I felt lighter in my step. Bend Oregon is high up so I’m not used to the altitude so before we knelt down to pray my head felt like it would explode. I live at sea level. After we prayed my headache was completely gone. I could breathe so much better. That day my life changed. I still had to work really hard to stay sober and figure out how to not want a high. I had one more slip and then that was it no more. My accountability partner as always stood beside me and encouraged me to move forward and love myself. She taught me and gave me tools to use. I had to find things to keep me busy when I was on holidays or breaks from school. I would knit a lot because when you knit you couldn’t be in addiction. I painted lots of rocks and read lots of books. I listened to loud worship Music as much as I could. I listened to podcasts and downloaded audio books. I journaled lots and started writing blogs. I wrote often and I reached out to my friends. I started to work on myself and slowly it took a while to see how God looks and feels about me.

I colored lots and did puzzles and kept myself busy with healthy things. They say it takes 20 days to break a habit. It took me a while a bunch of days to help it stick. Still my hardest thing was my emotions and feeling. I used to think I would die if I felt. My accountability partner would smile at me and tell me that she knows of nobody that ever died from feeling. Sitting with those emotions was awful but now emotions are easier to deal with and guess what I’m still alive. My whole life I numbed out pain, ran from it and used addiction to cope. She taught me how to stand on boundaries when things got to much. She taught me how to scream my guts out in my car to release frustration. It felt better when I did. I don’t think she knows that as I would always tell her I can’t do that.

I am the person who I am today because people in my life loved me and encouraged me to never give up no matter what. They pushed me and helped me grow. They believed in me when I didn’t know how. They loved me and prayed with me. They helped me survive my life and for that I’m internally grateful. Just like God in my life being there for me no matter what. I’m blessed to have these people. Thank you God for sending them. I also help others and encourage them just like it was done for me. Love conquers all. ❤️

All you have is Love ❤️ Part 1

Today I watched Dr. Phil and his show was about people who came on his program and had addiction issues and how all his guests now are sober from their addictions. They thanked Dr. Phil and his staff for helping them and changing their lives. They came so desperate and almost on deaths step. Yesterday I wrote a blog about being almost 4 years free of addiction. One of the guests on his show said that she remembered even though Dr. Phil was tough on her she felt that love and compassion from him even when she was so messed up.

I don’t share maybe as often as I should about my sobriety and where I was before I got sober. One of the things that stands out huge to me in my life was finding people or persons who stood by me no matter what. For years on end I tried to not to fall in addiction. I’ve had multiple addictions I fell back on. When one went away there was always another to replace it. I hid a lot in my addictions because who wants to tell their friends you fell again. I love my friends a lot but sometimes even though they never said it you could tell they just didn’t quite know what to do or say. Some have stood by me since day 1. Those people understand what addiction is. For me what got me through was a woman who stood by me and pushed me when I didn’t want to stop or just have up trying because it was to hard. I manipulated, lied did everything I could to get my next high. I used addiction to numb when things got bad or I just didn’t know how to feel.

This person never gave up on me. When I pushed her hard she pushed me back with love and grace. As I write I’m crying because when your in addiction that’s not who you really are. When I was in my addiction I was a different person then who I was sober. I often was told I could do this. It was hard and I made tough choices and slowly I got better and better and fell less often. I worked hard on myself because do you think that I liked who I was. I hated myself and I was filled with shame. Even though I did not like what I heard many times. I prayed and sometimes many times a day to get through.

I knew that if I have up my counselling and support I would not be alive today. The day I kneeled down to ask God to kill me or fix and that no matter what He asked me to do I would do it. He told me one day brushing my teeth that I could get free from my addiction with forgiveness. I had to forgive the two people I hated so much. I wrestled with Him on this. I fought it so hard and got deeper into addiction. My accountability partner told me that it’s not forgiving them for what they did to me all those years. It was about breaking free from the hate I felt in my heart. It was about them never being able to hurt me again. It was about me forgiving God for me thinking He was never there when I called out to Him as a kid.

Times have definitely changed…..

Things are so different in my life today then they even were a year ago. I’ve been on Spring break the past two weeks and this week I’ve been so busy doing work in and outside my home. Cleaning up from the winter and trying to make my yard look decent. As I was painting a garden sign today that I was going to throw out because it had faded. Then I realized I had a whole bunch of paint so I gave it a new look. As I was painting it I realized my life is similar to this sign. Before I got healed from addiction I was tired and beaten down. I looked and felt rough and rotten. Anytime I had weeks off work I had to check in with my accountability partner and show her a plan on how I had planned to stay sober. It was a challenge for me because boredom was my biggest trip up.

As I was painting my sign I realized that this year I did not need to outline my plan on how to stay sober. I can’t ever imagine going back into addiction again. This year is my fourth year of sobriety. Yes I still have an accountability partner which I will have until the day I take my last breath. Accountability keeps me striving everyday to keep my sobriety. In addiction I had an awesome counselor who challenged me when I needed it. I also had God to lean on everyday when I felt like I could not do it anymore. I worked hard to overcome addiction and in the end I needed to forgive. Forgiveness is not a pass on what people have done to you in your life. For me it was setting me free from the hate I felt in my heart. Every time I hated I fell in addiction. The only way I could forgive was through God’s grace. That is why I can stand here today sober.

This tired faded sign just needed some love and a good coat of paint to make it new again. For us we need the Lord to love us no matter where we are in life. We need Him to renew our broken, tired souls. We need Him when the hardest thing to do is forgive. That broke the chains of addiction for me. Today I live a healthy life, I still am really careful to guard my heart so that I remain sober.

If your hurting and need help with addiction. Find someone you can trust to talk to. Cry out to God He is waiting for you. I share my story with you because I don’t want to forget where I came from to who I am today in redemption. ❤️

Healing through art

One of my friends a couple of weeks ago suggested I join her in this painting. I thought because there had been many things in my life that this would be something to cheer me up and it was sunflowers. In the back of my mind the old saying came up that I was not going to be able to do this but I would try. My art teacher she’s a Christian and before her showing us how to paint she did amazing devotionals. Even though I could not paint when she did I listened to her devotions every morning before work. She suggested we watch and paint later. The first day I painted I thought I would pass out from the stress. God had shared with me before I started that I had a strong hold with painting.

God reminded me that I had vowed as a child that I would never do art or have anything to do with it. I avoided painting at all costs. My dad is an artist and every time things got rough out hard for him he escaped into his office to paint. The most painful thing for me with this was that my tiny room was off his office and he competely ignored me. I would cry out to him to help me and he just ignored me. His paintings were more important than his own daughter. I grew to hate him and his paintings. I remember making that vow.

As I started this painting I could bearly breathe. I felt stressed so much and pushed through it. The second day the devotional was on trust. I cried throughout most of the devotion. I asked God to remove that vow I made and help me to forgive my dad for using his art as an escape and ignoring me when I cried out to him over and over again. I asked God to wash all this pain away from me and renew my heart. I love what Christine said about trusting and about just painting.

This is my painting. When I released all this pain this is what I was able to create and God showed me that I could do this. I’m so proud of myself for letting go and letting God heal another part of my life through forgiveness. I found painting so relaxing and fun. Who knew. I signed up to paint once a month with Christine my favorite part was we were not allowed to say anything negative about what we painted and we had to share our progress with the group. I had never painted like this let alone put it on a canvas. I’m looking forward to painting more and learning how to be free and trust the process. I’m so glad I signed up and broke free of my bondage. Thank you Lord!!!

A simple book that can change a life. 📖

Yesterday I was triggered by a thing that happened. It reminded me of how a kind person in my life gave me hope through a simple book. As we start our Spring break the teacher in my class was talking about all the opportunities the children would have to read on the break. To read in different places outside, on a mountain ( the children thought that was funny), on the beach and even to read at breakfast and lunch. One of the children said that they don’t have a library book to read. The teacher walked over to the book shelf and pulled out on of her special books and gave it to the child.

The child was so happy to have a book to read to their family. That one simple gesture seems like nothing to many of us but that one book I was given it changed my life. It had an opportunity to escape my life for the time I was reading. I went on so many adventures with books that it helped me survive as a child. It also helped me love books. I still get really excited when it’s library time at school.

I love watching the children choose their books and then so excited to show us what they got and then before we leave they get an opportunity to look at their books. That one gesture of giving a child or children a special book to take home can be etched in your mind forever. I don’t know how old I was when Mrs. Baker gave me my first book. On holidays at school she would let the children take home two books. I always was able to take a stack home. Reading was an escape but it also thought me how to read better.

A couple of years ago before Mrs. Baker passed away. I was able to thank her for giving me a simple book, a simple book that changed my life forever. ❤️

Simplicity – not making things complicated

I smile at the title of this blog. I spent the weekend with my dad last weekend and he told me often that his favorite word is simplicity. I love simplicity because like he said not making things complicated. I think many of us over think things that are simple. I know I do I get bogged down and then it’s no longer fun or its something I just want to run from. Since Covid my life has become simple and I love it. Simple to me is sitting at God’s feet each morning with a good cup of coffee, listening to my favorite worship music, hanging out with one of my good friends and just laughing about silly things. Spending quality time with my dad. We had so much fun last weekend. He’s funny and I laughed like I had not done in a long time.

Simplicity to me is seeing the world from a child’s perspective. Helping children at school with their big emotions. I love to sit on the bench and just be with them. Simplicity making people including children laugh. I often cheer them up with humor. 😂 Praying for someone that needs prayer. 🙏 Sending someone a note or verse just to let them know your thinking of them. Simple is not using piles of words just being where they are. I love that.

During Covid I learned to stop and take in what is around me and it made us all slow down. At first it was hard but now I have learned that I don’t need to be busy all the time. I’ve spent more time with God this last year. Really sitting and listening. I’ve seen a lot of hurt and grief this year but throughout it all I have seen God moving.

Where have you seen God moving this year? Simplicity is a choice, a choice to slow down and see what is important in our lives. My dad is full of wisdom and I’ve had some of the best conversations with him. He’s such a special man in my life. I always wanted a father and I got the best one. ❤️ Thank you Lord.

Love always finds a way

” Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited. Does not act improperly, is not selfish is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things believes in all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

It is often said that love conquers all and that love is the greatest. Love gives us healing and life and binds us together. God’s love has conquered all, because God is love and He’s already won. Someone reminded me this week that ” Love is full of loss and there is always the risk of love, but it is still worth the loving.” I love that because love is one of the greatest things, but also can bring great heartache. I’ve had a week of grieving the loss of Bruce. I will miss seeing him each week on zoom for church. I hate seeing how much heartache my friend is going through from the loss of her husband. I feel sadness for her and her family. I feel sadness for my friend who is in a coma. Another beautiful soul. Even through my sadness I feel total peace and God is using Elicia in her coma. I’ve seen God’s hand in the whole situation. She should not be alive from what she’s endured but God has been with her step by step. She now opens her eyes when her family comes close. She’s not able to move but she’s responding. I love what her family says she’s resting with the Lord right now.

I don’t understand why some people live and others don’t but God knows when we are born and when we die. Even though love is hard sometimes, it’s the greatest gift we can endure. For now I’m going to keep loving the people in my life and not take any of them for granted. I see God’s love all around me through my grief and each day. Thank you Lord for giving me people in my life to love and pray for. GOD IS MOVING!!!!

Watch “”Ain’t No Grave / Alive Forever Amen” // Travis Cottrell feat. Elicia Brown // Live” on YouTube

This is Elicia she sings on Beth Moore’s praise team for Living Proof Live. I found out last night on Wednesday the day my friend ‘s husband died she had a brain aneurysm and they removed the clot but it pressed on her brain and she’s in a coma. This Woman is an amazing woman who loves the Lord with all of her heart. She’s been huge positive in my life and has an amazing testimony. Her story is not over yet. She’s got a precious 5 year old daughter. Praying for healing for her. She’s not woken up yet. 15 years ago I heard this woman sing at a Beth Moore conference. She stood up and sang and lifted the roof off the building. I knew there was something very special about her. Ever since that day I’ve been friends with her on Facebook. I’ve chatted with her many times on messenger. She’d tease me that I was her Canadian friend. She told me that she loved Vancouver and one day we would meet. I’ve watched her life and singing career take off. I watched her fall in love. I watched her child being born and prayed for her when she had an infection after birth.

I watched her make the toughest decision and leave her husband with her child and the clothes on her back. She had no idea how she would look after her daughter. Her friends and family surrounded her. She helped me always was there for me when I needed to talk. She helped me with decisions in my marriage and she speaks out on many topics and has a huge passion for the Lord.

Her story is not over yet she’s writing a book. I recently encouraged her to keep writing. She’s one of those people that you just instantly love. I guess that’s why God had her in my life. She’s a single mom with a precious five year old daughter. I do believe in the power of prayer and many are praying for her. I already lost a friend last week in still grieving that. I don’t want to add Elicia to that as well. Praying for her to wake up from her coma and be healed from her aneurism.

Thank you. I thought this song could help you see who you were praying for. “Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9

Grief

It seems like this past year is a season of grief for me. I just land on my feet and then I’m back into grief again. I hate grief so much because it feels like my heart is broken in two. One thing I have learned is to grieve grief. Even though it’s really hard for me and sometimes I feel as though I will cry and not stop. It’s also a time of reflection for me. I see God in things around me and I know He is near. On Tuesday I saw a bald eagle outside my window and after a hail storm I saw a rainbow.

The day before my friend Jenni died I saw a bald eagle up in the tallest tree in the park outside my window. I knew that even though I could not be with her, I knew God had her in the palm of His hands. The next day she died an awesome fight. On Tuesday I saw a big bald eagle and I knew that God was near. Yesterday evening my good friends husband died. He also fought a good fight. He was an amazing man. He was the quiet type but when he spoke, he had such wisdom. Up at a church camp he shared in our group how he met his wife. He talked about his Mission work they did in Nepal and how their children and them helped so many others.

He was a very soft spoken man who loved the Lord and his family so much. I didn’t know him long but I got to know his wife well and she talked lots about him. I’m so sorry after his heart surgery life has been so difficult for him. It doesn’t seem fair that his life is lost. It does however make me reflect on my life and how to never take it for granted. Life is to short and its precious. B he effected many people’s lives. This will be a huge loss in our community. I’m really sad by this.

” The Lord is near the brokenhearted, He saves those crushed in Spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Ask and you shall receive

I don’t know about you, but I hate asking for things. I have a friend who shared a story recently about knocking on someone’s door and asking them if they were willing to sell their home. It took her a bit to get the courage to do it. She talked about stepping out and having the courage to ask for something you want. I thought to myself I don’t think I could do that.

At the end of September last year I landed my dream job at a school down the road from me. The only downside to this job was it was part time and living on my own you can’t sustain the high cost of living here. I prayed lots about more work and had others pray for me. I felt I was supposed to tough it out and keep going. I had to trust each month I could pay my rent and my bills. After Christmas I felt I had to do something whether it entailed an after school job. I put out my feelers and got responses back but still felt I was supposed to stay where I was. I couldn’t shake that feeling.

What am I supposed to do God? I prayed lots about it and felt I needed to reach out to the people in my pilot project. I told them the honest truth and asked if I could get more hours. I thought well I have nothing to lose by asking. I got a response right away let me see what we can do and would you want to work at two schools. I said yes. I waited and I am not a patient waiter. After three weeks my principal saw me in the hallway and told me to check my email there was really good news for me. God provided me with the amount of hours I needed and I got to stay right where I am now. Not only that now I could get full benefits as well. I felt like I had won the lottery. I had worked really hard on my position and my hard work and my trust in the Lord had paid off.

Ask and you shall receive. I will never doubt or feel silly again about asking. Thank you Chelsea for sharing this story because without hearing this, I would never have stepped up to ask. God says ” And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19