Free Indeed.

woman in field

Every now and then I stumble upon my journal from 2011.  Interestingly enough there are not many thoughts written in this journal – just scripture and sermon notes.

When I did journal, during that extremely difficult time in my life, my words were intense.

I cannot read this journal without crying. Hard.

I’m crying now. I read through this journal tonight.

Here I am, sitting on my patio. Enjoying a beer. Watching the sun set. I just put my 2 beautiful, healthy children to bed.  I’m filled with joy after a day fully lived.  Fully lived – meaning I woke up at 4:30AM and worked out, had quiet time, spent some time in nature, grocery shopped, did laundry, drank coffee (twice), cleaned my home, food prepped, hung out with my kids at the park, took a nap, enjoyed the company of my husband … and here I am.  Alone again. On the patio, with my beer, watching the sun set and reading through old thoughts from 2011.

Crying.

Sobbing.

Completely undone by God’s faithfulness.

2011 was the year my life stopped.  Struck by paralyzing anxiety and depression to the point that I considered taking my life to escape the pain. No one could help me. No one understood. I was alone, lost and confused.  I felt like a burden.

There were moments where I felt like my life would never get better but I chose to believe Jesus. No matter how I felt, I chose to believe the Word of God.  I knew I had to dig deeper than what I saw and felt in order to be healed.

Reading through this journal takes me back to that little, dingy apartment.  It was dark and heavy there. I felt hopeless. The walls felt as though they were closing in on me.  The carpet was dark brown. The lights were dim.  I was out of work and alone with  3 year old most of the time. What an incredibly lonely season in my life.

I don’t know how or why I kept from taking my own life.  Wow. It seemed to be the only thing that made sense …. the only thing I could control during that season.

Here is what I wrote on April 30, 2011:

“Jesus,

This morning through about 4pm was crazy! Such a hard first part of the day. Absolutely no appetite and lots of work to do – not a good combination on moving day.

I had a great conversation with Sarah (one of my closest friends during this season) as I called her while following Tony to drop off the U-Haul.  It was a Spirit filled conversation, talking about how awesome You are and that You are making me dig up bad roots so You can plant great things in me.

I took a nap at Sara’s (my mother-in-love) today after getting hit with a huge migraine. It was lovely to close my eyes and be still.

Today I wanted to give up so many times – but I’m glad I don’t rely on my own strength at all.

I was numb today. So numb. And yet I hurt all over. It’s hard to explain.

Thank you for the vision you gave me today. The Apostle Paul in prison being held captive … but he was so joyful and excited about You and Your Truth and promises.  Then the word about the last days – God’s people being taken captive, but that I need to stand. I have to stand! I will stand!

As I showered tonight I sang, “Hosanna, Hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.  Hosanna, Hosanna, come have your way among us – we welcome You here, Lord Jesus.  Cause when we see You, we have strength to face the day and in Your presence all our fears are washed away. Washed away.

Thank You, Jesus.

Please continue to strengthen my mind.  I want more of You.

Love you.

Standing.

April”

 

I’m sitting here crying because I know how broken April was.  She was in so much pain. So much confusion. So much defeat.

But guess what?  I did not stay there. I chose to keep pushing. I chose to keep believing. I chose to believe God over how I felt. I kept waking up. I kept getting up out of the bed and moving forward. I would work out when I felt like sleeping.  I would eat whole foods that were good for my body when I either had no appetite, or I felt like eating cheeseburgers.

I read the Word like it was oxygen to my body – which it was!

And here I am.

Right here.  Healed. Whole. New.  Completely living in freedom.

Yet, I know I would not be experiencing this freedom had I not gone through that season of hell.

Once I stopped resisting the fear and anxiety and pain, I started to heal.

I remember getting so pissed off and thinking, ‘oh well … if I die today, I’m going to make it a day worth dying over.’ And I just started living the shit out of my life.

I realized the only person who could stop me was me. I realized the only person who could advance me was me.

The Spirit of God has equipped us with everything we need to keep going. We are empowered by The Spirit and yet we stop so short.

Here I am.  In 2017. 6 years later.

Free.

Free indeed.

Still in process – but free.  Once you’ve seen the glory of God it cannot be unseen. You’re never the same.

Friend – keep going. Keep pushing with all you have in you even when you have nothing left. There is something left.

You may not understand. It may hurt like hell. You may be tempted to fall into a victim mindset – but don’t.

You are a child of the Most High God. You were created on purpose with a purpose. Ask God who you are. Ask Him.  Seek Him and find out the power you possess through Him.

And don’t you ever… ever let the enemy tell you to sit down and shut up.  The only power the enemy has is that which you give him.  Don’t give him reigning power over your life for another moment.

I am a testimony of God’s faithfulness, y’all.  I was bat shit crazy in 2011.  I had voices in my head. I saw things manifesting from the spiritual into the natural during that season – crazy stuff that no medical professional could diagnose.  In fact, they told me I was ‘fine‘.  I was not fine.

But I’m here. Of love, power and of a sound mind.

Free.

Free indeed.

You are too. You just need to meet yourself in the freedom.

-April

Throwing Shards

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**Disclaimer: You must read this post through spiritual eyes or I’m going to appear to be a raving lunatic.  Or. Maybe I am a raving lunatic.  Oh well.  All part of the process.**

I’m wounded today.

I didn’t know I was wounded.  I woke up in a bit of a hurry with what felt like the start of a head cold. I felt fine though.

As the day progressed I started to sink fast.  I can’t really explain it.  It’s not like there is anything wrong.  There’s no particular culprit. No one did anything to me. My life is not in shambles.  No major obstacles or conflict.  …  just one of those days where your flesh, spirit and your soul eclipse.

I don’t know if that makes sense to you but that’s what I see in my head when I think of what I’m feeling.  My soul: mind, will, emotions.  My spirit: The spirit man – where my spirit and the Holy Spirit commune.  My flesh: the part of me that longs to gratify myself… to belong here on this earth and fit in and strive and perform and not endure criticism and disappointment and/ or disappointing.

Yeah. All those pieces of me eclipsed.  And it was painful.

It happens every now and then.  Usually when God is calling me into a new, unfamiliar, uncomfortable place. Or whenever God is asking me to surrender heavy desires of my heart.  I can expect an eclipse when new revelation has hit my eyes and I’m navigating deeper pieces of my journey.

But today was different.

I zombied through the day successfully (ish).  I drove home from work in a car filled with silence.  Struggling internally but without thoughts.  Have you ever done that?  No one to attack and nothing that is truly wrong …  but wresting.  You can literally feel the battle inside.

My mind flipped through the rolodex of satisfaction-seeking-quick-fixes to help me feel better.  I didn’t fall weak.  I know the enemy’s plot and his ‘quick fix’ will always be to numb the pain.  I’m aware of this – so thoughts of fast food, or wine, or picking a fight with someone weren’t even attractive.

Instead I sat in the pain.  The discomfort.  The anxiety.  The frustration. With what felt like a cement block over my lips, I opened my mouth and asked God to shine light on the root of discomfort.

There was no major revelation with fireworks.  I just rode home in silence.

Upon arriving at my house, my kids flocked to me to smother me in love.  They were so happy and excited for me to be home with them.  I was greeted by my amazing husband.  I zombied through greeting them – feeling overwhelmingly heavy at this point – and made my way to the couch where I lied paralyzed beside my daughter for about an hour.

I finally got up and walked into the bedroom where my husband was standing.  And I broke.

I hurt someone I love recently. It was unintentional. We talked through it and they’ve forgiven me… but I hurt them.  The selfishness that I often struggle with made them feel less than.  They’re not even holding onto it anymore and I didn’t realize I was … I actually don’t think I am – but that hurtful piece of my journey struck my heart today.

Followed by how someone I love hurt me and is currently hurting me.  They’re hurting me with what I view as blind eyes and confusion.  I’m caught in the cross fire and every time I see this person the reminder of rejection is right there in my face. I know this person loves me.  There is no doubt about it.  Normally if someone is hurting me, I can see that they are dangerous and toxic and I cut them off… but I can’t cut this person off.  It’s not even right to cut them off.  They’re not dangerous or toxic – they’re just following their heart and who am I to tell someone what their heart is telling them?  Or even more so – what they claim God is telling them?  It’s causing a wedge.  And I don’t like it.  But I can’t do anything about it.

So I’m learning how to love someone in the midst of enduring incredible pain.

The light shining on this area then opened me up to my habit to flee! To run away.  To cut off. To bury the hurt.  To move on. But I believe God is teaching me to hold on and endure during the discomfort in relationships.

Can I be honest? I don’t know how.

I’m getting the whole ‘let God love me’ thing.  But I am not at a place where I can allow others to truly love me.  We can be cool on the surface all day long.  We can rock social media and emoji high five, that’s cool … but when it comes to real life junk you can count me out!

I know Jesus loves me.  I know who I am in Christ (and continuously learning).  I’m secure in my identity.  I love myself.  But when it comes to me deeply loving others and allowing others to deeply love me –  I’m not there.

I want to be there.

But it’s on the other side.  Over there.  And over there requires removing the safety.  It requires love, grace, and mercy that I don’t always feel armed with. Especially when people are stupid.

Not sayin’ it’s right …  just where I’m at as of today.

So, today – as I was sitting on my bed and boo-hoo crying at the clarity on the things listed above, I pulled my knees to my chest, crossed my arms over my knees and buried my face into my arms like a little kid in complete protection mode.

Muzzled under my protective gear of limbs, I said, “I’m throwing shards.”

I’m feeling wounded and I’m deflecting.  So many people have tried to love on me today knowing that I wasn’t feeling well.  I was annoyed with them.  Really annoyed.

Words of affirmation, my love language, being offered up constantly and it took everything in me not to roll my eyes.

Get away.  Take your broken pieces of love that you’re trying to offer me and give them to someone else.  I don’t want it.  I don’t need it.  I don’t need your F-ing words or comfort or acts of service.  Don’t care for me.  Don’t love on me.  Stop asking me if I’m okay – as if you really care.  You don’t care.  You’re just being nosey.  Or is it because I’m not bringing entertainment and comfort to you today?!

Ugly. I know.  I’m not proud.  But this is a real (fleeting) moment in my life. Not my norm at all.  And even while undergoing this ‘eclipse’ I can see the truth.  The truth never left me.

Besides my husband and my kids, relationships have always been distorted in my life. Don’t read this as if I’m desperate for people to come and create a relationship with me.  In fact, if you do that you’d probably get your feelings hurt.  This is not a ‘people are not trying hard enough’ thing.  This is simply a ‘my heart is not ready thing’.

I’m throwing shards.

No forced or pity friendships could ever withstand where I’m truly at on my journey. That’s why I’m not desperate or seeking.

I believe and trust in God’s timing.  I know that may seem contradictory and gosh, I hope you’re reading this from the depths of the eclipse and not as some whiney ‘boo hoo, look at me, I have no friends, I’m all alone’ type message.

I’m fine.  I’m in process.  And it’s a painful yet lovely part of the process.  God is healing and restoring me every day in new ways.  It’s not an overnight process and I’m at a place in my walk with Christ where I can honestly say I’m grateful that He takes His time.

If all this rambling could encourage your own lonely heart – then receive it, girl!  I pray you are encouraged. I know I am!  I’m grateful that God’s Truth is not changed by our feelings.  Unwavering, my friend.

Loneliness is not always a bad thing.  In fact, the more I read the scriptures, the more The Holy Spirit has been really drawing my attention to the fact that Jesus pulled away from the crowds.  He didn’t isolate and he had incredible compassion for the crowds at times … but He also got away from the crowd.

I’ll leave you with this from Matthew 9:23-25.  A religious leader had approached Jesus, knelt down before Him and shared that his daughter had just died.  He was asking Jesus to come and put His hand on the girl so that she would live.

Watch what happens when Jesus shows up on the scene:

23 “When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.”But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.”

AFTER the crowd had been put outside the girl was brought back to life.

Let’s not be discouraged when a personal eclipse sends us spinning into crazy-psycho-in-the-head-woman.  You’re not crazy.  You’re smack dab in the middle of process.

He reaches out His hand, y’all.  Even if our lifeless hand doesn’t reach back – He’ll grab ahold of it.  He never claims us as dead.  He says we’re sleeping.  Guess what?  He awakens us from our slumber.  Over and over and over again.

It’s part of the process.  A beautiful process.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

-April