It seems like the last few things that have been coming at me repeatedly, are the Fruit of the Spirt. I don’t know about you, but when something starts ringing my scents repeatedly, God’s trying to get my attention.
When I was a teacher back in the day we had a cute lil song, the kids and I would sing together to remind us all to keep God present in our life.
To keep you connected to Him.
To keep us growing in our faith.
To keep us kind to others.
It’s how I made rules for the classroom. Now, thinking back to those rules, I think I could apply them to my life.
No one is perfect. It seems like that would be an obvious thing to know but it’s not. We all try to cover up the hard truths of our life. The things we aren’t to proud of and we prefer that no one would ever know about… our sins.
I call those things the dirt behind the washing machine, the lost shock. Maybe it’s all the dust behind your fridge? It’s the yucky stuff you know about, but hide from the world. We all have it and we all hide it.
But have you ever actually had a day to clean it out or away? Move that big washer out from the wall and mop the floors, clean away all the dust and lost socks? Once it’s all clean and nice again, it feeling so good! It smells so clean! But until you do the work and clean it, you’re just hiding stuff.
This is much like the work I’ve done with my health team, starting over 3 years ago, and still do today. Working on my mental health and physical health together, because if your mental health is foggy, the rest is a mess too. It was slow at first, but every one little step lead to a bigger, more massive improvements in my life as a whole.
Coming to Jesus was much the same way! Crying out to Him that I am lost and in need of a savior. I can’t move until He lights my way. I needed his forgiveness and for Him to breath life back into my very broken soul. I confessed my sins, my pain and everyday it got a little better. I still do this. But years ago this was my life support. Every day was a painful struggle to even wake up, brush my teeth or take a shower. It was the love of God that fueled those first steps for me.
When I look back now, sometimes I don’t want to remember that pain or how bad it really was. I don’t want to think about the kind of isolation and shame I had on my life. But if I don’t remember it, I wouldn’t appreciate my life and the way it is now or how God has transformed me.
I wouldn’t be able to see how much God has grown me and strengthen me. He has given me such power and confidence because of the struggle. I wouldn’t be able to look back and see every prayer that He answered! He didn’t waste the sin, the pain, the hurts against me. He made miracles out of them!
What if I would have kept it all in hiding? Just hid in my sin and pain away? He wouldn’t have been able to use my experience, and change me. I wouldn’t be who or where I am today. I wouldn’t be able to help my friends that are struggling right now. I wouldn’t be able to be witness to the miracles that He blessed on my life. God was building me, shaping me, and loving me. He was teaching me how to love the person that I am now!
I would have never said this years back, but I say now, God builds charter in us. He teaches lessons and guides us! He love us. He is a good Father. The perfect Parent.
As much as we all would like to hide the bad stuff, people see through the filters and fake smiles. I know I do. We fool no one. Especially our friends and family. The ones who really care about us know what’s really going on. No one has a perfect life, perfect kid(s), perfect house, perfect job, perfect family, or perfect anything. It just doesn’t exist!
I stopped trying for perfect awhile ago. I had pretty high expectations on myself for a really long time and it’s a finish line no one will ever reach! I still have expectations, but being honest in expectations is way different then trying for the lie of perfection!
Through counseling and my growing relationship with God, I have learned that I don’t need to be ashamed of my past, present or future. I hope you all know that too! If I have people in my life making me feel that way, then I am surrounding myself with the wrong people.
God uses us and our experiences to help or serve others. I found that by just sharing my struggles… my very ugly and sometimes super embarrassing struggles, was moving some people out of my life and bringing new people in. I was there sharing and helping, when I was called on. While still growing and changing myself. I never had to tell anyone to get out my life… they just took a step back, while other took a step closer. Weird how God does that.
I have no shame or pity over the past, or what I have been through, even though I do shed a tear or two thinking about it, still. I think now about how God used that time to refine me and grow me. He took all my faults, my failures, every single fear and the tremendous pain, and made me a victim… NO MORE! He forgave me. He carried me and loved me and always did and has.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light’ -Madeline L’Engle
I say this often in my blog post “Strongest in Your Weakness“ but that is most true for me. It was there alone in my truck, while living in CA, trying to figure out how I could end it all. I cried myself into the worst puddle of a mess. I have never looked so terrible in my life. I had lost 26 pounds in two weeks and no one even noticed. I had just left a women’s dinner at a new church that had we found in Newberry Park, CA and I felt so awkward the whole time that I was there.
I looked around and felt the eyes on me. Every women looked down their nose at me and just glancing around the room… I didn’t belong. Some ladies would greet me, but as soon as I’d tell them I just came from Minnesota, it was like they had to hold back throw up. Most the women wore fancy hats, gloves and knee high boots, like it was winter, it was fall but still 80 degrees outside. I had been told this event was casual, but I guess that meant something different to me. I was wearing dark jeans and a light loose fitting fabric tank top, flip flops, and my then, very long hair was pulled up into a ponytail, with only a little makeup on. Everyone in a puffy furry winter coats and me sitting there alone, dressed for 80 degree weather! I did not fit in at all. I just remember feeling like they wanted me to leave…. LEAVE NOW! I have never felt more unwelcome at a church in my life.
I held back tears the hold time. I was in the weakest, most fragile state I had ever been in! Those fancy lady, those “perfect looking” ladies had no clue where my life or mind was, or how easily it was to infect it.
I sat at a table with 6 other ladies. A few times one of them would asked a question of two, but it was hard for me talk. I wanted to cry. I felt super uncomfortable. When a women would speak to me, it was questions like when can you move somewhere else you’ll fit better? Which made me feel like they really didn’t want me near them at all. I was told by one person that California women are very in shape, so I won’t understand their conversation, then she literally turned her whole chair away from me. Even when I tried to start a conversation, they would just stare at me and walk away, or say nothing at all and start talking to the person next to them and laugh.
When the dinner was over, I walked fast to my truck and got inside and balled my eyes out. I got out of the parking lot as fast as I could. I remember, I couldn’t even see where I was going because I was crying so hard. I was thinking… SEE! I DIDN’T EVEN FEEL GOD AT CHURCH! NOT EVEN AT CHURCH!! THERE WAS MY ANSWERE… TO GO AHEAD… END IT ALL!
I drove to the grocery store parking lot and wiped my wet face. I still looked crazy awful. I went inside and grabbed a drink and some travel size Kleenex. The whole time I was thinking it’s getting dark now, I’ll just drive right off the cliff. It’ll look like an accident and it just began raining… it’ll be fine. When I came back to my truck there was a flyer on my window. It was wet so I just pulled it off and tossed it on the seat at first.
I sat there in my truck for a while, plugged my phone in and the first song that came on was NF’s Paralyzed (Please take a moment and listen to it below). This song was the first time I had words to match what I felt. I sat there and listen to every word on repeat for a really long time.
I was the song. I was suffocating. I was numb. I was a ghost. I was paralyzed and felt nothing anymore. The joy was gone. I was okay with being gone from earth, from my husband and kids. I had convinced myself it was fine to leave. I was full of shame and lost all hope. I didn’t even know myself anymore. I was a stranger to myself. My pain had taken over but still felt nothing at all. I was scared to died but didn’t want to live anymore either. The real me was already dead and I needed God to bring her back. I was desperately needing a savior.
I listened to the words over and over and cried out to God to save my life. I went to grab my grocery bag for some tissues, and saw the now dry flyer on my seat. It said, I NEVER LEFT YOU. It was actually a gym membership flyer, but those words hit me! It was in this moment that I truly knew just how very broken that I was, but how very worthy I was of saving. I was 1 of the 99.
I stayed in the parking lot for another hour praying and crying. It was like a rebirth. I prayed to God the whole way home that night. When I got to the curve in the road that I had planned to drive off of, I took it so slow, so careful. I remember the relief that I felt once I made it past that point in the road.
Before that night, I hadn’t slept in months… maybe a year. I had been dealing with the worst insomnia and anxiety of my life. But that night I came in the house late and went right to bed. I didn’t talk to anyone, the house was dark and quite. I changed my clothes, washed face and hit my pillow. It was the most peaceful, deep sleep I had in… ever. It was the first sweet dream I had in a really long time. I watching a wheat field blowing in the wind as the sun shine down upon it. I remember the way it smelled, the way it felt. I remember it all. God was giving me rest that I needed so badly. I was warm and at peace.
When I woke up that morning, I felt different. I still had a hard long road ahead of me, but I had just moved that big heavy washer, and was now ready to clean behind it. I was ready to get some help. That day was the first real day of life and I will forever be grateful for it.
This moment in my life was and will always be a landmark moment that changed everything. The day God made a very weak girl, a very strong women. The day He reminded me that He is everywhere, and can speak to me at anytime or place, that nothing can separate His Love from me, ever. That day changed me forever. I’m so thankful for it.
So what I’m saying here is God will not waste your pain. God ensures we won’t lose our way. We will struggle, life will get hard at times and we will have pain now and then, but our connection to Him is our life line. This finally brings me back to the Fruit of the Spirit and and how it’s come back up to me several time lately. I was asked at Bible study last week if there was one or more that I needed to have more present in my life or needed to work on.
And I think the word WORK stood out to me more than anything. This is because It’s all work, and has to be put into practice. At different times in my life I have needed to be better at one or more of these things but all the time I have to work at displaying the Fruit of the Spirit the way I should. I have to work at being kind to myself and others… Especially in the pick up line at my daughters school! I have work at not get complement in the good things in my life and staying humble at times. I have to work at forgiveness when I don’t get an apologies! I’m human and the people I share this place with are too. Living with myself and other is work.
I know this post was a little all over but that’s where my head was the last few weeks. I thank y’all for sticking with me as I keep with this journey and finding my way through it!
I want to make a very important note here. During that time in my life I did have a blogger friend reach out and because of his consent concern and care for me, and being able to read between the lines well. He play a major role in reuniting me with God and helping to bring me back to Him. He also helped me to get some professional help and for that I will be forever grateful. He is very humble about this but I do believe God used him to help save my life.
Again, we are the village… You just never know what part you might be playing!
On to the next!