A broken Gomer-I chose pleasure over protection . #shereadstruth

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For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water,

my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Hosea 2:5

 

Write a number.

What?

Write a number.

Write the number.

Write the number of men.

Write the number that you know.

The true number.

I can’t.

No.

Give me the number. On this paper write the number.

She knelt at my feet.

Years of guilt and shame poured down my cheek.

I wanted to vomit. I wanted to run. I wanted to look at her and say no.

Instead I wrote the number.

  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals

when she burned offerings to them

and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,

and went after her lovers

and forgot me, declares the Lord. Hosea 2:13

 

The number of lives that I destroyed. The number of innocent moments I had taken from another woman’s wedding night. The number of times I denied that God’s plan was better for my life. The number of times I choose pleasure over protection. The number of times I craved acceptance over wholeness. The number of times I willingly and unwillingly gave a piece of who I was to another.

And here I was twenty years later finally pushing towards freedom.

Satan holds me. Held me. To the number.

Tried for years to tattoo it to my vision. To remind me that who I was is who I am.

I was done. I am done letting sins twisted in sheets control me.

  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. Hosea 2:17

The chains of lies that held me then still controlled me now. Believing that I was used up, I was of no use. I had had my fair share of lovers. And to never be touched again would be too soon.

The shame that I let clothe me felt too heavy to carry alone. I was ready.

To find freedom. To see freedom. To crawl towards it.

And the first step was truth. To be honest with myself. To be honest with my husband. And to find someone to tell my truth to. Someone safe that would guide me, walk with me, pray for me, and lead me to the One who would ultimately bind up the wounds I had left gaping for years.

 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. Hosea 2:19

Where you are. Whoever you are. Whatever you’ve done or didn’t do. He is there waiting. Crying seeing you carry your chains around. Lay them down. He is waiting. Calling you home.

Its time.

Time to return.

He is gentle and safe.

He is justice and mercy.

He faithful and true.

With arms open

Calling you to freedom.

#shesharestruth

I love/ hate fall- when you aren’t the mom jumping up and down when your kids go back to school.

images3WF0CFTQI have a love/ hate relationship with fall. Unlike some people I love that the leaves change color, long sweaters and scarves, curried squash soup, sleeping with the windows open, apple picking, everything pumpkin (except PSL , that’s just gross) and snuggling up under a blanket with a soul feeding book.

But there is a huge part of fall that I loathe. School. (Don’t read this wrong, I LOVE our school and am so proud to be a part of such a diverse community. I digress, that is a whole other post). I am not what you would call a planner. I hate being busy. I have friends who say they thrive on being busy. I am not sure we are meant to be busy. I know for myself being busy means that I am saying no to other things. It means that I am running everyone to every sport practice, music lesson, and church. And with five kids with five different schedules this causes me to rethink adding Xanax to my yogurt in the morning. I think I would be a hermit if I could. OK. Maybe not that bad but I really don’t like to leave the house. If I have to drive more than three places in a day I get a little panicky.( stop laughing)

I know at the beginning of the year sweet mamas were posting picture of jumping in the air elated that their people were back in school all day. Me, not so much.

I was sad. And if we are going to be honest, scared.

You see fall is the appetizer for winter. And winter that I adore brings the D word.

In years past I would just let the anxiety of fall consume me and find myself overwhelmed and drowning in failure and expectations I let others put on me. I wasn’t able to keep up with the kids schedules. I didn’t know how to function with my husband gone six days/nights a week. So I drowned. The darkness would come and I would act surprised that it was there again. But If I look back I let it in. I am not saying that I asked for depression I am saying that I opened the door and did nothing to divert it another direction.

So this fall…..I am KICKING IT”S ASS!

I have put things in place that are healing for me. Things that are non-negotiable.

  • She Reads Truth. This community of women have been my safe place to pray, grow and heal. I was connected to them when I returned from Uganda by a woman I now call friend. I asked someone to help me find Jesus again and she pointed me to this daily devotional that has been such a haven of healing for me.
  • Exercise. I cannot stress this enough. If you know of anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, stress please encourage them to get exercise. I personally love walking, jogging, and kettle bell. It kicks my behind and raises my serotonin level. It has done wonders with my health and heart these past two years.
  • Food. This will always be a struggle for me. My past of eating disorders to the other extreme of shoving everything and anything in my mouth. It is a daily recommitment to treat my body with respect and not a garbage can. I will never be a size 4 and that is more than ok. But I want to know that I am doing everything I can to keep my heart and mind healthy.
  • Caffeine. I said goodbye to this friend. It was hard. I literally puked the third day off of it. I know, pathetic. But my doctor at the time asked me to try and stop. He said that it was pointless to take anti- anxiety meds and drink coffee like it was water. It was doing nothing but raising my heart rate and making it harder to think and complete thoughts.It’s been two years since I have had a regular cup of sweet nectar.
  • Sleep. I am a stickler on this one. If I am not getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night it is a recipe for disaster. I know it sounds like a lot but your body and mind need it. I need rest and to reset. It becomes a slippery slope if I stay up too late for too many nights in a row. This girl needs her beauty sleep.
  • Margin. I need to set margins or boundaries around extra things. I need to say no to even good things. Just because it is with my friends or a church activity or a concert I am dying to see I many times in the fall have to say no. I need to realize that at this point in my life I am raising five athletic children who thrive when on the field or court. I will not be a taxi driver forever but at this point I am. I can get angry every day and complain (which I do) or I can take this opportunity to have great conversations with the kids. About losing. About health. About school. About being an example. About deodorant. About commitment. About teamwork. About showering. About encouraging others. So I will continue to say no to some just so I can pour into those under my roof.
  • Date nights. Or days. Or afternoons. We have friends we kind of laid out our crap for us and told us we needed to get it together. We kind of love them. They did not tell us holier than thou advice. They took us where we were at and just offered up what worked for them. So we learned that we need to date. Every week. Not once a month. Not when you have a sitter. Not when you get dressed up (although we do that sometimes). Just date. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. ( just the two of you)  Go to the farmers market. Get dressed up and actually talk about each other.
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So fall I will learn to fully love you. I will. I will take better care of myself so we can be friends again.

What do you do to fight anxiety and depression?

The Clothes I Wear Say Who I Am #SheSharesTruth

The clothes I wear say who I am.

When I was younger I imagined that early on I wore clothes that said
Adventurous spirit
Tree climber with skinned knees
Roller-skater who was afraid to fall
Dare devil that loved the challenge
Imaginative storyteller
Creative with space
Quiet thinker

I’m not sure of the exact age, but I can speculate, when I started noticing these clothes disappear.
They would get shoved under my pillow. Or in the corner. Maybe they got left under the picnic table that fateful summer.

Whatever happened, I seem to find new shirts to wear. Ones that spoke for me.

Quiet spirit
Confused
Sad storyteller
Fearful thinker
Afraid
Imaginative girl who never knew the difference between the stories she told and what was real.

When the knees stopped being skinned and my pigtails were gone, I started letting others put clothes on me.
Or take them off.
And at the end all I was left with was clothes that said

Empty

As a teenager I wore empty like it owned me.

It did. It owned me.

Empty love. Empty food. Empty exercise. Empty puking. Empty drugs. Empty attention. Empty feelings. Empty touch. Empty alcohol. Empty lying. Empty school. Empty fear. Empty friends. Empty security. Empty soul. Empty faith.

Empty.

I continued to wake up every day for years and decide that this was what I was going to wear. I deserved to wear it. There were days or moments when I wanted to find another shirt to wear. To borrow someone else’s shirt. To see if what they were wearing would fit me. I was convinced that I could feel better in what they carried on their backs then the years of weighted clothes I carried on my shoulders.

Years later I knew it was safe to start taking the shirts of lies off. I had begun to surround myself with souls who breathed life into me. Who called out truth. Who saw the truth and leaned in even closer.

When I began to explore the thought that there was a God who wanted to slowly come to me with palms open I was timidly skeptical. Was I willing to take the layers of clothes I had worn off? Was I willing to throw them away? Was I willing to lay them ALL at his feet? Was I brave enough to let others see the scars that I had been covering for years?

I was.

I am.

Naked.

Exposed for the world to see.
For Christ to wash me.
For my husband to understand me.
For my friends to receive me.
For the mirror to reveal me.
Who I was years ago. Who I am today.

Enough.

The shirt He asks me to wear.

He asks you to wear everyday
says
Enough.

You are not what happened to you. You are not who cheated on you. You are not your child’s illness. You are not your pain. You are not your divorce. You are not your weight. You are not the food you eat. You are not the alcohol that devours you. You are not your addiction. You are not your husband’s rage. You are not the fear that drowns you. You are not the loss you ache for. You are not the girl who didn’t know better. You are not the countless times you gave yourself away. You are not the porn that calls you back to feast. You are not the secrets that hold you captive. You are not your job that engrosses you. You are not your child’s behaviors. You are not the girl you used to be.

You.Are.Enough.

You are brave enough.
You are courageous enough.
You are enough.

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Ruth 2:10

It’s time. It’s time to take off the layers of lies you’ve been wearing. It’s time to stop letting others put filth on you. It’s time to be brave enough to wear the truth Christ has been holding in his arms for you.
The truth that says

Enough.

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, Ruth 4:14

#SheSharesTruth
#SheReadsTruth

He did the best he could.- SheReadsTruth

He did the best he could.

That is what she said, in her brown cushioned chair, noise machine by the door.

He sat. Sat next to me in her office.

Months of pain unspoken hung between us.

I am not opposed to counseling. Not at all.
Not this one. This one was finally good.
She wasn’t telling us all the bull crap that many had told us before.

“Everyone makes mistakes, you obviously did”
“Walk away while you only have two kids, the damage will be minimal”
“Please think about having any more children”

I had stopped wearing my wedding ring by the time we walked into the first counselor and decided that I wouldn’t wear one again.
I believed I didn’t deserve to wear one.

We sat there sedentary. Watching the clock crawl, both fidgeting. He bites the inside of his hand when he is nervous. In between his thumb and first finger. I pick. My nails, hair, skin.

She asked,
how we were doing,
I started crying. Knowing that I was the reason we were here. I was the reason things were falling apart.

She sat there and said. He did the best he could.

He did the best he could, with what he had. With what I had never given him. Though I had given him every reason to leave. Biblically he had every reason. And no reason to stay.

You see the troubles we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Nehemiah 2:17

That was seven years ago.

But here is the thing. With me and him.

Although more him, if we are telling the truth.

He believes.

Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. Nehemiah 2:17b

He believes in covenants.

He believes in keeping his word.

He believes in God, more than he believes in me. More than my addictions. More than my past. More than my mistakes. More than my mess.

I also told them about the gracious hand of God upon me and what the King had said to me. Nehemiah 2:18

More than he believes in our marriage.

He believes that God will bring redemption.

That God has a different plan for my life, for his life and he just needs to trust. He believes that the power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that is fighting for our marriage.

The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding….Nehemiah 2:20

He believes that even if he never sees deliverance come in our marriage that he isn’t leaving. Because God will make something out of this mess. It isn’t his right to say that it needs to happen in his lifetime. He believes that he can teach me to trust more in the restoration than the struggle.

He does the best he can.

And his best is exactly what I need.
#SheReadsTruth