Comparison is the thief of joy.

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with comparison, its become more and more pronounced as the social media movement has become more popular. It has reached its peak tonight. Theodore Roosevelt’s words have been on repeat in my head for the last 30 minutes.

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I was on Facebook tonight and I kept seeing pictures of “happy couples” with their beautiful children and I found myself thinking, “Will I get to have that again?” and feeling the anger rise up in my heart over what has happened to Jameson and I, it doesn’t help that I saw his father for the first time in 6 months this week which was undoubtedly a trigger for me and my thinking spiraled. “God I did everything right! Everything.” Well not everything, let’s just nip that thinking in the bud right now, that’s the phrase isn’t it? Nip that in the bud. Such a weird phrase. I need to stop that thinking dead in its tracks. Back to my original point, I felt the longing and desire rise up in me, for a happy, healthy, kind marriage, for a doting, loving husband who adores my son they way he deserves. I want all the babies, I have such a deep desire for this and I was scrolling through all these happy families and I felt deflated, sad and the heartbreak welled up all over again. I am having a hard time moving forward when I keep looking to everyone else’s joy instead of focusing on the blessings God has given me right now. Did you know that the new Apple update gives you a screen time update. I am actually mortified, ashamed and totally embarrassed by how much time I’ve spent on my phone. It’s actually ridiculous.

As a result of these two “ah-ha” moments for me I’ve decided I need a Facebook break. I need a phone break and I need to focus really hard on being present. I have been given such a tremendous gift in the face of the grief I am working through and that is having a job where Jameson gets to be with me all the time. I need to focus on the blessings God has poured out on me. I have been stuck, not moving forward just coping in my sadness, existing. Letting the waves of worthless, sadness, bitterness and anger wash over me while slowly pulling me under, drowning in the weight of all of this. I have to address each one of these and actually do the hard work of examining who, what, why, where, when, how…diving in and digging out all the yuck and not staying trapped in the remnants of an abusive, toxic marriage. I need to allow God to reach in and touch and heal all those places I’ve been hiding from by using my coping mechanisms to just keep moving forward. So I am signing off for a while.

I want to make it my mission to live out what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

I don’t want to live receiving my worth and value from how many likes I get on a picture of what is obviously the cutest baby in the world, what it’s true! I am not even a little bit partial, haha. I’ve spent so much time the last 8 months looking at other’s lives and longing for what they have instead of picking up the pieces of the wreckage that was mine and rebuilding it. I am going to give myself grace and recognize that I have made huge strides toward healing and joy and strength,  however I need to take those next steps forward and start doing the hard stuff. I feel like it has been surface level healing these last 8 months, a lot of learning and trying to understand what the heck happened, a  lot of baby snuggles and watching my beautiful boy grow and learn, that has all been  important and crucial but now I feel like it’s time for heart surgery.

I don’t know how long I am going to be “gone” but I am committed to healing and truly allowing God to have every single piece of my mess, every hard thing, every hurt, all of it. It’s His and I know and trust that God will bring beauty from the ashes. He will restore what has been destroyed. I have every confidence.

Signing off,

Elisha

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#WhyIDidntReport

Because I was 22 and a brand new flight attendant. He was 10 years older than me and a pilot. Because I was terrified that I was going to get I trouble as if somehow it was my fault that he took advantage of me. Because I was brand new at my company and still on probation. Because I had only been to the gynecologist once and was terrified of whatever rape kit test they were going to have to do to me. Because I was scared of it being publicized. Because I was so mind numbingly scared I couldn’t think straight. Because I didn’t know what to do. Because he was older and in a position of power. Because I was afraid. Because when you are violated in such a personal, vicious way your brain shuts down and goes into self preservation mode and not everyone responds the same way to trauma.

That’s why I didn’t report it. That’s why I didn’t tell. That’s why I was crippled by fear for so long. That’s why it took me years to tell me story. I am so disgusted by the response of the president. Literally it is sickening. Disgusted. Yes let’s victim shame this woman because she didn’t report him. Let’s put her down and down play what happened to her. Let’s put all sexual assault victims in a box and tell them because they didn’t respond in a timely manner or in a way that fits into your narrow minded box that their experience is invalid and doesn’t matter or didn’t happen. People who perpetuate this type of behavior are narrow minded and ignorant and foolish and I have zero tolerance for it.

I am going to be okay.

Okay so this is going to be a really weird post so bear with me. I have been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (that’s how I medicate, binge watching tv, but that’s another post for another time) for the last few months. I am FINALLY on Season 12, if you haven’t watch STOP HERE because SPOILER ALERT. After Derek Sheppard was killed off the show, I stopped watching it. I was so mad that they killed off his character because HELLO Meredith and Derek were meant to be together and they had overcome SO much. Meredith drowning, Meredith and a bomb, Derek getting shot, PLANE crash, Addison. All of it. Did you know they even had their own theme song that would play whenever they had a scene together. That is the beauty of Netflix when you binge watch a show, you notice things you hadn’t before. I saw the episode once before and when I watched it this time I knew it was coming but this postpartum Mama still cried but this time for different reasons. I cried because (NOW BEAR with me, I know this is a show and not real life) they had overcome obstacle after obstacle and still continued to fight for their marriage and children and then he was gone, he died. I was crying because I felt like I had to grieve the illusion of my marriage and my false perception of who my husband was. I grieved because I didn’t have a husband who loved me like that, who wanted to fight and overcome and love me fiercely and desire me deeply and have fun and a whole number of other things but again I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. After I got over my own emotions, I was wondering where Shonda Rhimes was going to take the series after a decade of the focus being Meredith and Derek. Then I started watching the episodes after Derek was gone and Meredith said this line,

“No matter how dark it gets the sun is going to rise again.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about that and as I continued to watch, the characters lives moved on and the show was still awesome. Derek’s character was such an INTEGRAL part of the show and yet it still went on. I find myself enjoying the show just as much, if not more than I did before. The show is coming up on its 15th season and is still thriving. Then I got to thinking (and I know this whole blog post is kind of cheesy but that’s me and I am tired of pretending to be ANYONE OTHER THAN WHO I AM) I am going to be OKAY!!! I am going to be more than okay. My life is going to go on and I trust that God is guiding me. I trust that I will love again, beyond anything I could dream up or imagine. God has a plan for me. I believe that the broken pieces of my heart will be healed and repaired by the Great Physician I call my Father. I believe that the years of pain and hurt buried deep in my soul will be carved out and repaired and I will thrive. I believe that my husband leaving is the platform to launch me into who God has destined me to be. I believe that through adversity, through refining I am becoming the woman who I have always wanted to be. “No matter how dark it gets the sun is going to rise again.” I will wake up one day and the bleeding wound I have will be a faded scar; reminding me of a place I never want to go again, reminding me I will never let anyone dim my light again, reminding me of the strength and endurance God has given me, reminding me I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and reminding me that God’s will for my life is far better than anything I could have ever dreamed up. I am going to be okay. Life is going to go on and I will thrive.

Living in my mess and allowing God to clean it up,

Elisha

I need to be seen.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Not that I haven’t wanted too, I just haven’t felt inspired to write. I think that comes with navigating grief and trying to come back to yourself. I’ve had a lot I wanted to write about and then I would sit down to try and get it out and Jameosn would wake up or I would be too tired. During Jameson’s bath tonight I decided I needed to try and work out what was in my head. I have felt off all day today and haven’t been able to shake it. I started thinking about it and in normal circumstances you would tell your spouse or your partner and they would love on you or prayer with you. I started thinking well who sees me, who can acknowledge that I’m doing this alone, who can encourage me and validate those times where I feel so incompetent as a mother and exhausted and overwhelmed. So I thought hey Facebook, I can be “seen”. Someone can “hear and listen” that I’ve had a tough day. Maybe someone will encourage me or just “see” me. I realize navigating being a single parent I need to be encouraged and validated but where do you receive that when you don’t have a partner? My thought process then went to what I know. What’s truly and deeply ingrained in the core of my heart and who I am, God sees me, I am not alone. He sees me at my deepest point of weakness and struggle. He sees me as Jameson is waking up for the 3rd time in a row at night to nurse because he’s teething or going through a growth spurt and I am bleary eyed trying to feed him. He sees me as I ponder what my future looks like when everything I thought I had mapped out is no longer tangible. He knows the deepest desires of my heart to have a spouse that loves me fiercely, that is just as goofy as I am, that is kind and that loves my child as his own. He knows I want to rescue all the abandoned children and bring them home and love on them. He knows my heart to empower and love on women because I deeply believe we need to support and edify one another instead of dragging each other down. He sees me when I want so desperately to weep and mourn and cry but feel like I have to keep it together for the sake of my son. He sees my confusion as I try to rebuild the pieces of my heart. He sees me as I try to peel back the walls I have used to protect myself over the last 10 years. He sees me struggling to find myself again. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4: 15-16 I know He sees me. I know He can empathize with the hurt I’m dealing with. I know He rejoices in my successes and hurts for me in my sorrow and sometimes I forget that God sees me and I just have that deep desire to just be seen and acknowledged from a tangible human being. I want to jump up and down waving my hands saying “Hey I’m here, do you see me?!?!?” It’s a very real need to have someone reach out and say I see you. I’m kind of all over the place in this post. I just think it’s my need for community. We weren’t meant to navigate this life alone. I don’t believe we are suppose to suffer silently or isolate ourselves. I believe God is three in one, the trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If God in His being is all three and we are image bearers of God, created in His image, we must need community. I might be completely missing the mark as far as doctrine goes. I don’t know but God wanted to be in relationship with us. He wanted us to choose to step into a relationship with Him, so it seems to me that we have that innate need to be in relationship with one another. So all of that to say, I want to rebuild my community. I want genuine, authentic, transparent relationships. I want relationships where I can be completely who God has created me to be and that who that is is enough. Thank you for acknowledging my day was hard. Thank you for encouraging me and thank you for seeing me.

Love,

Elisha

Everything has changed.

When you are young you have an idea of how your life is going to go. You have your hopes and dreams laid out in front of you. They are big and bright and achievable and there is no doubt in your young mind that they are going to happen, they might as well be true because you have that much faith in your future.

The first time I realized I was wrong was 2 days before my 21st birthday. It was 2005 and my favorite “band” had come back for a reunion tour. One of my best girlfriends and I drove to Dallas for the concert, a 5 hour drive from Lubbock, TX and we were EXCITED. I had obsessively loved the Backstreet Boys since I was 14 years old, so much so one of my punishments growing up was tearing down my BSB posters off the wall( as an adult this is a hysterically creative punishment and still one of my favorite stories, props to my mom). This would be my 3rd time seeing them in concert and being the truly naive almost 21-year-old I was, I had it buried deep in my heart that when Nick Carter and I met, he would actually fall in love with me at first sight and it would be all fairy tales and roses.  I know that sounds ridiculous but I am telling you I was dreaming BIG. So we got to the show and I made this sign, decked out in glitter ( if you know me it has to sparkle) saying “Nick,  kiss me it’s my 21st birthday”, in case you are wondering this did not happen.

When we got out of the car Nick was playing basketball behind the fenced in area and AJ was signing autographs so naturally we ran to the fence with the other swarms of girls and stared and waited and ogled. I must have taken a BAJILLION photos of Nick playing basketball, I won’t even go in to how weird that must be to be a human and be on display like a zoo animal. I guess it comes with the territory. We stood out there for what seemed like hours and finally it was time for the show to start as Nick and AJ were called inside I remember feeling almost panicky that I wasn’t going to get my chance to “meet” my future husband. So I yelled at Nick in a desperate attempt as he was walking by, “NICK IT’S MY 21st BIRTHDAY.” To my complete and utter shock he started walking towards me. I promptly hung up on my mom and stared dumbfounded knowing this is the moment my life would begin. He looked at me as girls screamed and shoved their c.d.s in his face to sign and he said, ” I am only taking a picture with her because it’s her birthday.” THIS WAS IT, he singled me out and we were in love. I was ecstatic and just like that it was over, he left and I was shaking from excitement. I don’t know what I said if I said anything…and the moment passed and I stood there like, wait a minute this was NOT how this was supposed to go, there were suppose to be sparks and he was supposed to sweep me away to get to know me and we were going to be in love. Nope. Didn’t happen. That dream I had of marrying a Backstreet Boy was gone, but I still had hope.

Six years later in February of 2011 I got married in Maui, HI. I put this man on a pedestal, he could do no wrong, his thoughts were my thoughts, his opinions were mine and he was my beginning and ending. Our relationship was fast and furious, we met online in October of 2009, were officially dating in January of 2010, engaged in September of 2010 and married in February of 2011. I was enamored and completely taken by him, he was charming and witty and crazy intelligent and I was madly, deeply, head over heels in love with him. He was my Price Charming. My fairytale had come true and to top it all off we got married on the beach he proposed to me on. R.O.M.A.N.T.I.C. When I said my vows and promised to love him through sickness and health, til death do us part. I meant it. Since I was a little girl I wanted so badly to be a wife and a mother, I wanted it desperately. The BIG dreams I had for myself as a little girl were coming true.

Present day, the illusion once again was shattered this time it is paralyzing and I sit here now typing this while my almost 3 month old son is sleeping and wondering how my fairytale crumbled. I never wanted to be a single mom. I watched my mom do it like Wonder Woman my ENTIRE life but I never ever wanted that. I wanted a doting husband, a house with a white picket fence, dogs running in the yard chasing the sprinklers and the laughter of as many children as I could have (I was hoping for 5)  laughing and playing and growing. That was my vision. That was my dream. Yet here I sit, in my mom’s bedroom that she is graciously letting us stay in until I get things figured out and I try desperately to come to terms with my new reality and grieve the dreams I had and the marriage I lost. There are moments where the grief is so thick and so heavy I feel like I am suffocating. How do I come to terms with this new normal? Are the dreams I had as a child still attainable? I almost feel like Hester Prynne but instead of her scarlet “A”, I have a scarlet “D” looming over my head. It is crippling. I am mourning. I am trying to rebuild and yet I am stuck in quicksand, clawing and climbing desperatly trying to make it out. Every attempt to break free is forcing me deeper into the sand.

As heartbreaking as my new reality is, as I struggle to make sense of what happened, I have hope. Hope: 1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Synonyms: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design 2. a feeling of trust.”This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:19 

I trust that God is big enough to handle the MESS, the yuck, the trauma, the heartbreak, the trial. As I fight the urge to fight and flail out of the quicksand, I am reminded that I need only to be still and wait for God’s hand to reach down and pull me out. ” The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still. ” – Exodus 14:14

Giving God my mess,

Elisha ❤

 

 

 

I lost myself.

lose
lo͞oz/Submit
verb
1.
be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something).”I’ve lost my appetite”
synonyms: be deprived of, suffer the loss of; no longer have
“he’s lost a lot of blood”

2.
become unable to find (something or someone). “I’ve lost the car keys”
synonyms: mislay, misplace, be unable to find, lose track of, leave (behind), fail to keep/retain, fail to keep sight of

This verb is powerful. I am in the midst of the most difficult time in my life. I’ve walked through broken hearts, death in my family, one each year for 4 years. Rape. And this particular time in my life is worse than all of those combined. The reason I chose to title my first post, ” I lost myself” is because I feel like I have “become unable to find” myself. That I have “failed to keep” myself. I am “deprived of or have ceased to retain” myself. I am completely and utterly lost.

Over the last decade I have finally come to notice there have been a fair amount of traumatic events that have occurred. The one event that had the most damaging effect on me was being raped. I was a brand new flight attendant; ridiculously happy to have gotten the most amazing job I could have ever hoped for. I graduated from a tiny little Christian college and I was NAIVE and TRUSTING of EVERYONE and of course ready to see the world; eager for everything flying had to offer. I had only been “on the line” (training was over and I was an official flight attendant, still on “probation” of course, 6 months of that, so I couldn’t do ANYTHING wrong, not even call in sick) for 4 months and I got the layover I was PRAYING for HONOLULU. I was so excited. I was obsessed with the beach and had never been to Hawaii so naturally I was beaming. I was beaming even more when I introduced myself to the first officer. I swear he looked like he walked off of The Bachelor. Yes First Officer Hottie, I will accept this rose. I was smitten, he was so hot. And he asked me out so naturally as a bonehead 22 year old I started thinking, ” Oh my gosh he’s beautiful and he’s a pilot and I’m a flight attendant and we are going to fall in love and get married and life will be perfect.” Ridiculous I know but I had just come from small town Christian college where there was the running joke, “You go there to get your MRS. degree”. Insert eye roll, I know. Anyway he asked me out on the plane pretty quickly and I was clearly thirsty. I swear it was like I’d never seen a boy before.

Fast forward 5 hours through the amazing inflight service, the halfway to Hawaii game, several movies and passengers later and I was in my hotel room in Honolulu getting ready for my date with First Officer Hottie. At this point in my life I was 22, educated, cause of my degree 😉 and confident in who I was. I was excited for this date. I heard him knock on my hotel door and I opened it. I looked hot or so I thought. I can still see exactly what I was wearing. I think that’s normal when you experience something traumatic to have the details etched into your brain. He was standing there like he owned the place and I looked at him doe-eyed and eager for our date. Before I walked out my hotel room door I said, ” If you think I am going to sleep with you tonight its not going to happen. I am not that type of girl and we will need to say goodnight now.” I was a virgin and planning on saving myself until I got married. I’ve often reflected on what I said to him replaying it in my mind over and over, wondering if he took that as a challenge. To me I felt like I creating a necessary boundary and if he wasn’t down with that I wasn’t going to waste his time or mine. But he complied and smiled and said “Not at all.” So I thought I was safe. I thought I was safe. Writing that breaks my heart for that stupid, naive girl. Walking out of her room expecting to enjoy the first night of her seemingly grown up life only to have her entire existence change.

I didn’t drink much at all. It wasn’t allowed at the college I went to. Not even if you were 21, not at all. However I did have my first drink at 21. I went out with a bunch of my friends and I had a “Sex on the Beach”, (ironic huh?) which I shared with ALL of my friends there, so I basically only had a sip and then I did a shot and oh my gosh I was TERRIFIED I was going to get drunk so that was my 21st… Hilarious right?!?! Then my senior year of college I got actually drunk for the first time. I went to my very first party at a friend from school’s house and proceeded to have maybe 3 drinks and I couldn’t walk. It was AUTOMATIC truth serum for me and I was blurting out everything to EVERYONE within earshot. I was like “Guys Jesus is going to be mad at me.” I was really concerned about that and the guy next to me left the couch because I was a “buzzkill”. After a few hours of throwing up everything I had ever eaten I decided I was never drinking again. Well a year later in flight attendant training which was like 6 weeks of straight up movie college life. I was drinking again. Not excessive and certainly not getting as drunk as the first time but definitely lived my college experience at flight attendant school.

We went downstairs to the hotel restaurant and I ordered some fruity Hawaiian cocktail because I was grown and sophisticated and a flight attendant and this is what you do on a date with a hot guy 10 years older than you. I excused myself once to go to the bathroom and of course check that I still looked cute. I can’t remember if I ate or what but I came back and finished my drink and we walked to the next place. We met up with some of his pilot friends because he used to fly for a Hawaiian airline. I remember ordering 2 more drinks that night, I think we went dancing somewhere and I remember his friend warming me to be careful and I thought that was weird but I was too carefree and jovial to even give credibility to what he said or heed his warning. Plus I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him. I said that. I said nothing was going to happen. It was my terms, my boundary and my body. I’m sure it was a gorgeous night out but I was tipsy and giddy and a total lightweight and just happy to have the company of this guy so I don’t quite remember the details but it was Honolulu in July in the middle of the night so I am sure it was perfect out. We walked back to the hotel and I should have said goodnight. I should have gone to my room and said goodnight. I didn’t. We went back to his room and started making out. Then we were on the bed and the kissing continued. It’s around this time that things start to become really really foggy. I knew something was happening to me, I could feel pressure but I didn’t know what it was, what was happening and I couldn’t speak, let alone think.

Everything went black. I have absolutely no recollection of the actual rape. I came to, had no grasp of the time. I was fully clothed so that was really confusing and then I looked up and saw that he was completely naked. To say I freaked out was an understatement. I had never seen a man naked before and that was not the way I wanted it to happen. I have no clue what I said but there was a lot of yelling and I left. I am thankful to this day that he didn’t try and kill me or something because I was hysterical and couldn’t remember or understand or make sense of what just happened. I was just so so so scared. I went back to my room feeling dirtier than I have ever felt in my life. To this day I have never felt as filthy as I did that night. I unlocked my hotel room and shut it behind me. I went into the bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as it could go and I got undressed and I sat there and bled and bled and bled. I can not mentally go there. I can see the image of myself  naked, arms wrapped around my knees, weeping, water pouring over me and the blood going down the drain. It feels like someone else. Like I am watching a movie. I can’t attach the emotion to me. If I do I don’t know if I can recover. That was the moment I lost myself. I didn’t tell anyone. The shame and guilt was far to crippling, crushing, heavy to bear. I had been saving myself for marriage and know I was damaged. 22 years of waiting for the perfect waiting night, being genuinely excited to wait, totally okay with not having sex even though everyone else was and I was the total weirdo for not and I had that gift taken from me. I wish I could say I called the cops and got a rape kit and he was arrested and prosecuted but I was SCARED, ASHAMED, HORRIFIED. I genuinely thought that somehow, someway I would have gotten in trouble and the airline would have sided with him and I would have lost my job. It was horrific. I didn’t tell. I was silent and the once vibrant, vivacious, outgoing woman I was got lost.

That was nearly 10 years ago and that was the moment I got lost. I am 32 now, married and still lost. Being raped was paralyzing. I have not recovered from that and the ten years of life that happened after has been adding on to that event like Jenga blocks. And finally everything crumbled. All the blocks have fallen down and I am left in pieces. I am a complete and total mess. God works well with brokenness. I know that. I realized in the middle of being shattered I can not fix this on my own. I can’t continue to be fake. I can’t continue to pretend that I have it all together. I can’t keep up the facade. So I have decided to step into finding truth ( being accurate and exact) and transparency (honest and open and not secretive). I want to find myself again and rejoin the world of living people. Understand who I am and who God created me to be. To live as a victor and not be a victim of my circumstances. To rise above trauma and pain and to learn to be emotionally healthy. That’s why I decided to write. This is my journey to freedom and to rediscovering me.