Fear and Doubting God.

I was recently watching Brené Brown’s Netflix special, “The Call to Courage.” It was incredible. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading my blog and go watch and then please come back and finish reading. *wink, wink* I found myself taking notes and after I was finished with her special, I googled her looking for anything else I could learn from her. I found videos and watched them and then I got on my Hoopla app (it’s basically the library on your phone and it’s awesome, especially for audiobooks. I prefer to read actual books, so I can smell them (weirdo, I know) and feel the pages in my hands but I digress.) I was able to find “The Power of Vulnerability” and I began to listen to it. Her definition of vulnerability is this:uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She goes on to say, “Vulnerability is not about winning, it’s not about losing, it’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.” All of that to say that this particular topic for me leaves me feeling incredibly emotionally exposed. I want to walk in authenticity, I want to allow myself to vulnerable, to be real, to be my true self. I want to be able to connect with people on a real and transparent level. I’ve spent so much of my life in a “false” self trying to protect myself; when in reality I think I was just cheating myself and the relationships of those around me. So fear and doubting God, I know a lot of us struggle with this and that’s what I want to write about today.

The closer my divorce was to being finalized the more and more anxious I became because I knew that meant I was going to be back in the dating game, eventually. This is gives me extreme amounts of anxiety, like for real. I haven’t dated for ten years. A decade. That is a LONG time. So much has changed in the dating game since I’ve been in it; not to mention the last time I dated I was in my twenties. I am now in my thirties with a child. I have no clue what I am doing. The only male friends I had were my friend’s husbands or my ex-husband’s friends. It’s WEIRD y’all. I literally have no clue what I am doing…which leads me to the FEAR & DOUBT that runs rapid in my mind. Here is a typical thought pattern for me, “How am I going to meet someone, I am a nanny and spend my day with a 1 year old and a 7 year old? I don’t want to go to a bar to pick someone up…pick someone up, *eye-roll* I don’t want to “pick someone up” I want someone to pick me, plus I have no desire to go a bar. I barely went to bars in my twenties, they are loud in my opinion and I don’t want some creeper all up on me and I don’t even drink anymore, alcohol has way to many calories and I am in my mid thirties now and geez metabolism is really slowing down, plus it’s expensive and kind of gross. Next thought pattern, I guess I could meet someone at church but they all knew my ex-husband, are they going to judge me, are they going to actually want to date me, I don’t want to share my story with everyone. Now I am going to have to get a babysitter when I want to go on a date, if someone actually wants to date me, oh my goodness, I have a child, who is going to want to date someone with a kid?! How am I going to do this? Am I ever going to get married again? I want to get married again? Whose going to want to date someone whose been divorced? ” Exhausting right, that’s not even the HALF of what runs through my brain y’all. It is RIDICULOUS.

Those fears are all consuming. Maybe you read that and think well that isn’t fear, it’s just being anxious. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philipians 4:6-7 Sometimes though the fear thought pattern gets louder and louder and it drowns out the truth of what God tells me, Elisha don’t be anxious,present your requests to me, let my peace dwell in you. Elisha, trust in the Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Me and I will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, paraphrased to fit my name) I forget this and I allow fear to lead me into a downward spiral that leads to doubt. What does God say about fear? God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 I know God’s word is true. I know it in my heart and yet sometimes I convince myself that it’s not true for me. Like I know God is God and He is good, but what if I am somehow exempt from His goodness because look at my past, look at the things I have done and the situations I have walked in and out of. Maybe His promises aren’t for me. Maybe He is mad at me, maybe He is going to punish me for the choices I’ve made. Maybe what He says excludes me. Sounds like a lot of lies right? Doesn’t really sound like the gracious, loving God I know yet sometimes I allow these thoughts to permeate my day, my being and my heart.

“This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. , etc.” – Jeremiah 29:1 This is the opening scripture of chapter 29 of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was writing to the people who were exiled from Jerusalem. Jeremiah then goes on to tell the people to build houses, settle down, plant gardens, marry , etc. Basically in my understanding it seems like he is telling them to live. He also tells them to seek peace and prosperity and this is all in the midst of them being exiled from their home and taken to a foreign land, with foreign gods and people. He then goes on to say one of the most striking things, for me at least. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14 

FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU. WOW. They are in captivity and to me it seems God is saying through Jeremiah, be content in your captivity, be okay in the midst of your storm, be okay in your struggle, keep living, don’t give up, create a beautiful life for yourself, BECAUSE I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, plans to PROSPER you and NOT TO HARM YOU. Plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE. He then gives us a way to communicate with Him. He says, you will CALL on me and COME to me and PRAY to me and I WILL LISTEN TO YOU. You will SEEK ME and FIND ME when you seek me with ALL OF YOUR HEART. I WILL be FOUND by you. WHAT?!?!? That sounds like a promise to me and if I believe God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow ( which I do) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 and I am His child, what in the world makes me think that He doesn’t have the same plans for me, plans to prosper me, to not harm me, plans for a hope and a future. He also gives me a way to communicate with Him and promises me He will be found by me, ME!!!!! I can have access to the good, loving Father. I can have hope and peace and a future ALL IN THE MIDST OF MY STRUGGLE. I am in the middle of my own “exile” if you will, maybe not the middle, I felt like I was in the middle last year. Maybe a more appropriate term would be, coming out of the struggle but no, not really. I am still in my struggle, still in my captivity. I am a 35 year old divorced single mother. I mean I am reeling and healing from the EXTREME craziness of the last year and really the last ten years. Reeling and healing, hahahaha, I find that to be HILARIOUS, probably because it rhymes and I love when things rhyme, I am typing this and laughing out loud. You know I didn’t intend on the later half of this entry turning into a blog, I sat down to type because I really had some stuff I needed to work out in my heart. Things I am struggling to understand, things I am wrestling with, desires I have, disappointments I am wrestling with. I’m really trying to understand why some things have happened and then God led me to this scripture and really the chapter and here I am feeling some semblance of peace having navigated through it a little bit. I know without a doubt there are going to be times probably in the next few hours actually, that I have to fight tooth and nail to protect that peace and to remember that promise that God gives, even in the middle of my exile. I know that God’s promises aren’t just for the Israelites who were exiled in Babylon or that they’re not only for the really good Christians who have never struggled or for the Christians who are doing amazing things for His kingdom. They are for me too, the woman who fails every single day to measure up against her own impossible standards she sets for herself, the woman who feels the utter weight of loneliness because she has never allowed herself to sit alone and just be with herself and now God has given her this time to be alone (well with a toddler, is that REALLY alone?!?!, haha) the woman who looks in the mirror and wonders if she is enough, does she measure up, is there actually going to be a man who loves her, imperfections and all? Is there going to be a man that God brings her that one, loves God more than anything, two loves her son as if he were his own and three really loves her, dorky, silly, self inside and out, will he really love her the way Christ loved the church? Will she be able to love herself, to be gracious with herself and really truly accept every single flaw and let go of the guilt and shame that tries to hold her captive? 

As I grapple with all of these thoughts, the fear that sometimes paralizes me, the doubt that I drown in on occasion; I can absolutely rest in God’s word. I know it’s true. I know it, I’ve experienced His goodness and His grace and His provision. So when the waves of fear and doubt hit, I have to address it head on and ride the wave until I get to the other side of it. Towards the end of the scripture it says, “…and(I, God) will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:14 This to me is another promise from God saying He can bring you out of what you were carried into. Sometimes we bring the trial/storms/exile or whatever you want to call it, on ourselves. Sometimes it just happens. Loved ones die, we lose jobs we adore, friends walk away, people leave, tragedy strikes. We find ourselves in the midst of brokenness and struggle we never planned for or could have even imagined possible for our lives and yet we are in the thick of it. Yet we have the promises of God to cling too. This post isn’t to MINIMIZE anyone’s storm, that is the last thing I would want to do. I have had friends with the best of intentions say to me, well at least your situation isn’t as bad as so and so’s or “it could have been so much worse”. Those phrases drive me CRAZY!!! I read this quote somewhere, “Someone who drowns in 7 feet of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in 20 ft of water. Stop comparing traumas, stop belittling your or anyone else’s trauma because it wasn’t “as bad” as someone else’s. This isn’t a competition, we all deserve support and recovery.” I don’t know who said this, if this is your quote please let me know and I will give you credit and a hug because this quote gives me so much freedom!!!! Basically all of this to end with the reason for this post is to offer support, love, grace, a safe space for whoever is reading to know that we ALL struggle, we ALL have really hard stuff we are dealing with and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Hear me when I say that, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I don’t really know how to end this post, I don’t even know it is cohesive or if you can even understand what I am trying to say. Like I’ve said in prior posts, a lot of what I am writing is to work out what is going on in my head and my heart and I hope and pray that this encourages someone else who is struggling. I need to go now, my child has started making noise on the baby monitor and its only a matter of minutes before he stands up in his crib, turns on the light and starts saying, “MAMA, MAMA.”

Messy Momma signing off, in her own form of exile and clinging to God’s promises,

Elisha

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My future husband.

I was listening to the song “Jealous” by Nick Jonas a few months ago, don’t judge, I am a pop princess, love pop music, always have, always will but I digress…

As I was saying, I was listening to the song a few months ago and I had this flash in my head, it was so vivid, it felt like a memory, except it hadn’t happened yet. I was in the kitchen, gorgeous open floor plan if you’re wondering and Jameson was a toddler, not quite sure what age and my future husband had a spatula in his hand and he was singing the lyrics of the song to me. Jameson was dancing in the background singing along as well. In this flash I couldn’t see his face, only that he was tall (haha) and he was being a total goofball dancing around our kitchen singing, you could see in his eyes the deep love he had for me. That was it, it didn’t really go much further than that and the vision was over. I don’t know that I’ve ever really had something like that happen. It made me so happy, it wasn’t real, it hadn’t happened and yet it felt like a promise of what’s to come in the future.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who, what, when of my future…I have always wanted to be a wife and a mom. Some people might think that’s stupid but I don’t really care. It’s what I wanted and desired and I think about what’s to come often. I am trying really hard to practice patience, that’s a funny thought. I am attempting to learn to be content in all circumstances, super difficult, however I feel like it is building character in me and for that I am appreciative. I have been praying for my future spouse, that God is building character in him and protecting him and guiding and leading him and drawing him in to a closer relationship with him. It’s a strange thing to be doing that when you are recovering from a marriage that exploded in your face. Very strange. It’s just I look back and think about before I met Michael and I never prayed for him, I never asked God what He wanted in my spouse. I never laid that before His feet and this time I want to lay it down before Him completely. I want to be wise in the way I conduct myself, in the way I handle any relationship, whether it’s romantic, personal, professional, familial. I feel like I am getting a little of topic from what I originally had on my heart and I guess that’s okay because writing is my therapy, a way to monitor my growth and change and to heal and I really hope that along the way my journey will encourage someone else. So back to what I was originally talking about, geez louise.

I love music, like really a lot. I feel like I have a song for everything. There is this song by Tyrone Wells, “Wondering Where You Are”.

“Will you like to watch the sunrise?
Will you have blue or brown eyes?
What are the dreams you long to share
I hope you like Stevie Wonder
Are you afraid of thunder?
I close my eyes and say a prayer you’re out there somewhere.”

 

I feel like this song goes along with the vision, that sounds so weird, but that’s what it was…and it got me thinking, what he’s going to be like? It’s funny how your priorities change as an adult. When I was a teenager dreaming about my husband I wanted him to be Nick Carter or Leonardo DiCaprio. Let’s be real though if Leonardo DiCaprio knocked on my door I would let him take me to dinner, just saying. Now I think about things like, will he be kind and hilarious? Will he be responsible and trustworthy? Will he be gracious and reliable? Will he treat others with respect? Will he be tall? Haha. I have seen so much of God’s goodness through the trial of the last nine months. I believe that there is someone out there that God has for me. I know that the one nonnegotiable I have is that my future husband whoever he is must love God with every fiber of his being, must live out his faith, must be willing to serve God whole heartedly and the rest will fall into place. I am not naive enough to believe that as long as my partner loves God everything will be okay. Please, that is a pipe dream, if that works for you, awesome!! I am actually genuinely happy for you. I believe that marriage requires work, it requires sacrifice, it requires trust, it requires humility, it requires forgiveness and it requires two people who are equally yoked working together with God as their foundation. At least that is what marriage looks like for me.

As I continue to grow and work on cleaning up my mess I can look back on this vision, this little snapshot of my future I had and smile and trust that God’s timing is perfect and I can enjoy healing, I can enjoy working on who I am and the woman God is growing me to be and I can soak up every second I have with my beautiful baby boy. I can be content in my singlehood, singleness whatever you call it and trust God has a plan and a man (hahaha, that is really cracking me up because it rhymes and I have the sense of humor of a 5-year-old, maybe that’s why I am good at teaching Pre-K) for me. Thank you for reading my little blurbs and for encouraging me along this journey I have been on.

the messiest girl,

Elisha

 

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

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