Go get a blank name tag….we’re about to do some editing!

I was going to start off by apologizing for featuring a song twice but when I started looking, I discovered I’ve never featured this song. What?!!

th (5)

I’ve had this song on REPEAT all day long.

I should’ve had it on a continual loop since March!  Because I’m pretty sure that I forgot who I was for a little while. And once the devil got in my head, all I could hear was…

432605_480p_posters4

Confused with what was going on around me, broken by the chaos, past regrets coming out for an encore…the whispers were drowning out the truth.

And then the grand finale. A sucker punch from left field that left me balled up tighter than a roly-poly in a toddler’s hand. I wanted to give up. Run away. Thelma and Louise my life.

But an amazing thing happens when you reach that point of utter brokenness. God intervenes. Like any good parent, sometimes He steps in even when you haven’t asked Him too.

I wasn’t quite ready for the two-by-four He smacked me with. I was still firmly in Stage 4.

You see, I have these five stages of hurt I go through. Quite like the stages of grief, my stages of hurt and predictable but intense. (My mother says it’s ’cause I wear my heart on my sleeve.)

Anyway, here are my stages:

Stage 1: Shock- It’s that initial sting where you are momentarily paralyzed as the pain starts to set in.

Stage 2: Confusion and/or Regret- Either you have no clue why this person has chosen to hurt you so deeply, so you rack your brain trying to make sense of it for hours and hours on end OR you know exactly why (and you’re actions that caused it) and you spend hours and hours trying to undo the damage.

Stage 3: Pain- it’s just sheer and utter pain. Your heart hurts, your mind hurts, your feelings hurt.

Stage 4: Anger- a human body can only take so much pain before it begins to fight back. If it were a physical pain, you’d go into fight or flight mode. Emotionally, you keep crying or you get mad. “Who does she think she is?”

Stage 5: Forgiveness

(Now, I imagine you could reach Step 5 and NOT forgive, but it’s going to leave a little pit in your stomach that will grow and grow until you have a fully formed root of bitterness. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…Hebrews 12:15. I’ve been down that road. Unforgiveness isn’t an option. But staying in Stage 4 was. At least I THOUGHT it was.)

Even after He gobsmacked me with a revelation that definitely soothed my soul, I wasn’t over it and I wasn’t ready to forgive. It wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay. But it was more than just one incident that sent me over the edge. I’d walked right up to that edge, like a foolish tourist trying to get a selfie while leaning over a 1,000 ft drop. I put myself in that position.

And it was time to get back on the path.

And it was time to forgive.

Then it was time to get to work.

I put on a playlist this morning and this was the first song I heard. Oh the power! I played it again. Then again. And again. Every chain I’d allowed the devil to wrap around me broke loose.

th (6)

Did I really forget who I was in Christ?

Sometimes you can be doing and saying everything right and STILL lose sight of your identity in Christ.

1265a392347c0d05aa8b05e65009b822

My mistakes don’t define me and it’s time I stopped living in regret. If I could go back in time, would I do things differently? Absolutely. Hey, there are things from LAST WEEK that I’d do differently as well! But I’m not going to be bound by my past actions or decisions anymore.

Those lies?

th (4)

If you don’t know the song, check it out here.

For my June movie, I did revisit a previously featured film.

th (2)

I STILL BELIEVE

We’d seen the advance pastor’s screening and loved the movie by the same producers of I Can Only Imagine. Unfortunately, the quarantine affected its theatrical release but it’s available for streaming on many platforms. Check it out!

For my June book, I chose a book I’d picked up in the bookstore several months ago but never read. It was a short read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a sequel, but you can read them out of order. In fact, I just ordered the first book. Having had my own experience with a flesh and blood Jesus, I know this can happen so it was less fiction and more reality to me, even though it is a novel.

s-l1600

I hope you are staying safe and doing well. Blog posts will resume on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 AM, and you will also notice a new author page (currently under construction) that will feature my published and upcoming books.

Have a wonderful June!

You’ll never find what you’re looking for in a medicine cabinet….

I just spent the most amazing week back home.

Apart from the rainy days ruining my plan to spend the majority of my days lounging by the pool, I could not have enjoyed my time with the family more.

Ironically, it was during one of these laugh-til-you-can’t-breathe moments that my soul was devastatingly crushed.

We were watching old home movies. You remember those big clunky camcorders with the VHS tapes? Well right there, in between shots of my kids opening Christmas presents and blowing out birthday candles, I sat. There, but not really.

There was NO LIFE.

It broke my heart, not so much for myself, but for those kids on the screen.

I was depressed, locked away in my mind, detached from my surroundings, by all accounts, dead.

The video reminder was painful.

It wasn’t like I’d forgotten. Over the years, I’ve counseled many men and women struggling with depression. I’ve been there, I’d tell them. I know how frustrating it is to hear, Just snap out of it! I know what it’s like when suicide oddly seems like a lifeline.

But seeing this?

I was mad. Furious at the woman I saw. I, too, wanted to shake her and make her wake up to the life around her. I wanted to tell her how selfish she was. I wanted to warn her that her actions would have forever consequences on those babies scattered around her. Most of all, I wanted to hug her and tell her that it was all going to work out all right.

I went to bed crying that night and even now, reliving the memory, I can’t stop the tears.

She was me and yet I don’t even know her.

I wish I’d had the foresight then to turn to the Lord instead of medication.

Back then, I thought antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines were the only things keeping me going.

Looking at the woman on the screen, I now know I was wrong. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was barely living. At best, I looked sad. Mostly I looked like a zombie. The drugs designed to give me back my life took even more away from me.

I remember the week I got off the medication. The first three were excruciating. Like a 72-hour tornado blowing through my body. Then came the calm. My mind was reset. My body was reset. I felt like a child again. My brain started throwing out memories of old Atari game patterns. Pitfall. Pac-Man. Frogger.

It was like I got a factory reboot.

That was almost twenty years ago and I haven’t forgotten the excitement of that new (old) brain. It was like He scrubbed the viruses off and restored it to mint condition.

There have been ups and downs, of course, but I’ve never returned to that deep, dark hole I resided in for so many years.

I only wish the woman in the video had surrendered her life sooner.

(Please note that I am not encouraging anyone to get off their medication or stop seeking treatment. This is a retrospective look at my life and what has worked for me.)