The Pain I can Control

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With an array of stunning colors exploding from the small of her wrist to the top of her shoulder I was left staring at a random stranger’s arm in the grocery store.  

Vivid blues, met a stunning red sunset, with the peak of a storm followed by a grey outbreak of a lightning blaze.  After gawking for far too long, she met my eyes and silently asked me, why are you staring at me?

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, I proclaimed, “I love your ink.”  

A smile overtook her once strained face and then she responded, “why thank you.”

The tension subsides and all that is left is two middle-aged women in the produce department chuckling.  I proceeded, “tell me the story of your tattoo.”

She glistened with pride and love as she drifted off in a deeply moving memory.  

“It is the story of me, my life, my loss, and the fact that I eventually will prevail, thanks to God’s grace.”

Amen, sister.  

“Indeed, you will.”  Is all I had to say.

Engaged to the point I didn’t even realize there were annoyed people trying to get by us en route to the perfect broccoli head, we moved out of the way of the busy supermarket.

She continued, “I live with chronic pain.  Every day I ache all over no matter what medicine I am given, it doesn’t touch the pain.”

I’m brought to my knees by her words, as I have experienced pain in my life, but not to that degree.  Not like the nagging, anticipating, debilitating torturous pain she had spoken of.  

I pointed to the inner part of her upper arm, where a bright orange and yellow monarch butterfly transcend time, and yes, pain.  “I love this.”  I touched the butterfly and goosebumps immediately encompassed my entire body.  “Yet, I’ve heard that this part is the most painful to tattoo.  My husband has a full sleeve and he said that the underarm is the most painful.”  I smiled at her and stared into her stunning green-blue eyes.

“I don’t mind because it is a pain that I can control.”  Her magnificent glance drifted as her hand reached the inner part of her arm where the butterfly was in flight.  “My pain I didn’t choose.  But the burning of the tattoo gun is something that produces beauty when it’s all said and done.  And that I control.”

My chance meeting with this woman greeted me with a revelation that truly shook me to my core.  Although I do not live with chronic physical pain, I do live with chronic emotional agony, that haunts me from my past.

Dreams when I’m sleeping often leave me shaking, terrified, and restless.  
They identify as a horror film replaying in my mind as my body tries to sleep.  Vivid recreations of hands on me and lashes carried out that I did not deserve, yet was made to believe that I did play out.  There are times I wake up in the morning depleted never wanting to fall into “Dreamland” again for fear of what nightmare may await me.  So in my waking hours, it seems fitting to give myself what I think I deserve to be punished for.  Yes, I inflict pain on myself, much like the burning of the tattoo gun, I try to engrave on my being a picture of something that can make sense of it all.  A pain, that I, in fact, can control.

But why do we do this to ourselves?

 

  • We cut our own flesh with a razor blade
  • Force a finger down our throats to vomit up the food we just ate
  • We drink too much
  • Take drugs
  • We lie, steal, and cheat
  • Spend money we don’t have
  • We smoke
  • Starve our bodies of food in fear we are fat
  • We blow up in anger when a trigger point is pushed
  • Commit adultery
  • We run ourselves ragged trying to prove that we are in fact good enough

 

We are broken inside so the immediate response is to inflict on our bodies and minds, the pain we think we can control.  

In my personal journey, I know this coping mechanism all too well.  It is hard to give myself love and grace when I fail daily because, in the past, the pain was given when I “messed up.” It feels all too ordinary to punch myself in the face, instead of accepting that as a human I will fail, and God loves me NO MATTER WHAT.  He doesn’t desire pain for me, all he wants is me.

All God wants is all of us, encompassing our turmoil and the spinning thoughts of failure that blare through our hearts and minds.  As a matter of fact, He actually tells us that He will take those failures and pain from us and turn it into Gold.  He will release the burden of it all, and allow us to transform into the monarch that we were predestined to become, what He designed in His image is ours for the taking. But we have accepted His healing principle into our hearts, memories, and inner child.  

Broken, bleeding, depleted, drugged, drunk, too fat, too skinny, He doesn’t care.  He says in His Word that He has written our names in the palm of His hand and calls us His.  

God screams that He wants our pain, and He will control it.  All He wants for us is to accept His grace, love, and forgiveness.  If we are able to wrap our minds around that fact we will be able to stretch our butterfly wings out and fly as far into the sunset that we dream of.  

For, in inflicting a self-deprecating way of dealing with our demons, we push the love of Jesus further and further away, as the enemy perpetuates our painful memories, and tries to belittle our self-worth.  If we hurt our bodies and minds, due to past trauma, then the serpent wins and God’s love is left at the back door.

Fight the good fight, accept love, and give the pain you cannot control to our God who begs us to release it all into the black of night, for He is willing to take it on so we don’t have to.  That my friends is the gift of true and unconditional love.

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My Launch Point

Abandonment of any kind can shake the human heart to the brinks of a combusting earthquake. When the loss of a parent can be filled with someone who needs you just as much as you desire them, AMAZING possibilities transpire. Join me on a miracle journey that will leave you spell bound at the power of faith.

12783536_1735157353396883_5710071028105993335_o In my pursuit of seeking freedom, love, and acceptance it came to my attention that I had not spoken my deepest of desires into existence.

Six months ago I made it known to my God that I needed a mother and father figure who would take a presence in my life and the lives of my children that could provide some semblance of consistency.  I knew it was possible for God to provide me with my deepest of needs, because, I had seen this kind of thing happen in my life many times.  But, not recently in my years of rebellion I had chosen to shut out the unconditional reaping of love that can flow from a pure heart that is raw and unhidden.  In my anger, I blocked out a possibility of change, for in the state of aggression I took a stand against forgiveness and eventual joy.  I lived in that place for far too long, but not any longer my friends.  Anger and denial is no longer a resting place for my heart.

This summer after my oldest son, Caleb came home from a mission trip he shared with my husband and I that our testimony is encouraging youth across the globe.  He went on….”I fasted, prayed night and day that my parents would come back to God.  I ached, cried, felt your distance, and now you’re running back into His loving arms, is a blessing to all the people I have the ability to speak to.  I give them encouragement that their parents can find God in the black of this world.  That anything is possible through Him.”  My son never gave up on me, even when I was intense with the fire of distrust and furry, and neither did my God.

My family never forgot me.  And my family is defined as who God has written it to be.  My husband, children, my ex-husband, his wife and her children, and many friends who rally around me loving and offering encouragement at every avenue.

But the lacking of a mother and father figure can be detrimental.  It leaves me feeling lost, stumbling through this bleak life at the precipice of fire without a shield.  It was the last missing puzzle piece to complete me toward my greater purpose.  

I approached one of our pastor’s wives at church one Sunday completely, broken.  I told her that I’m completely aware I’m not as loved as much my half siblings are, and it is torture.  A constant reminder that I’m not good enough.  I mean really, if your mom and dad don’t love you, then who can?  Because I’d sacrifice my life in front of the worst of the worst to save my children without a second thought.  She encouraged me to pray for God to send me a mother who could nurture a child and a father to love me unconditionally who isn’t of my flesh and blood but sent from our Maker who transforms our deepest of pain into possibility.  I took Mrs. Remus advise and I prayed for six months for a mom and a dad who needed me just as much as I need them.

I met her on the Sunday my husband accepted Jesus as his personal savior, hours before we were to be baptized in the warm waters of Lake Andrea.  A place my church calls Launch Point, where new believers or visitors can get plugged into the many facets  that’s Journey Church offers.  Alan, proudly presented himself at the footsteps of a dark haired beautiful women, with blue eyes of compassion and acceptance.  Her husband stood by her offering much of the same as i stood back more proud of my man that I had ever been.  Her eyes met mine, asking me if I knew who she was.  My face turned a bashful shade of red as I declared “no, I’m so sorry.”  Taking the awkward out of the situation she let me know she read each and everyone of my blogs, deeply enjoying them all.  I hugged her immediately allowing her to feel my grateful heart.

From that moment a deeply meaningful relationship took flight.  One that was pre-destined for the both of us to propel our deepest needs toward our greater purpose that our God has yet to transpire. The bond had already formed, deeper than I could have dreamed, and further than I could have pleaded for being an adult orphan crying out for a parental figure.

She read my words that poured from my heart and bleed from my soul, and I accepted her kind encouraging words as truth and unconditional support.  Something I have not had much of in this life from a parental figure.

One Sunday after Pastor Kevin Taylor spoke straight into my soul, past my flesh, and vastly into the fibers that make me, well me.  And I like most Sunday’s,I was left a big hot gutted mess.  There happened to be an alter call for prayer.  I couldn’t deny the truth that I needed prayer, hands on me, and love abound.  The first two people I saw were her and him.  Not a coincidence indeed.  

I broke.

They glued.

A storm gate of tears flowed from me.

They coupled them with love and mercy.

I opened up.  Told them of my demons.

They still loved me.

Okay, let’s back up for a second.  

The last part left me in awe

I gave them my truth.

And they loved me.

Do people like this actually exist?

They do, indeed.  They knew my darkest of secrets and still loved me.  Healing began to take place in the most remarkable was.

For I am not accustom to such unconditional love,  especially when it comes from my father.  That being one of my toughest battles.  Having four of my own babies I cannot fathom not loving them through all of life’s crazy ups and downs.  I laugh, bleed, cry, rejoice with them.  Every step of the way.  Yet sadly, I haven’t been gifted such grace from my earthly parents.  God says in that moment of abandonment that I am loved.

I am His.

I will be fortified, lifted up, in ways I cannot imagine.

Because that is the very power of salvation.  After being encouraged by a pastor’s wife to pray for someone to fill the deep void of a parent God surely met me where I was, I was gifted one of the greatest joys possible…

I long for a mom and a dad surrogate who I can lean on, love and laugh with.

And they possess a deep seated need for grandchildren.

A void filling a void.

God says, I’m closer than you could ever know, and I fill all of your emptiness with my grace and abundance.

I met June and Bill Pysto at Launch Point on a Sunday that forever changed my life, one that made my husband and I New.  

And the replenishing of fulfillment has exceeded my every desire for what I’d love to call family.  

In the spring, when the dawn of newness is upon us our great big blended budding family will join in joyous union on an adventure to Florida.  They’ve bestowed on us a generosity I’ve not seen.  A dream I’ve captivated in my wildest of closeted dreams.  We will be their guests in a plush and stunning land and our children will experience for the first time magic, the joy of…a launch point of their very own…the possibility of grandparents.  And I, one who feels like an adult orphan whose parents chose to not have me, may possibly have found what God intended.  A mother and father figure that will not forsake me in the the times of Joy or sorrow.

My Launch Point is taking off in the most miraculous of ways, because of simply praying, asking, and having that one thing that we are required to have; Faith.

/ / The Pain I Can Control / /

One of the easiest ways we deal with hurt, is to continue the cycle of abuse. And often times the one we chose to punish is ourselves. Join me as I dive into how this is just another lie we believe and the love we should encompass instead…

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With an array of stunning colors exploding from the small of her wrist to the top of her shoulder I was left staring at a random stranger’s arm in the grocery store.  

Vivid blues, met a stunning red sunset, with the peak of a storm followed by a grey outbreak of a lightning blaze.  After gawking for far too long, she met my eyes and silently asked me, why are you staring at me?

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, I proclaimed, “I love your ink.”  

A smile overtook her once strained face and then she responded, “why thank you.”

The tension subsided and all that is left is two middle-aged women in the produce department chuckling.  I proceeded, “tell me the story of your tattoo.”

She glistened with pride and love as she drifted off in a deeply moving memory.  

“It is the story of me, my life, my loss, and the fact that I eventually will prevail, thanks to God’s grace.”

Amen, sister.  

“Indeed, you will.”  Is all I had to say.

Engaged to the point I didn’t even realize there were annoyed people trying to get by us en route to the perfect broccoli head, we moved out of the way of the busy supermarket.

She continued, “I live with chronic pain.  Every day I ache all over no matter what medicine I am given, it doesn’t touch the pain.”

I’m brought to my knees by her words, as I have experienced pain in my life, but not to that degree.  Not like the nagging, anticipating, debilitating torturous pain she had spoken of.  

I pointed to the inner part of her upper arm, where a bright orange and yellow monarch butterfly transcend time, and yes, pain.  “I love this.”  I touched the butterfly and goosebumps immediately encompassed my entire body.  “Yet, I’ve heard that this part is the most painful to tattoo.  My husband has a full sleeve and he said that the underarm is the most painful.”  I smiled at her and stared into her stunning green-blue eyes.

“I don’t mind because it is a pain that I can control.”  Her magnificent glance drifted as her hand reached the inner part of her arm where the butterfly was in flight.  “My pain I didn’t chose.  But the burning of the tattoo gun is something that produces beauty when it’s all said and done.  And that I control.”

My chance meeting with this woman greeted me with a revelation that truly shook me to my core.  Although I do not live with chronic physical pain, I do live with chronic emotional agony, that haunts me from my past.

Dreams when I’m sleeping often leave me shaking, terrified, and restless.  
They identify as a horror film replaying in my mind as my body tries to sleep.  Vivid recreations of hands on me and lashes carried out that I did not deserve, yet was made to believe that I did play out.  There are times I wake up in the morning depleted never wanting to fall into “dreamland” again for fear of what nightmare may await me.  So in my waking hours, it seems fitting to give myself what I think I deserve to be punished for.  Yes, I inflict pain on myself, much like the burning of the tattoo gun, I try to engrave on my being a picture of something that can make sense of it all.  A pain, that I, in fact, can control.

But why do we do this to ourselves?

  • We cut our own flesh with a razor blade.
  • Force a finger down our throats to vomit up the food we just ate.
  • We drink too much.
  • Take drugs.
  • We lie, steal, and cheat.
  • Spend money we don’t have.
  • We smoke.
  • Starve our bodies of food in fear we are fat.
  • We blow up in anger when a trigger point is pushed.
  • Commit adultery.
  • We run ourselves ragged trying to prove that we are in fact good enough.

We are broken inside so the immediate response is to inflict on our bodies and minds, the pain we think we can control.

In my personal journey, I know this coping mechanism all too well.  It is hard to give myself love and grace when I fail daily, because,in the past, pain was given when I “messed up.” It feels all to0 ordinary to punch myself in the face, instead of accepting that as a human I will fail, yet God loves me NO MATTER WHAT.  He doesn’t desire pain for me, all he wants is me.

All God wants is all of us, encompassing our turmoil and the spinning thoughts of failure that blare through our hearts and minds.  As a matter of fact, He actually tells us that He will take those failures and pain from us.  He will release the burden of it all, and allow us to the monarch that we were predestined to become, what He designed in His image is ours for the taking, if we accept the healing principle into our hearts, memories, and inner child.  

Broken, bleeding, depleted, drugged, drunk, too fat, too skinny, He doesn’t care.  He says in His Word that He has written our names in the palm of His hand and calls us His.  

God screams that He wants our pain, and He will control it.  All He wants for us is to accept His grace, love, and forgiveness.  If we are able to wrap our minds around that fact we will be able to stretch our butterfly wings out and fly as far into the sunset that we dream of.

For, in inflicting a self-deprecating way of dealing with our demons, we push the love of Jesus further and further away, as the enemy perpetuates our painful memories, and tries to belittle our self-worth.  If we hurt our bodies and minds, due to past trauma, then the serpent wins and God’s love is left at the back door.

Fight the good fight, accept love, and give the pain you cannot control to our God who begs us to release it all into the black of night, for He is willing to take it on so we don’t have to.  That my friends is the gift of true unconditional love.
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The Everything​ that Holds Me Back From Your everything.

When God tells us to let go we hold on tighter. Is that the root inside us saying that we are afraid of excellence or is the enemy burning us of our greatness as he only has a last ditch effort-or both? Follow me as I find out…

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Your Grace Abounds in Deepest Waters~ Hillsong United

Last night I had the privilege of seeing one of the greatest worship bands of all time on the last leg of their US tour.  As I danced, sang, and worshiped my heart out at Hillsong United’s Chicago finale concert I was brought to a place I haven’t been in a long time.  A place of complete and total surrender.  Because grace is not deserving  of  the abundance  God gives and can be perplexing, so we shun it because it simply doesn’t make sense.  Yet I’ve had the privilege of  receiving God’s grace first-hand several times in my life.  First, as a wandering young adult who could have chosen loss yet somehow someway chose a life  changing life.  (Through that, Grace brought me one of the greatest joys of my life to this day.)  Second, as a young adult who could have vanished at the hand of my own hand with an eating disorder that left me thin, depleted, and not as in control as I thought I was.  Third, as a middle aged woman still longing for love and seeking it in all the wrong avenues, through a mind-numbing state.  Doing so after a life of abandonment and loss of two infant baby boys in the span of 18 months.  This time a clear liquid found in a bottle saying it was my friend and my escape, I clung to.  Sure felt like grace at the time, yet it brought me nothing but sorrow, emotion of the evil kind, and so much devastation.  That is where the true forgiveness came.  When I was at my deepest darkest lowest cavern, Grace was with me when I wasn’t with it.

“As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.'”  ~Romans 9:33:

Shame.  It comes it waves and it can wash over me faster and swifter than any tsunami that claims the land.  The sun sets and that is when it seeks me out the most.  When smiles fade and eyes list off to slumber is when it wakes me up from my hope of rest.  Shame speaks mountains yet God overshadows all with earth shadowing lights that blind our view of what we believe.  That is what I saw last night at the concert of a lifetime. With my teenage son, my eight-year-old son, and my husband by my side.  Lights come, rains pour down, and prophets sit and wait.  But if we cannot reckon our shame we are lost…in a sea of excellence made yet not received and that makes us simply a facade.  

This is me.

When I am sober, I am a force to be questioned by the enemy.  A force that God uses to move mountains and build bridges of struggle yet knowledge and peace of salvation.  I know the gift He has given me.

Yet I struggle so deep and far  into the past…

To numb the loss.

And my fear.

The pain I’ve suffered in this life.

I know what promise lies ahead for me, yet I fight them internally in a deep battle greater than all that has come before and will go into the sun.  Because that is what happens when the darkness is threatened.  I’ve overcome so much in my life.  Why is this addiction the most difficult so far?

I’ve overcome so much in my life.  Why is this addiction the most difficult so far?

Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood  ~Hillsong United

The cross has taught me to live.  At church this morning my pastor delivered a grace-filled message that ripped me open and left me tearful and broken.  I feel the enemy has been working my whole life to tear apart the very things Jesus can use, the gifts I have despite the struggle, or more so because of the struggle to serve Him better.  My pastor spoke of the fact that “I’m not judging you, that you should judge yourself.”  And that, “The enemy is going to barricade you inside your hell to hold you back when you have come to know Him.”

Yes.  And Yes.

Judging myself alone, I know the idol I need to leave at the altar.

Alcohol.  My bitter enemy and most pretty war that calls me king: and gives me false joy.

The enemy haunts me down: even though I rededicated my life to Jesus six months ago and was baptized in the warm waters of Wisconsin last week… indeed I’m being attacked.

Can I overcome, yes!~

Am I predestined for greatness?

Indeed, I am.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

As the showcase of lights danced on and the bombard of music sold my soul and the cadence of song continued in my heart to call me home, I clung to the cross that has declared that I let go of the one last lie.

The last everything that holds me back from everything God has planned for me.

So tonight as I write to God, to you, to me.  I say this, that  I want more.

God has given me a promise of forever.  I want this to be it, a mercy seeking greatness that has been promised to me by my King.

Tonight my husband said something to me that moved barriers, “I need to hold onto the love that has been sung to me last night in the form of a voice so beautiful.  A voice that said to me this morning in the form of a splendor of a speaker that God is using on this earth in the form of the leader of our church.  Through the example our church used in a woman who bore her deepest soul on a stage that shown her every dark moment, yet draped in me all that I am and all that I fear and hurt so deeply.

As an author, many of you know God has called me to tell my story of childhood/adulthood parental abandonment, divorce, success, love, progress, and addiction.  After an extremely convicting Saturday night spent with one of the greatest worship bands of all time, and a Sunday morning spent with a Journey Forward pastor who calls out and loves the people of his church as God has called him to do, I am left feeling challenged.  To pierce through the dark and become all I am meant to become in spite of the enemy in the prime of my greatness.  Not the pain, abandonment, fear, and anguish that makes me want to numb my future greatness.

So, I encourage you all to fight hard and find your greatest purpose God has for you no matter the challenge you may deem impossible.  Join me in my journey as I say, my God,

I am Yours and You are Mine.

Enjoy the song that inspired this blog: