Prayer Ain’t for the Faint of Heart

Talking about prayer is something that can catch some people off guard. “Oh no, what is she about to say? We’re going to a real personal level here and if I don’t agree with what she’s saying then it’s bye-bye forever!” Anyone else ever had this thought? No? Just me. Okay, well I promise I’m not going to preach at you on how you should change your prayers or your beliefs. I’m simply going to share a story with you.

I was struggling through a very difficult time in my life and in my marriage. We were desperately seeking to make things work, but we knew it wasn’t going to happen on our own accord. Stubbornness and not apologizing quickly were our strong suits and neither one of us were ready to budge. But instead of playing the blame game forever, possibly ending our marriage as a result, we decided to start praying together.

Now, maybe some of you grew up in households where prayers were often said together, out loud, and in your daily routine, but neither one of us grew up that way. We prayed in church, at holiday meals, and on our wedding day as a new couple in the eyes of God. But neither of us were used to praying out loud extremely personal feelings, or with someone else right there to witness it nonetheless.

We had decided if we were going to make our marriage work and keep this family together, we needed some divine intervention. So we resolved to try prayer. That day, as we lay in our bed together with our eyes closed and an awkward stillness in the air, we were truly connected together. We both felt vulnerable and slightly stupid with what we said in our prayers, but we both honestly poured out our hearts and gave our situation over to God.

Believe me, we still struggle to this day with marital problems from time to time, but now we have a new tool in our toolbox. We now know how to calm our anxieties when things get to be too overwhelming or when we don’t even know where to begin to fix the mess.

Maybe it’s time you tried it out for yourself. Maybe not. Maybe you aren’t quite ready to pray with someone else, but I urge you to do it for yourself at least. It can totally change your life.

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Your Feelings Do Matter

Often enough I’ve been told that although I’ve been afflicted by people I love suffering from alcoholism, I really haven’t had it “that bad.” From the alcoholic’s perspective, I haven’t been physically beaten repeatedly or had to suffer what they would call major traumatic episodes of emotional abuse. In their eyes, things weren’t completely awful.

But to that end all I have to say is, how the hell do you know? How do you know what I’ve been through? How can you belittle my experiences because your own trauma is far more superior in its ugliness? Why is it a competition to see who has the worst story?

No one really knows what I’ve been through and I don’t know what anyone else has been through aside from them telling me their stories. Don’t ever let anyone take away your life’s experiences and try to convince you that weren’t real or that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I used to listen to that voice that said, “It’s really not that bad…” or,“It’s not like I’m hitting you…” or simply, “I’m fine. We’re fine. Everything is fine.” 

What you have inside of you, that voice telling you the right things from the wrong, is there for a reason. Listen to it.

What You’re Doing Matters

Do you ever have those days when you wonder, Why did I even get out of bed today? It’s just going to be doing the same thing over and over and over again. I’m not doing anything ground breaking. There’s nothing new that’s going to happen today, so why am I still doing the same thing?

The truth is what you’re doing today, right here and now, matters. It matters because you showed up. It matters because you didn’t give up. It matters because you are still trying every day to do “something” even if you don’t know your full purpose.

I’ve wanted to quit many things I’ve been writing because I thought the ideas were falling on deaf ears or because I didn’t think what I was saying was impacting anyone. And just when I was about to quit, I received it! I was given confirmation time and time again that I was right where I needed to be.

Sometimes you hear a confirming voice from a friend or a loved one telling you, “Keep up the good work!” Sometimes it’s a total stranger who tells you what you do is interesting and that they’d like to learn more about it. Sometimes you get a Like on an old post and someone new is all of a sudden following your writings.

Whatever your situation, just keep trying. Keep showing up to do things that matter. Even if it seems tireless and mundane, any time you invest in yourself isn’t wasted time at all.

The First Day of School

Do you remember your first days of school? Maybe not all the way back to Kindergarten, but a few grades here and there were you were nervous and scared and excited all at the same time?

Personally, I always had the night before jitters. I wouldn’t be able to sleep well and then I’d wake up way before my alarm would go off in fear of oversleeping and missing everything. Even if I had already met the teacher and knew everything there was to know about the school, there was something about taking that first step into the classroom on the first day of school.

Today, my children go back to school and one of them is starting Kindergarten. I’m again excited, nervous, and scared all over again, but for him this time and not me. I’m excited that he gets to go on this journey and learn new things and meet new people. I’m nervous that he may not know his way around yet and will get a little lost. I’m scared that he won’t make any friends today or that, even worse, he’ll be made fun of.

Most of my fears are irrational, but some are completely warranted. But I have control over none of it! So, instead of whining about being scared for me kids or wondering if they’re going to have a terrible day, I’m choosing to take the high road. I’m going to say a little prayer for them, help them find their way this morning, and then release them into the world. I believe I should do it now when things are small and not so scary.

Let go and let God…

Waves of Insecurity

One of the best things about being human is that most of experience the same exact emotions throughout the day, it’s just a matter of how we respond to those emotions.

Do we automatically retreat when we start feeling inadequate? Do we fight through the exhaustion and feeling of wanting to give up? Do we combat the urge to spew word vomit on the people who are really irritating us?

Personally, I go through waves of self-doubt and insecurity. I believe this is a perfectly natural response to trying something new or being in an unfamiliar situation, but once I started voicing these feelings to a few close friends I realized I wasn’t the only one.

When we keep these feelings bottled up inside, we suffer alone in silence. If we could find someone reliable to share these insecurities with, we begin to find that we aren’t alone after-all. Most people feel this way, and often. It’s simply that we are too afraid to talk about these feelings of inadequacy.

I started feeling overwhelmed yesterday (with a very ridiculous “problem”), but instead of wasting my day in worry and angst about not knowing the answer I simply called one of my “people” and told her all about my feelings. She was empathetic telling me it was completely understandable to feel overwhelmed. She also said something that helped to activate some portion of my brain triggering a solution to my problem.

Yes, I probably would have came to this same conclusion on my own, but it was so much faster and easier (and might I add less frustrating) to let someone help me through these feelings.

Please find someone to share these feelings with today. It doesn’t have to be a large group where you formally sit down to have coffee with on a regular basis. I’m talking about 1-2 people whom you can feel free to share your inner demons with that will no judge how you’re feeling but will simply listen and bounce around ideas.

You’ll be surprised how quickly this small change can have a HUGE impact on your life!

When Life Throws You a Curve-ball

Recently, we moved our family 3 hours away from where our children had gone to school for the past 3 years. We were established in our community. We knew people when we went to the grocery store. We had friends to talk to at little league games. We knew our neighborhood pretty well. And I was on a first name basis with the principals and teachers at each of my boys’ schools.

Then we moved.  We moved to be closer to family. We knew this was going to be challenging, but being closer to family in a good school district was a move we were willing to make.

Then it happened…

This past Friday we were thrown an unexpected curve-ball. While we are still in the middle of unpacking boxes and sorting through all of our recently moved home, we were told my husband’s company would once again be relocating us, along with the rest of their company headquarters, to another location 3 hours south from where we just moved.

“Really? Why couldn’t they have just kept us where we were and moved us from there? Why are we having to move twice? Do we want to move? What other options do we have?”  These were just a few of the questions my husband and I tossed back and forth on Friday as we were in disbelief this was actually happening.

But, like anything else, we will get through it. I’m not 100% sure how easy the new transition will be, but I do know that as long as we are sober and we stick together we can accomplish anything.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

Don’t Fall into Fear’s Traps

There are landmines lurking everywhere. One wrong move and you can land on the one live explosive that is able to derail your entire existence. No, I’m not talking about actual bombs here. I’m talking about fear and the stupid lies it tries to tell all of us.

“You’re not ready. You’ll never be ready. You aren’t old enough to do that. You’re not young enough to do that. Why would they pick you for that job? Why wouldn’t she cheat on you? Of course you’ve gained weight. You aren’t as good looking as you used to be. You’ll never be enough.”  

I have to admit, I became infuriated simply typing those statements and lies out. These thoughts have crept into my mind, almost daily. And when I’m really weak, sometimes every hour. Fear tries to tell us everything that is wrong with us, all of our flaws. There isn’t any mention of the things you’ve done right in your life or the goals you’ve already accomplished. Fear wants to focus on the bad, the negative, and the impossible rather than give you any glimmer of hope or confidence.

Don’t fall into fear’s traps. Those things you hear fear whispering to you isn’t reality. Maybe if you let fear control you long enough it becomes your reality, but that’s when you need to fight like hell to get your life back. You are in control…not fear!

Now, watch your step today. Be sure to step over those landmines hiding in the shadows. And for goodness sake, don’t let fear direct navigate for you anymore.