“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!” – Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)
June 2018 marked my ten year blogging anniversary and so much has changed and transformed both in my life and on my blog since I first began all those years ago. In the past ten years I have:
Survived 3 suicide attempts → Been in the hospital countless times → Been homeless → Been rapped → Been a drug addict and alcoholic → Got married → Got clean and sober → Started chasing hard after God in every direction I could think of → Got off all prescription medication → Changed my lifestyle → Walked away from toxic friendships → Changed my eating habits → Opened my first business → Ended an abusive marriage → Been homeless again → Got married again → Become a step-mom → Had a baby → Undergone two surgeries → Lost far too many loved ones to suicide or drug overdoses → Got a second chance at life → Learned to thrive with chronic illness → Experienced miraculous healing both mentally and physically → And then on May 22, 2016, I met Jesus Christ…
Dancing in the Rain
Ten years ago, I lived in a black and white world of insanity. Rage. Chaos. Lust. Addiction. Never satisfied with anything. Always hungry for something more. Desperately grasping into thin air, missing the big picture right in front of me. Stuck in my vanity and malicious greed. A weapon of mass consumption. Trapped in a fog of comfortable misery. A pretty little pharmaceutical doll with a mean girl attitude. Too blind to see that it wasn’t me at all. I was wholeheartedly a product and willing participant of this broken, distorted, and truth-void world.
When I first started blogging in 2008, the content was incredibly dark and sad. I was in one of the worst places of my life and all I had in me was misery and self-pity. I was so far from God, running as fast as I could away from Him. Harboring all the anger and resentment I could for those I believed had wronged me. While all the while basking in my prideful self-loathing. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel and death often felt like my only option.
After being diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder as a young teenager, I spent the next 14 years of my life heavily medicated. But I later discovered through trauma therapy, working with some good doctors, and sharing my history with my now and forever husband that my original diagnosis was likely not the case. In my late 20’s it started to become clearer that Complex Post Traumatic Stress, Borderline Personality, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Fibromyalgia, and Tourette’s Syndrome were a more accurate collection. Not to mention the heaps of spiritual garbage I had dragged around with me for my entire life…
Those years were spent with multiple suicide attempts, hospitalizations, and being nearly force fed anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and mood stabilizers. And none of it helped me. It only made me more sick and broken. It wasn’t until I took the leap to get off all these drugs that I came to understand the real root of my struggles… It was then that the real healing and recovery began.
As I slowly started to break free from the fog of psychiatric medication withdrawals, I started to understand that the hole in my heart, the void I felt inside me was my longing for God. It was an empty place I had tried desperately to fill with every other thing, when the reality was, only one thing could fill it. So I let Him in. I let God do with me what He wanted, what He had been trying to do in me all along. And now I have learned to dance in the rain, to sing praises to God through the fire and the flood. Even through the heartaches of life, I still know joy, I still know hope.
Becoming a Hope Bringer
It’s all thanks to God that I’m still here today. I’ve now been clean and sober since January 2014, off all prescription medication since November 1, 2013, and been healed and delivered from multiple things that tormented me for decades. Because with Christ, ALL things are possible!
So after all those years I finally came to a moment that changed me forever. It happened in the summer of 2013 and it was an encounter with God so powerful that it changed my entire world view and outlook on life in an instant. In that moment, I snapped out of the funk of negativity I had always known and decided to take a new path, a path after God. And I was determined to do it with positivity, encouragement, and hope. That day, I made the choice to no longer be a complainer and a self-pitier, but instead to be a hope bringer to others going through hell just like I had.
After that moment, I began to drastically change things in my life. I ended toxic relationships, quite participating in activities that only fed into my sickness and brokenness, stopped using substances and other mindless addictions to fill that longing inside me. I even changed what I listened to, watched, read, and surrounded myself with. And then, I started to notice that I was happier, more joyful, content with my life, even when I had to face challenging situations and hardships. I felt better and I acted better. Imagine that!
Your Mind is a Garden
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” – Romans 8:5-7 (ESV)
We are the products of what we consistently feed our eyes, ears, minds, and bodies. If you’re feeding yourself garbage, negativity, and giving into self-pity, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get more of. You’re never going to get free from that kind of bondage until you make up your mind to change your perspective and try a different way, God’s way. So what are you planting? Take a good hard look at your life and be honest with yourself. Put away the mindless television, the fear and hate inducing mainstream media news, video games, secular movie and magazine garbage and feed yourself with things from above. Feed yourself with the Word of God, with life giving things, hope giving things, ones that open you to the presence God and invite Him into your life. Give it a try for a while and watch how your life changes.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Beloved, when you fall, and you will fall at one point or another in this life, do not give into the pressures of this world to stay down. Rise up again, day after day. Rise up, have a cup of coffee or tea, and get back to work. Because it is in your perseverance to survive that you begin to thrive. It’s only by making it through the darkness of the night that you live to see the dawn. I know you can do it. I did it. I’m still doing it every day. It’s hard as rocks some days! But I still do it. And if a wretch like me can get up again day after day and keep pushing forward towards God, then anyone can.