Jesus + Therapy + Finding friends in the same boat + Cutting off dead branches + Protecting my environment + Fighting for community + Worship and the Word
= My Recipe for a Restored Life!
What was I coming back from? In my late 20s I suffered an immense amount of loss. Loss of my marriage, my identity, a dream, an entire family of people who loved me more than I had ever felt before, followed by a series of dark, unhealthy circumstances that in total stole about 5 years of my life (those stories coming soon). My healing journey took another 4 years (and of course is on-going). There were no easy or overnight miracles for me. I was the sad, depressed girl who was striving to be restored with very little results. I would read stories and testimonies of how God came through for people and wondered why God never showed up for me. I sat in the bitterness and anger. So if that’s you, I want to tell you to HANG IN THERE! There IS hope, there IS light coming, just keep pressing on! My healing process was lengthy, but so worth it. Now looking back, I can see why He didn’t come to my rescue sooner. He was training me for something greater.
I want to start an organization where I can fulfill the financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for many children who are suffering and unloved. I will create a foundation for them to stand on, give them hope, and lead them to prosper.
My Personal Mission Statement, 2012
How did I get there?
Life coaching and Therapy. A new friend and Christian life coach took me on as a pro-bono case. We worked through defining my identity and creating a personal mission statement. And thanks to my extreme brokenness I helped her create a course for those who have suffered from loss. See what God did there? My suffering created something beautiful that would be used to help many others. And of course therapy, therapy, therapy. I was unemployed and found a Christian place with a sliding scale. #noexcuses She helped me uncover all sorts of behaviors and patterns from my past. I’m not sure why so many people are so adverse to therapy. I’m pretty sure Jesus was the only perfect person to walk this Earth! Even during #stayhomeworksafe you can find therapists meeting clients virtually. What are you waiting for?
Mind renewal. Since logic, reason, and analysis is so ingrained in me this component was HUGE. I believed I had become a sad person. I was a bad person. I was a failure. That God wanted this depressing life for me. I didn’t deserve joy. I had lost all hope. How did I turn it around?
- Joyce Meyer taught me how to renew my mind. That speaking truths out loud can replace the lies. I know this may sound silly but IT WORKS. Did you know you can actually rewire your brain?! YOU CAN! Believe me, I objected whole-heartedly to this concept but was willing to try anything at this point, and it worked. To this day, speaking truth out loud is most powerful tool I use. If you’re skeptical, I challenge you to try it for 30 days and tell me that you don’t think differently. Here are some examples of my truths:
- I am a beautiful, loved child of God. He loves me no matter what I do.
- I am never alone. I am part of the family of Jesus Christ. I am in the trinity with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, therefore, I can never be alone. Where ever I go I am in family, and it’s eternal.
- I repent from complaining and focusing on negative thoughts.
- I choose to enjoy this stage of singleness.
- Even if I never have babies I will still worship you because you are a GOOD GOD. My ultimate satisfaction is in You.
- How did I come up with my truths? EASY. Write down all of the lies you are saying to yourself. And for each one, write a Truth (God’s Truth, not yours!). And to go further, find a scripture that supports your truth. Another fun step is to burn that list of lies! #noturningback
- Janice Seney taught me that I’m created in God’s image (three parts just like Him):
- The Physical Man who tells you when you’re tired or hungry.
- The Soul Man who tells you you’re sad or angry.
- The Spirit Man who tells you what God says about you. Such as: you’re a beautiful daughter of the Most High King! You are worth it! You are worth fighting for! I am fighting for you every day!
- Which man are you listening to most often? Try to take those physical and soul man thoughts captive and ask “What is my Spirit Man saying?” I bet He’s saying great things about you!
Spiritual healing. I was in a season where I was extremely angry at God. Angry that He didn’t change my husband, angry that He let my marriage fail, angry that I naively got mixed up with the wrong crowd, angry that all of these awful things were happening to me and I was a dysfunctional mess.
- Spiritual Mentor. Boys and Girls, you must, must, must get older, wiser people speaking into your life! If you want to grow closer to God, grow in spiritual maturity, or grow in any area, go find an older, wiser mentor. Set up goals and a meeting schedule and soak in all the goodness of our previous generation. I love my “spiritual mom” and I am so blessed to have her in my life. She helps fill in the gap of my emotionally unavailable mom.
- Inner Healing. Healing from your past helps you move forward. If there’s any unforgiveness as far back as when you were a child, this prohibits you from fully and freely living out the life to which Christ has called you. Inner healing helps with this. It may also sound hokey (I used to be the captain of that boat!) but I cannot deny what healed me. Jesus healed me through inner healing techniques such as Bethel’s Sozo (there are places in Austin that use Sozo too, see links at bottom). I realized I had lots of unforgiveness toward my parents and siblings for not being there for me ever, toward my ex-husband for not holding up his end of the marriage bargain, toward God for abandoning me (or rather feeling this way), and toward myself for numerous things: negative thoughts, poor decisions, being so naive, not communicating better, not seeing the signs, etc.
Environment Protection. Here’s another one I thought was total hogwash. Thankfully I had women in my life who knew about this stuff who pushed me and kept me accountable! Turn off that negative news, celebrity gossip, stop listening to those fake pop lyrics with swear words and derogatory terms, say goodbye to anyone who is not speaking LIFE into you. Stay away from complainers, negative talkers, gossipers, liars, and shallow people. STAY AWAY. FAR AWAY. Cut off them branches and don’t look back. Fill your ears with worship music, Jesus podcasts, and people who encourage you on the right things but also willing to call you out when you go astray. Fill your eyes with joyful images and words of Truth instead of false worldly images. I said goodbye to rom-coms, any overly provocative movies/shows, and all the news which only seemed to tell about the horror in our world today. I admit, I have been sucked back into the news because of COVID-19 and it has been draining me. Thankfully I have a dear friend who is always shooting me powerful, encouraging YouTube sermons (see links below) so I can refocus my mind. Facebook/Instagram got you down? Stop following EVERYONE and instead follow only good, uplifting, Jesus-minded folks (some names below).
Worship. If you think that we are just “singing in church” on Sundays I have some news for you – YOU ARE MISSING OUT BIG TIME!! How do I know? Because that’s all I thought it was too until one day I felt this overwhelming feeling of love wash over me. I used to be the girl looking at everyone else raising their hands and feeling awkward. I used to be the girl wondering why people look so excited and happy when singing. I used to be the girl longing for whatever they had. But year after year, nothing changed for me. And then one day I was visiting Shoreline Church standing there in worship and like a rush of a wave I could not hold back the tears. I grew up in an emotionally detached home so stuffing emotions and holding back tears is like clockwork for me. But this time someone else took over. The Holy Spirit took over and He wanted me to feel what His love feels like. After worship they followed up with baby dedications and I continued to sob (feeling so embarrassed too!). I was 32yo and longing to be a mom so deeply that it hurt to my core. I cried through this entire church service, while I walked out of the building, sitting in my car, driving to see a friend, and then during lunch with that friend because I was so worried something was wrong with me because I COULD. NOT. STOP. CRYING. Looking back, this was the moment that the Lord broke through to my heart. A heart that had been so numb from all of the pain of the past few years. Everything changed from that point forward. Singing in church became beautiful worship to my Father who loves me more than I could ever imagine. I sing and soak in every word. I weep during worship (with no more embarrassment!) most Sundays now because His love is THE SWEETEST!
Journaling. Whether you like writing or not journaling is such a healthy tool. Some ideas on how to use it:
- Prayer. I have a hard time praying because my mind wanders. This allows me to stay focused so I write out all of my prayers. It also helps to work through that list of people you said you were praying for!
- Gratitude. When I was Queen Negative Nancy all I could see/feel/hear was the bad stuff. I had to force myself into thinking positively again. Write down 10 things you’re thankful for each day. If you need to, do this at the start and end of each day! For me, personally, I spend the first part of prayer time thanking God for all the things big and small, obvious and not-so-obvious.
- God Moments. My journey with God took awhile. I would hear all of these miraculous stories and overnight transformations but instead of giving me hope, it made me angry. So angry because I was doing all the things for so long with no transformation to show for it. We are talking YEARS! But eventually, it was my time. That’s the thing with God, He’s not interested in our timing. He already knows the divine timing of our journeys and it probably doesn’t align with yours. And once I had little God moments I started documenting them in my journal. This means that when I am back in that negative zone feeling like God has forgotten about me, I can go back and remind myself what He has done personally for me written in my own words. Eventually little God moments turned into BIG God moments!
The Word. Word. Word. Full disclosure: I am not good at reading the Bible. Although I shouldn’t speak that over my life that is how I feel most of the time. I grew up Catholic so I didn’t start reading it until I was an adult. And it’s HARD for me. So I have soaked in group bible studies by Beth Moore, BSF, Bob Goff, etc. (links below). The structure and accountability is the right learning format for me and it helps me absorb it and remember it. Bonus that you end up with new friends too! If you’re like me I have a great tip: Before reading, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear His Word, to take in what He wants you to, and to interpret it with a Jesus mindset. This actually does work! At the start of 2020 I began The Bible Project bible reading plan in the YouVersion app and it’s been going really well. They have these amazing, easy-to-follow videos along the way that help break up all the reading. I mean, how many animal sacrifices and cubits measurements can one read through?!?!
The Fight for Community. I feel like I am on Life #5 in regards to people I love and my community. I’ve learned that going through trying times will make or break your friendships. Some will continue to reach out and support you, others will fade away. That’s the tricky thing about depression….you can’t reach out, you can’t see a way out, you just exist. Those friendships where I was the one initiating and inviting disappeared. When I was on Life #4 I was a new single and finally found myself a new community at Mosaic Church Austin. I pushed my way in by serving on the Singles Leadership Team and mKids. I poured my heart into growing the Singles ministry and we exploded in numbers. I talked to those who looked uncomfortable and alone. I put together happy hours, dinners, lunches and numerous social events inviting person after person after person always trying to bring new people together and foster new friendships. It was a beautiful time of connecting Christian singles around Austin. I broke into that community, put forth the effort, and took the initiative in order to build deep friendships. Then I became a foster parent and single mom in Summer 2017. When a baby and a toddler were handed over to me my life went into a tailspin and into survival mode. As the foster kids stayed longer and longer, my circle of single friends became lighter and lighter. I continue to fight for community now with married folks with kids (Life #5). I educate them on the weightiness of real single parenting (not just when your spouse is traveling), hardships of foster care and trauma, and continue to tell them what I need even though they may not ask. Some days I get tired of asking. But I know if I don’t I could easily slip back into a dark, lonely place.
Healing could come for you through an instant miracle or it may take years of work like it did for me. I guess I’m stubborn and thus I took some breaking in. I look back now and each person, each season of friendship, each unfortunate circumstance played a part in me becoming the woman I am today. It prepared me to deal with the uncertainty, sadness, and weightiness of foster care. It kept me compassionate when I was dealing with my kids’ trauma of their past and their biological parents. It laid a foundation for me to stand on when times get tough again. Because they will get tough again.
He will never lead you into the path of a freight train, but He’ll meet you in the carnage should you choose that route. He will never veer you from your destiny but should another path seduce you He can turn a long, ugly road back home. When you find yourself unwelcome where you thought you’d been sent, He’ll help you move on. If you walk life out with Him day to day and season to season, even what seems like the most futile detour will end up taking you to a spot where a piece of your puzzle hides.Beth Moore
Additional Tools & Resources
Here’s a hodgepodge of things I did (and still do) and love! Feel free to contact me for more details.
- Any Beth Moore bible study. She really dives deep into the Bible and brings it home in a way that you remember it. LOVE HER. You can find a local church hosting a study and just go! I met some of my closest girlfriends at these studies. Option 2: Skip the videos and work through the workbook on your own.
- Anything Tony Evans (did you know he’s the chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks?! Just a little fun fact) or any of his children (Priscilla Shirer, Chrystal Evans Hurst, etc.). I read my first Tony Evans book, Kingdom Single just a couple months ago and it was EXCELLENT! A MUST read for any Single! All of the Evans’ family video messages are on YouTube. Soak in that TRUTH!
- Joyce Meyers‘ books: Battlefield of the Mind and Power Thoughts
- Living Out Loud – Inner Person Truths by Janice Seney
- Jesus Calling Daily Devotional
- Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) if you need a deep dive into the Bible. Classes are held at churches all around the world!
- The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far by Louie Giglio, founder of Passion Conference
- Sozo in Austin (Inner Healing). There may be other churches doing this but this is the one I know.
- 100 Happy Days. I completed 100% (I am a perfectionist after all) and it really did force me to find that happy thing each day and did alter my thinking. Highly recommend it.
- Graham Cooke will really help to transform your thinking! Plus his accent helps.
- Igniting Hope Ministries by Steve and Wendy Backlund out of Bethel Church. They have really great declarations you can declare over yourself and also a 40-day Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast you can sign up for. Perfect for a quarantine.
- John Bevere on Instagram. I very recently joined Instagram and still not sure how to fully use it but I started following all these great preachers/bible teachers and they really put out great nuggets of truth!
- My Go-To worship: I just ask Alexa to play Bethel Music Radio or Elevation Worship on Pandora and I’m golden. I have her play it in the evenings when I’m cooking dinner for the kids to try and keep us all sane.
Do you have any great resources you’d like to share? Please share! I would love for this to become a one-stop shop when you need some encouragement.
2 thoughts on “From Death to Life…”
Thanks for sharing your journey and resources that have helped you. It helps to read something that gives you hope 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you! You’re my first comment! 🙂