Lessons Learned In The Week Of Tears

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I have cried a lot last week.

I had to of gone through every emotion you could think of. I felt like I was drowning and the more I tried to come up for air the further I sunk. If you don’t mind sitting for a spell while I pour out my heart a little bit here as a kind of partner post for Water The Flowers.

To be honest with you and myself, I have felt angry. Angry at pretty much everything that was out of my control. Angry that I felt like my life was on hold and not able to move on  to the next season. At one point I think I cried out, when will it be my turn?

I feel that it is important to balance the positive with a touch of reality. Trying to remind yourself that not all rainy seasons are bad, is tough. Especially when you feel like you are in a downpour that just won’t let up. Sometimes this comes in one of many forms and sometimes in all of them. Either way, no matter how positive you try, sometimes you feel like you just ran into a wall. It stings. All the “I’m Okays” and the “Look at the good” feels like a slap in the face. How long do I need to wait for my life to go in the direction I want it too? Is it up to me? Up to other people? How can I trust God with this? I firmly believe in and stand by what I said in the post linked above, but to be honest, some days are just harder then others.

I remember taking the picture above. I picked a throwback on purpose. I was 18 maybe 19. It was in the time where mirror selfies were done with a camera and flash. In this picture, I thought I had an idea of where I was going. What I was going to be doing. I have my natural hair color, the white tee shirt I loved to wear then. Probably barefoot or wearing those ridiculous sneaker wedges I thought were cute. I was with someone I thought I was going to marry, have babies and the farmhouse I had always wanted. The girl in the picture thought she knew. However, few months after this photo was taken, I ended the relationship, stopped wearing those weird shoes and asked myself, what now?

Life is full of “what now?” questions. You can’t really avoid them. Because we change on a constant basis and our lives change right along with us. Sometimes it is drastic, other times it happens so quietly that when you look in the mirror you almost have to reintroduce yourself to yourself. It happens. It is life. Sometimes life brings tears. That has been this past week. It has been a season. A season that sometimes feels like it is never going to end. However the truth is that it will come to an end. It takes time, faith, and the word that is most difficult to swallow: trust. It is hard to trust what we can’t see.

There was a time where Colin and I went to the King and Queen Seat at Rock State Park. It is 100 feet and 200ft from Deer Creek below. I never considered myself to have a fear of heights, but as I stood at the top, I made a huge mistake. I looked down. I know, I know, what was I thinking? I thought I could handle it. I thought “Hey, I have no fear and it won’t bother me to take a peek..” I ended up slowly moving towards a rock that was away from the edge and sitting. Looking at the trees and calming my racing heart. That is what this week for me has been like. Sometimes when we feel like we are falling, we make the mistake of looking down instead of looking up. When you look down you look at the fact there is nothing you can really see. It is scary. But when you keep your eyes up at The One who has had you the whole time.

That is the thing. We often forget that we are being held. That when we feel like we are falling it’s not as drastic as we make it seem.

The Lord is good, a refuge in a time of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

Nahum 1:7 NIV

We have a place to run to even when it feels like it’s too far or not there at all. He is there. I know I have shared this poem before and I am feel it is fitting for this too.

The poem was written by a Jewish prisoner at a concentration camp. Scratched on the wall that housed someone’s nightmare, was a poem.

I believe in the sun,

even when it isn’t shining.

I believe in love,

even when I am alone.

I believe in God,

even when he is silent.

Maybe it is because we live in a world of social media where everything is documented, but I feel that even when I think God is being silent….He really isn’t. In fact it’s the outside noise that is making it hard to hear. In other cases it is the voices of our addictions, our illness…. that causes us to go deaf. Then there are times where silence is an answer. If I am honest, I don’t really understand why.

I love hymns, the one that has been on my heart recently is Because He Lives. There is this one part that I have been repeating to myself often this week is “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…” I needed to be reminded of that. To be reminded that even when I feel like my life is dark and falling apart, that I have an anchor there. I have always had an anchor. I just had to toss it out into the stormy seas and simply be still.

~Bee

 

 

 

 

 

Hello My Name Is Brandy

Well hello and welcome to my little home on the internet. I know, I know it has been awhile since my last post. To be honest, I haven’t felt like blogging. I was super uninspired and no matter how many times I would attempt to write, nothing would come. I have had an interesting year, if you have read any of my previous posts, you probably gathered that. I do hope however, that you read this post. I have spent the past few months on a journey. As ridiculous and so cliché as this is going to sound, I have been reacquainting myself with me. Somewhere along the line, I felt like I lost myself. I felt like all the pieces were coming undone and I couldn’t stop it. My anxiety has been bad…. I have just been one hot mess. I failed myself.

I think we think way too much about what others think or what people would say. I was super content, even if it made me miserable, to fit into a box that others have put me in. All because I was afraid to be myself. I was embarrassed because I didn’t view things the way everyone else did. I am a very creative, imaginative person. So I view things from all kinds of angles and I like to see things half full instead of half empty. I believe everyone moves into different chapters in their lives and it is the way it is suppose to be because God wills it so. I see no point in being jealous over any season that someone else finds themselves in. All in due time.

I remember middle school and being bullied. The moment someone tells you what they think or calls you names you start to question your worth and your identity. My identity crisis began as early as 10 at a VBS. High school, the goody good label floated around, all in all being a goody good isn’t all together bad. I just didn’t believe that I was good. I suffered from anxiety and depression, I felt because I was Saved and I trusted Jesus that I would never have to deal with those things. I felt ashamed that I suffered from these things so I suffered in silence as the world around me saw me as this pink loving bubbly girl. It was a front to cover up the fact that I was drowning in the lies I believed myself. I gave the people what I thought they wanted. It led me into a relationship that ended up doing even more damage. I thought because we both used music as an outlet that we would ride off towards the sunset and make music or something. Before I knew it, I was feeling like I wasn’t good enough, because I think truly to him, I wasn’t. It is always a crushing blow to find out the person you have loved, imagined and planned a life with and around, clearly didn’t see it that way. My first real taste in heartbreak. It was easier to allow for the thoughts of unworthiness to be a broken record, because to change it meant getting up and changing the record and facing the ugly broken parts of yourself.

Sexual harassment/assault has a way of changing you as well. The moment someone take liberties whether through rape, or what seems as harmless as someone pulling your bra, has a way of making you feel like an object. I already had enough going on without having someone who felt the need to pull the back of my bra in the workplace and then say “Hi”. So not only did I have all the labels that I believed in myself but tack on feeling like an object.. No one should be made to feel like an object. I had a few people tell me that I was being dramatic and that I was overreacting because it was “just my bra”. True it was. However my feelings and my emotions were real. I felt traumatized because I never thought something like that would have ever happen to me. Yes, I moved on but I still remember the details of that moment.

So all this time, I have believed I was this messed up girl. All this time I believed that I was unworthy, not good enough… I felt like I couldn’t be myself because I never really allowed myself to come into my own fully. Because what if it’s not what people think I should be? All the assumptions that people make about my character is just that, assumptions. In trying to keep the peace, in trying to cover the brokenness, I never quite allowed myself to get to know myself. Here is the thing, God, Himself created me. He created me from my outer appearance to every little personality quirk (Psalm 139:13-14). He knew every part of my story, even the parts I have yet to reach. So here I am. I love to write stories and lyrics, I love to sing and listen to music. I love to read and watch tv shows. I love boho style clothes and I prefer the color purple over pink. I like to wear black and paint my nails dark colors. I have lost friends and gained new ones. I would love to be a mom someday but I am content with where I am in my life right now. I love to travel and see places new and old. I love to camp and have bonfires. I have loved and been loved. My trails and hard times are simply parts of the story, and don’t define the outcome. I love my small wedding ring more then any other piece of jewelry I own, because it reflects who I am. I am a daughter, wife, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, friend and I take those roles very seriously. I like to be creative and I want to tap more into that side of me. This is who I am. Not what others have said or made me feel. Not what I allowed myself to believe. I am who God created me to be and that is enough for me. I don’t need to impress anyone or be anything other then that. Neither do you. Be yourself. Be who you were created to be. Don’t be the person other people created because I can tell you this, they don’t know you like The One who created you to begin with. Trust that He knew what He was doing putting you on this earth, because He put you here for a reason. To do amazing things in His name.

-Brandy

Turn the Page and Leave the Jug

It is past midnight and I really should be asleep. I seem to always get a nudge to write in the middle of the night. Ironic because I am way more a morning person. I love mornings (now don’t stop reading, I like sunshine and coffee.) So here I am. Ready to pour myself out and hope that someone will be encouraged and will in turn encourage someone else. A real chain reaction as we all grab each others hands and say “It’s okay, you are not alone.” It is lonely to be out in this world because we are content in our little corners. No one wants to step out and call out the ugly for what it is: UGLY.

Back in March I shared the passing of my pastor’s wife Lisa, if you have not read my post you can here  Dear Lisa   

I share this other post because this post here is going to be in a sense a conclusion of the thoughts that have ran through my head in the past months. I didn’t actually think I had more to say. I have grown spiritually in the past few months and I want to share my heart with you.

For as long as I can remember I have always loved stories. I love writing them, telling them, reading them… and I enjoy living them. My life is a story unfolding chapter by chapter. I came to a point where I looked at the person in the mirror and I didn’t want to blog, I didn’t want to write anything. I think that loss has a way of doing many different things to many different people based on your relationship with that person. I kinda felt lost. What I mean by lost is simply put, I needed to grow up spiritually. In life as the chapters end, sometimes the pervious chapter was so good, and beautiful, and you never want it to end. I was enjoying the last chapter and to be honest I didn’t really want to turn the page, because turning the page was scary. I will not be heading up the fan club for change anytime soon. The new chapter to be blunt was the Lord really taking my heart and showing me the imperfections that needed to be addressed. I couldn’t stay the same. The storm raging in my heart needed to be calmed, and while I am being honest here, I was clinging to the side of the ship. During this time I was going through 100 Days To Brave by Annie Downs. As I worked through it, I saw piece by piece as the puzzle of the problem and my disconnect was becoming clearer. I needed to take courage and walk through the open door of change. I needed to be more caring and compassionate. I needed to love more, be meek and humble. Not because I am complacent or weak, because I drew from the well of everlasting water that only Jesus can provide and come out with strength through Him.

So I challenged myself to read from older and wiser women and men. Cue in Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael.. to name a couple. If I couldn’t find books for free, I watched YouTube videos, and read quotes. I realized very quickly the main problem: TRUST. I am going to be blunt; I simply did not trust God to come in and carry me through my stuff, to lead me where He wanted me to go, to prepare me, equip me….because I put my identity in the shame I felt, the pain, the words of lies spoken over me…because that was “easier”. Ha! Joke is on me because like Christian walking through with his burden strapped to his back, I was walking around with all this junk and it was so heavy.

Then I found a kindred spirit in the woman at the well in John chapter 4. Here was a woman who carried her stuff around. What we see is a woman, who lived a lifestyle she wasn’t proud of. She went to the well when no one was around, probably to avoid the judgmental stares, the whispering and the added shame. She meets Jesus, and He offers her water through Him, water that will quench her thirst eternally. He brings to light her past and offered redemption from the past identity and offers her a brand new one. In verse 28, do you realize that when she went to tell people about Jesus, she left the water jug she had been carrying. She left it behind. She no longer felt the need to keep it. I came to the realization that I, Brandy, liked to go back and pick up the water jug where I left. This girl was micromanaging. I needed to put that jug down. Once I set it down and said no to picking it back up, I tasted the freedom that comes with letting go.

One author I have grown to admire and adore is Elisabeth Elliot. I have always enjoyed her writing but I started to see her in a different light because if you know anything about her story, through what had to be terrifying and hard, she still trusted God and believed that His will was perfect and it wasn’t her place to question His will. The more I read in the Word of God, the more I started to see the jug for what it was. No longer relevant to my story. No matter what was going to be thrown my way, the way I reacted is totally up to me. I needed to learn to say ‘God, I don’t feel okay, but I believe Your will is still perfect despite it.’ We don’t get to pick the circumstances in life but we go get to pick our reactions. I want to be a complete nobody trying to exalt Somebody. I needed to see that the world will see me as a nobody, because my identity does not come from the world. It comes from the One who calls me ‘beloved’ (Romans 9:25). I needed to remember the world will never appreciate me, but that in everything I do I need to do it from the heart for the Lord not people (Colossians 3:23).

 

So here I am. I dropped the water jug, and I turned the page. The story that God is writing for me is simply perfect, with all the scars, tears and mess. My life is far from perfect, total perfection will come when I enter Glory. Trusting God’s will is not always easy. However it is always worth it. Because as Elisabeth Elliot beautifully put into words, God’s story never ends with ashes.

*photo: brandy strong word editing done on Word Swag.

~Brandy