Celebrate Recovery and mean it!

I started attending Celebrate Recovery for the first time 13 years ago. I was there for someone else, of course. Those of you that know, know how funny that is. But hey, whatever brings you in!!!

I started seeing the big picture and realized I wasn’t there for anyone else but myself. I was an addict. I was addicted to substances and I was addicted to people. I was addicted to chasing the high and pleasing the world. I can’t tell you which was more dangerous.

I began going religiously but of course, we are always recovering, never recovered. It has been a long process of continuous growth. I had so many unhealthy layers to get through, it has taken this long and I’m not stopping now!

I stopped the substance abuse, which I joke is the easy part. I then started peeling back the layers of unhealthy coping and that is where it has been hardest. I have had to stop relying on anything but God to get me through life. I have had to stop making excuses for my behaviors, choices, attitudes, ALL OF IT.

I began my first step study in 2013 and after book 2, as we were heading into book 3, I broke my ankle in a ridiculous, freak (too old to be doing) cheerleading accident. I was couch ridden for 6 weeks and had to end my step study.

I was upset but I also know God has a purpose.

I was in a marriage that neither one of us was prepared to be in. We had dated off and on for almost 10 years, married for 2. We both had sons from previous relationships and a daughter after our marriage. It was extremely unhealthy and when God says equally yoked HE MEANS EQUALLY YOKED.

We divorced in 2014. The actual divorce was uncontested, 50/50 custody, no child support…. but it was anything but that.

There has been a lot of healing, a lot of hurt, a lot of relying on God and releasing my unhealthy thoughts.

I hid from my duties for a while. I was still praying. Still asking God for guidance. I was not, however, living as I should. I stopped going to church weekly. I would go here and there. I dove into my career in law enforcement and college. I had gained some more unhealthy habits but I was determined to not let go of God.

Romans 5:8

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In 2016, I reclaimed my life. I made a promise to get things together. I started attending church regularly. I began finally healing. I came back to CR. I graduated with my bachelors and went to work for DHR (child protection services). It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I had a few failed relationships. I was living in a big girl world and it took some getting used to. I was working in a world of chaos but I was blessed to have Celebrate Recovery and it’s principles guiding me through life and I was able to share this information with clients that asked. I was able to bring some clients to CR with me. It was wonderful.

In 2018 I really put a seriousness to healing my heart. As a woman, I want to love and I want to be loved. As an unhealthy sinner, I didn’t know how to properly attain it. I put a cross ring on my wedding finger and got down to business. I asked God to remove ALL the things. I did not date anyone. I even took myself on a romantic for one getaway to the Georgia Mountains (it’s in my blog but I don’t know how to link it here). I even made mistakes while I was there because I will NEVER be perfect (no men were involved, only a large amount of alcohol one evening). I was the happiest I think I have ever been.

I continued attending church weekly, CR weekly. I worked hard to put God at the forefront of my life.

In 2019, I reunited with this guy I went to high school with. We had never ran in the same circles but as life would have it, we bumped into each other on duty one day, then another. We began a relationship and are now married. It has not been easy, some our fault, some life’s journey. We both love God and He will see us through.

I am proud to say as of next week, I will have FINALLY completed a Step Study. I put in the work. I attended meetings and went to group weekly. I went when I didn’t want to. I went when I was sick. I went DURING COVID!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing can stop what God wills. I am dancing. I’m not dancing because life is perfect. I’m not dancing because what I want God to fix is fixed, actually the total opposite. Life is EXTREMELY tough right now. I’m dancing because I have buckled down and put in the nasty work. I have answered each and every question with as much diligence as I can. I have answered the tough questions. I have kept in close contact with my sponsor and accountability partners. I have remained faithful.

Please, reach out to a local church. I KNOW there is a Celebrate Recovery near you. I’m asking you to go. Go once, and when you realize how uncomfortable you are, do not let the devil whisper in your ear “this isn’t for you”. Because it is. What some don’t realize is recovery isn’t just about drugs or alcohol. Celebrate Recovery is about Hurts, Habits or Hang Ups. That means that anger that haunts you. That feeling of not good enough. That constant reminder in your brain of that thing that happened years ago. What that person did to you. What you did to that person. Those nasty thoughts you have when people are talking. The way you are terrified to be alone.

It’s helping you achieve a better life. Even when life isn’t better.

Prayer for Serenity

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.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

                                            Reinhold Niebuhr

Thank you for letting me share.

Back from July

Hello all. I have really been feeling a tug to get my writing started again. I hadn’t been on my site since July. I logged on today and read my last post, as I had SLIGHTLY forgotten when the last time I was on. WOW………..

Here we are in December. That post is so definitive to where life was and is now. It’s been a whole 30948459438 years tied into the last 6 months (It feels like it, yall feel me?).

Where I am today? I’m knee deep into a Step Study (Celebrate Recovery, woooohoooo), pulling out all the ick of my life, trying to ensure a somewhat better, stable, future for anyone I may come in contact with. You see, in life, once you are in recovery, you’re never out of it. It’s never complete. It’s ” I’m in recovery” not “I’m recovered”. Yes, I no longer have a substance issue, but the tough stuff stays with you. Triggers happen whenever. Plus, I never finished a full study so I am VERY excited to have the opportunity to complete what I started years ago. I have hurts, habits and hang ups that I work on daily. Some old, some new. All being dealt with at the hand of a SUPER strong sponsor, a glorious and imperfect group of ladies and God.

The funny thing about working on yourself….the devil listens very intently to that. It’s his playing field. He tap dances on our attempts and successes in life. Well listen here, jerk, God’s got this. I am not living in fear. I am living proof that God reigns and will always.

We are all living in this pandemic filled, life. Everyone is teetering on the idea of being too careful and not being careful enough. Do we trust the world, or not? It’s an every day, where am I at TODAY, kind of life.

I have since changed jobs. I am no longer in social work. I am a special education assistant at a virtual learning school. It does not fill my soul like caseworking but I am very thankful for the uplifting environment. I get wellness breaks and we have book studies. It’s definitely a different life.

I am working on finding ways to feed my helping heart. One way is I am co-leading a group for any and all struggles. It’s helps me stay focused on good vibes and it’s helping out others. Win win.

My best dog friend dies suddenly. It hit hard for the family. She was the tiniest boxer, and those that know the story, know I fought HARD to get her back when she strangely disappeared years ago. We gave her the best life we could for 6 years.

The fiance and I attempted several different times in several different ways, a wedding, but it just didn’t work out. We had Covid, life and location issues the first time, the second time, one of our pastors and the grandparents had Covid. We ended up going to the jail at bonding and visitation and had our friend stamp her seal on the marriage license and took it to the courthouse to pay our fees. What a strange way to make a lifelong decision. I did call his and my pastor to meet us at the courthouse for a prayer and blessing. THAT was special. We are hoping to have a wedding ceremony in 2021.

You see, like I said before. The devil attacks. He’s been attacking us hard. I have dropped to my knees, screamed in my car, outside, anywhere, I have had a prayer chain of strong in faith believers, loud prayers for protection over our family.

We lost my husband’s father this year. It was inevitable but unexpectedly abrupt. I had just spent the last year getting to know him and, like always, it feels so unfinished. The last moment with him, he was in his big chair. He was mostly conscious. I sat in his lap and we just held each other. Tightly. God blessed me with that moment. He blessed both of us with that moment. Matter of fact, he blessed the hubs, also, as he was standing directly in front of us. The hubs went on a special men’s 4-day retreat in July and his father passed away while he was gone. His mother sent me on a plane to Ohio to tell him and get him back safely. We barely made it back in one mental piece. Our lives have been completely turned upside down since his father got sick.

Hubs left his job as a deputy to pursue a state trooper life but decided against it and has since returned to being a deputy. We have talked about building a house, we are working out land options with my grandfather, but timing and Covid are everything. 5 people in our tiny house is a struggle but I’m bound and determined to make sure it’s Gods timing and not ours.

My mother and grandparents have self quarantined due to health issues and is has been hard on us all. I miss them. I try to visit my grandparents on their porch for coffee time when I can and I try to connect with my mother on the phone often. I’m trying to respect their space and worries, but at the same time, I struggle with loss of time spent.

I just keep praying that God will intervene where He already knows it’s needed. I just keep praying.

Scriptures that I have been holding onto are:

Proverbs 16:9- In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Philippians 3:12-14- Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:19-For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! DO you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

1 Chronicles 16:11- Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek his presence continually.

Silent suffering

There’s part of life that is too quiet. You ever notice that?

They are the loudest to your soul but silent to the outside world.

I’m in a season of silence. Partially, my own fault. Partially, because it isn’t my battle to fight.

I have a certain suffering that is going on and I feel dramatically, like I’m dying. But not a death. But if a slow slipping into insanity.

I feel as though it isn’t safe to speak to my friends and family as they are typical humans who judge and direct. I need someone that is a safe space. I need someone who has a clue how I feel and will not look at me like I’m selfishly feeling.

This is all for today.

Robbed again

I second guess most things parents would never think about.

It hurts my soul to do so but without, I feel anxiety.

I question when my children are quiet. I question them going over to others homes. I over analyze their actions and reactions. I live in a prison that was not ever mine to live in.

I pray for God to ease my mind. I pray for God to wash my mind. I stay up in the middle of the night praying for horrible images to be released from my mind.

It’s a life-long sickness. One dealt with mostly in silence.

I do the best I can with my children and I pray they never experience a loss of innocence. I pray I parent them to the best of my ability and for God to cover me and them. I pray my children aren’t broken. The overwhelming thought is that I just don’t know, and may not know until years and pain of locked up emotions come barreling out in the worst ways. I just keep the best outlook I can on life and raising them.

But in the back of my mind, I know it can happen to them.

The day before the day

We woke up at 530 Thursday (5.14.20) morning. I rushed around the house like I always do. I have to feed the chickens, ducks, then the outside dogs, then the inside dogs, then the reptiles and fur balls. I’m telling the kids to get ready. Pack the last of their things. Finish their chores and brush their teeth. We get on the road in not too bad of timing. We have a jam fest on the way. It was fun as we remembered songs of our younger years and the passion we felt behind them. We are both serious about our tunes! We drive 5 plus hours down to the prettiest white sand beaches of Florida.

We got there too early and our room wasn’t ready so they allowed us to use the facilities until it was. The kids played in and out of the water and under the 5 story man made water fall. The water was FREEZING so we didn’t get in. We applied then reapplied sunscreen as pasty white folks must do. Hours go by and the room is finally ready. We get our luggage up to the room and at this point, we are all starving and tetering on hangry. It’s dangerous when you’re a group of 5.

Crab. That’s all I’ve been talking about, really my whole adult life, but the last few weeks especially. We just so happen to have a crab place RIGHT BESIDE US so we walk to it. We have the most polite waiter and our children really show out by using their manners and ordering their own food. They make us so proud.

We chow down. I know I say this every time but it’s the best crab ever. He gives me my lemon slices and old bay seasoning and I’m in heaven. I look around at Jsmiff, and the kids. I’m the most blessed woman. He feels it too. It’s a sense of peace when everything is going right. Even in between moments of chaos. This. This is what I live for.

After I finish my 1.5 pounds of crab and a slice of homemade key lime pie, and everyone else cleans their plate, HE wants to go take some pictures at the beach. Should have been my first clue, but it wasn’t. We paid for our meal, our waiter mentioned how well our children behaved and thanked us.

We walked to the beach. Justin took pictures of the kids first then asked Ford to take one of us. Ok. Cool. So he does but he wants us to move over this way and look over there at the pier. Still so clueless. He says ok take our picture and this fool is down on his knee. WITH A RING. I’ve never been in this situation before but I can tell you, wow. Everything is slow motion but fast and so blurry but the most memorable. I think I said yes. I had to ask him, before bed, in a panic, OMG did I ever say yes. Yes. The answer is yes.

I apologized for being a turd. I can be a bit of a smart mouth at times and hugged him like it was my first hug of forever. I kissed him. I’m not sure I have stopped smiling since.

See. This is bittersweet. He wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for his tradegy and I wouldn’t be here today if I knew my own worth long ago. But what a beautiful way to start our new life.

The best part about this is that he had the children in on it the whole time. How special is it that they can forever say they did this part and that part and so on. They were all so happy. My 2 seem genuinely happy for this decision. I love them and I love this life that they will have from here on out.

I was slightly teary when he proposed but it wasn’t until I hugged his son that I cried. That little boy loves me. And I love him. My biggest promise isn’t just to God that I’m a Proverbs 31 wife. It’s that I’m that boys love and comfort for the rest of his life. His mommy left this Earth way too soon and now I have the responsibility to make sure he knows Christ and that he is loved.

With the biggest goofy smiles on both our faces, we walked back to the hotel, told the family, put it on social media and we went to bed as soon to be married, us. What a beautiful feeling.

I COULD NOT sleep. The bed we have was not like our King at home. He has sleeping troubles so I always worry my moving will wake him up and in a smaller bed, that left a lot of uncomfortable hours. I finally got up about 4 and decided I was done sleeping. Or trying to. I went onto the balcony. I watched the waves cap as that was really all I could see. I had such a strong praying time with God. I prayed that He guide our future marriage in the way that He wants and I prayed that we follow His teachings. I prayed that I would be a good mother to all 3 of my children. I also prayed for his late wife. I let her know I would never remove her from our home and that I had Smiff from here on out. I had told Landon the night before that I wanted him to know his mommy would always be a part of our family and I showed him an idea for the wedding. He hugged me so tight. I told all the children I loved them and I prayed hard for them this morning. I prayed that God show him the way to be the best most respectful step father and I, a step mother. We got this.

I feel such good things to come.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my thoughts and for your support.

What is on everyone’s lips? RONA

I’m sitting here with an itchy throat, mucus everywhere, steroid pill in my tummy. I have a sinus infection. But in the back of my head…. I wonder….

My family wonders…

This environment is something I haven’t experienced before. I remember a lot that rocked our country. From trials of celebrities to the World Trade Center. But I’m not sure I recall anything that changed the world as this has.

I am a Caseworker. I work in child protective services. We are what they are now calling “essential workers”. I have been on call now for 5 days. I’m exhausted. The worry that the virus will spread to my family scares me. I’m a fairly decently healthy person, so I will overcome it. I have 80 something year old grandparents that live beside me and a 2 month old baby neice that lives on the other side of me. They are precious to me and I want to keep them safe. But I must do my job. I must go about my day as if nothing is different when the entire planet has changed.

Here I am sitting with a child that has nowhere to go. It’s approximately 130am and I’m so tired but I do my best to keep my eyes open. I pray this child finds a place that is appropriate for her situation. I pray her parents get their lives together to get her back.

I pray my children at home, who are far away from me, know that I love them so much and I think about them every second of every moment I’m away from them.

Here I am leaving the hospital after getting a call about a special needs juvenile. I’m starting to feel sick as I leave the hospital. I was screened when I walked in so I know my temp is OK. I have 3 more days of on call. I have to hold on.

My 3 kids are out of school. They have eaten anything they can get their hands on. They don’t get the meaning of working from home. I have had deadlines and paperwork on top on more deadlines and paperwork. I have had to have conversations with clients while my dogs barked loudly at a vehicle driving by. My kids asking me where the this and that is. They do not care.

Just the other day I was attempting to play Uno with them while typing case notes. It was a disaster. They are bound up and don’t fully understand why. They are enjoying being away from school but want to be able to roam free. I have to continue explaining to them what isolation is and why it’s the safe thing to do as I disappear for hours in the night to calls.

They hate my job.

I wake up the following day and I’m sick. Doctor deems it as sinus infection. Ok. The task must be completed. I just keep telling myself, it’s almost over. But I know there are so many other “essential workers” that are grinding and will continue to grind. Keep y’alls heads up. This is what we were made for. We were made to thrive.

Surrogacy journey :getting real

Here I am. 34 weeks. My mid section is growing, what feels like, by the minute. I feel big as a house to have started at 4 foot 11 inches and 101 pounds. I’m still the same height but a good solid 45 pounds heavier. That’s a lot when you think about how mobile I need to be throughout my day.

I am at the part of pregnancy that I’m certain God blocks out of our memory so we will continue having babies. It’s not fun. There’s little sleep involved. Everything is uncomfortable. I ache in every part of my body. My mind is consumed with every emotion possible. I cry several times a day. I have gained more stretch marks than with my two babies combined. I am overflowing even my maternity clothes.

Yet, here I am praising Jesus for this opportunity. Every day I wake up and it’s like I am reminded just what I am doing. Just what gift I am bringing to this world. Just how happy this family will be.

No words can describe it.

Surrogacy journey 22 weeks in

I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I have had 2 pregnancies before this and NOTHING can compare. I’ve never cried this much in my life. Everything is extreme.

An interesting fact is that my life has never been this complicated either. It’s hard to tell which is causing what. All I can tell you is my mind is pure chaos.

I’m thankful for a healthy baby. I’m trying to ensure a healthy bond with baby mama. I’m trying to prepare for when baby comes and more importantly after baby leaves. I’m trying to ensure I am a good mother to my biological two.

I’m exhausted.

Mentally I cannot go on (she said dramatically). Physically I’m doing OK.

This is a whirlwind. I have approximately 18 weeks left.

I STILL do not regret a thing. But this is definitely more than I could imagine. I honestly don’t think anyone can ever grasp what the surrogacy journey will involve until they experience it for themselves.

We will continue on.

I’m thankful I can rely on God.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow. Hoping for good news about placenta previa.

Surprise world, we’re public

It’s been a few months. Some of the best days. Some of the hardest days.

We are getting to know each other. We are learning what we want out of life.

Some days it feels like a fairy tale. Some days I sit back and watch this man in the greatest pain of his life with no way to help him heal besides saying, “I’m here”.

There have been bumps in our road, but I’m determined.

On a whim, our relationship has gone public in the community. There’s mixed feelings. Most people support us and feel we are a great match. We care about our community and serve daily. We love God and we want to enjoy our lives together A few have very negative thoughts on us that are simply not true.

It’s only been a few months since the passing of his wife. We honor her. She’s a part of our journey. She isn’t here anymore and we are not in the wrong. Would either of us think this would have happen. No. But it did. And it’s the most beautiful journey of our lives.

The community will get bored and forget we exist. They will go about their business and leave us to live in peace.

Until then, we will continue with our lives. Every day will present new challenges and new adventures and I want nothing more than to spend my life with this man, discovering all we have to offer.

I’ve never felt more like I matter. This man has chosen me to be his person. Me. Me?

I’m honored. I feel like my world is opening up.

Until next time.

The hard part

No one will understand.

Why can’t I just do something easy or “normal”?

I was contacted by this God send after his wife passed away from a long painful battle with an angry and unbiased cancer.

He was the best husband. He loves his wife with all that he has. She was blessed by him and him, her. I love their love.

He fought so hard for her. He used his place in the community to raise funds to get her the best help available.

He gained 3 years with her. But he feels defeated in the end by her loss of life.

This is the hard part.

I will not tell you their story because it is not mine to tell. I will, however, explain my place in this situation.

He and I had an instant connection!

E had intentions of taking things slow. That’s not us.

We are in a dating relationship. It’s unlike anything else. All the good. All the bad. We are learning each other daily.

The outside world is questioning our sanity. We get it but we trust God.