I'm allowing myself to take as long as I want to be in this chapter of my book. It's speaking to me as though I'd never read it before (though I have).
Christians talk about times in the valley, refining times, faithbuilding times, and these may all be statements that you don't understand - whether you're a believer or not.
As a child and a teen, it mostly meant not getting my way, sacrificing for others, giving of my time, mulling over why I got grounded (which didnt happen often, thank God), handling my feelings when we or a close friend down the street had to move and we pretty much knew that was goodbye (pre-interwebs, friends), and putting sick a puppy down.
Those times were hard but they were all "for a reason" or "in God's plan" or "wouldnt be wasted" or "were making a way for something better that the Lord had in store."
Mentally, I knew that. My heart for my Daddy God burned with both trust in Him and some sadness for what I had to let go of. Trust always won.
As an adult, refining comes in the form of clinical depression, major medical issues, broken home, 2 divorces, wandering rootless, 3 miscarriages, failed adoptions, and feeling a bit like I'm spinning my wheels with all kinds of fervor but going nowhere. Yet.
Here's what I've learned about refining times as an adult:
🔶 They can hurt. They can hurt you in deep places you didnt know existed, but God has a healing balm that mends us.
🔶 We each have to go through them alone. Even if we are married, have loving families, or a supportive church family, or a solid friend network. In the end, you face off against your faceless enemy in the muck and the cold and the heat and the times of both strength and exhaustion. He attacks with cunning both and accuracy
️🔶️ You're never FULLY alone. I know, that contradicts what I just said, but so goes it. You see, no one can switch bodies and brains and will with you. That means, you alone have to live your life. But, the same God who created the Northern Lights, Hercules beetles, glow in the dark scary fish in the depths of the sea, and everything else that exists, is the God that made you. Precious you. And He would never leave you to suffer and wither and utterly fail.
He is with you in your refining times. He wants to hold you when you cry over a marriage ended, the death of a loved one, loss of employment, natural disasters, and every trying to. But He loves you enough to give you the choice. You can choose to ask Him to be there in those dark times and He WILL show up.
🔶️ The ONLY good thing I've ever had to hold onto in refining times is the unwavering belief that my God wins. Sure, the enemy wants me silent and sulking, licking my emotional wounds in some forgotten corner. He wants that because he knows the God of the universe wants to use me for His will and that I won't be any good to myself, my circle of influence, or my God if I'm attending a pity party. "Service for one, please."
That's my brain dump from my chair time today. If you find yourself in a dark place, a really dark place - a dig the hole, climb in the hole, and pull the dirt and sand over your head kind of place - before you make a permanent decision, breathe out, "I need You, God. Please." You ARE NOT, nor do you HAVE TO BE, alone.
Something I’ve been forced to do over and over again is rebuild hope.
And even while I lean on faith, sometimes it’s hard to see or feel it. When we lose hope, we have to do do what feels impossible. We have to give hope form.
I had to rebuild hope after my first husband allowed his pornography addiction and selfishness destroy our marriage.
I had to rebuild hope after a supervisor attempted to get me fired for things that were her doing. After my parents divorced and my mother and sister made it clear they saw me as an enemy. After my first spinal surgery failed and I had to do it all over again.
I had to rebuild my hope after my health tanked rapidly, forcing my to have an unnecessary hysterectomy and ending my lifelong dream of carrying children.
I had to rebuild hope after my second husband and I lost a baby boy in adoption; after my marriage was falling apart and my husband left to be far, far away while my health deteriorated and I underwent three major surgeries. I had to rebuild hope after the man I loved and waited for told me he no longer wanted to be married - informing me 4 days before my second spinal surgery. I had to rebuild hope after the loss of my most recent day job that provided my apartment and medical coverage because my employer couldn’t wait for my surgery recovery.
As you can probably guess, this doesn’t cover it all. How can it? Our lives are full of beautiful, joy-filled moments but there are also moments when we can’t feel joy at all. Instead, we feel broken and defeated.
But here’s the thing.
I believe that each of us can choose hope.
We don’t have to allow circumstances or how others treat us to dictate our hope. Choose hope and stop that right now. Just stop.
Tie that Rambo strap around your head, wrap your knuckles, and crack your neck. Crush those distractions and false truths ‘cause I’m here to help.
If you’ve seen the horror film, then you know that “IT” is more of a concept than an actual monster. Often, we see something on the surface, distracting us from our reality, but the actual thing inside us runs much deeper.
Take time to acknowledge what you’ve been through. Think about what’s bothering you or stressing you out.
Let’s just say Victoria comes to me and says her entire world is out of control.
But what does “out of control” mean? What is “IT” really? What triggered her extreme feeling of powerlessness?
So I’ll ask the questions and we’ll discover that Victoria is hurt. Her doctor fussed at her because she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to. She gained weight, her blood pressure increased, then she felt like crap for being chastised.
Once we figure “IT” out, we talk about it. We name it. We acknowledge it.
You're allowed to have the feeling but you are NOT allowed to live there.
Here’s where the tough love comes in.
Yes, you’re allowed to get on tinder, make a mistake, then regret it the next day. No you aren’t allowed to call him or her 20 times, move in together next week, and then cry about how the relationship isn't working every time we talk.
Go delete the account, lose the number, clean the slate. Do the thing that needs to be done.
And while we are being tough, never tell anyone (or yourself) to just get over it. Those feelings are valid and you are where you are for a reason.
Instead, put on your warpaint. Flex in the mirror. Scream your battle cry and go do the thing.
You won’t want to. You may not believe you can.
Start with one small thing, then the next small thing, then the next. Trust me, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. Your strength will bring you through it but we don't minimize what we're going through by saying that we or others should "get over it."
And remember, we’re going to get through this. Even if I have to call you at 5 am and tell you to make your morning smoothie. I’ll hate you for making me get up but I’ll freaking do it. Okay?
You know how you feel when you do that thing? That small thing you thought you couldn’t? It feels AMAZING, right?
So celebrate it!
And if you want in on a secret, I love celebrating. My facebook page is pretty much a virtual party (and you’re invited). Click here to take a look.
I’ll celebrate someone for checking in with the group, eating a clean meal, crushing a workout, or not wearing a ponytail for the 5th day in a row (because they are fighting the laziness and stepping up their primping game).
I’ll celebrate you going just a little bit further into a workout than you did yesterday.
I’ll promise to celebrate the mess outta you so you can feel successful.
And if you’re looking for happy dancing hacks and ways to keep on track, check out my blog on How To Commit And Keep Committing.
Because even though you get back up, life happens.
I mean, why do people host birthday parties with triple chocolate cake? If this is you, I love you and hate you at the same time.
So, next time you come to me and say, “I can’t do anything right.”
I’ll ask, “What do you mean, ‘you can’t do anything right?’”
It will eventually come out...
“I had pizza.”
No one’s perfect. Life isn’t perfect.
But we’re going to keep going. Step by step. Little by little.
This is how I tread water and sometimes just manage to keep my head above water. On those difficult days and in those darker times, 3 steps is about all I can handle and they do work.
Remember, don't overcomplicate things, just ......
Step 1 - Name It
Step 2 - Move It
Step 3 - Celebrate It
THEN, rinse and repeat!!
I hope you will give my 3 steps a try and let me know how they work for you.
P.S. What is your favorite way to celebrate little wins in your life? I mean, you woke up before your alarm clock, you step your clothes out the night before, or you managed to take all the trash out of your car (finally) kind of little wins. How would you - or would you like to - celebrate those wins? Let me know!
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I am a God follower, a Boxer dog mom, an aspiring blog writer, an invisible illness warrior, and a nature lover. My dream is to help people find their way back from the brink of whatever darkness they're battling. If I could somehow manage to serve in the capacity of praise and worship vocals and take some time to retrace my childhood nomadic path just to soak it all in before the zombie apocalypse breaks out, that would be nice, too. Have questions about nutrition, health, and fitness? I'm your gal! Interested in Nathan Fillion, Battlestar Galactica, and Fringe? I'm also your gal! So, let's connect!
I am Christian Straightedge Christ follower, an Army Brat, an ex-milso, founder and CEO of FitnessAnyaMind, a sofa CEO, a nomad, a fur baby mom, and a mindset builder. I enjoy nature, reading, music, cooking, and taking care of those whom I love.