As God was the one who led me to all of this, my journey, my health, this blog, I shouldn't be surprised when he whispers topics and post ideas to my heart. The gritty ones. The ones that swim in my soul, that are hard to write, and make me type through blurry eyes as tears threaten to stream down my cheek.
I've seen amazing doors open for this brand & blog - blessings that I know come from my Father in Heaven. My true provider and guide and I want to honor Him and stay true to the gifts He's given me by giving all the glory to Him through any success that may come our way.
There is a song I've fallen in love with, O.K. there are many songs I'm in love with, it's in my DNA, but there is one in particular as of late called "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. Every time this song plays I hear that whisper deep inside, nudging me to keep telling mine. As my audience grew, I got scared. Scared to be too vulnerable. Share too much. But Jesus urges us to lay it out there. So, as uncomfortable as it may be, we must own our stories.
If I told you my story, you would hear hope, that wouldn't let go
2011. Feels so far away yet feels like just yesterday. I had dabbled with LiveJournal journals for many years, pouring all of me out onto the screen. And maybe 10 people read it. But that's not what mattered. It was my therapy, an outpouring of emotional baggage that bound me up and the release felt liberating. When I started feeling sick and depressed and in pain in 2011, I started writing again, to deal with it. I lost many friends in that space of time in my life. I couldn't tell them what was going on. I was ashamed. I was terrified of being terrified in my own body. Writing is where I felt safe. What began as a blog titled "Me and Mr. Charming" was a journal of me trying to deal with the fear, the frustration and the uncertainty of my many new diagnoses. A mix of incorrect, "incurable" and new.
After taking myself off gluten and dairy after reading many books on things I was dealing with I started to see healing and as I began to write and spend more time in the kitchen this little space began to morph into a food blog. At the time still unaware of what a "blog" even was. I was a writer, and this was my space. Sharing recipes and support for those who were as scared as I was in a vast internet world. That's what felt natural.
This song hits home because where I really began to find healing, soul-deep, true healing was in hope. God's great hope. As anxiety took hold of me so many nights I fell to my knees and I just prayed. I knew I couldn't do anything for me anymore, alone, without my Lord and Savior. I had been baptized shortly after feeling this way and I knew He was my only chance. He was what could save me, heal me and give me a future and purpose from all I was going through.
If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up
So many times I prayed to be "normal". I prayed for God to take away my anxiety. My fears. My immune issues that made me catch EVERYTHING I was around. The pain in my pelvis & bladder. The hopelessness that I wouldn't be able to be the wife I wanted to be. The future mom I longed to be. That I still long to be.
I felt He was quiet for so long, until He wasn't. He held me in His arms. He walked with me when I'd go on slow, relaxing walks to clear my mind. He was with me in the fitness room as I obediently worked through my pelvic exercises. He was with me when I was scared to eat my meals and lost 15 pounds I didn't really have to lose. He was with me when I sobbed long, hard sobs in church as I felt Him begin to cleanse me. Body, mind, soul. He was there. Loving me. Loving on me when I felt like I was losing my worthiness to those in my life. His love NEVER gives up. And had I not clung to Him, I would be so lost. His love allowed me not to give up. To pray, to find strength in what was going on. To never stop looking for answers. To never stop listening to His still small voice. And to be obedient to the ways in which He could heal me.
If I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn't mine
As the blog started to grow, old passions fell away. And my passion and love for health through what God has given us began to grow with a rapid fire I hadn't felt in years. Maybe ever. Going back to school and pouring my heart into this was so clear and doors have opened that can only be explained by a loving God blessing a child. I want to live authentically in this space. I want this blog/brand to stand for what this journey has truly meant for me. For me, for my life, for my marriage. I want to love on those who are scared. Scared of food, scared of disease, scared of pain and just hug them, speak life and Jesus into them and let them know they have a friend, a sister in Christ.
I want His message to speak volumes from here. If it doesn't then I haven't done my job as a servant to the One who has given me an abundant life and a beautiful purpose. Is it always easy? No. Is it a painless journey? Nothing worth it ever is. But through the storms is it joyful, and fulfilling, beautiful and wonderful? Absolutely. Because I know from whom it comes. And even more beautiful? This gift is available to ANYONE who asks to receive it. It's that simple. No matter what you're carrying. No matter what you've done, there is cleansing in His name. You only need to speak it.
This is my story. Praising Him for every moment. Every breath. Every opportunity. Every ounce of love, grace and mercy.
If you are struggling with food restrictions, with anxiety or with illnesses that are still being researched, know that God is holding you. Take a deep breath and fall into His arms. And though I don't hold a candle to our Father, I'm always here to be a friend, a listener, a sister in Christ to make the road a little less lonely.
Today is the International Day Of Happiness and it has me reflecting on my own personal journey with what "happiness" is to me. As someone who always strived for "perfection", I use to shortchange myself on the happiness meter. I was of the mind-set, "when I have all my ducks in a row, I can be happy." When I get that vacation... I'll be happy. When I produce my next album... I'll be happy. When I finally meet the right guy... I'll be happy. When I can remodel my place... I'll be happy.
This is toxic. And it starves you of true, real, pure, joy.
I didn't learn about true joy, the kind of joy that comes from being content in the NOW until I was 30 years old. It was a process I began to work on at about 25, but it took the inspiration of Mr. Charming and my deep connection by being saved by Christ that I truly began to understand about CONTENTMENT over HAPPINESS. And JOY over PERFECTION.
This is such a big one. Especially for someone like me who strives daily to recover from anxiety. I noticed too, when I'm around negative people, they can zap our happiness, feeding into our self-doubt. Below I've made a list of ten ways to infuse joy into today, and into your everyday. Feel free to share, like & comment on how to you infuse happiness into your everyday.