Forever Changed

Born…

Softened clay, molded by the Potter’s hand into a perfect image.

Broken…

Hardened clay. Falling from the Potter’s hand. Jagged edges scattered on the ground.

Forever changed.

Saved…

Picked up by the Potter’s hand. Edges smoothed, fused together in red. Made perfect by grace.

Forever changed.

Scars and Broken Hearts

I had to remind myself of this today.

Life is hard.

I’ve been to the edge of hell and back with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, been abused by someone who said he loved me, given birth to a child naturally with no drugs and wear an 8 inch scar on my side, with 18 marks from the staples that held it together. I’ve been a single Mom, fought with the devil, and had my heart broken more times than a girl should.

I’ve cried a lot of tears. Felt defeated. Felt insecure. Felt worthless, broken and alone. And felt “not good enough”.

But I’ve survived all that and lived to tell about it. Sometimes stubbornly doing it alone and sometimes finally giving God control.

None of these things, or the residual effects of these things, are battles that are won and then forgotten. They are day to day struggles.

But they don’t have to control you. Let your weakness grow your strength. Let the hard times give you a lesson.

Never doubt your fierceness.

Never doubt God’s power.

And never, ever give up.

Broken Vases

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We’re all just broken vases trying to keep flowers alive.

I read this quote a few weeks ago and I reread it several times wondering exactly what the author was trying to convey. I suppose it can be interpreted many different ways but if I put my own spin on it, I see it as a perfect quote for someone who has dealt with any type of mental health issue like myself.

We are all broken vases in some way. We have all been cracked or damaged by some type of struggle. Most of us more than once. Or twice.  And sometimes it feels like we are trying desperately, so desperately to keep those flowers alive. To keep some sense of normalcy. To keep from completely breaking down and letting those flowers die.

To me the vase is my shell, my body. The flowers are my spirit, my soul, my mind, my hope, my faith. The thing that threatens those flowers are my anxieties, my hurts, my doubts, my fears, my sadness, my exhaustion.

Some days the flowers prosper, they bud and bloom and light up a room. Some days they wilt, the leaves turn brown and some fall lifelessly to the ground.

Those are the days I need God to step in and breathe new life into those flowers. To breathe new life into ME. Into my spirt, my soul, my mind. To fill me with hope and faith.

No one expects those flowers to constantly stay beautiful. We are all going to struggle. But when you’ve come to the point where the flowers have faded and you just don’t see how you can reawaken them, simply put some new ones in there and start again.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month…..Speak it. Share it.

“Dear Daughter”

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Dear Daughter,

I promise this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This is not what your high school days should be about. They should be about getting an education without fear, making memories with friends, thriving, learning who you are and who you want to become, and the heaviest things on your mind should be your chemistry test or history project. This definitely isn’t the world that I grew up in and it breaks my heart that fire drills aren’t the only thing you are instructed to prepare for anymore, but that active shooter drills and lockdowns have now become a part of your routine. I thought when you turned 16 that my biggest worry would be your safety driving to school, not your safety while you are there.

It makes me angry and it makes me sad. I don’t have the answers for why this happens or why so much hate has taken over our world, but I know that we can’t let it win. Hate is loud and ugly and gets the most attention, but love is the cure. It is the constant flow within us. The thing that gives us hope. We have to fight back with LOVE. So reach out to those who seem lost, lonely and have no one. Pray for them. Be a friend to everyone and let God shine through you every day. Be the light. Be that city on a hill that we sing about. Don’t fear the future, but be a driving force to change it. One little stone thrown in the water may not seem like much, but it has a ripple effect…and it can make a difference

 

Hate Has Not Won

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We all woke to the horrific and heartbreaking news Monday morning of yet another mass shooting. Our hearts cracked a little more as we saw the numbers rising and the realization that this time, those numbers would surpass all of the other incidents that were already unimaginable.

As a fan of country music, this one hit a little closer to home. I’ve been one of those concert-goers, in cowboy boots, in outdoor settings, just simply enjoying the music that I love. Even in the uncertainty of the world we live in, it’s still hard to imagine why anyone would rein terror down on an unsuspecting, innocent crowd. We can’t understand it because it is not normal. It is not how this world is supposed to be.

But I have hope…

Hate has not won. We look around us and sometimes it seems as if it has. As if hate has a throat hold on love, compassion and humanity. But no, hate has not won and here is why.

I have read and watched a lot of the stories that have been pouring out since Monday morning. Some things I wish I hadn’t seen. It’s hard as someone with anxiety to not be overcome by the sadness and fear that is related in these stories. But I search out the ones that always prevail in these situations. The heroes and heroines. The selfless acts of kindness and humanity that rise above the nonsense of hate fired from a heart of pure evil.

The people who stopped in the midst of the spray of gunfire to carry someone to safety who had been shot.The girl who picked up a five year old who had been separated from his family as the crowd rushed past and spent hours trying to locate his family. (He was eventually reunited with his Mom and was unharmed.) The men who covered their wives, girlfriends, even people they didn’t know and died protecting them. The nurses, doctors, EMTs and police officers who stepped up as their job calls them to do and went into action without a second’s hesitation. And the thousands who stood in lines, some for five hours or more, to donate blood to the Red Cross.

These are the moments when hate hangs its ugly head and cowers away, because there are still good and kind people in the world whose hearts remain full of what has God instilled in us. LOVE. Love allows the bravery and mercy and self-sacrificial acts to prevail in tragedy.

We cling to HOPE, and TRUST that God continues to be in control and that His design for the human heart is fully intact in the outpouring of love we see when hate attacks.

What Satan means for evil, God will use for good.