3 Ways to Identifying the Process: Life does not end here

At 20 years old, I was making preparations to be a wife. At 23, I was single, again. Life hadn’t gone as planned. My heart was broken; I was mentally fragmented and emotionally more damaged than ever. Broken, bitter and confused, I sealed my heart. Men became the enemy and love was a concept that I couldn’t accept for my life. This wasn’t my first time being romantically disappointed but I was convinced it’d be my last.

When I thought life couldn’t get any worse than being abused and financially misused, it did. At 25, I became physically disabled. My ability to walk, talk and sit up was severely compromised. I had moments of paralysis and lost just about all physical independence. I was literally on my back. My life and its setbacks felt more like setups. I struggled to believe that my life would ever be more than medical tests and doctor’s visits.

I’m so glad that my story didn’t end with misery and sorrow. I bounced back, baby! God took every piece of sorrow and built a life worth living. My life isn’t easy, but it’s beautiful. I’m blessed. I had to fight for “better days” before I got to enjoy them. I had to speak and believe them into existence. Every day, I maintained control over my life by refusing to cower to life’s blows. I’ve suffered loss, yes; but I’ve also gained.

I’ve gained insight. I understand that there is a necessary process – a type of shedding of excess. The process can have many other names. Sometimes it’s loss of loved ones, sometimes it’s sickness. Sometimes the process is loneliness, unemployment, being single, persecution, disappointment or severe opposition. Whatever the process, it has a specific purpose. The purpose isn’t the suffering but there is purpose in the pain. The purpose is the process – the rebuilding and redesigning of who you are at the core. Your transformation is worth all of the tension, confusion and chaos. So, how do you identify and then navigate through the process? There isn’t a complete one-size-fits-all approach but I can give you a few pointers.

1. What hurts and why?  The process focuses on our weak areas – you know, those parts of us that we want to keep hidden. The not so pretty parts. The process heals and perfects what’s broken, wounded or impaired, helping it to function more efficiently. What’s bothering you? Are your feelings frequently hurt? Are you overly sensitive? Maybe your finances have decreased. Are you being forced to rely more on others? Constantly finding yourself in embarrassing situations? Could you possibly use more humility? It’s important to accurately identify the struggle, the difficulty, the pain. Pay attention to the things that make you uncomfortable or that bring up emotions and reminders of your past. Tender spots. Yes, let’s call them tender spots. Figuring out what and why they are will help you make sense of your challenge, crisis or circumstance and, more importantly, help you survive the process.

2. The process isn’t your enemy. Please understand that no matter how painful and uncomfortable, you are meant to benefit. You are meant to be strengthened as a result of facing and overcoming this difficult time in your life. Your death, suicide, mental breakdown and total isolation is not the purpose of the process. Just trust me on this one. Eventually, you’ll get it. Life is your gift and not an enemy. Life is a tool, an opportunity, to create and experience greatness, laughter and love. Don’t run away from your pain – embrace and dig into it.

3. Take it in strides. Don’t try to figure everything out at one time. This is one I constantly need to remember. I like to know. I like to know the why, when, how long, who with, etc. Give me the details. Break it all the way down. Well, life doesn’t always fill me in, unfortunately. But I find myself more stressed when I’m trying to figure everything out than when I just go with the flow. You know why? Because trying to figure everything out up front is like trying to taste the cake while it’s cooking. Not only will it burn your tongue butit isn’t cake, yet! We get impatient and try to rush a process that wants to give us beautiful results. We end up with a mess. So, inhale, exhale. Breathe. You’re going to be fine. You may have to cry, call a friend, pray, journal or get in a good game of b-ball. Do what you must (that’s healthy) to survive. Eventually, the big picture will be evident. Just wait. I promise that if you commit to wait, you’ll start to see and understand more than you ever thought possible.

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Thank You

Thanksgiving. This is my all-time favorite holiday. It’s something about spending time with family and friends, over a good meal, laughing and sharing  the moment with gratitude. Continue reading “Thank You”

God and good friends

I am not thrilled with my new driver’s license photo. However, I noticed a difference in my smiles. The photo on the right was taken in 2013. That morning I cried my eyes out. I was not happy and I was distraught in my current situation. Life was crazy and I did not want to take another breath. I was beyond done with life. But through God’s grace and mercy, He blessed me with dear girlfriends that are tried and true. Continue reading “God and good friends”

Abuse in Hindsight

Before falling in love, like for real love, I had several notions of what it’d be like. I imagined how happy we’d be, how much we’d enjoy talking with each other throughout the day and how fun our dates would be. Love would find me and usher me into a realm of perfect, blissful living. Naïve, yes, and a bit fanciful, but it was my dream. I was looking forward to escaping the pain and difficulty of my life by diving into a relationship and finding solace in someone’s love for me. I knew true love existed and I was confident it’d bring me my happily ever after.

Continue reading “Abuse in Hindsight”

An Open Letter to Love

Dear Love,

I’m not sure how long this letter will be. There’s so much I want to say yet so little. The straightforward version would be, “Dear Love, I need you. I want you.

It’s only right, however, that I give you more details. Truthfully, I already have you; it’s just that I need and want you in another way, on another level. I want your romantic version. I want the part of you that’s passionate. I want your butterflies. I want the love that will make me perfect in his eyes. The love that, no matter how much my external being changes, will cause my lover to always see me as beautiful. Love that makes them honor, adore and care for me.  Continue reading “An Open Letter to Love”

What Is Love, Anyway?!

“While some long for an introduction, others take its acquaintance lightly. Love desires to be known and be recognized. However, just as it will never hide, it will never demand our attention. Love waits patiently for an opportunity to enter our lives and shine its light.”

-Melissa E. Hall

Love isn’t designed to be complicated. It isn’t a maze. Either it exists or it doesn’t. Love is kind, gentle, lifts up, celebrates goodness, gives, listens to,  corrects, offers hope, is patient, never hides but seeks to show itself. Love isn’t pretty words; it’s action that will never cause or allow intentional abuse. Love won’t selfishly take, always asking for more and giving little to nothing in return. It won’t leave you empty, but rather, it fills. Continue reading “What Is Love, Anyway?!”

Relationships 100

I want to talk about relationships. Yes, that subject. Everybody is talking, asking questions and giving advise. I want to do something similar but I want to speak to your heart. Will you let me? There are some things I feel compelled to tell you.

Relationships matter. They get a little complicated and complex but they are important. Whether they be a romantic, familial or friend-based relationship, they serve an important purpose in our lives. It’s crucial that they’re healthy ones. I have had my share of healthy and unhealthy relationships. I have allowed them too little, and at times, too much importance in my life. I have been blessed and I have been abused by those relationships. I’ve made good choices and I’ve made bad choices. All in all, I have learned how to be a better person. I have also learned to require more from other people.

What are your relationship dynamics like? Do you add to others’ quality of life? Are your relationships based on neediness and what you can get from one another or love, mutual concern and respect? Relationships are tools to help us build, they are not catch-all closets that we dump junk and excess into. Relationships, although challenging sometimes, are designed to make life more fulfilling. A healthy relationship allows opportunity for elevation – not degradation.

How do you know if a relationship is healthy or not? Personally, I like to focus on its effect on my life, on my psyche, on my confidence and its effect on who I am as a person overall. If a relationship is making me uncomfortable, unhappy or makes me feel less of a person then it is not healthy and it is not for me. If the relationship threatens or smothers my individuality then it’s an unhealthy one. If I have to question who I am, it’s a wrap! Consider this: If you cry more than you laugh, there’s a problem. If you fight more than you enjoy their company, then it’s time to walk away. I think you get it. Allow your heart and logic to work together – they will tell you the truth. They will tell you if your life has become more or less than.

Never trade happiness and peace of mind for a relationship, emotional or sexual stimulation, and temporary pacifiers. You are worth more than meaningless relations. You deserve friendship, support, love, loyalty, respect and a sense of family. Never forget it. Take time to evaluate your life and your relationships. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m rooting for you and hoping you’ll root for me, too.

Missy