I stood there.
The door had slammed in front of me.
It didn’t matter what I said or what I did.
What mattered was that she was mad. I would have to plead and beg.
Please, Mommy. I’m sorry.
I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t know how long I’d have to keep standing in the hallway. How long I’d have to keep knocking on the door. To no reply.
After a while, I’d walk back to my room. And cry.
I’d pull out my journal. And start to write. I’d read a book. Or do my homework.
I still remember how the air felt like a live wire. How at any time, her bedroom door would fly open. And the rain of words would start to storm again, like winter rain cascading sideways from the storm clouds, pelting your body, so that even if you wore thick jeans, they’d start to sag under the weight of water soaking through.
I could not rest.
Sometimes, I just stood there in the hallway for the longest time, breathing only oh so quietly. Or I’d sit there on the hardwood floor, in front of the gray heater. I can still see the soft indigo blue hue — the flame of the pilot light — flickering, hovering softly between the metal grate of the gas furnace. I’d press my toes against it. It felt so warm.
I stayed there, in limbo, rather than run the risk of appearing unrepentant. Other times, I’d start to clean up around the house. Start to prepare dinner. Do something that would be pleasing.
Be helpful. Be good.
Don’t be selfish.
Don’t be stupid.
And definitely. Don’t think everything is okay.
I don’t think that thought ever crossed my mind. Until now — now that I can’t ignore my anxiety.
A Sure Sign
My body is keeping me honest — mysteriously leading me on a new journey — my heart’s homecoming.
I’ve finally come to a point in my life where my body is expressing what my heart has always wanted to say.
Listen to yourself.
Listen to your heart.
Speak from your heart.
I have to learn, like a little child, what this means.
What do I want? What do I like — and what don’t I like?
What makes me feel uncomfortable? What brings me comfort?
What feels restful to me?
These might seem very simple questions to someone else. But, these are big questions for me. And I end up thinking too much about the answers. Because that is what I’ve always had to do.
I over analyze. And I end up drawing a blank. Or if I get some ideas, it triggers a steady stream of shoulds, feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
Then, I get too tired to think about my answers anymore.
So, I stop being myself.
It’s a sure sign for me now. Whenever I find myself thinking too much, it is a very good indication to me:
I am drawing close to something important to my heart.
Now, I recognize —
numbing my desires or negative feelings,
are actually my defense mechanisms.
To avoid being myself.
I realize I have grown comfortable and accustomed to staying in limbo — rather than venture out and risk being myself.
How do I change this ingrained stress response?
When I see myself spiral into over-analyzing , here are the four movements I’m making to break my heart out of “limbo”:
1. I stop apologizing for —
wanting to be happy,
feeling sad or tired,
for putting my heart first.
2. I give myself permission to —
tell my story and sharing my heart (even if feeling numb is what I’m sharing),
explore what I like or don’t like,
feel awkward, make mistakes and change my mind while doing it.
3. I nurture and honor my body’s messages, rather than resenting it for its honesty.
My body holds so many automatic responses to stress that involve isolation and over-thinking. Or doing the opposite. Producing and pleasing rather than being, going on auto-pilot with soul-draining busyness.
My body is now very sensitive to sounds, scents, and stress. I used to think this was terrible. But, I’m discovering my body is helping me stop, recognize my needs, and then to actually do something about it.
It is time to say no to “should”, so I can say yes to letting God love me — through nurturing me.
4. I feed my soul with self-care, rather than rejecting myself as selfish.
These are all new discoveries for me. Maybe not in my head, but to actually live it out in everyday life is scary, because it make s desires real.
When the apostle Paul urges us —
“In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice…”
I am reminded the life we offer is alive — organic, growing, real.
Be At Rest
Feeding my soul.
Nurturing the quiet me.
Refreshing the artistic me.
Cultivating a smaller number of deeper, more authentic friendships.
I’m on a new journey that feels peaceful — even if it triggers anxiety. I understand why.
I’m breaking free. And the little girl who never could break free is afraid of this new way.
The closer we get to what really touches our hearts, we will feel anxious. I’m learning that is okay.
It means we are leaving the hallways of our lives.
God’s quiet, loving voice whispering something new and different —
You are safe.
You don’t have to be in limbo.
Be at rest.
Which of the four movements — stop apologizing, giving yourself permission, nurturing your body, or feeding your soul — most speaks to you?
How is Jesus prompting your heart to be yourself?
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Bonnie, so grateful to see you on a Thursday again! I am learning these same things and I think you said it so well…focusing on those four things, especially struggling with the learning to love myself, but so connected with the artistic expression. I would say # 4 is the one that relates most to learning to love myself… battling some of the lies with God’s words and friends who embrace me as I am helps. Welcome home! In His Grace, Dawn
I spend so many days on auto pilot and full of busyness that I barely recognize myself anymore. When I look back on my days, I know I am not myself. I am someone else who is just doing what she has to to get through the day. Which means I miss the day. I missed it being someone else.
Great words, Bonnie. I needed to read them.
Bonnie and Kristine – I am right there with you on auto pilot (#3 above). When you posted the topic for this week’s Faith Jam, it made my stomach drop, Bonnie.
Be yourself. I thought “how can I write about being myself when I have no idea who I am anymore?” It’s like I’ve been going through that cliche’ midlife crisis over the past several years–feeling like I don’t have anything to offer anyone, or even myself–wondering who I really am when the layers are pealed away. For awhile I tried pursuing the question in earnest, but it seemed the harder I looked the less I saw and the smaller I felt. Then I tried to just take a deep breath and relax and allow the answers (‘His’ answers) to come to me. I waited and waited, all the while feeling the restlessness gathering momentum, increasingly filling my days with ‘noise’ so I wouldn’t think about the questions I’d pushed to the back of my mind.
I shared last week in the comments that I’ve recently made a return to journaling and I am hopeful that the peace I’m finding there once again will help this rediscovery process.
Thanks for sharing, Bonnie; I’m looking forward to more Thursdays here 🙂
Bonnie, every word your wrote today spoke to me. ALL 4 of the movements speak to me. Your story is my story with a few variances. Who would have thought at 67 I would be trying to ‘be myself’ for the first time in my life.
God is faithful and he will finish what he started and planned in me.
I am right there with you!
Your words here, Bonnie, are pure gold. Heated by life and skimmed off the surface for something fine He’s preparing – His story in you.
I’m noticing how being a Jesus-girl means living in a crucible. When I sensed God asking me to live from my heart instead of closing it off out of fear, I had no idea what He was asking. It’s hard to live from your heart when your heart is sure to be broken.
Again today, anxious thoughts flooded my life. Then, I read your post and I listened to my heart; really listened. Instead of isolating I made a call to a true friend … “my life is too much right now and I just need you to sit with me in the pain.” She listened, encouraged and prayed.
I’m still a needy mess and that’s okay …. no shame in that today. Woot!
Bonnie, I love your work, sharing your heart and I am thankful for your ministry God bless you and your journey.
I think feeding my soul is the hardest for me. I really wanted to link my own story to the Faith Jam today, but I haven’t had time to write it. I spend so much time working most days that I find my days slipping away without a chance to read, to write, to enjoy some quiet time, to take photos, to work in my craft room … all the things that bring me joy. This is something I am working on – finding/making time for myself.
You are not alone. Your words touch many hearts, especially when you share with us how hard it is to be yourself, speak out, and continue on the journey of healing.
Thank you for your post.
Love this post…such peace for me. I held your hand and took the leap and wrote my first faith jam…(scared to death) I love to write and so here I am hanging on the limb and wondering…but being me
Give myself permission to…………….. YES! It all starts there!
Every.Word. I get it, Bonnie. I see myself in it. I believe therein lies confirmation that it really is time to move into a new season and that it will be safe to do it here in the company of others who understand how hard it is. How much more comfortable it is to just put on my big girl panties and deal with things; suck it up and go on; stuff it all. That’s safe, isn’t it?
Safe. Maybe. But I’m tired of existing among the dead-to-life, longing for the land of the living. Wide spaces are out there and I want to be bold enough to walk into them.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For sharing and being willing, moment by moment, grace upon grace, to walk there yourself and go with others as you journey.
Bonnie, your words sink deep into my heart and echo in there. It is so encouraging to see and read about the road to your healing and watch how many similiar steps I take on the road to mine. Your pain hasn’t been wasted, God transforms and redeems it into a beautiful work of art that displays His love, grace and beauty. Thank you for being YOU! You are beautiful!
I again found myself wanting to apologize this morning because my daughter wanted me to babysit again this week and I had other plans. I have been on this journey you tell of for about 20 years. At that time I was ready for a nervous breakdown and ended up going to a counselor and doing a 12-step program for children of alcoholics and learning at the age of 42 what I liked, thought, felt, enjoyed, etc. I am amazed how much I still have to stop and allow myself time to listen to my heart before getting back to people as my tendency is to always think their need is more important than mine. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability, you will be and are a healing salve for many!
Stop apoligizing for having this chronic illness because of cruel comments others have made about my character. Stop doing the same for wanting to tell my story and let the little girl in me be set free.
Dear Bonnie, Your words continue to reflect exactly the journey I myself am on. At 42, I recently pulled up stakes after 24 years in the same place and moved to a new town to start a new job and be closer to the man I love. I left behind my family, multitudes of friends, a community I was very involved in and feelings that there must be something more out there. I embarked on what I thought would be a grand adventure of mapping out a new life. Well here I am in a restless state of Limbo. A very scary state to be in. I am alone. Alone and trying to figure out who the new me is going to be. I was so focused on being the best at everything I was involved in back home I never allowed myself anytime to reflect on what all those activities really meant. Now faced with a blank slate I have no idea who I am anymore. I didn’t allow myself to look deeply. Know that I am forced to look within I find emptiness, a numbness as you described so perfectly. I was looking forward to making my way in the “new land” and setting a new course with a fresh perspective and free of the constraints of being the person everyone knew me to be. Apparently they seemed to know me a lot better than I know myself. I am afraid that I am no one! Your prompt to “Be Yourself” is a good one, accept that I have no idea what that means anymore. Thank you for giving me the courage to share and to delve deeper into my soul to find out what “being myself” means. God bless you and the others who are sharing their personal journeys here. In reading your words I don’t feel quite so lost and alone anymore. ~ Erika
[…] has renewed the faith jam on her blog. The prompt for today is: Be […]
Or stop trying to blame myself in any given situation where I am not to blame just because somehow I have to be to blame. Just live and breathe and stop trying to carry others blame. That’s what I have to work on.
Staying in limbo, being indecisive, afraid to make a mistake, wanting to please and be affirmed that it’s okay to be who I am and feel and think the way I do. Being nurtured means being with God and His Truths in Scripture to counteract the negative environment. I have to nurture myself and look within to see what I need. It is survival. Praise God He is love everlasting and merciful.
Yes, Melinda, that’s so true. Stop apologising. But it’s such a hard thing to do and we need to keep practising doing it and we need encouragement from others to keep doing it.
I am learning to be myself and really surprising myself as I find out about me. It has taken me the longest time to learn what I like to do, where i like to go, who I like to be with. Little by little I began answering those questions – almost guiltily at first, and now I answer them with more and more confidence and then step out and enjoy myself! I am also learning that some people don’t like me being myself but that is their problem and I am learning to be brave enough, again with small steps to just keep on being me. For me, it is the small steps that mean the most because I don’t tend to turn back from them.
Your words make me hold my breath. I am shocked when I read what you write. I didn’t know anyone understood what I felt. Sometimes I have to stop reading because it’s too painful. Please don’t stop sharing because even though it takes me awhile to read, I’m learning, healing and growing too…
Thanks for encouraging me to keep sharing, even if the things I write are hard. Thanks for being present with me on the faith journey. May you feel Him close and near.
Bonnie thank you so much for writing this post. I can identify so much with you as you write your story. Even I suffered for years under such a mother and what was worse, she was a christian. Even admitting that there was a problem and that I did not have a perfect childhood or a perfect christian family, was a struggle. But its only when I laid bare my wound, could the healer heal. ~ still struggle and the most difficult part for me is being ok with wanting to be happy. Even if my mom disagrees. That does not make me selfish. I am allowed to be myself. To be happy.
Wonderful words to keep being reminded of. I need to keep nurturing my soul and improving my life and spiritual health. Thank you so much for being a part of my spiritual development.
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At the young age of 52, I am learning to be myself. I am learning to find happiness in seeking God, not things of this world. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to craft, but it’s not my source of joy. I had a wonderful childhood, great parents, but it’s the part of my life after I left home, that I made a lot of bad decisions. I am now relishing the fact that I am a child of God, and through his Word, and Grace I am saved and truly loved.
The piece of jewelry that you have pictured is the perfect piece for me. I love the words, and nothing could be further from the truth!
Patty, our stories and ages are similar. Praying with you as we seek to know ourselves better.
Thank you! I will pray for you as well, and God Bless!!
I so understand your writing…feeling as if I too have lived the life as a child of trying to please the adults in my life by trying to be good enough or to please and make them happy…it was so hard, wasn’t it? And now we/I still carry those feelings, those hiding places with me into adulthood.
Praise God you are being set free…praying, I too, can embrace the freedom, as you have, that God offers in Christ Jesus.
I am so thankful to have found you, you seem to speak in a voice that is new to my ears, my heart, my struggles.
Oh, Bonnie, the masks keep coming out. Grateful you are finding the strength to lay your’s aside. May we all soon find the will to permanently trash them. Giving ourselves permission is so key.
Dear Bonnie, Thank you for your vulnerability. Please pray for me. I feel like I am falling apart into a million pieces… my mother died a couple of weeks ago… I had my 37th surgery from a domestic violence issue four days after we buried her… and as I recover from that we are going through a foreclosure from our last home and trying to pay fees related to that while trying to keep our tiny apartment and eat and buy medicine. I feel like I need to learn to stop apologizing for all that I feel… I wish I had a friend on earth that I could speak to… God is great but sometimes you know, you need a human and my husband is not saved… a huge part of the problem… I give myself permission to do nothing… I feel like I am just barely keeping everything going… I have two sons 19 and 21 going through difficult times themselves and I try to help them but the well is running dry… please pray for them…. I ignore my body until the pain in unbearable because i have to take care of everyone else and self care ? What is that ? there is never time for me… I fall asleep exhausted at 3 or 4 am some nights and try to pray as I fall asleep. I hate living in limbo and I have been here for almost 12 years now… maybe more. Help!
Praying for you, Bonnie Jean, as you face these challenges and the feelings of overwhelm. Know that you are not alone as we petition God with you.
I started to read your post – I stopped. I printed it out, started to read it again and then had to put it down and walk away. Finally 5 hours later, I made myself sit down and read it through.
I haven’t been myself for a very long time, if ever. Your words excited my heart while striking fear in the blood running through my veins…those 4 things are asking a lot. 🙂
Thanks for writing and for making me have that rush of desire to finally seek myself – the woman that God made me to be. Maybe (baby steps) I’ll get there over time.
Being real, Means sharing our journey. Allowing a little peak into our lives and hearts, a peak inside the fairh walk and were and what God is doing. This is my first comment on topic, it is ok to want a happy and fullfilled life walking hand and hand with Jesus. I’m learning that its ok to be real with Him, to be real is to be honest. To be honost is to accept change knowing that The Lord holds us each time we cry, He carriesus when we do no not know what to do but just pray. Being real is not stuffing, but rather opening and letting God in, letting people in, it is about not having to try to work harder at being accepted. He already accepts us just the way we are, broken, afraid, and unsure. Anxiety is my body telling me let go, be real with Jesus. Do not lean on my own understanding, acknowledge Him, and my paths will be made straight. Wait upon the the Lord, mount upon the wings of eagles, let him renew the strength. being real is believing there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Bonnie I thank you for being real, I’m in the place, in the faith journey walking. there are times when I ask how can I walk another day. Faith walking by what is unseen, feeding the Spirit on the Word and allowing God to work out His perfect plan. I can relate to your story, my journey is a seed of love, loving my self, and letting God love me. Realizing my view of love has been disorted and determined by the abuse as a child. But love is not an emotion, it is a choice, it is the perfect love that cast out all fear. Being real is learning to be accepted, being loved, and opening my heart and self to all who reads this. How will they react ? Am I sharing to much ? Am I sharing to much, or afraid to really share more ? Thank you for letting me be real with all of you. Thank you for accepting me.
this is like breath restored
knowing and known
Bonnie, through my tears the little girl me is sending you both gratitude for your honest heart and also hugs to say you aren’t alone. The onion of my life has been being peeled back and I am working through these four movements as well. Right now, the listening and honoring my body is most significant to me, mainly because my body has demanded center-stage recently. But I am also consciously choosing not to apologize for being me, and choosing to give myself permission to become/uncover the me that has been buried and afraid. I am trying to allow self-care to be viewed as a gift I choose to give myself instead of clinging to the thoughts that I “have to” take care of myself because no one else ever has. God speaks to me and reminds me of His care for me and helps me see the love of others expressed in caring ways as He gently encourages me to make the choice to give to me the love He gave to me first. Thank you, Bonnie, for caring for others and sharing your well-thought out four movements to be at rest. May you reap a harvest of rest for your soul.
Thanks you for sharing and encouraging others in your ministry.
Each response and your entire post deeply resonates in my heart, Bonnie. So often I’m apologizing, not listening to my body’s messages, not trusting my own instincts, and not taking care of myself because it feels selfish. I’m often beating myself up with negative messages which are actually echoes from childhood. My dad once told me that I never was much of a daughter to him, and it’s so hard not to let that spill into all of life – so often feeling I will never be much of a wife, mother, grandma, sister, friend. Thinking I’m not worthy of love and support. My dad was both verbally and sexually abusive, and even though we later witnessed the grace of God in his life before he died, we still fight the monsters of shame and insecurity. It is going better as I find my identity in Jesus, but then all of a sudden I feel defeated again. Sometimes there is a “me” inside of me that is begging and screaming to get out. She starts to appear but keeps retreating.
One of the responses I know I need to work on is giving myself permission to tell my story and perhaps the other responses will improve, too. And I need to believe in my perspective of my story instead of allowing myself to cower under what others have said. For example, I was abused by a minister and yet some people still don’t believe me and think it was “an affair” and that I led the “poor minister of God” astray. It cuts me to the core. But I need to start trusting and believing what I know is true instead of letting all those voices get me down over and over again.
Sorry, this got longer than I thought and I’m so tempted to delete it. Whenever I share something, I either feel so vulnerable and filled with shame or I zone out in order to cope. But maybe it’s time to fight through it and write afraid…
Thank you, Bonnie and the rest of you, for sharing.
Can I just say…your words and the way you share your story and brokenness so beautifully is such an encouragement to me. So THANK YOU for being real and being YOU. I’m struggling right now with the loss of our unborn baby (miscarried at 8 weeks) and my heart just hurts. Reading your words reminds me of the God who never changes even when our hearts break and life is just plain hard.
Bonnie, again thank you for sharing this journey! I am amazed at how much we thought (think) alike!!! I’m sure that there are countless others are feeling the same way I am at reading your words that bless!
Have a great Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you!!!
Simple, but powerful. Appreciate your honesty. I’ve been a therapist all my life and am in a different place now being the mom of a challenging teen boy. Your ability to express the feelings of many is very healing…helps me to realize (again) the need to care for me!
Oh Bonnie, I am so happy to see you back here, with your usual linkup! And mostly, to see you back here sharing from your heart from this new place you are at in your life. I loved reading your words here. Actually, this is something we all need to learn and grow in, including myself. Giving ourselves permission, and opening the door wide, to being ourselves, the way God has created us to be. Have you read Emily Freeman’s new book “A Million Little Ways”? I just finished reading it, and it is so, so encouraging on opening up wide, and being all that God created us to be, just the way we are, for His glory. I loved reading it, and it gave me even more freedom to be who I am, and not make apologies, and give myself permission to just be “me”.
I think the refreshing my soul is where I’m at right now.. after a very difficult year and a long season of it..
I’m so glad to hear that your journey is moving you toward healing by the Only One True Healer! I”m so sorry that your early life experiences were so incredibly pained! You did nothing to deserve such treatment. Blessings to you!
I love the Lisa Leonard jewelry!
Hi. My name is Ai Boon and I find your writing very encouraging. I was inspired to write this gift song from the Lord in response to your prompt to “Be Yourself”. Just sharing with you –
http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14091909/ – Just a simple woman.
God bless you and keep you going strong with energy for each day and joy in your heart.
I am most spoken to by “giving yourself permission”. It is so easy to say and do what I think my current “audience” wants to hear or see. It is sometimes earlier to be a people pleaser and ignore what I really want to say or do. I am not talking about selfishness, and that is something I often need to remind myself: it is NOT selfish to be me. God made me “me”, and if I am always trying to be other than that, I am denying the world to see the canvas He is authentically trying to exhibit.
Just LOVE reading your work, Bonnie, and eagerly awaiting the book!!!
thanks for your encouragement about being yourself.I have been trying to compare myself to others .I now realize God loves me with a unconditional love no matter what people think.
I have never been good at communicating what I really think or feel. I still don’t do very well but I am trying. Your writing, Bonnie, is what I would say if I could. Your messages always touch my heart.
I know what it is like not to be able to rest from very young…but oh so long ago, Jesus took me by the hand and captured my heart, my very life with His love and salvation.
“Women, why do you weep?”……………….
Father, Father, it was not suppose to be like this……so much suffering, treated as one who is less…..so much less….can’t breathe ….suffocated by your weight…..
But I loved you, this can’t be happening! I trusted you…not this… stripped naked……… Oh God Our Father, not this……….I cried out…..there was no one to hear me
My Lord Jesus , stripped naked, nailed to a tree….treated as the One who was less, so much less…..unable to breathe…..suffocated by the weight of His Holy Body….
“Oh Father, not my will, but Your will be done”…..I love them so……
Mary ran to the tomb to anoint her Lord with oils….. she also felt so deeply in her heart, that it was not supposed to be this way……her love, her Lord, hung from a tree……
Mary, running to find You Jesus….., and I , running away from the memories……….
I ran to Church this morning, dragging the foot that insisted upon being a step behind……always dancing to a different song……not of this world I have been told………
I fell upon my knees at the sight of You Lord Jesus, exposed upon the altar….vulnerable…, like I was……..
I feel myself crawl into You Lord Jesus, seeking the safety that I constantly crave………
I feel in my heart You telling me to rest in You……….that I am precious in Your sight and that You love me……….You say my name……
Colleen, rest upon my heart………….
Five years ago, I walked into your hospital room Dad, and I did not recognize you……you were struggling to breath and I ran away………….
Away to get help…….I could not leave you suffocating…….
Help arrived, and I promised you that I would not leave you alone.
For ten days, I stayed with you in Intensive Care….you needed to be intubated, to help you to breath…they tied you down, as I was held down, but I held your hands and stroked your brow….
Because you craved safety as I did, and I wanted to give to you all that you needed…….
I didn’t see the person that abused me……I saw my Daddy…alone, frightened and naked..and I held you, prayed with you , had you anointed with Holy Oil by a priest…..
I whispered prayers and loving words to you…..tried to give to you all that was lost to you as a child…….
The precious one love of my life stayed with me, loving and supporting me…as the ONE , who is Love, filled my heart with HIS GRACE……….Jesus
“The night before He died, He took bread in His sacred hands…and looking up to You Father, He gave thanks and praise….” Eucharist…………..giving thanks, “coming out of oneself, out of the narrowness of one’s life and growing into the immensity of Life in Christ”*——“Everything is Grace”.*
By God’s merciful love, they removed the ventilator the very night before you died and you were able to speak. You asked for vanilla ice cream…your favorite…how often, especially during the hot summer evenings, you would send me to the store for ice cream…and say, “don’t forget, mine is vanilla!”
I fed you ice chips, and you were so alert! My precious one love was with me..always loving and supporting me……
We had to leave..it was late…I assured you that I would come back tomorrow morning….
I drew close to your face to kiss you goodnight and the gentleness, the loving intensity of your blue eyes were speaking volumes to my heart…..
And you said my name…..Collie, Collie, Collie………
The name of the wee child that loved her Daddy, in spite of everything………..
And the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your own name…..you are mine……
I regard you as precious…..and I love you.”(Isaiah 43:2-7)
You died the following morning, I held you and kissed you goodbye………
Everything is Grace,
What depth if heart! How your words and feelings move and resonate within me. Thank you so much for being you, sweet Bonnie; and for sharing that you with us!
Dear Bonnie, how I wish I were your age again to learn these things.
I took my body for granted and I’ve paid a price for that, so I’m working with it now.
I’ve mostly stopped apologizing for being me and I’ve stopped pretending I can be different from my simple self. While I no longer have as many friends, I have peace.
I am exploring soul care these days. What it really looks like for me to be healthy, and happy with the amazing gift of my life.
Thank you for sharing; you help me put things in perspective.
Bonnie, It is so great to read your writing and hear about your journey. These are the same things I have been learning in my journey and dealing with my own issues. I can’t participate in the jam this week but look forward to participating at a later date. LOVE YOU FRIEND! Katie
Bonnie;) you speak exactly what I myself am feeling and going through. At 39, I’m finally becoming ” myself”. I had a childhood much like yours it seems. My mother was very cruel. As a mom of three kids 19-17-12 & with no maternal example of love to glean from, I’ve learned to mother only by the grace of God. Also I am divorced which has left deep rejection scars. Reading your words is life to my broken “self”. Your honesty and raw truth is beautiful and encouraging. Thank
You so for trusting God through your journey. You are touching others. I too desire to write. I feel alive within my words. I
stumbled upon your blog by happen chance lead by divine guidance. I look forward to where God leads you. From one Bonnie to another. Blessings my sister in Him
Giving myself permission is my choice since I suffered emotional abuse from my ex-husband. Everything I did was wrong or my fault. It took a long time to heal and know that my choices were valuable. Also that I could be myself and not worry about negative reactions. God was with me every step of the way. Psalms was a great comfort to me.
Thanks for the giveaway!
I feel like I have lost my identity as I became out of the blue a widow a couple of months ago. I don’t know exactly who I am now, and I feel anger, pain, numbness. I know this grieving is a process and trying to find a way to open my heart for God to comfort me is so hard. I am struggling to find the faith that He will get me through this, because you know sometimes I don’t want to get through this. I have been “strong” for everyone else, with little time to grieve as I returned to work and am working through the financial headaches of not having a will. Your words and those of your readers do help encourage me. It is good to know that like me others have struggles to find their footing and their voice. We often see others as having it all together and skipping merrily through life, but today’s writings remind me that this version of life usually isn’t true, and if it is true, it won’t always be true. May we encourage each other to be who we should be as daughters of God.
I love the necklace that says “by grace alone”, because I often don’t know how I got through another day, it MUST have been grace.
Thanks for the encouraging words. You are truly a blessing in my life.
Bonnie~I’m so happy to see you here again and to rejoice with you in the work God has done and is continuing to do in you.
Where do I find God asking me to find myself? Probably in nurturing myself more and feeding my soul with more of Him.
I tried answering who I am on Mandi’s post and I just rambled on. I bounce from melancholy, sensitive, deep thinker nursing hurts, a one-on-one person to someone who loves being around others (once you push me out the door). So I’m quite a mixture still trying to find my voice and just where I fit at this season of life. Feeding the soul will help with that.
I think I need to do all four. And all at the same time. My body and mind are very sensitive to stress. I think because I have been pummeled with it for so long and so hard, I have not given myself time to heal. Definitely need to step out and start doing all four. There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves.
Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your heart and story. I couldn’t pick one particular movement; I think they’ve all applied to me at some time or another. I loved your statement: “The closer we get to what really touches our hearts, we will feel anxious. I’m learning that is okay.” Amen!
Wow, I loved the entire message. I’m going to print it and post it for myself to read every day for awhile! Thank you so much and the necklace is beautiful! 🙂
Thanks Bonnie for sharing. I’m also going thru what you are experiencing right now. I’m learning to listen to who I am. I’ ve lived those past years being whom others wanted me to be, always doing what others wanted, always pleasing others first, because since childhood I never learned to be myself. And I still dont know who am I supposed to be.But everyday I ask God to transform me into the person He wants me to be. And little by little I see Him working, carving His way and reminding me that I am His work of art no matter what others say.This is what matters the most for me and Im really loving what He’s making of me.Thanks a lot for all your testimony and your honesty and may God bless you abundantly .
Thank you for sharing your journey and touching on this topic of being ourself. This is a timely writing for this long season of my life and heart. Thank you… and I wanna be breaking free too!
Thank you for re-opening Faith Barista! You are an inspiration, and what a wonderful giveaway!
He leads us here. And our willingness to Be, just as we are . . . it’s our sacrament . . . beautiful, true worship.
All four of those clicked with me, but right now, listening to what my body is saying is currently at the forefront. My body is saying, ‘enough’s enough’ and I am being forced to stop trying to ‘fix’ the situation and let God do what only He can. Not easy for me cause I’m a good ‘fixer’. Lol. Or least I’m just used to doing it. Thanks for this.
I can’t choose one. This is exactly where I am at. Just last night I woke through the night singing “I Surrender All.” Recognizing the little girl in me that is angry for trying so hard to be good was unable to change the behavior of the adult I parented – wow, that’s scary! I’ve lived under such a steely resolve, an armor I made to protect myself and to shield my children from anything less than an all-loving mother. Because my head has always understood my mother’s tremendous brokenness, and I truly don’t want to add pain I’ve been silenced. Which leads me back to inertia and a big wall that needs to come down. I didn’t meet the angry girl inside until my fourth child grew enough to exert his will. And we’ve been bumping each other for a few years now. Along with my grief that relational habits are being formed and I’m becoming the angry person behind the slammed door, all of the things you describe are me. Two children are grown now, the daughter married and I’ve experienced the panic that I won’t have her in my life anymore. I’ve recognized God’s heart work throughout my life and even know the desert is a place of comfort for me now – I yearn for Him. Thank you for this post. For your authenticity. For the reminder that there really is nothing new experienced under the sun and that my story is not that unique. Someone else out there understands what it is to live in my skin. Glad to have found you!
This hit home this morning! I am not good with words. You say what I feel. The quilt of it all is the hardest to overcome.. I can’t seem to get past having for myself without giving it all away. I too, am a work in progress and your words, your honesty have helped me in ways I can’t explain. God led me to you, to your story to encourage me. We have never met, yet you are my friend. I thank God for you and for holding you through your journey and for giving your the courage and gift to share it with me. I pray for you and your family often. You are moving mountains and I am so proud for you! Never give up..
Thanks again for your honesty–for sharing this journey with us. I don’t have the same childhood experiences, yet, as an adult, I can absolutely identify with this journey. I lost myself somewhere along the way and didn’t even know it… I’m also trying to discover what it is that I like–not my kids or my neighbors or my mother, but me… what do I like? what do I want? Those are hard questions when your heart has been hiding for years… Thank You Jesus, for waking me and leading me on this journey to wholeness…
I can’t choose which one speaks to me most. Because they all do.
Somehow you seem to have lived/and continue to live a life parallel to mine. I remember those days in the hall outside of Mom’s bedroom, with the smell of vodka in the air.
And the pain of my body screaming at me from the stress of coming forward telling the sheriff how my brother sexually abused me when I was 10.
The latter just happened last week, and yesterday I turned 47.
Years of doing what I ‘should’ do…taking care of Mom and Dad’s medical and financial needs until they passed away, even though they disowned me when I divorced my first, verbally abusive husband.
Now I help my in-laws, because I want to, because they are wonderful people who love me. And yes, my body still screams at me, but I rest when needed and pace myself when I can.
Thank you for your post. God is my guide and my salvation, and His goodness shines through in all the blessings He has graced me with.
May God bless you – thank you for channeling His gifts to speak outloud to all your readers. Your message was one I needed to hear today. In fact I will be printing it out as a constant reminder for me.
I so relate to you ! I can’t thank you enough for your words that heal — even through the painful parts of your story. The beauty of allowing us to journey with you is such a gift you have given me (us)…thank you so much! I , too, have written about fear and anxiety and my raw feelings involved in all of that. I want you to know that God has used you to help me write in the vulnerable places. Thank you for your influence on my life and writing. Ironically, probably in in your weakest moments — you have made some of the greatest impact ever — God’s like that, huh ! My own journey to forward movement …I would always say, “I’m too little for this God!” (meaning anything that was overwhelming or too hard to handle or too big in my eyes to take on). I’m the youngest of 7 children and even though I’m almost 52 — I’ve still carried that “baby of the family” badge for a loooonnng time 🙂 God spoke (pierced, actually) … Jeremiah 1:6-9…”I do not know how to speak; I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you ,; declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put My words in your mouth.” Through all these series of events …God said to me, “Write for hope.” I’ve been trusting Him to put the words into this anxious, fearful little girl ever since. I’m still toddling — but growing. Thank you for your part in my story ! My words lately have been “All is well” …
I think we have lived similar lives because all 4 apply to me, and I am just coming into my own. Thank you for putting words to my old and my new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am trying to venture out, but it is scary. It is so much safer to do housework and bake cupcakes. I guess what I took from your post is that I need to be patient with myself.
Yet, I’m stuck.
I have so much to say on this but am in a hard season, so I think I hope I am just late and can write and post on Saturday.
I love you Bonnnie, and love this group you lead.
Writing real, still dependently.
Beth (dependent) Lee
I’m not even sure how to share my heart in response to this blog post today. The words you have written so perfectly express how my heart feels and where I am walking right now. Thank you for putting into words that which I can’t. Somehow knowing others experience the things I do brings me great comfort. Dianne
I just recently discovered your blog and I love it. I appreciate your authenticity and transparency. There’s not a lot of it to be found. I just want to encourage you in your journey of growth. Thank you.
Your honesty is a gift. May God continue to gently draw you to His healing waters as you journey through this with Him.
Thanks Bonnie, you give me courage. God bless
I really liked the ending Be real. Be yourself. Be at rest. However, what I think I really needed to hear with certain things that I have been contemplating with my life is that I don’t need to apologize for being happy.
This year has been a year of brokenness for me. A year of opening up and of healing. I am at a point in this process where my heart is crying out, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What purpose does God have for me?” I feel like I am just barely discovering who I am. I am in this weird transition period where there are so many old beliefs I held to that God has freed me from but I am still discovering what is true and good and beautiful. Transition in many areas of my life to the point that I. am. so. weary. and just ready for the healing process to be OVER. This breaking free is making me tired and I just want a safe place to rest my soul. To be me.
Thank you for your post.
I so appreciate your life words in the “Be At Rest” portion. What a soothing way to pause and slow. Thank you Bonnie. BTW, my journey at this time is so similar to yours. Thank goodness for counsel and coaching. Praise God for the process and progress of His timing. Missed you and love you so much.
I just discovered your blog. Thank you for your honest posts. I find them so beautiful and encouraging.
Dear bonnie, I love this post! And I am so happy for you to take these necesssary steps in your life for healthy self care. The hard part comes when we run into others who don’t respect our healthy self care and we have to stand up for ourselves n stick to our guns so to speak ….meaning continue to stand up for the little girl inside. The temptation can be to fold to others pressure or manipulative tactics such as guilt. But when we stand up for what we are feeling and choosing even if we’ve changed our mind we will be saying loud and clear we are worth it. A message we didnt receive as children.I sit in your bleachers applauding you n cheering you on in these steps you are taking! I am proud of you.
Thanks for your brave transparency to share with all of us.
Well, I finally had the opportunity to complete my post and publish it. Glad I made the deadline as this one was important to me. I also want to be an encouragement to you. As I read your words, my heart goes out to you. I know you are impacting all the little girls who didn’t have their needs met in the way they hoped. But God knows …
I visited the Lisa Leonard site and love the saying “let your light shine”. That is what I am trying to do each and every day.
Blessings and love,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Bonnie. Your journey is always encouraging and thought-provoking. God Bless You in your journey of awareness….awareness of yourself and loving who you are.
Thanks for the Giveaway!!!!!
Great inspiration! At 52, the little girl inside of me is wanting out. It is time to grow up, to be real.
This really spoke to me. Thank you for your words. May God keep showering you with his blessings and unfailing love!
I have been wrestling with this for too long now. As my oldest went off to college and is now getting married I’m trying to figure out WHO I am. Wife. Mother of Many. . . . . What do I enjoy doing? What makes me laugh? Do I laugh at things other than my children? Am I going to enjoy life without my children under the same roof? Besides my children, what am I?
This post is making me think. More.
Thank you. HUGS.
I am working right now on giving myself permission to care for myself. Instead of feeling like I’m being selfish for the self-care I let myself do, I keep reminding myself that in the end I can’t care for others until I have taken care of myself first.
God is so good that He doesn’t leave us nor forsake us where we’re at. We are all on a journey and it seems the hardest for me is to a point of view like whatever I think isn’t important and then when you hear that voice it’s a slippery slope. But, Bonnie just having your journey and how hard it was and to see you coming to the other side is so encouraging! Keep going! Blessings
Bonnie, thanks so much for this awesome blog. I feel like it is a safe place to open up. I have a artist living inside of me who won’t come out because of past rejections. I love God’s beautiful world and he is the Creator. Why would He not want His own children to also be creative. Hopefully I can get past the perfectionist censor inside of me and begin to create just for the joy of it. Reading your blog and the replies encourages me.
Bonnie, I’m not a writer, but I have been so blessed by reading your writing, your sincerity, your transparency, your vulnerability, but mostly your love for Jesus and devotion to keeping your faith despite everything you have been through. I, too, deal with severe panic attacks and anxiety on top of a long list of debilitating chronic health issues. There have been many, many traumatic events in my life, so I’ve been told PTSD as well as all the other stuff. I pray for God’s mercy and gracious healing, but most of all, I pray that I know Him and trust Him better through this. This difficult journey has been over the past 13 years, but the last 7 have been constant and unrelenting. I don’t know how to keep going, but I ask that God will lead me by His Holy Spirit. He is my only hope. Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a special way. I pray that God heals you and renews you, as you radiate the beautiful love of Christ.
Ack! I finally wrote my post and the collection is closed! Too late to link up, but not too late to comment, and I can still read others’ posts, so I will do that. Love to all, Beth
Thank you Bonnie for this honest and heartfelt description of what you are learning right now. I can very much relate to what you are sharing and I so appreciate you laying it out like you did because it is so helpful to know I am not the only one who feels this way and does these same kinds of things.
Thank you for sharing.
Bonnie, I am crying…but, it’s okay, because it is cleansing. Reading about your journey…just brought back painful memories. But, I realize that these memories are important. Everything that happened and happens to me, as a child and as an adult, is the Lord’s way of showing me that He is strong and I am resilient, through Him. I am because He is…I am who I am because I have lived through those adolescent and early adulthood times of NOT being me…NOT loving me…NOT recognizing that the LORD loves me for ME. Because I was so weak in me, He has made and is still making me strong in HIM. My joy of finally being who He made me to be, is a part of my art. My studio is a place of praise and thanksgiving. And, you know what? There are few that understand why I left such a lucrative career in education to be an artist. They look at me like I am crazy…. But, that’s okay. I can deal with it, because I have Him…. Although my heart is heavy, your words have caused reflection and healing. Blessing to you~
I understand COMPLETELY why you chose to do art instead of the lucrative career. You and I are choosing the little girl, because no one chose her before. It is a lucrative career — for your soul. Cynthia, may your soul continue to find joy and comfort in the art you do & may you and I both find new friends who understand and respect the choices we make. 🙂
Bonnie, you might get this a lot, but I feel led to share it as encouragement anyway. I’ve been really struggling with some major, debilitating, health issues the past couple months and a close friend of mine recently shared one of your posts with me. I am going through an incredibly similar journey as you, except mine just started a couple months ago (with weird, out of the blue, crazy scary “panic attacks”) and I’m realizing God has me on the beginnings of some major healing (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical). So to say the least, to read some of your posts (especially your first one describing the beginnings of this for you from summer 2012) have been IMMENSELY helpful, encouraging and healing. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that God led me to your blog via my close friend. Thank you SO MUCH for your supernatural bravery and courage and obedience to God in writing your journey – it is aiding me tremendously in ways words can not describe. My husband and I plan to just forward some of your posts to friends of ours to help them understand what’s going on because neither of us have the energy or time (we’re beyond depleted in all ways) to try to describe the “behind the scenes” of our outward trials (my health due to anxiety/undealt with pain/emotions from my past). So thank you again.
[…] To be real. […]
Yes to all of it, Bonnie! I am so grateful for you and the way your heart and voice are big and bold. XOXO
I do remember the healing journey – I did not know I needed it, but when I went into it, I thought the tears, which were nonexistent before, I thought the tears would never stop. And now, I look back as if to say, oh yes, that was once a part of my life, but no longer. I feel it was long ago but the lessons learned and the healing is part of my present, and I can testify that healing really does come; and it really is worth it to go through the pain and the trouble. The Lord sets us free indeed! I have gone on to live my life seldom thinking about it any more, but after reading this post, I think I need to tell my story, if anything to possibly help someone who is still trying to find their own healing. Thank you for sharing your story in such a vivid imagery; you write so well, and your past is giving you a voice to help others. Thank you!
Absolutely! Maria, you have a story to tell that will give light and comfort to those walking through it. The fact that you can still remember the tears is so beautiful. You can be present with others. You understand. It is a journey.
Your childhood memory with your mom feels so similar as mine. I’ve always thought I’ve “dealt with it” and since I’ve went to counseling when I was 18 years old I thought everything is done. I’m healed. Apparently at 36 I’m still working it out and there are a lot of things that need unearthing especially when it comes to my insecurities in relationships. My childhood experiences with my family are something I feel I’ve tucked away because “I no longer have control over them”. I cannot change them and since my parents are still with me, I just really have to accept and love them. Things have improved over time but I wonder why there are still some parts of me that remain hurt. That remain feeling always rejected and inadequate. Thank you for sharing your life Bonnie.
[…] Where I could feel at ease — at being me. […]
[…] Resting as His beloved. […]
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