fearless

 

Fearless – [Lyric Video] Jasmine Murray

 

fearless. my anthem. my theme. my battle cry. my being-ness. i am fearLESS.

but i spent a lifetime of living, breathing, being fearFULL. every day. every moment. i knew nothing but fear.

fear of the dark. being alone. being with people. being quiet. beign loud. being not enough. being too much. not being good enough. being too valued. feeling so devalued.

fear gripped me at every turn.

it may not have been recognizable to others but i lived there. fearFULL. always. and that is how i learned to identify myself. as one who wasn’t enough. one who was weak. never capable of rising above. deserving of this place of darkness.

i have been on a journey the past 6 years. a journey of finding myself. connecting with my little one, hidden inside. listening to her. seeing her. learning from her.

and what i have found amidst the pain of unraveling my past to put together my future, is something i didn’t expect to find.

i may have lived fearFULL but i have always been fearLESS. i have embodied the attitude of “no backing down, no giving up” there is a warrior inside of me who is fierce. who knows NOT defeat. who rises with each fall, wipes herself off, and gets right back into the thick of things. with grace. with determination. with honor. with humor. who is not afraid of the dirtiness of life because she knows the beauty that comes later.

it literally has taken my a lifetime to find myself. well, a lifetime of almost 52 years, which in reality seems like a blip on the horizon of life. i see the reality that the little one inside of me and the woman in the mirror are truly one and the same. i haven’t become fearLESS over the past few years. I have always been fearLESS. i just didn’t recognize it. for oh so many reasons.

but i see it now. i see myself as the warrior i am. i see the good in all the ugly. i feel the fearLESSness rise inside each morning. each moment when i would typically fall back, i now rise up and meet the challenge. no backing down, no giving up..but now i do it automatically and boldly. i trust myself enough to know i can handle each conversation. each encounter. that i have nothing to fear in life. i can and do stand my ground. because i know the ground on which i stand. i know myself. i trust myself. i love myself. i have fought and freed myself from many formidable opponents.

and i have never been alone in this battle. the God who goes before me, walks beside me, has my back and is the banner over me, has always been there too. even when i was fearFULL. especially then. just as he is today. and every day. its why fearLESS can and is my anthem, my theme, my battle cry, my being-ness.

i am not alone. never have been. never will be. every battle is his. every tear shed he has collected. he knows my pain and shame and loves me anyway. he has walked in my shoes. and carried me along the way. the opponents i have battled have come up against his love and power. i have broken the shackles only by his strength.

i am fearLESS because of him.

i am fearLESS.

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onward

Onward, soldier, Onward!

my time in Colorado has come to a close. I leave Thursday morning for Tennessee. my grand adventure. my second chance. my fresh start. my new beginning.

I am excited. so. I am convinced this is right. this is good. this is God’s calling. I have no anxiety or fear. in fact, quite the opposite. I have such joy and freedom in this. I KNOW I am on the right path.

but I have learned so much the last 26 years here in Colorado. it has been my home. where I have raised my kiddos. where I found Jesus. heard Him. drew near to Him. responded to Him.

I created friendships that will last a lifetime. I have laughed. cried. screamed. learned. I have literally walked hundreds of miles throughout our family neighborhood of Gleneagle. I have watched both my kids grow, learn to ride bikes, go to school dances, graduate, date, play, learn, fail and grow.

I too have played. learned. failed and grown. I came a scared married young mom. I leave strong. single. wise. aged woman. I have learned to dance alone outside the bonds of a long-term marriage. I have learned to appreciate the who of me. I have grown to love what makes me unique. I am able to receive love in its purest forms. I have learned to live in peace. no longer a slave to anxiety and fear.

I am grateful for all Colorado has given. taught. been.

I am grateful for my sister who gave me a home the last 11 months. my kids who have taught me how to love and accept. I am grateful for all my marriage taught me. I am grateful for all the friends I have made, both new and old. I am grateful for all the laughter we have shared. all the tears we have shed. all the love we have given.

without these people. these experiences. these opportunities. I could not launch into this new season. this grand adventure. I am who I am and I am able to do what I do because I have a village behind me cheering me on. believing in me. praying for me. making me stronger.

Colorado has been good to me.

Onward, soldier, onward!

undeserved grace

***Disclaimer #1: when I say “God told me” I never hear an audible voice; it is His Spirit speaking to my spirit, a quickening of my pulse, a racing of my heart, a deep knowledge that I am being called to do something. Although it is often contrary to what human wisdom tells me to do, it never contradicts God’s word***

***Disclaimer #2: Although I never hear God’s audible voice, most times when I am arguing with God, I am speaking out loud in MY audible voice. When I am in agreement with Him, it is almost always in the quiet of my heart, my spirit responding to His, a recognition and submission to His way***

***Disclaimer #3: when I say someone needs Jesus, I am most often speaking of the life-transforming encounter with UnConditional Love Personified. There is nothing more transformative than realizing you are loveable and loved by Creator. It is in that simple child-like place that you can receive and believe***

ready for a redemptive tale? a miracle that can only be ascribed to God? I certainly never believed it would happen to me. never dreamed or prayed for such beautiful grace. but I have seen with my own eyes the great and awesome wonders of my God.

my story begins about 20 years ago after we visited the Nashville area for the first time on a family vacation. Never have l felt so at home in a place. that I belonged there. that my heart was there. it was an instant kinship to a city.

after we returned home to Colorado, I began praying, asking God to move me to where my heart was. after many weeks of praying God told me “Molly, I will move you to Nashville one day”

my heart sang. and I thought God certainly meant He was moving my family there. and soon. but as the years passed it didn’t happen. we visited the Nashville area yearly and each visit I was reminded of God’s earlier promise. as the years progressed, I began to think God meant when my then-husband retired, we would move there, the two of us.

and then my life kinda blew up. in a dramatic way. and we stopped visiting Tennessee as we grappled with life. and I forgot God’s promise. because I was surviving. and then this past October, my stepdad passed and I was once again headed to Tennessee. and I remembered the promise given to me oh so long ago.

when I came home I began to pray over what this meant. what seemed like a grand adventure when I had my family with me in what I thought would be OUR move, seemed daunting as a single woman. I didn’t think I could actually make it happen. I spent a good amount of time in counseling processing the fear. and began to see that this long ago given promise was a sweet gift from my Savior. a fresh beginning. a new chapter. something God knew oh so long ago that I would need at such a time as this.

I believed that my 2 court dates in April would be the beautiful ribbon tied on this gift. that they would signify the time for me to end things here in order to prepare to move to Tennessee.

and then GOD.

God stepped in. in an amazing way.

I met with my attorney 2 weeks ago to prepare for our first court date that would determine my new maintenance. my ex was at this point in California for the second time in 6 weeks, this time for an extended visit of over 3 weeks. he was not responding to his attorney’s phone calls. we decided that postponing court until we had real answers concerning his possible early retirement made sense. in the course of the conversation, my attorney asked where my ex stayed while in Cali and I said I assumed it was with his parents. she asked for their phone numbers and I told her I did not think they would answer if I called and she said she wanted the info to give to his attorney. in case his attorney wanted another way to reach out to my ex. all this info was passed onto his attorney. his attorney called his parents that afternoon to be told my ex had left for home just a few hours earlier. the next morning, my ex mother-in-law made a call to the attorney to tell her that my ex was profoundly depressed when he left. I received all this info via emails as we (the attorneys and I) filed the motion to delay court. when I read the words “he was profoundly depressed” my mother’s heart reached out to my mother-in-law. if that was my son, I would be beside myself with worry. as I drove home from work, God told me “you are going to call your in-laws” and I said “absolutely not, that puts me in a very vulnerable position” and God just said “yes you will” and so I called them that evening. they didn’t answer but I left a message with my heart pounding, telling them I didn’t know what to say except my heart went out to her, that I knew I was supposed to call them and that when it was so apparent that my ex was the one who had changed and was struggling I couldn’t understand why they believed everything he said about me when I had never changed, and I hung up.

the next day, a fluke snow storm had me sent home early from work and God told me “you are going to email your ex” and I argued. and then I obeyed. with this one sentence. “are you home in Colorado?” six hours later a response came. “no, I am struggling. the death of my friend and being home was a lot harder than I expected. I am stopping every few hours to sleep.” and then this “molly, I am sorry for all that I did. that I was not the husband you needed or deserved.” wow.

and I replied. “do not kill yourself. I am sure it was hard to be home and was filled with many triggers. thank you for the apology. I appreciate it. I know (and I named his offenses) and I forgive you. I want you to get onto the business of forgiving yourself and get the help you need and deserve. stop hurting yourself. please”

his reply was “thank you for your kind words. it means a lot. you are a good person” I told him about the motion to delay court, and asked that he let me know when he was home. Friday morning he replied he was home. via more emails between attorneys, I found out he had an appointment with his attorney the following Tuesday.

his attorney’s office is right next door to where I work. right next door. so when Tuesday came I felt like God told me  would see my ex that day. in my sassiness I dressed extra cute that day. and I expected to see him while I was on my lunch break. but that didn’t happen. ok, I thought. then an hour later he walks into my store, asks for me. when I come up to the front he says he came to thank me. for what I ask? for delaying the court dates, for reaching out to me, for caring. it means a lot. then he tells me his mom wants me to call back, that she wants to talk to me.

wow.

then I tell him he needs Jesus. that only Jesus can help him. change him. that alcohol isn’t working. drugs aren’t working. women aren’t working. he needs Jesus. and I tell him it absolutely kills me that our kids were dragged into all of this.

in simple terms a God-bomb went off in my life. I received an apology that I never thought I would get. I had come to peace with that fact. I stood before my ex and didn’t freak out, didn’t get triggered, didn’t fall apart. I spoke my truth . and I spoke God’s. I now had not just closure but healing. I was released.

and in that sweet-ness I heard God say “GO! Go into your future knowing you are not alone! Just go!”

so I gave my notice at work. I told my kids. my family. my friends. and I go free. released.

I believe God will end this in a much sweeter way than it has been up until this point. we will have a new agreement soon. this will all be behind me. and behind my ex. and behind our kids.

a God bomb went off, and it is beautiful and messy. in one of his emails to me my ex thanked me for the undeserving grace I showed him. and I told him that it was I that was being showered with God’s undeserved grace. I am overwhelmed by His love. UnConditional Love Personified.

that kinda LOVE changes everything.

ready

realized yesterday morning that i have been wallowing in self pity for over a week. not a particularly flattering observation to make. i had tried other descriptive words for my malaise earlier in the morning while praying: pride, self righteousness, anger, bitterness. but when i hit upon self pity, i began weeping. that descriptor fit the bill. and in that moment i truly saw my sin.my shame. my malaise. in its fullness.

and i finally knew what needed restoration. i could look at the fullness of my angst. my sadness.and i could slay the beast. i could rightly hear the undertones of my choices. my internal talkings of “oh poor me. this isn’t fair. i deserve better. why is this happening to me?”i could peel back all the other words and see the root.in all its gnarly, spreading, cancerous proportions. i could understand my heart because i could hear my heart. and i could finally stop the diatribe i had been living in, repeating ad nauseam. could right the wrong thinking.

and in doing so i righted my attitude and my direction. instead of looking back i was once again able to be future focused.to see the outlines of what is ahead for me. i could breathe. i could believe. i could be in the moment.

and because of the work i did yesterday was able to rejoice today in the finished work of the Cross, the empty tomb, my risen Savior.i was able to reflect on the changes in me that have occurred over the course of the last 4 years. to see the new reflection of me in the mirror. to realize that i now see and look at myself when i stand in front of a mirror. i recognize myself in the woman looking back at me.i like what i see.even more, i love who i see.i realize in the quiet of the night, when its dark and i am alone with myself, that i love myself even then.i accept myself. i am authentic with myself.

no longer do i use another human being as a panacea for my woundedness. no longer do i deny my wounds. i see them. call them by name. and do the necessary work to heal them.

i see my future opening up in front of me.and i stand ready. nervous but ready.scared but ready. excited and ready.i am content within myself. i am content with myself. i am content with my God. with my aloneness.

i have hope in what tomorrow will bring.belief that my future is secure in God’s hands.faith that He walks with me. love that is eternal.

i am ready

what horses taught me

I had counseling this morning. I knew it would be big based on my last blog and the realization that I do not know how to dream and believe for myself. my body knew it was big too based on its reactions all morning leading up to counseling. I was running to the bathroom constantly, I chose a big comfy sweater to wear so I could use it as a shield, I stopped for coffee on the way because I needed the comfort of something warm to drink. all signs to me that my body was telling me that is was anxious for what I was going to process. I remember all these reactions from early on in counseling. then I was so UNaware of my body’s preparations or foretelling of what I was doing was big. today, however, I recognized each one. and smiled in understanding. and breathed deeply in anticipation.

I told my counselor straight up here is what I know I need to process: I don’t know how to dream a future for myself nor believe I can make it happen. not only that but somehow my ex is involved. and my horse. I have been missing my horse tremendously the last few weeks. his smell. his touch. his power. his majesty. his strength.

so out came the EMDR tools and the picture of my horse and the absolute grief I feel over missing him. my grief was at a 10 on the scale of 1-10. the tears were streaming down my face.

the journey of EMDR is always amazing to me. beautiful. freeing. I am in awe of my body’s ability to lead me back to move me forward. the sweet touch of Jesus as He takes me on a journey of emotions. to bring me to self belief and love.

this was no different than the many hundreds of EMDR journeys I have taken over the years. it was sweet. beautiful. healing. freeing. profound.

I realized that my time with our horses taught me so much about myself otherwise unknown. un-touched. un-experienced. I came into ranch life with no knowledge of horses. their care. their needs. their abilities. their life giving touch. I learned under the tutelage of a wonderful, knowledgeable, loving woman. she taught me the ins and outs of daily care. she believed in me. when I didn’t believe in myself. she watched. listened. guided. laughed. and taught. repeatedly. and I listened. and learned. and appropriated all she gave. I got it. I lived it. I loved it.

the horses accepted me. rallied around me. I heard their hearts. and proved to them that I was more than capable to care for them. I felt their love and gave them love in return. they showed me I had more physical strength than I ever knew.  business strength yet un-tapped. I had an insatiable desire to learn and do well. and I did just that. I could stand in their midst and be at peace. I could feel their pain. and their freedom. I appreciated them for all they are. I was not your typical horse woman. I had no desire to ride them although I took a few lessons. my role was on the ground. in their world. I downplayed my horsemanship because I wasn’t a rider. but now I can see I was still a horsewoman. and I still am.

I was struggling because I was thinking that my ex had stolen this from me. he lives on the property where the horses are so I cannot go out there. and then in my “holy shit” moment of counseling I realized that he CANNOT take this from me! he doesn’t have the power over me. not anymore. I had my moment of closure in counseling. I saw the gift the horses gave me. the lessons they taught me. the wings they gave me. I saw it and i accepted it. in all its abundance and beauty.

I ended with this word from God. as I reflected over the fact that at the same time that we walked onto our first ranch, my marriage was hitting the apex of chaos. I had the juxtaposition of the sweetness of all the horses gave and taught in the midst of all that I had believed in falling apart around me. and I asked God why did you give me such a sweet time just to take all that away from me? and this. this is what He told me

“I gave you that sweet time in order to give you freedom and move you forward”

He didn’t take something away from me. He gave me something sweeter. a knowledge that I can do. and learn. and become. more than I give myself credit for. more than I can imagine on my own.

that is amazing grace. that is abundant love.

that humbles me. overwhelms me. bathes me in un-imaginable grace and mercy.

I see a future. it is becoming clearer. I know I can do it. I can learn. I can become. I can take the next right step. and then the next.

I got  this.

because God has got me.

I was struck this week with this truth:

I do no know how to  dream for myself, how to believe that there is a purpose and future out there for me to attain.

this is a bid deal. a big reality.

but rather than let this overwhelm me. get me down. I turned to God. lifted it to Him in prayer. asked for His hand on me to give me the ability to learn this skill.

I am accustomed to recognizing areas I have not exercised. and learning to exercise these weakened muscles. it’s not that I am without the ability to learn this. it is a skill I need to learn. practice. repeat. this I can do.

for me, it starts with prayer. ends there, too, for that matter.

here are the words God gave me in that first prayer.

“Use my hands for healing. My voice for boldness. My life for worship”

it is my daily prayer now. I know not what it means. YET. but I know as I practice taking this to prayer. process with my counselor and THE Wonderful Counselor. take the next right step. and the next one after that. I will begin to see this skill become a habit. a belief. a truth I live.

I am both excited and nervous to see how my life. my beliefs. my faith. is transformed as I make this new truth a belief. it is big. shaking the cobwebs off old beliefs and replacing them with new profound realities is big work. from inside out. in fact it is in the inside work  that big outward changes happen. unmasking the false beliefs is always freeing. but it takes perseverance. daily recognizing when old lies creep in, attempting to worm their way back into my heart. daily reminding myself of new truths. repeating the TRUTH to my  self. breathing them in. breathing out the old.

this is work I have done before. it is achievable. I will do this. I am accustomed to hard work. deep faith. I am daily being freed because I have forever been freed by the blood of my Saviour.

‘Use my hands for healing. my voice for boldness. my life for worship”

 

romance

feeling incredibly contemplative today. surprisingly, I am considering romance, the lack thereof, the possibility of it in the future or the possibility of it not being there in the future.

wait.

perhaps you are not surprised that I am thinking of romance on valentine’s day. but I am. I have never considered myself a romantic. I never engaged in that type of thinking while married. romance was not entertained in my marriage. so I figured I was not a romantic

so the fact that I am contemplating romance on the biggest romance day of the calendar year IS surprising to me.

I am still not sure if I am a romantic. that remains to be seen. or developed. or not. who knows at this point.

what I have experienced today though is God’s love. in His word. in my Bible study. in church.

the big picture view of a Holy God who takes me by the hand and  shows me His sanctuary. never leaves me alone. promises me that His economy, although in complete deference to this world’s economy, is fuller, richer, more trustworthy. reminds me that He is enough in this world and in heaven.

I have been reminded of his answers to spoken and unspoken requests along the way. new friends. mentors. comrades in single-ness. quickly found items. a cat that keeps me smiling. a sister that opened her home graciously and lovingly. another sister that was and is always available to listen when I need to talk things out. a mom that listens, respects even when she may not agree or understand fully.  a counselor who has created a safe space to grow and learn. friends that have been faithful in loving me while I struggled and railed against God. an absolute knowledge that I am loveable and loved.

actually I know. I know. and believe. that I will not be alone forever. there is a love out there waiting for me. a love that is true. and safe. and respectful. and fun. I know this.

I can wait. I will embrace each day. each step towards this reality. I will continue to learn. and grow. and become. and believe.

maybe I am a romantic.

instead of  denying it. or being embarrassed by it (now there’s a honest take on it) I just need to embrace the reality.

I am a romantic. I believe in love. in flowers. in sappy happily ever after’s

hmmmm. ok.

hello, to my sappy, romantic side.

I accept this reality. if I am being honest, being sappy seems soft. weak. vulnerable.

I pride myself in being strong, capable, independent

so the question becomes can I accept both sides of myself. the romantic, soft side alongside the strong, capable side. it may sound easy but to wrap my brain around this takes effort. it requires a shift in beliefs. a breathing in of new-ness. an accepted change of reality. a softening to myself. a letting go of long held beliefs. a recognition that I am more than I give myself credit for. a releasing of old to embrace truth

I am both strong and soft. weak and capable. vulnerable and independent.

I am more than I knew

 

truth vs. lies

what I know to be true

it does not matter how many times a lie is said, it is still a lie

it does not matter how many people you convince that your lie is truth, a lie is a lie is a lie

repeating a lie doesn’t make it true

convincing others it is truth still doesn’t make it true

in the quiet, in the dark, when you are alone, you are surrounded by your lies

they consume you

it’s why you are alone, lost, without

because truth cannot reside with falsehood

truth needs light and air and breath

truth brings light and air and breath

lies suck that away

lies bring death

and darkness. and abandonment

you  have not because you live a lie

you cannot attain peace because you live a lie

the lies may never be revealed but they are still lies

 

lies cannot destroy me. I know the truth

I know it. I live it. I am unchanged by the lies.

looking back. moving forward

I forgot how exhausting counseling can be. in a good way. but exhausting none the less. I had plans for this afternoon but seriously spent all afternoon in bed, talking with a few friends, trying to nap. it wasn’t until about 30 minutes ago that it dawned on me why I was so tired.

processing takes work. requires it. what I processed today was good. I looked back at the decision to get married. the fear and impending doom I felt at the time. but the reasons behind it. I am finally able to see the truth of those decisions. the truth of what I lived. and I have compassion for my young self. today I could put her to rest. quietly and peacefully.

and I recognized my new self. stronger self. I recognized the little baby steps that happened along the way in counseling. from the first time I even considered loving myself. to the beginning actions to do just that. to really settling into loving myself.

I saw the root of the fear of losing my ex driving me to always give in to his demands in order to keep peace. of the absolute understanding to say no to him was to open myself up to something big and horrible in retribution. to the little beginning beliefs that the big “what if” was not too big for me to handle. to finally one day saying “to hell with it” and facing whatever he might throw at me. because my freedom, my self, my heart, was worth more than anything else. the quiet understanding that there was never the opportunity within the bonds of marriage to love both him and myself. it was always an either/or choice in his book

to recognizing I have survived. I am surviving. I will survive.

nothing he throws at me can or will destroy me. nothing life throws at me will destroy my spirit.

I will never be controlled again. fear and impending doom are not my captors anymore

I am free. and processing those truths, those emotions, those fears, has released me even more.

I am breathing. thriving. at peace. full of hope. ready for the future.

bring it on!