Joy, revisited

 

joy

Really? Really?  Really. Is that what joy is supposed to look like? Cuz my joy hasn’t looked anything like that all year long.  Not even one iota close. Maybe wish it had, maybe it would have felt like the earth moved and the world changed a bit for me, yes, for once, for ME! But nah,  it didn’t.

But what did my joy feel like this year?  Was it quiet? Was it rumbling? Was it at least happy? Let me show you a few pics of what my joy felt like…..

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nothing like mom and daughter bonding! 

 

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Getting ready to celebrate K’s 12th birthday!

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Our new dog, Cooper! 

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Messy hair and out to eat! 

These are the celebrations of joy we had. None were really jump out of our skin into the air moments, and I know it’s not all of our joyful moments of the year. It’s just few that K and I have had along the way. I can tell you that there were definitely more joyful moments in the latter part of 2015 than the beginning because big changes happened in the middle of the summer for both of us for the BETTER!!!! Let me tell you, that made a world of difference in the joyfulness of our lives. More on that when I’m on my laptop to type. But for now, more to think on.  What does joy feel like to you? Like that first pic? Or something in between?

~Julie

small things, Big Difference – One Word 2015

I do not like resolutions and or huge goals….why? Because I feel like I will fail before I even start. So, while listening to Pastor Craig Groeschel speak in this video “small things, Big Difference”, I have learned that I need to figure out “what do I want most over what I want now?” (good question, eh?) 1 Cor 9:24-27 (go read it), we are running to WIN!!! *the Eternal Prize*.  We need to run with purpose. So….What do YOU want most??? YOU! Yes YOU!!

  1. One Word: Small beginnings
  2. My One Discipline: thoughts, think on these things. A sentence, Bible verse(s), something to help you remember your ONE WORD
  3. Build others up: Use Godly words. The power of God’s disciple, being faithful in the small things. Seeing the small things that maybe no one else sees. Power verses to remind you of God’s work in you.

Seek small things
Seek discipline
Seek God for One Disciple
Use that forward momentum
Have an impact in this world!!!

2015:

My one word for this coming year is JOY.

The reason I chose this word is because in 2014, I hadn’t felt much joy.  I had a very hard time finding much joy.  It wasn’t that I was sad all the time, I just didn’t feel content.  My head was constantly going with all the things I thought I “had” to do.  In the meantime, I had numerous people ask me, “what brings you joy, Julie?” After thinking on this question for quite some time, I couldn’t even come up with a list on one hand. Then I did some praying and meditation, JOY was the first word that popped into my head. I will be working hard incorporating more joy into my life, in all areas: relationships (family, friends, professional contacts, etc), college, and my college work, volunteering, writing, looking for work, and my adventure in locating new housing.  I will attempt to find joy in just about anything and anyone I come into contact with.  I have my small notebook ready to go.

My power verses:    I want to memorize these.

Psalm 98:4 (NIRV) Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth. Burst into joyful songs and make music.
Philippians 4:4 (NIRV) Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful.
Psalm 86:4 (NIRV) Bring joy to me. Lord, I worship you.
John 15:11 (NIRV) I have told you this so that my joy will be in you. I also want your joy to be complete.
Psalm 94:19 (NIRV) I was very worried. But your comfort brought joy to my heart.
2 Timothy 1:4 (NIRV) I remember your tears. I long to see you so that I can be filled with joy.

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Cloud 1

Grace

Even though we talk about it, it isn’t always understood.  One thing that’s clear is that Jesus embodied it.  He was “walking grace.”   His welcome extnded to everyone, regardless of their position, pedigree or performance.  His invitation to the world was “Come as you are.”

Grace is getting what you need not what you deserve.  Grace is “unmerited favor.”  We are go.  We are forgiven.  Because we are forgiven we can go and sin no more.  We go out in truth.  Grace and truth equal Jesus.  Our job is to live like Jesus.  It’s a balances act of living the grace and truth.

So what is God saying?  We need to let go of our stones.  Our stones or rocks of revenge or ridicule.  Let them go.  Let go of the sin.  Let go of the words you may have said.  Let go of the grudges you are holding.  Forgiveness is available.  Jesus loves you more.

 

Day 16 Thankful

Sweet16BeverageNapkin1Today I am thankful for my friends.  They are and have been supportive through all sorts of stuff lately.  I have been though a gamut of emotions the past few days and they stick by me.  Sometimes I wonder how they put up with me.  But they do.  They love me through it.

I guess that is what gets me through it.  I am thankful I have persistent friends.  And the love of God and the love of my daughter.  This kind of love will get me by on any kind of day.                                                                                                     

Day 1 of Giving Thanks

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Wow!  November 1, 2013!  This year has gone quickly.   Tonight I am so thankful for those days when K doesn’t have school but has to go with me to my appointments and she is patient with me as I have to do my thing.  She sat in the waiting room while I had my appointment and was just fine there.  I haven’t been able to do that in the past but recently (as in the past month, month and half) I have been able to take her with and then ask her if she was ok with waiting in the waiting room for me.  And she has.  She has felt safe enough and secure enough to do it.  I am soooo incredibly proud of how much she has grown and gained confidence in the past couple months.  My lil girl is a tween…..uffda.  🙂  

Had to change it up!

I just had to change it up!  Change up the backgound of my blog.  It was so dark and dreary.  I needed to lighten up the colors.  I must have been in a “dark” mood when I was changing it before.  Not that feel a lot lighter now, but this one is more of who I am most days.  It’s my daughters favorite colors….PINK.  lol

She makes me smile.  Speaking of…I have to tell you about last night.  Just before bedtime….she came over to sit by me.  Mind you she is 10…in 4th grade.  That age where most girls get to that….I don’t want you too close but don’t go away mood.  Kind of like typical…”I hate you, don’t leave me”, if you know what I am talking about.  (Karen??)

Anyway, she comes to sit by me and swings her legs over mine.  She is almost as tall as me.  Her legs are way long and gangly, in a good way.  She is at that age where she is all arms and legs.  Tall and thin.  (I would love to have her “problem”).  She wanted to snuggle like we used to do when she was little.  So we did.  And we giggled and talked and giggled some more.  She was so warm, like she was when she was little.  She is a little heater….loved that when she was young.  I am always so cold and when she was little, I would hold her close to me to warm up.  Since losing weight, my inner temp gauge is way off, so when I get the chance for her to get that close, I let her.  I LOVED THIS MOMENT WITH HER!!

I know moments like this are soon to be few and far between.  Brings tears to my eyes because my little girl is growing up.  Professionals were telling me that we are not “attached”, to that I have to say, bull sh*t!!  They finally took that label off her.  Yes, she does have ADD and anxiety.  She is afraid that I am going to leave.  But that is normal for a kid who has had to go through the stuff she has as such a young age as her.  But she is strong and has such a huge heart.  She is kind and caring and loving.  She is my girl.  My sweet K.  I love her and will move every mountain for her if I could.

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Scars: Reflective thoughts

After feeling like my heart getting stomped on last night, I have been quite reflective over the past hours.  Dreams and waking.  I woke up with tears.  I got K up and off to school.  In the shower more tears.  Love is more than just spending time with a man.  Love is more than just talking about our kids and work.  Love is more than touch and closeness.  Love is more than sex.

What is real love?  I don’t know.  I don’t know that I have ever known.  Well, maybe.  My parents may have been in what is called real love.  They were married for 32 years when my dad passed away.  I know for certain that they would be still married if he were still alive.  My dad was a hard man with the softest heart.  He had big hands but yet they were gentle.  He was very stern yet you could see gentleness in his eyes.  My mom is a wonderful woman.  It has taken my many years to see this.  Yes, we have had many years that we did not get along.  Same with my dad.  But yet, I admire them both.  I blamed them for years and years and years.

It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I realized that they did the best they could with what they had at that time.  With what they knew.  How they grew up.  My mom has only just recently told me stories of how it was when she was growing up.  I understand now, why somethings happened they way they did in my family.  That doesn’t excuse the things that happened, that just puts things into some perspective for me.  I am not so sure about my dad’s side of the family.  I don’t know many stories there.  But I do know that my grands were married for forever there.  Whereas my grands on mom’s side….g’pa was married 3 times.  hmmmmm.

Anyways, enough about that.

Love.  Why love me?  That is and has been a huge question for me in the past few months.  I thought  I was pretty content where and what I have been doing and being.  But my head has these old messages and “squirrels” as my friend Karen tells me they are called, that continue to tell me how ugly and stupid and horrible I am.  Then I look at my arms, my legs, my body.  I see SCARS.  I see more evidence of how I used to be so ugly and horrible.  Let me show you.

right arm scars

right arm scars

scars - left arm

scars – left arm

This is damage that cannot be undone.  When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I dealt with my feelings of anger and frustration and well, any feeling I had by cutting.  Most needed stitches.  The one on my right arm needed surgery to fix.  I quit cutting for good in 2009.  I also have not been hospitalized for any mental health reasons since late 2009 after a miscarriage.

So scars.  They not only are on the outside.  But there are numerous on the inside of my body as well.  My heart is FULL of them.  Sometimes it feels like they will NEVER go away.  I know some have.  Because of forgiveness.  That is a very very hard thing to learn to do.  But forgiveness has been a so necessary thing in my life.  I can forgive another person as I have an abuser in my life.  My question is then, why is it so dang hard to forgive myself?

I go back to those damn squirrels in my head.  Those messages that keep telling me I am fat.  I am ugly.  I am worthless.  etc etc. etc.   How do I make it stop?  I do I forgive myself and let me like me for me?  How do I see myself as others see me?  How God sees me?  How do I let the opinions of other not hurt me, like what happened yesterday?  How do I not let that determine my worth?

Here is what I have found and I am not sure what to do with it yet but I am going to keep trying.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stop beating ourselves up.   I am reading this book called “There Is Nothing Wrong With You: Going beyond self-hate”  by Cheri Huber.  There is some of what she has to say:  Think about it!  Which person wants you to run and which person wants you to not to run?  There is no mystery in this, folks!  It’s not hard to pick out which characters are in which camp.  Internally or externally! The person at the Bank of Self-Hate DOES NOT LIKE YOU!  It’s important to get that!

It’s not like this person is really pulling for you to get enough money in the bank to do something special for yourself. NO!  This person will never give you a dime.  You will work yourself to death, and you’ll never get a thing for it.  It is really important to understand that!
If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago….   it seems so clear, but because that voice from inside our own heads, we are actually willing to perpetuate the illusion that this person:

-is on our side

-likes us

-has something valuable to say

-has some sort of merit in life.

But it doesn’t.

It is to be pitied.  It is a pathetic thing, It is very sad.  It needs rest and care and nurturing.  It does not need to be in charge of anybody’s life.  And so you can address it with calm and soothing words, as you would a suffering person.

You don’t let it run your life. You don’t let it sign on your bank account.  You don’t let it arrange your calendar.  You don’t even let it cook for you.  Anytime that voice is talking to you that is not talking with love and compassion, don’t believe it!  Even if it is talking about someone else, don’t believe it.  Even if it is directed at someone else, it is the voice of your self -hate.  It is simply hating you through an external object.  It can hate you directly by telling you  what a lousy, rotten person you are and it can hate you indirectly by pointing out what’s wrong “out there”.

If the voice is not loving, don’t listen to it. don’t follow it, don’t believe it.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

Even if it says it’s “it’s for your own good,” it  is not.  It’s for is good, not yours.  This is the same as when parents talk to you in a hateful tone of voice “for your own good”.  It’s for their good.  It make them feel better.  It does not make you better.  (And it does not make you behave “better”)

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This book is good….very good.  It’s more of a book of an ongoing conversation…..between 2 people….like arguing with yourself.  Check it out.

So anyways, I need to heal some more scars.  My heart needs some healing.  God is out there today.  He has “appeared” in many ways this morning alone.  In my devotions…I read about God’s word heals my heart so I can do my purpose.  I have a Bible verse bandage for today:  Romans 8:28  “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.  He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose.”

Then……my verse of the day from YouVersion.com came to me earlier too:  Ephesians 1:13-14  ”  You also became believers in Christ.  That happened when you heard the message of truth.  It was the good news about how you could be saved.   When you believed, he marked you with the seal.  The seal is the Holy Spirit that he promised. The spirit marks us as God’s own. We can now be sure that someday we will receive all that God has promised.  That will happen after God sets all of his people completely free.  All of those things will bring praise to his glory.”

Then…….my verse of the day from KTIS (the Christian radio station here in the Cities) popped up awhile ago with this:  1 Cor 1:8  “He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”

If that doesn’t say something for me today…I don’t know what does?  If God is for me….who can be against me?  I think it’s time to let the healing begin.

I also want to share a song by Mandisa that she wrote about scars.  It’s a beautiful and wonderful song.  I know that Steven Curtis Chapman also has a beautiful song called Scars too.  You Tube it.  it’s awesome.