Tag Archive | recovery

2016 Reflections

As I sit here on NYE awaiting the arrival of the new year, I realize that much like this year’s presidential election, I may not be exactly “for” 2017 so much as I’m “anti” 2016.  My word, it’s been a rough one in just about every way, shape and form.  The media has focused upon the numerous deaths of celebrities; I admit, it’s been easy as a child of the 80’s to get caught up in the “what the heck?!” feeling that for some reason, 2016 set out to attack my teenage memories.

Celebrities weren’t the only ones who met tragedy over the past year.  2016 was bathed in conflict, controversy, and sadness: racial tension, police officers and criminals, natural disasters, religious doctrines, sex-trafficking, ISIS, battles over human rights.  I couldn’t listen to the radio or check out social media without discovering another tug-of-war within humanity.  Often times, it was too much to stomach.  (We won’t even go into the hatred spewed during this year’s election.)  What was happening to this world?!  Is this how God created people to be?!

Toss into mix my own family trials that knocked the wind right out of us in 2016.  My mother suffered a stroke in late August and is still in rehabilitation.  This prompted an unexpected trip to visit her in September, during which my husband underwent an emergency appendectomy while my daughter and I were traveling back to GA from PA.  (He arrived home with the help from a friend about the time I walked through our kitchen door.)  My husband had other bouts in the ER throughout the year.  My sister-in-law had a cancer scare and thyroid surgery.  And me?  Well, I received the gift of the beginnings of menopause in January and was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  In March, I had a traumatic flashback from childhood that caused my depression to spiral.  (I am not ready to journey down that blogger’s road by sharing the deep darkness of my past, although I am sure that day is coming.)  As my depression worsened, my physician decided medication was the best route.  It would be easy to bitterly, with tongue in cheek, exclaim a sarcastic, “Thank YOU, 2016!” and insert a few Fred Flintstone grumbles in place of cussing out the whole year.

Yet it will do me no good to yell and scream obscenities as Auld Lang Syne plays somewhere in the distance.  The more I struggled personally, the louder God’s voice became as He guided me to one particular verse: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last” (Job 19:25, New Living Translation).  I had to hold on to His promise in the midst of this tumultuous year.  I’ve learned in my counseling courses that although a complete dichotomy stands between the evil in this world and the goodness that is God, making it impossible at times to believe that there can be one AND the other … both do indeed exist.  God is good, He has always been good, He will always be good.  Satan may have his sway on this earth now, but eternity sees him bound in hell while my God reigns forevermore.  I am reminded that while suffering takes place, it – and all of this life for that matter – is temporary.  My husband and I were discussing getting older and losing loved ones, and he brought up a good point.  When we were very young, we thought that 40 was old.  Now we are in our 40s, and we realize a lifetime has passed in the blink of an eye.  Soon, Lord willing, we will be in our 60s and eventually 80s, and it, too, will fly by just as quickly as this half of our lives.  Thank GOD for eternity, or what would be the point of this short little life?

So goodbye to 2016, a year of painful lessons – some visible, others, not so much.  I have to hold on to my faith in God and His promise that no tears are wasted.  He has a purpose for each and every one, and I praise Him for the day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4, NLT).

Welcome, 2017.  And come, Lord Jesus, come.

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The Truth About My Body Image

I’ve been married three times, and it’s only been through a recent Bible study (Made to Crave) and God’s revelation that I’ve come to realize how much my body image affected my past relationships.  (I will note that like the author, Lysa TerKerust, I am very thankful for a husband who loves me JUST AS I AM, “tankles and all”!)  I married my first husband a year out of high school.  We were young, we were naive, and I’ve only just recently accepted that although the mistakes I made in that marriage were my choices and my responsibility, his addiction to pornography fed into the lies about myself – and caused me to seek affection and acceptance elsewhere.  I was overweight when I met my second husband (who was a total rebound and ours was a relationship that was based on nothing but lust – and when that dies, so does the marriage), and I was so happy that he wanted a “curvy” girl.  A few years into our marriage, I lost 50 lbs. and by society’s standards (and his), I looked great.  Most people confused me for my daughters’ sister instead of their mom.  Ego boost.  But the diet pills and restrictive dieting and obsessive exercise couldn’t last forever, and after a bought of depression, I gained it all back.  And then some.  And then some more.  Over time, I went from being 5’1″ and 125 lbs. to over 200.  There are many deeper, darker problems we had that I won’t go into, but what killed me was when my husband told me he was no longer attracted to me.  That pushed me to do what?  Eat more.  I topped the scales at 221 just before I left him.

After my divorce, I got back to church, I went to a Christian support group, and I ran back into the arms of Jesus.  I was saved at 13 and spent my teenage and part of my first marriage trying to serve Him, but I pushed Him away to find happiness in areas that left me empty.  However, He never left me.  He was calling me to come back to Him.  I did, and later I met the man who I cherish now as my husband.  He loves me unconditionally, something that has been an adjustment after feeling like my worth was tied to my appearance, whether that was true or not!  Sadly, there are (too many) times that Steve has had to hear the self-destructive lies that still float around in my head, and he does his best to remind me of how beautiful I am. He often says, “I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.”

HOW MANY TIMES DOES GOD SAY THAT TO US??  “I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.”

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I’m not sure I can come up with a reason for why God made me the way He did – but Psalm 139 says I was fearfully and WONDERFULLY made.  I must trust – and find my beauty – in Him.