Moving Forward

Journey to Freedom

I have been reading a great book called ” The Unburdened Heart” by Suzanne Eller.  The book is well written and offers very good insight on the subject of finding freedom to forgive.

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This is a topic that I certainly needed to read at this point in my life. I have not always been a very good forgiver.. LOL.

How about you?

Do you struggle with forgiveness or does this come easily to you?

Suzanne offers some very valuable information throughout the book but one particular word she focused on really stuck with me.

The word is aphiemi which means to:

1. Send away

2. to let it die

3. to exchange for something else

4. to give up a debt

5. to forgive.

Suzanne discusses how when we use this word in relation to forgiveness it means we leave anger to find joy.

This is how I have felt much of the last two years. For most of my life I had held onto such anger and unforgiveness due to the way my biological family had always treated me and my family. I knew from as early as 4 or 5 years old that I was not really wanted. My parents had always made this very clear in the way I was treated but also the words spoken. Of course, this led to years of feeling so unworthy in every way and having no self-confidence. Relationships were damaged because how can you love someone else when you have no idea how to love yourself. You certainly have no capability of allowing another person to truly love you because they don’t know the real “you” like your biological family does. This was the cycle I found myself in for years and year.

I would try to be a good wife, mother and friend but I really had no clue as how to make that happen. I knew that I loved my children and husband, but until I came to accept the fact that God loved me for ME, then I would never be able to love my children or husband properly either. This was the constant battle because I heard from my parents and siblings over and over for 40 years how crazy I was because of the anxiety and panic attacks, but also how big a mistakes I was in general. I didn’t see myself as a mistake but I always believed what was spoken over me and my life. Evil and malicious words were the normal part of those relationships, so that is what I believed.

My relationships struggled because I didn’t see myself as anyone of value. How could anyone else love me when my own parents and siblings didn’t?

This was the inward struggle. Yet, after reading Suzanne’s book I have come to understand that by the neglect and abandonment of my family repeatedly over my lifetime, I had no way of having a clear view or understanding of God and HIS love for me. It distorted everything I did or didn’t do. Nothing was clear because my view of God was unclear. Until that became clear, no other relationships would work nor would I find the freedom to be myself.

The two are connected

and there is no separating them.

Without our view of God being correct, our lives will constantly spin out of control and all of our relationships will suffer.

The past two years I have learned more about myself than I had the previous 44 years.

One thing I have learned is that God loves me, designed me and has a great plan for my life.
Without Him in my life, I am nothing.

I am thankful that my heart is becoming more and more free from un-forgiveness and finding happiness to the fullest.

Isn’t God good?

I am thankful that God did not give up on me even when I gave up on myself.

I would highly recommend this book by Suzanne Eller.

She is Free

sheryl and angie

 

July 30th, 2013, My Aunt Sheryl Epperson passed from her earthly home to the home with her heavenly Father. She is free from the pain of cancer that ravished her body from bones, muscles, organs and eventually brain. She suffered horribly and I am glad that I have the memories of our time together the last few times I visited.

Please pray for our family, but most importantly for my mom who will be so lost without her sister.

Today, my Aunt Sheryl got to see her passed husband as well as her parents who she hasn’t seen in years. Reunited once again.

Today will be difficult for many who loved Sheryl, but most importantly please remember her family of two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Eyes on God

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Oswald Chambers: We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.

This life is harsh.
This life is painful at times.
This life is anxiety filled at times.
This life is difficult.
This life is challenging.
This life is demanding of our time.
In this life we will see a fallen world; YET, GOD IS ALIVE

Yet, when we trust in God and allow our eyes to stay fixed on Him and His Word, life can and will be so much more relaxed, peaceful, joyful and simple. Taking our eyes off of God and His Word will allow all of the above to overshadow His plan and His purpose for anything and everything we face in this life.

Oh, I know life can be a struggle at times and challenging, but I sure would rather be walking through this life with God by my side and Jesus in my heart, than walking through life struggling all alone.

Out of the two options: I PICK GOD AND I WANT TO CONTINUE TO KEEP MY EYES ON HIM.

I have been handed my share of difficulties in this life… more than I would ever wish on my worst enemy. I don’t know if that means God trusts me to handle what He has allowed to enter my life or if He is wanting me to learn a lesson I have yet to learn. I don’t really know…

One thing I can be sure of though: Even when I have doubted His goodness and His faithfulness, both were still there waiting for me to grab on for dear life.

Goodness and Mercy have followed me according to Psalm 23:6, even when I have doubted.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Many a time I have sat on the floor begging and pleading for God to change the outcome of a situation I have been faced with, whether it was the loss of my grandmother to murder or the loss of relationship with my son or the loss of my “life” due to my anxiety and agoraphobia. Many a times, I have felt like He has not heard me and my begging, but in the end I have to trust that He knows best.

Over a period of time things just began to finally line up for me to begin walking on the path to finding freedom from my anxiety, depression and agoraphobia. I am not sure what changed other than myself. I have lived with each of those from as early of an age as 4 or 5 years old. I have never known a time in my adult/teenage years that I have not struggled, so for freedom in any form is such an awesome feeling.. Words can’t describe the joy I feel..

God didn’t change.
God didn’t leave.
God didn’t move.
God didn’t turn a deaf ear.
God knew the time and place that my healing would happen. I just had to be patient and allow Him to set in motion all of the “pieces” that needed to be in place. Maybe it was my stubborness or my pride that kept me bound for so long. I know that part of the problem was my lack of trust in God and His love for me. Some was trying to hold onto the ashes of my past instead of letting God have all of that as well.

I don’t know why it took so long, but today I am thankful that I am in a better place and on the journey to enjoying life.

I am learning to keep my EYES on GOD and not the anxiety of life or the difficulties of life.

WITH GOD:
LIFE IS JOYFUL
LIFE IS PEACEFUL
LIFE IS HAPPINESS
LIFE IS A JOURNEY
LIFE IS LOVE
LIFE IS BEING LOVED AND LOVING OTHERS
LOVE OF LIFE

Today,my friend I want to offer you hope and a word of encouragement. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and His Word for your situation. Nothing is impossible for God. Maybe today it won’t happen, but that does not mean it can’t happen tomorrow or the next day. God is not the author of confusion ( 1 Corinthians 14:33), so stay focused, peaceful and allow God to take the reigns of your life. He knows best. Hugs to each of you today.

Love Runs Deep

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See this man? He has been my heart for 30 years. It is unreal to me that Mike and I have been together for 31 years and married 30 years
It still amazes me that a 16 year old boy and an 18 year old girl could make a life together. I knew that we loved each other, but boy this world can make life more difficult than we can ever imagine.

We have faced many challenges as teenage parents, trying to raise our sons totally from any dependence on our parents. We both finished high school, worked full time and at the age of 18 and 20 years old, we bought our first home. (Mobile Home), but still it was ours.

High school for a this 18 year old girl in 1983 was not a fun experience. It was challenging and heartbreaking most of the time. Other students were not kind or helpful in any way and most often, caused me many tears due to their continuing malicious and relentless attacks on me and my self esteem.

By the end of the first sememster, I had given up on trying to finish school because I had reached the point where I did not care anymore. I had always been a good, honest, faithful student, but this experience just made me emotionally drained, hurt and lost. Thankfully, I had a wonderful school nurse that stepped in and sought another solution out for me. In Spring of 1984, I began attending a school for pregnant girls; most sent to our town from other states so that they could give up their babies for adoption. I was not in that perdiciment, so it was a challenge daily. Yet, one advantage of this alternative school was that I had to only attend 3 days a week til noon. Attending the alternative school allowed my eyes to be opened to many areas that I had never knew exsisted before such as:

Girls that were from other ethnic groups(I was the only Caucasian)
Girls that had no support in their situation
Girls that the boy was not a part of the babies lives or their lives
Girls that had no clue of how to take care of a baby; some thought putting Coke in a bottle was a correct way to feed a baby.
Girls that had no money for ANYTHING; not even a candy bar
Girls that lived in horrible situations at home: I thought mine was bad at home with my parents but it was nothing like what they lived day in and day out.
Girls that would not even speak to me because I was White and “uppity”
Girls that thought I was rich because my husband had a car and I always had some money for lunch.
Girls that basically hated me because my guy stuck around and we were married.

Such a learning experience for me but also I hope it was a learning experience for the girls I encountered at this school: NEW DIRECTIONS in LUBBOCK TEXAS

I knew the Lord at this point in my life, yet I was a very young believer so I know that I failed on many levels. I pray though, that the girls knew that I did not believe I was any better or worse than them. We all were in the same basic situation, yet God had allowed my path to go a different direction from many of theirs at this point. By the GRACE OF GOD.

I truly believe that God sent Mike to me to save me from the life I was living. He had no idea the impact he would make on my life even at the age of 17 years old when we met. He could instantly see the damage and abuse my parents were inflicting day after day on me. He never wavered. He never backed down and always stood up to protect me. My dad was not accustomed to someone questioning him or his “discipline” so of course, this did not start their relationship off on a very good foot, but regardless my dad knew Mike would not back down. Mike and my dad eventually could be cordial and have some sense of a relationship. Mike had/nor has ever been malicious or mean in any form or fashion to my parents, yet that does not mean he would sit by and watch them recklessly inflict pain on our family. Boundaries

Most 15 year old boys would have been intimidated by my parents; but God knew that Mike would be the one that would stand the test of time and bring so much healing to my heart, soul and mind. He has always believed the best in me when I didn’t even see one ounce of worth.Mike has stood along side of me through many ups and downs. Loss of multiple family members to suicides as well as the murder of my grandmother. We have stood the normal growing pains of financial struggles, loss of jobs, raising kids, relationship struggles, as well other areas such as my fears, anxiety and eventual agoraphobia. Yet, Mike never wavered. Never sought a way out. Never believed the grass was greener somewhere else. NO..


He has stood beside me holding my hand as I have struggled to figure out my past and move into the future.

Our love runs deep and will continue to stand the test of time. God brought us together and He will continue to allow our lives to be blessed by being together. Mike is my best friend and greatest cheerleader; as I am his. We would not have made it this far without a BIG GOD with a BIG PLAN..

Boy, we proved our parents wrong…. 30 years is a long time for two young teenagers.. Hmmmm.. How is that for a story?

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Boy, It’s Cold Outside

The weather is changing here in Texas, finally. Usually we do not have cold weather until late December or even early January. Yesterday the weather was in the 70’s and then today we woke up to a cold temperature of 26 degrees. Oh Boy, it is definetly Winter.

For those of you who don’t live in West Texas, which is the upper part of Texas; our weather is always crazy here. One day it might be 70 or 80 degrees outside, and then in 30 minutes it could be snowing. We live in a very unusual part of the state in reference to weather, yet I am comfortable with this part of the weather because it is all I have known. For 47 years, I have lived in the same part of Texas and 3 small towns.

I was reflecting on this in relation to our spiritual, physical and emotional states.

I don’t know about you but I have found myself accepting certain aspects of my life when I knew in reality that I deserved better and that what I was dealing with in my own life was not God’s best for me. Yet, I sat on the sidelines letting the same merry-go-round go around and around because I could not for the life of me, figure out how to make the situation any different.

Life is not easy yet we do have choices in some aspects. Often, we almost welcome our life to continue to be the same because we basically have no idea of what, how, where or when to go about making changes to improve whatever we currently are facing..

Maybe you find yourself in a situation of accepting that you are unhappy in your marriage. Well, it is your marriage. What ARE you doing to improve the situation? What changes are you making daily in yourself to figure out how to improve the quality of your relationship? I know it is easy to sit on the sidelines and blame everyone else, but often we need to take ownership of our own MESS and do the work to improve our quality of life. Quit accepting the aspects of life that you are not happy with and go out and make the changes.

Maybe you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling financially. I have been in that situation more times than I care to count from the age of 17 years old as a young mom to a baby to an aduult at 47 years old. That is just a reality that often we  have no control over because maybe we have lost our job, had a health crisis or some other aspect of life has hit us in this area, yet that doesn’t mean that has to be your life from now on. Make the changes to improve this aspect of your life. What can you do now to help yourself and your family financially? I know at one time after I lost my job, I babysat a baby 3 days a week just to help out with income. I have also made handmade crafts and canned foods to sell. Just be willing to look for small ways to help your situation and continue to move forward. God will provide even when it feels like the world is caving in on you. Don’t give up and don’t let the enemy tell you that this is your “lot” from now on. NO.. God has bigger and better for you as well as me..

Maybe you find yourself accepting a friendship that you know is not healthy; yet you continue to stay connected because you feel that this person is the only “friend” you have. I have been in this situation as well. But really, don’t you deserve better? If this particular person is constantly belittling you,  jealous of you, controlling, demanding, pushy, angry, or the friendship is only one sided, then it is probably not the right person for you. I have been in a friendship at one time for almost 10 years where I thought this is what I deserved, so I continued to put up with it, yet over time I finally realized that I would rather be alone than to be treated badly just so I could claim to have a “best friend.” Well, I am here to tell you through Facebook, Bible Study groups, as well as church, we  all encounter people that we would like to be friends with based on a certain “persona” but we need to really let God lead us to the right people because often He is keeping us from connecting with certain ones in an effort ot protect us and our hearts.  Facebook, church and Online Bible Study groups are great ways to connect with people, but it is also a place where deep wounds of hurt can happen. Let God direct you to the right individuals and continue to tell yourself that you are worth more than just having “anyone” for a friend. He has the right friends already picked out for you.

Today, I want to offer you hope. Today in Texas it is very cold and chilly outside, but tomorrow the weather will possibly be totally different. Each day we walk with the Lord, we have the ability to have a different day, week, month and year and LIFE.. He is the only one that holds the control of our lives, yet that does not give us permission to sit idle and wait for things to all work out. Get out there and make your life the best that it can be. Do the work. Make the steps to improve your situation because each day is the opportuntiy to have the “BEST”. I certainly want Gods best for me and my family, but over the years I have also learned sometimes the BEST is letting go of certain people, things and ideas that I have had in my life and looking for the NEW God wants to offer me.

Please know that I am no expert on anything, other than learning the lessons I have through my own trials, tragedies and struggles. My life story is all I can offer to you, my readers. I am praying that somehow my words offer encouragment, hope and freedom to someone else. HUGS to each of you.

Always thinking of you..

Angie