"Shame will drive you out of the presence of God" Steven Furtick
As I walk through my own battle against shame, I've discovered that the root of most of it is coming from things in my life--situations, experiences, circumstances--that were beyond my control. Now, I'm not saying that I don't feel some sense of shame, guilt or regret for some of my own actions---but it's different. I have found it easier to forgive myself, get over those things and move on than from the things others have shamed me for in my life. I'm not sure why that is, just yet, but I suspect it has something to do with everyone's desire to fit in and that's why the things that other people find "wrong" with us are so damaging.
So, for example, the first time I remember feeling intense shame in my life was around the age of 12 or 13 and my grandmother had passed away. I was devastated. She was "my person", if you know what I mean. At age 12, almost 13, I had no clue how to process all of these hard emotions. I was grief-stricken. Her loss in my life, and to our family, was astronomical. To me, it was natural to cry and express those emotions.
My stepmother felt differently, and told me that I was "upsetting everyone and if I didn't stop crying, she would not let me go to the funeral".
The fear of not being able to go made me stuff down all of those feelings but it also did something else---it made me feel ashamed of my grief, sadness and this huge sense of loneliness over the loss of my grandmother. Suddenly, it felt "wrong" to cry and I felt as if something were wrong with me.
Shame set in. I think from that moment forward, I always carried that with me and I held back when something made me sad, happy, excited, shocked, loved, etc....
I started losing confidence in myself. It didn't happen all at once. This was an event in my life that was a catalyst for a decades long cascade into deep shame and most of it came from being the target of someone else's actions--meaning what they did was in no way my fault and it wasn't truly about me either.
This led me to fight battles that were not mine to fight. I may have to face it, but I don't have to fight it. I have one who will fight for me.
It also did something else--it began the process inside me that has caused me to shrink back from what God had made me to be. I started hiding parts of myself that He placed in me and meant for me to share. It started to cause me to be unwilling to be vulnerable anymore. This didn't happen all at once--I'm now 49 and I'm just now realizing all of this so, it was definitely a long process and series of events in my life that just built this, layer by layer, in my mind.
I could name all of the different events in my life that brought about another layer of shame; Things like being told, again by my stepmother, that "You have to be smart to be a nurse." When I shared I wanted to go to college to be a nurse. She also said that with a loud laugh.
There were other instances with this person in my life, too many to name. Each event just added more doubt, more shame and damaged my sense of self. Despite all of that coming from one person, I managed to do OK. But as I look back, I realize that I never really LIVED. I did what others expected of me and just tried to live as un-noticed as possible. Sounds kind of boring, right? It was.
Around age 24, my father and stepmother were no longer a part of my life. That was their choice, not mine. My stepmother gave my father an ultimatum: "It's either her or me." and he chose to remove me from his life. The fact that it was over lies, half truth, jealousy and just pure spite is irrelevant at this point---the woman he married was a very flawed, damaged and hurting individual. I've learned that her attitude and treatment of me was about her own pain.
And that is basically the lesson I've learned and am reminding myself of daily. MOST of the time, the way people treat you, if they dislike you, criticize you, laugh at you, insult you, attack you---it is about THEM, not you.
Another event in my life that I've come to realize added more shame to my spirit came from two people who had never met me at the time that they made some really broad assumptions about me, jumped to some ridiculous conclusions and came to some absurd snap judgements about me and my character based on absolutely no personal experience with me whatsoever. I am not even joking here. They had never met me. I do not exaggerate. All they knew was my name, I had a child and was a single mom at the time and also managed a hair salon (which meant I was also a hair stylist). Suddenly, that told them everything they needed to know and they decided I "must be a mess". They knew 5 facts about me but did not know ME yet they decided that told them enough to reject me.
At the time, I didn't get angry. I didn't react much at all. Somewhere, in the back of my mind a lie began though. The lie was this "There must be something wrong with you, Lori, if people who have never met you think that you something is not right about you. You must be defective or a mistake if they can tell how "bad" you are without ever talking to you. You deserve their rejection."
That's how shame starts. It's the idea that you ARE bad, that something is wrong with you, that you are a mistake, defective, a reject. As Brené Brown says, it's the intensely painful feeling that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging and boy did I feel unworthy and as if I didn't belong ANYWHERE. The thing is, I hadn't done anything to deserve this judgement from them--but the devil used it to convince me that I was a mistake. This added another layer of shame and at this point, it deepened and grew more roots.
I can only talk about this all now, in this way, because of the journey of self awareness and discovery that I've been on for the last several months. I can put all of this in perspective now. I could not have done that a year ago.
All of these events, with my stepmother and these other individuals set me up for the biggest blow to my spirit that was to come--the one that put me deep into the Shame Pit for 18 years and if I'm going to be honest, I'm still climbing out of it but I can see the light at the top for the first time in a long time. But once again, this descent into the Shame Pit was due to the actions of another person, not myself or anything I had done. Sharing the details of this time in my life is not something I'm quite ready to do just yet. It was a deeply personal betrayal of trust, love and commitment. It pulled the rug right out from under me and I didn't catch my footing again for many, many years.
This specific event sort of "sealed the deal" in a way. I'm not saying the effect was permanent, but what it did was to sort of complete the attack on my self-esteem, self-confidence, sense of worthiness and value, convinced me I had no purpose in life other than to just exist and take up space. It was incredibly lonely and depressing. At one point, I fought off thoughts of suicide. I was desperate for a way out of the intense pain I was in.
And all of this was the result of someone else's actions that were a result of THEIR pain and hurt---I was just in the crossfire. How often do we find ourselves in the crossfire of someone else's battle? They are hurting, shooting arrows as this pain, hurt and trauma--which most of the time is caused by someone else who is in pain and their pain was caused by yet another person in pain---do you see the pattern here?
How do we stop it? First, you have to understand the cause and nature of the battle that is before you. For me, these were NOT my battles. I didn't start it. How's the song from Billy Joel go... "We didn't start the fire.. It was always burning... Since the world's been turning...." We aren't fighting world battles but these are spiritual battles that have been around since the beginning of time and you can try to fight it, but it's not yours to fight.
Don't fight the battle you didn't start. You will lose. It will begin to consume you and you will lose yourself in the fight. You will become a hurting person who hurts others and become part of the shame cycle.
Stop fighting someone else's battle. Instead, turn your focus to God and His promises--remind yourself what He says about you:
You are alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5)
You are a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21)
Greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
It is not I who live, But Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20)
You are greatly loved by God. (Rom. 1:7, Eph. 2:4, Col. 3:12)
You can do all things through Christ. (Phil. 4:13)
You are God's workmanship, created in Christ for good works. (Eph. 2:10)
You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you. (Rom. 8:37)
*(List taken from UNashamed by Christine Caine)
You are a treasure.
You are God's friend.
You are God's son/daughter.
God loves YOU.
Let God fight those battles. They are His. If the battle is too big---it doesn't belong to you.
Share your shame with someone who deserves to hear your story. Your story won't be for everyone, but as Brené Brown says in her book, Daring Greatly: Shame can't exist with empathy. Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. You need to name it and speak it---that will cut it off at its knees. (paraphrased)
Choose who you share your story with wisely. Not everyone is meant to hear it. You need those really close 1-2 friends who will sit with you, listen and relate. This person will empathize with you and love you through the process of letting go of shame.
It is well known, and often suggested, that meal planning will help you stay on track budget wise AND health wise. It can seem like a daunting task and to be honest, at first, it is. There is a lot to sift through and it can also be a lot of trial and error. However, it is very much worth the effort! Your health is worth it and it is so satisfying to be telling your money where to go rather than being held hostage by the almighty dollar--always trying to make more which just leads to stress and more stress!
In order to have LESS stress and chaos in our lives, we might have to put up with a temporary increase while we get things more organized and regain some control. So, roll up those sleeves, my friends and make your health, your budget and your time a priority! Once you get this going, it becomes a lot easier AND you end up with more time for other things, dinner time is less stressful and your health improves which means you, and your whole family, feel better!
Here is what we are having this week:
*Some of these are recipes I've pulled from other sites and some are classic favorites of my family. I'll link recipes I've gotten from other sites and for my own ideas, I'll list out the ingredients I purchased. I feed eight every week so adjust your amounts accordingly. If a linked recipes has fewer servings listed, I just adjust my amounts.
**I also don't assign my meals to certain days of the week. I make a plan for a week and then buy the ingredients, knowing that I have everything I need on hand to make those 6 meals during the week. I only plan 6 meals because we always have 1-2 leftover nights. This is another budget saver because that means most of my leftovers get eaten instead of thrown out. I'm finding that my consistency in doing this pays off, because I often have more meals planned that I need, so I just carry it over to the next week. By not assigning them a specific night, this allows me to be flexible, if we have a busier day than normal, I can choose one of the really super easy meals to fix that night or if I'm going to be gone I can make sure that it's something easy my kids can make or I can prepare ahead of time. My stress and frustration with meals times has drastically reduced by being intentional with meal planning.
***You will find that my meals are chosen because they are gluten free and low grains. I have food allergies/sensitivities as do most of my kids. So, while we don't live a strictly Keto lifestyle, I find a lot of meal ideas and inspiration from those types of sites featuring meals for that lifestyle. I will sometimes sub Cauli-Rice for Rice, or add potatoes, maybe use a GF Pasta in a meal. You can adjust accordingly.
MEAL #1 Low-Carb BBQ Meatballs from That Low Carb Life and buttered Mashed Cauliflower
I'm really looking forward to this meal! I will most likely cook these in my Instant Pot along with the Mashed Cauliflower which will make this meal super quick, easy and less mess to clean up too!
For the buttered mashed cauliflower, you want to steam it first, drain off any excess water, place back in your pot, mashed it, adding butter, salt, pepper and heavy cream. It is SO good!
MEAL #2 Egg Roll In a Bowl from Whole New Mom
This is something I've made before, but I've not used this recipe before and it sounds delicious! I love to use "bowl" recipes because they are not only quick, easy and cheap but they are packed full of veggies and are filling! These take about 30 minutes to make--seriously, you won't regret trying this!
MEAL #3 Loaded Cauliflower from Low Carb Maven (I'm adding some shredded chick to this too! I'll cook and cut up 4 Organic Frozen Chicken Breast from Costco after thawing.) A bag is only $17.99 and I can get 2 meals from it or one large meal!
I look for family pleasing casseroles, one dish meals when I'm searching for things to try. One because they are easy and I can usually modify easily to suit my family's health and allergies. Two, because they are less costly, usually, and also less stressful to make. I want to eat healthy but I'm not into spending hours and hours in my kitchen. I reserve that for special occasions like Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc..
MEAL #4 Low Carb/Keto Beef Stroganoff from Head Bangers Kitchen (don't you love the name of this site?!?)
I chose this one because I loved the combination of seasonings. I will use ground beef to make this meal a bit cheaper for my family and offer the option of GF pasta and also have some Zucchini Noodles, or Zoodles, as well to serve this with when we have it this coming week. Stroganoff is a family fave--yummy comfort food--and it can be thrown together pretty easily if you use ground beef instead of steak or another cut of meat. I'll probably try it sometime exactly as described but for a week night meal, I want quick and easy!
MEAL #5 Salsa Chicken (with Cauli-Rice or White Rice) from My Natural Family
This is so easy! I will use the Organic Salsa from Costco--you get two BIG jars for less than $8!!! I also made this in my Instant Pot. I set it and forget it! I added the jar of Salsa, some salt, pepper, chili blend spice, a large can of green chilies and a can of coconut milk (also from Costco!) It helps beef up the flavor and keep the chicken nice and moist plus you get a fantastic "broth" to pour over that rice or Cauli-Rice! YUM!!!!
MEAL #6 BLT Avocado Salad from Simple Living Wellness!
I LOVE BLT's! and I love Avocadoes! I decided to combine some of my favorites into a very delicious and easy to make meal! You have to make this one with Iceberg Lettuce so you get that CRUNCH! I do get organic because lettuce is heavily sprayed with pesticides--YUCK!! My tomatoes come from Cecil Farms which a local CSA. Check them out and if you're local and want to sign up, use this link (affiliate link). They deliver! The quality is excellent and it's all so delicious!
Now, back to the salad! You need about 2-3# of good, quality, thick bacon for this meal--choose one free of nitrites and nitrates. You can learn some other ingredients to avoid in food here. You will also need 6 cage free eggs, 4-6 avocados depending on size, onion and your favorite dressing!
Cook your bacon and let it cool. Cook your eggs and let them cool. While both of these are cooling, chop up your lettuce, slice and dice those tomatoes, get your avocados ready! Once the eggs and bacon are cool you're ready to go! I put my chopped lettuce in a big bowl for each person to add to their plate or bowl. Then they get to add all the yummy toppings! Chopped bacon, sliced hard boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado, onion and their favorite dressing.
This salad is so filling AND it comes together very quickly and easily too! I cook my eggs in my Instant Pot (you can find a post on my IG here on how to do this in FOUR minutes!) I cook my bacon in the oven--so much easier and less messy!
It's a perfect meal on a hot summer night!
I hope this helps you to organize meal time more effectively! Come back and tell me what you loved!
If you're wanting to eat more fresh produce and mind the budget then knowing what's in season right now can save you some bucks at the check out. We are so used to having everything available that we have forgotten that just like flowers, fruits and veggies have a time they grow best and it varies with each type of produce. Here's a list of what's fresh and in season right now:
Lower prices are seen on the items that are in season v. those that are not. Generally speaking, these items should be less expensive but your location may predict prices as well. Check your local ads for the best prices and whenever possible, buy organic to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
As I scroll my Facebook or Instagram feed, I often see a lot of posts and memes of parents complaining about their kids. Some of those memes being shared are calling kids names likes @$$hole, jerks, monsters, etc... I always scroll past. I don't comment, like or react with any emoji. I believe in the freedom to post what you want, within reason, on your own page. In addition to these types of posts, I see another kind--the kind that is just overall complaining about kids, their behaviors, their needs and so on.
This name-calling of children is so disturbing to me though. Don't we tell our kids it's not kind or appropriate to call other people names? Aren't we all also advocating for teaching our kids to be kind human beings, compassionate and to help with the needs of others when they are able to???
I feel like a lot of what I'm seeing posted goes against the things we say are good lessons to teach to our own children. Isn't it a bit hypocritical to make these long posts about how people need to teach their children to be kind to others, while many parents are also posting some pretty hateful things about their own children???? (and I get it, it's a post on social media--but it shows more than you think and your child might one day be able to Google YOU and find it. Do you want them to see the post you shared that says they are little monsters??? or worse???)
This won't be a popular blog post, if it gets read. This next sentence might rub some moms and dads the wrong way too:
YOU are responsible for your attitude towards your children.
You are also responsible for the example you set for them. Trust me, as a mom to six--THEY ARE WATCHING YOU. Every move you make. Every step you take.. they are watching you. They hear what you say to others, they probably hear what you say ABOUT them when you think they are out of the room and they most definitely pick up on your attitude towards them.
If you want better behaved, kinder, calmer, more gentle children--then it starts with you.
You are the adult. They are the child. It's your job, it's your responsibility to teach them the lessons that you feel are valuable, needed and necessary for life. Don't expect them to be these calm, dutiful, in-control-of-themselves beings when you are not.
Your attitude will rub off on them, so start with yourself. Get up 15 minutes earlier, or more, so you can set the tone for the day. Get up so you can have those moments of quiet before they are up and ready to go, because it is truth that kids usually have more energy than we do. Have your coffee, tea, exercise... or whatever you need to do to get going. Focus on your attitude, your mood, adjust and take the place of authority in your own home. There may be some push back for a bit--but they will adjust. Children really want rules, boundaries, a safe environment, a place where they can learn, grow and be themselves. It's up to you to teach them how to navigate all the stress, frustration and challenges that come with life.
So, if you aren't doing a good job of that right now---How can you expect your kids to behave any better???
You are too intense.
You are too passionate. (This one really confuses me and raises my eyebrow.)
You are too rigid.
You are too loud/bold.
You are too scheduled.
You are too opinionated.
You are weird.
You are just too much.
and the list can go on and on. Anyone else relate?
I allowed all of the times people said these types of things to me to influence my thinking, personality, behavior, and most of my choices. The result was me being unhappy in my own skin, feeling like a fake and a liar, just overall being miserable. Broken. Rejected. Feeling unworthy and like something was wrong with me. Why didn't I fit in anywhere??? Was I supposed to even be here????
Sigh......... I'm nearly 49 and I'm just starting to figure out a lot of stuff. I spend a lot of time at home and "keeping to myself" because of the thoughts I mentioned above. It became too much to try to be someone I wasn't and fit into all the different molds people wanted me to morph into while facing rejection after rejection. Staying home was easier.
This is hard post for me to write. I'm still wrestling, internally and emotionally, with all of this. I'm trying to discover who I really am and HOW I am, not the version that the world wants. I'm learning to like, love and accept myself as I am, then work on the parts that truly need changing. It will surprise a lot of people when they learn that what they think I need to work on is not what God says I need to change.
I think I want what everyone else wants; To be loved, accepted, appreciated and valued for who I am and what I bring to the proverbial table. Just because my gifts, talents and skills are different than yours doesn't make them less valuable or less needed in this world. It might shock some to know that God made me the way I am and has a specific purpose for me on Earth. I most definitely have to develop my gifts, answer the call, waiting to be anointed and appointed but if I fail to do that because of what others say about me or want me to be, then I'm in the wrong and I'm the only one responsible for that failure. I don't answer to the rest of the world. See, I was not put here on Earth to fulfill YOUR plans for my life, your idea of ministry, your goals, your dreams or your purpose. I may, at some point, have a part to play in the purpose of someone else's life but I have my own unique purpose as well. I'm not a tool or accessory to your life.
I'm struggling with a lot of this right now. I'm frustrated and angry that I allowed so many people to shape me and form this false persona that is hard to shed. It is proving to be really hard to get all of this wrong, faulty thinking out of my head and forge forward to be who God meant me to be and do what I know I should be doing and stop being concerned with the opinions, thoughts and feelings of others who might think I'm "weird". I'd never set out to purposely hurt someone's feelings but people often choose to be put off by my passion, intensity, organizational skills, etc.. They wish to silence me or at least tame it for their comfort. I'm learning that their discomfort with my calling is not my concern. If I'm wrong about it, then that's on ME. It's really becoming quite exhausting trying to fit into all of these molds that others want me to pour myself into and out of for their comfort or preference.
God didn't intend for us all to be just alike, that would be incredibly boring!
So, if you are one of those people who have thought at times that I'm too loud, well that's your issue not mine. Sometimes, being loud is how you get heard. I am actually fairly quiet until I get the opportunity to speak about something important and meaningful. You might want to listen sometime, it might just make a difference in your life.
If you have thought, or said to me that I'm too passionate or too intense.. again, it's your issue not mine. Jesus had immense passion for what He was doing here on Earth. So do I. I'm just being like Christ (or at least trying!) So, if you have a problem with my passion and intensity, take up with my Creator. #truth #nufsaid
Too rigid??? Well, I'm going to sound like a broken record, but that's your problem, not mine. I'm the one who has to live in the chaos that ensues if I choose to be irresponsible and not have routines in my busy life. There is nothing wrong with having structure and order in your life. It's called A-D-U-L-T-I-N-G. I think we have enough immature, irresponsible adults out there, don't you???
Too scheduled?? I'm gonna ask a tough question.. What concern is it of yours? How does that effect your day to day life?? See above about rigidity. I have a lot to keep track of so I choose to be responsible so I can get done what needs to be done.
Too Opinionated???? This is an interesting one for me. I think people often confuse my opinions with what I know the Bible says about what is RIGHT. There is a difference. Do you know what it is? I do. I have opinions about how to raise children, but I also have what I know is RIGHT about raising kids. If you don't agree, take it up with God. I'll also add that I know my own mind on a lot of things. I am not very often wishy-washy or at odds with myself. I have been called a "know it all" and asked "Must be awesome to be right all the time, huh Lori?" I think I'm right about how I am supposed to live MY life and raise my children and conduct my affairs. What you do with yours is not my business unless it inflicts harm on me or mine; Then, and only then, will I have a problem with how you choose to live your life. So, I don't think I'm right all the time or know everything, but I am the mom that was given these kids, this life to live and I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing (I'm definitely working at figuring it out) Isn't that part of what being a Proverbs 31 woman is about???? Why should I make myself appear to be less to make you comfortable where you are? Rise to the occasion!! Why should I hide my gifts, talents, and skills so you can feel better about you??? Why should ANYONE do that???
How you feel about yourself is your responsibility, not mine.
I think that the majority of the time people are criticizing traits they see in others it is one of two things:
1.) They see something in the other person they don't like. They realize how awful/bad/annoying/disruptive/toxic it is and now they are in conflict with themselves but they "attack" the other person instead of dealing with their own issues.
2.) They wish they had whatever quality this other person has and they are jealous/uncomfortable/envious of the other person. They are miserable because they haven't discovered their own unique talents, gifts and skills so they want to bring others down with them. Comparison is the thief of joy!
That's why I repeated myself so often above. Your issues with me, unless I've done something completely heinous, awful, hurtful, wrong, are YOUR issues, not mine. You need to deal with your own "demons" instead of creating more for others.
I was created with a beautiful mind. One that thinks in excess and overanalyzes nearly everything. This can be good and bad, but I cannot count the number of times that the way my brain works SAVED me from making a huge mistake or kept my kids safe. I also pay a lot of attention to my gut, or intuition, better known as the Holy Spirit. I don't know more, I SEE more. My brain looks at things differently and it takes in a lot more information than I'd like sometimes. I don't consider myself a genius, or anything like that, but I do know that they way my brain works is, most of the time, a strength and I'm learning to recognize when I am allowing it to be excuse or a weakness.
The way your brain works is amazing too! The trick is to develop your mind, your skills, yourself.. to be the best version of you that you can be! You will find the people who will love you the way you are, seeing your unique style and personality as a gift to the world! Until then, know that God loves you just as you are! He wants to help you become all He meant you to be if you will just ask and let Him guide you to the right resources, plus be willing to work on healing your past hurts and learning from them. Don't let others decide your life for you; Take the time to figure it out with God as your guide and the Holy Spirit as your Helper.
Rejection. We all face it at some point or another in our lives. Man, does it hurt! It stings and then goes deeper, into your very core. You begin to question your value, your worthiness and ask yourself "What's wrong with me?" This feeling just sits there--like this huge, but somehow heavy hole in your innermost being. Pretty soon, it makes you afraid to keep putting yourself out there. Your self esteem and self confidence take a nose dive as well. You start to question everything about yourself.
"Smile more! Look happy! Talk to people! Put yourself out there more! Fake it til you make it!"
I've heard those phrases more times than I care to admit and certainly more than I ever needed to hear them. They never helped. It just made me feel worse. Jesus didn't preach a "fake it til you make it" message. Yet, most of the time these phrases were coming from other Christians. Even those I considered "leaders" or authority on spiritual matters. Those words only did more damage. I was in a place where I was looking for answers, help, empathy, guidance, tools.... compassion and all I got was how badly my "attitude" effected others and that was why I didn't have friends and no one wanted to talk to me.
What if your life is such a colossal mess, with one crisis after another and you're doing good to just BE somewhere other than your bed or your couch? What if putting yourself out there is literally the monumental feat, at the time, of being in a different location other than your home address????? What if you used up all the physical, mental and emotional energy you could muster just to get yourself ready, your kids ready and make it from home to Point B?????
I'm not ashamed to say I've been in that place. Merely existing. My life as an adult has been terribly messy, with many crises, traumas and upheavals to my status quo that were not of my doing but were caused by someone else's actions. I didn't always handle them well. I wish I could say I had responded with grace, with calmness, with an ability to keep it together--but I'd be lying. I'm not sure anyone handles traumatic events with ease. They may put on the "fake it til you make it" face for the world but on the inside they are in immense emotional pain. I never did have much of a poker face and I'm done apologizing for it too. It can literally threaten your physical well being and health to shove down emotions that you need to deal with and process. If you keep shoving those hard emotions down, it breaks you.
"A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones" Proverbs 17:22
I've been very depressed, sad, grief stricken, betrayed and rejected over and over again. It has definitely left its scars and it has changed me. I can't count the number of times it was all I could do to get myself and my kids somewhere we needed to be. Once there, I felt like I had accomplished something HUGE for the day, but no one else knew that because no one asked me how I was doing or what was going on. I could not have forced a smile on my face even for money. I had no energy to do so. Have you ever been so down, that even smiling was just too much? That you needed to conserve what little energy you had in order to do what was absolutely necessary? I have. In those days, it was making sure I got up out of bed and took care of my kids. Those were my priorities, not sparing someone else from my pain and making sure all they saw was a smile on my face. Jesus meets us right we are, in the ugly, ugly messes of life. Christians are called to do the same for others, whether they are a Believer or not. The problem I see is that most people calling themselves followers of Christ are acting the least like him and choosing to forget about the pain and suffering He came to alleviate AND that He works THROUGH us. But only if we allow it.
Sufferers are often forgotten by the celebrators. People will choose to not hear, or even become tone deaf--hearing, but offering no help. Instead there is only judgement, condemnation and criticism. Human beings are better at inflicting pain on others than they are at enduring it, whether it's their own or someone else's. Humans would often rather hurt others, even someone already in pain, than to feel the hurt.
But everyone suffers from the blows of life.
Some allow it to destroy them.
Others learn from it and choose to grow. We don't allow our suffering to be in vain.
Whether we acknowledge it or choose to deny it, traumatic events WILL happen in our lives and the lives of every person we come in contact with over the course of living. Trauma causes a tremendous shaking in every aspect of life, things shift. The pain can be so deep, so consuming that many people will choose to never hope again, never dream again, never love again and certainly never take another chance that life could be better. They withdraw, isolate themselves, seeking safety and certainty.
When you meet someone like that, you have a chance to help them, to minister to, comfort, to encourage and to remind them of their value and worth. You have a chance to LISTEN. Most of the time, listening is what they really need. The human need to be HEARD is so great that is often associated with feeling loved.
You can be that last straw that breaks them and pushes them towards darkness. Just as it's a choice to let the trauma consume you, it's also a choice to help someone or not. You might be the person that they need right there, right then. And I'll tell you a little secret, if you find yourself with someone who is obviously hurting, chances are YOU are the person that has been sent to bring that element of human comfort and contact. So, quit looking around as if YOU are the one in need of saving. You will miss out on an opportunity to bless someone and be blessed. There is something very amazing about the feeling you get when you help someone out of a dark place. It's one the most rewarding experiences, next to giving birth, that I've ever experienced in my life.
You aren't here to ignore the suffering of others, to turn your back, close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and skip away singing "Lalalalalalala". You are here as an emissary of God's love, to help relieve the suffering of others, not add to it. We are to help each other realize our full potential and purpose. We are supposed to run the race together.
When I was at my darkest, there was not a single human being there for me. My pain was "too much" for them to bare. It was too uncomfortable, too intense, too messy. For a long time, I did not know what to do. I went through the motions of life but I was on auto-pilot most of the time. I turned off my pain in order to deal with life and in doing so, I also turned off what makes me human. Our emotions are part of who we are, placed in us by our Creator, God. If we are to believe that we our made in His image, then emotions are part of that image and they are modeled after HIS OWN EMOTIONS. Let that sink in.
God, our creator, probably experiences emotions on a whole different level from us. To be human is to experience everything that makes us human, and that includes emotions. The problem doesn't lie in having them, the problem is the lack of training, or teaching, on them and how to handle them from a biblical standpoint. Simple telling someone "Don't run your life by how you feel." is not enough instruction on how to deal with really tough situations, traumatic events, hurts and loss that we are all bound to experiences in our lives, often more than once.
I am no longer in that dark, lonely, desolate place in my mind. I found my way out, I'm nearly to the top. I still have some work to do on me. I still feel pretty lonely, in the natural, in dealing with the events of my life and what has brought me to this point, but in the spiritual, I've grown and have a closer relationship with God. I won't ever deny that some good things came out of my suffering but I do think that a better job can be done by Christians and Churches, as a whole to help people who are in a bad place, emotionally speaking. Obviously, if professional help is needed, then seek that. There is only so much a Pastor or a fellow Believer can do for someone in real crisis; I'm not suggesting that we should take the place of professional therapists/counselors when those are needed because we do need to know our limits BUT, we also need to stop ignoring the needs of those seeking answers. We need to stop expecting those who are hurting to make us feel better by not showing us their pain.
Something else I've learned from all of my struggles, is that I don't want anyone to ever feel as lonely, rejected, ignored and forgotten as I have felt, and still do at times. I found a passion that I either didn't know I had, or that grew from my own situation. If you are someone who is hurting and you need someone who will listen, remind you of your value, that you have a purpose, that this pain doesn't define you and who will help you find your way out... then please reach out! I can't promise to have all the answers, but I won't turn my back on you. I will also help you find resources in your area, whether you are local to me or not. You don't have to struggle alone.
P.S. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone who you know is going through a tough situation especially if they keep coming to mind. That is most likely the Holy Spirit prompting you to make contact, you have something they need or you will have it when you need it. I also know, all too well, that some people like to play the role of victim like it's their job. Still, don't be afraid, if you rely on the Holy Sprit, He will definitely tell you if you need to walk away, distance yourself or protect yourself from someone who just isn't ready for healing. There will always be people who might take advantage of you, just use common sense and your Helper as your guide.
That's it! I've taken you through all of the products in the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living and shown you my most favorite ways to use them. I have never regretted becoming a Wholesale member with Young Living. I get to have the confidence that what I'm using is good for my family and know that I'm buying from a company that is mindful of our planet and also makes a product for a purpose, not a profit.
If you are searching for safer, natural products that are free of harsh, harmful chemicals, then search no more! You have found them! From essential oils, to oral hygiene, from supplements to healthy snacks and personal care, Young Living has it!
You can just be a product user, happily buying your favorites every month OR you can start a business, or a hobby, to make a little extra cash! The choice is YOURS!
BOTTOM LINE: You can never go wrong by choosing to support the normal function and processes of the human body. The body has an amazing ability to mend and heal itself when given the tools and resources.
I hope you enjoyed learning! If you're ready to get started with your own Premium Starter Kit, please go here to sign up and get your kit ordered; It's waiting for you and I can't wait to help you tackle your health and wellness goals!
I think by now everyone has heard of antioxidants and that they are good for you, right? But do you know WHY you need them? Well, antioxidants protect our cells from oxidative stress. In technical terms, oxidative stress is an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and our body's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates OR to repair the resulting damage. Peroxides and free radicals result causing damage to all components of a cell (including proteins and lipids, or fats) and our DNA.
To put is simply, these reactive oxygen species damage our cells, which causes aging. We sort of "rust" from the inside. If you see rust on a car, that's a form of oxidative stress. When an apple, that is cut in half, starts to turn brown, that's oxidative stress.
So, antioxidants are pretty important for the function, health and longevity of our body! We can't make antioxidants, we have to consume them.
NingXia Red can help us get those very important antioxidants! It's made from the NingXia Wolfberry, which comes from a very special place in China. There is no other place like it on earth! Here is where you can read more about it: The Story of NingXia Red.
Here are some of the ways we enjoy NingXia Red in my home:
10 Ways to Enjoy NingXia Red:
1.) NingXia Gummies! These are great for kids and for on the go! (See recipe below!)
2.) Freeze it and make popsicles for a cool, hot weather treat! You can mix with pineapple juice, orange juice and bits of fruit!
3.) Add 2 ounces to a Smoothie! Yum! I love to add some to the Young Living Slique Shake!
4.) Add Vitality oils to your daily NingXia to boost your wellness!
5.) Pour over yogurt and add granola for breakfast or a snack.
6.) NingXia Red supports every body system, so daily use is recommended.
7.) Afternoon Pick Me Up: Drink 1-2 ounces and add a drop of Peppermint Vitality!
8.) Freeze the 2 ounce single packets for about 15 minutes for a slushy, icy treat!
9.) Combine with sparkling water and vitality oils for a Mocktail!
10.) Provides support for normal blood sugar levels.
NingXia is basically a liquid supplement that contains protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals! You can join Young Living as a wholesale member and start off with a NingXia Red Starter Kit, go here to check it out!
Everyone has stress. It's an inevitable part of life. It can make any day a real roller coaster of ups and downs. Our body does have a physiological response to stress and that response can trigger a bunch of negative things to happen in the body.
"The Stress Response" is usually the result of a negative and potentially harmful stimulus that takes place in our environment. This response is automatic, it's how our bodies are programmed to react to such stimulus. We can't stop it but we can help our bodies manage it better and reduce the effects of "The Stress Response".
Read more here about how the body responds to stress. It's very interesting and eye opening!
One of my go to's for managing stress is to use my Young Living Essential Oils. My favorite is the blend called StressAway. Gosh, this one smells so good! It is such a pleasing aroma that almost instantly relaxes my mind and eases my tension. It has Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea and Lavender in it and it smells like I've gone on vacation to the beach!
Just like all the other oils I've talked about, this blend has many uses as well. Here are my faves!
10 Uses for StressAway Essential Oil Blend:
1.) Diffuse to relax after a long day. Whether you work out of the home, in the home or have had a busy day of running errands, this blend helps you let go of all of that in a matter of moments!
2.) Add to epsom salts to soak in a warm bath after work or anytime you feel you need it.
3.) Inhale deeply to destress the mind and calm emotions. Just open the bottle and take a deep, long breath! Exhale slowly!
4.) Use before giving a presentation, taking a test, job interview so you can remain calm and to ease nervousness. I also use my Valor along with this one, it's the perfect combo to ease my jitters about talking in front of people or being in large crowds.
5.) Diffuse while falling asleep.
6.) Make a roll on for on the go application! Traffic jam? Kids fussing? Roll some one everyone!
7.) Drop 2-3 drops on a cotton ball, or a wooden clothes pin, and put in/on your car vent for those long ride, commutes or travels!
8.) Use as a perfume! I do this almost daily and I get TONS of compliments on how good I smell and everyone around me says they feel more relaxed too!
9.) Use it daily to support your system. Applying it BEFORE you leave the house and starting your day helps your body be more prepared for the stress of the day and if you've got that roll on ready, you can reapply if needed.
10.) Add it to the Young Living Bath & Shower Gel Base for an aromatic shower or bath experience! The stress will melt away!
I have not met anyone that doesn't love the aroma of this blend! It just has that effect on people. Let me know how you use it in the comments or why you need it!
In today's world, having some peace and feeling calm can be a rare occurrence. I have found essential oils to assist me in achieving that goal. One of my favorite to use is a blend called, you guessed it! Peace & Calming. It smells heavenly! Tangerine, Orange, Ylang-Ylang, Patchouli and Blue Tansy make up this blend of wonderfully calming oils. I use it several times a week! Here are my favorite uses for this blend:
10 Uses for Peace & Calming Essential Oil Blend:
1.) I love to combine this with a light carrier oil, like Grapeseed, to apply to skin that needs some soothing and calming. It helps almost immediately to make my irritated skin feel better!
2.) We diffuse this one fairly often at night to encourage sleep. Or apply to the bottoms of feet and down the spine.
3.) It can also be diffused to help calm during extreme emotions. (I have a son with some special needs and challenges, emotional balance and control can be a major issue when he's upset, this blend calms him right down!)
4.) This is a great scent for dryer balls when drying your sheets or towels! Wait until the cycle is almost done, put a few drops on each dryer ball then throw back in to finish up!
5.) Diffuse, or place a drop on your chest when comforting a fussy babe; Calms them right down! Also works to help encourage NAPS!!!
6.) Speaking of babies, this one works for their tender skin too! I didn't have this when my last child was in diapers, but it's gentle nature sure would have come in handy during some diaper changes! (*Don't apply to broken skin). Just combine with a carrier oil then apply. While my kids are out of diapers, they occasionally need some skin support because they.. um.. get in a hurry after using the bathroom, so this comes in handy!
7.) I wish I'd had this one when I had toddlers! They can be a whirlwind of emotions! This would have been with me on every outing, grocery trip or long car ride! I still use it with my younger children though, it makes car rides and outings a lot more pleasant for everyone especially when patience is thin and everyone is over tired from a long day.
8.) Got pets? Do they hate storms? Apply a little bit of this on their collar and behind the ears to help them stay calm. (works for adults too!)
9.) Add to 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Epsom salts for a very relaxing night time bath.
10.) Diffuse at night to help prevent teeth grinding.
Those are the main ways we use them in our home. Tell me how you us Peace & Calming if you have it!