The Evils We Cannot See #MyConfession #FightForLove #NeverGiveUpOnYourAlwaysAndForever

I feel like I’ve been extra quiet this past summer. Extra quiet because I’ve been spending more time than usual working hard on my books, spending time with friends facing tough situations, and focusing more time on my relationship with God.

I’ve had a few high moments but in reality I feel like I’ve been fighting harder for the ones I love and for myself than I ever have before. I’ve had a few moments this past year where I’ve found myself in heart wrenching sobs, my heart and soul being torn at by the claws of lies and deceit.

We look around and we can see evil, destruction, and darkness without much effort. Religious or not, I would venture to believe you would agree with me on that. There are bad things happening and people behaving badly in our hometowns, in our country, and in our world.

We find ourselves asking, “How did they get this way?” “How can people believe this is right and just?” “Why?” “What is going on?!” “Where’s God in all of this?”

First off, where does this evil come from? The possibilities are endless but I can tell you from my personal experience darkness, evil, demons, Satan—whatever you want to call it—it starts within us. It starts as a quiet whisper of lies, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never have the life you want. You’re worthless.” The list goes on and on. Whatever your insecurities are I can guarantee you, that’s exactly where that evil voice starts. We are so quick to rally to fight the evil that we can physically see that we forget, second-guess, or discount the evil that tries to rise from within. That’s the evil that wants us to give up, to be selfish, to hurt others in order to save ourselves. And it will attack us any avenue it can.

Sound a little far fetched? Too out there? Too charismatic? Maybe. Maybe not.

Last Fall as I was getting ready to pull all the final pieces together to publish How I Learned to Shine Again, I felt this inner turmoil rise up within me. At the time I thought it was the effects of reliving my grief and acknowledging my fears, but while those were certainly serious influences I can also see it was an attack. The sobbing in the bathtub with an ache in my chest stealing my joy, my breath, and my strength—was a personal attack to stop me. I was about to do something, finish something that would set me free from my grief, that would heal me, and would give meaning to my loss. I even said, “I don’t know how I’m going to finish this, I don’t want to, but I know I HAVE to.” I was about to give my pain a purpose and a purpose that was above and beyond the things of this world. I can see it now, in the eyes of readers dealing with loss—some of those wounds fresh and some those wound long healed over scars. God gave me an outlet and a grace to help others with my story. To show the world He can take horrific things and use them to good. We can’t bring those we’ve lost back to our world BUT we can find a place of comfort and healing. A place where the lost will always be missed but with a fondness instead of an agony. After all, this life is temporary but the next is unending.

This past March I was again hit with an attack that left me clutching the toilet vomiting from the pain of my sobbing from what I can best describe as the shredding of my insides, the slicing of my spirit. That instance was one where evil wanted me to give up hope on my future and my dream of a husband and family. Turns out that nastiness, opened my eyes to that lie and it forced me to seek the next call of my heart. (Which was more Jesus.)

That brings us to September. Another blessed birthday passed and I’m about to check off another piece of my spiritual journey, finding the church home where I can express and grow my faith and relationship with God. I find it of no coincidence that after setting some final dates during the day—on the brink of completing this next good thing, I found myself shattered once more sobbing in the bathtub holding my chest hoping the pressure of my hands would stop the pain. Then I couldn’t sleep. I found myself crawling out of bed and heading for the couch hoping I could sleep there because the empty space in the bed and my empty house was another wave of harsh agony that I was still here, in this place alone. No husband. No family. Just me. Alone.

Even though I know all of this is temporary (the line I tell my friends which they so graciously tell me in return, thank you for that!) I couldn’t stop the burning in my heart. When I say my heart hurts, I’m not kidding. It really, genuinely ached in my chest. Prayers are very powerful. I’ve always said that but I know the prayers of those who knew I was hurting have empowered me by the light of this day. As I was getting ready to head out today these words rose up within me and with it the anger at the evil within thinking it was going to stop me from following God’s purpose for my life. Even now I’m shaking my fist and slamming the keyboard with these words. It’d be pretty comical if I wasn’t so fired up at the moment. 😉

I was moved to share this today because how can we fight something we cannot see? How can we help each other to defeat our inner demons? We must acknowledge they exist and they’re nasty, dark, jerkwads. But we must STOP giving them space in our hearts. We don’t have to listen to their lies. We don’t have to take it!

Evil exists—around us and it tries to grow within us. Some people concede to it and reside in its misery, some people are overcome with it and spread its nastiness among us, but there are some people–some of us who are warriors. We are fighters. We love beyond our hurt. We show kindness beyond the hate. We are the ones who rise again and again no matter how many times or how many ways we are knocked down. We are not perfect but that doesn’t matter. What truly matters is having a genuine heart that wants to fight for the truth. The REAL truth—love is real. Love never fails. Love never dies. Love fights for the truth. Love heals. In all these things and many more, love defeats evil.

Evil exists but so does Good. God is the goodness in this world. God is love. When we ask He will equip us, He teaches us how to fight darkness with light. He created us to be conquerors not the conquered. But the choice remains with you—will you believe? Will you arm yourself with love for yourself and those around you? Will you stand up against evil? I am and I will continue to as long as I’m breathing. I’m using the skills God equipped me with—my words and by the way I live my life. Will you grab your talents and join me in this fight for good?

And as always, I share my heart because I want you to know if you’ve felt these nasty attacks like I have you’re not alone. We are not in this alone no matter what those nasty voices say.

Follow your call through every bump and never give up on your always and forever.

Michelle <3


Your Life Isn’t Here. Go Home. #GriefConfessions #NeverGiveUp

This post is for those of you suffering in silence. Those who are hurting so badly that you can’t even reach out to someone because you don’t even know what to say. All you know is that it hurts. The only thing worse than hurting is feeling the ache of emptiness and not being able to figure out why or how to even begin to process it. It’s tough finding out what left behind the crater in your soul and facing those demons. I can commiserate.

I finished the first draft of my grief book yesterday. There’s still more work to be done on it but that was a magical milestone for me. I was on cloud nine practically bouncing around the house footloose and fancy free and then today happened. Today feels like hell and not just because it’s 90 something degrees outside. It feels like great inferno of black flames on the inside. Overnight the darkness seeped in.

I’m unsettled, sad, and my waterproof mascara has greatly failed me today. There’s nothing more “attractive” than trails of black tear stains flowing beneath a pair of summer shades. I went to the cemetery for no other reason than it was the only place I wanted to go to. When I was upset the other weekend I wanted to pay a visit to the big rock on the ground but I didn’t get the chance. I’ve felt pulled there since.

I pulled up, hopped out of the truck, and stood in front of his name. My mind a blur of nothing and everything. I had nothing to say. Usually I at least have a few bones to pick or a good question to throw out there but today zilch. I stood there the breeze rustling through my sundress with an empty head and an aching heart. I was feeling lost. It was as if I was looking for a safe haven from the negative voices in my head because I couldn’t muster the strength to shut them down. As I stood there looking for direction I heard words echo within. “Your life isn’t here. Go home.”

I climbed back in the truck, leaned my head against the wheel and lost it once more. After I’d cleaned the black streaks from my face I headed home. “Your life isn’t here. Go home.” Those words still echoed in my mind as I crawled into my bed to hide beneath the covers. The tsunami of feelings crashed inside. Anger. Sadness. Weariness. Confusion. Frustration.

I didn’t spend much time in bed this afternoon thanks to the unsolicited texts, calls, and Eclipse needing me to take him out three times in less than twenty minutes. Once the feelings settled a bit I do what I always do and asked myself, “What is going on with you? You’re stronger than this.” Today was one of those days where I just wanted to cry but then when I started crying I was mad about the tears. These are the days I wish I could turn it off.

So what is going on with me? That dang book is what’s going on! It’s almost done and that’s incredibly exciting and equally frightening. When it’s complete it will be a solid tangible collection of words documenting some horrific days and some heartwarming days. Days filled with nothing but tears and days where I felt nothing but emptiness. The great black abyss of unfeeling was both infuriating and a welcome reprieve. And then came the days of victory, when my chest became light again and I could feel love deeper than ever before.

Finishing this book is going to free my mind and my heart from holding on so tightly to all those moments. I’ll be able to shuffle those years off to the side to fully make room for the years of my future. Just like the words I heard, “Your life isn’t here. Go home.” I’ll be able to settle into my new life. I’ll be able to go home again.

It’s hard to distinguish the root of all the tears but they certainly contained the roller coaster of emotion residing between the pages of that book.

If you’re having a difficult time fighting down the darkness today, you’re not alone. Even a Suzy Sunshine like myself gets bogged down with the fight. BUT don’t you dare give up. Find a healthy way to get those nasty feelings out so you can move past them. Your future is bright and it’s full of wonderful things as long as you keep moving. Never give up on your always and forever, even if you can’t see it right now I promise you it’s waiting patiently on your arrival. Who knows, maybe we’ll bask in the glow of it together one sunshiney day! <3


#GoHome #KeepMoving #NeverGiveUp #GriefConfessions