Trauma is No Joke #Confessions #NotAnAprilFoolsJoke #FaithThroughDarkness

This past week has been one where I’ve really had to fight the demons of doubt and fear. It been difficult and I’ve felt myself retreating. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. It’s just been a while since I’ve been on a cycle this rough. (Thank God for that!) Once I realized what I was doing I became frustrated. I don’t want to pull inward and away from everyone. My goal has been to find ways to be more vulnerable and honest. I don’t like to go in the opposite direction of my goals. It irritates me.

Regardless, I spent Thursday this week wanting to do nothing but lie on my couch and do nothing. (Which is NOT me at all.) And then the tears started. I cried Thursday morning went out and forced myself to get some work done and then returned home to find myself crying again. *insert eye roll*

Yesterday I woke up in a much better place and had a good day until I didn’t. Sometimes unexpected things happen (or don’t happen) and it tips the scale you’ve been working so hard to keep balanced.

Trauma. Sometimes things get thrown into your path and that trauma trigger flips your switch. It flipped mine, and in the moment it completely shut me down. From the outside, it’s not too noticeable but on the inside nothing but empty. It’s like someone hit the pause button on me. No thoughts. No feelings. Nothing. While a part of me knew this was happening, that voice of reason wasn’t strong enough to formulate a reaction. It shut down my ability to cope in that moment. Shock had wrapped me up again in its tight grip.

As my world slowly rebooted hours later, I started to realize what was happening to me. As understanding unraveled, those old feelings of dread, those fears, the realities I’ve experienced settled in. The tears came once again. And I was frustrated because again I was wounded. When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to be reasonable. It’s hard to see the light. It’s even harder to have faith. And then come the wicked thoughts. In the midst of loneliness, dread, and fear, I tried to pray again.

When shock had set in earlier, I couldn’t pray. That scared me. Thankfully, later on I was able to pray again but it felt flat and whiny but I tried to talk to God anyway. I resorted to praying for those I love instead of for myself because I had no idea what to ask for or what I needed to help myself but praying for others was much easier.

After a phone call with a good friend and a few more prayers I went to sleep. I woke up at 4:00 am in tears. Once they’d ran their course and sleep wasn’t returning, I picked up my notebook hoping writing words on the page would settle myself enough to sleep again.

I wrote, “I try my best not to dwell in the past. Obviously, I know what I’ve lived—the hardships and the victories. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the trauma…waking up at 4:00 am in the same dark room I’ve faced many demons in, the same dark room my heart bled night after night in, it’s hard to ignore that ‘muscle memory.’”

There’s this part of me that was disappointed in myself for my reaction. Because I had it in my head that after writing Shine, I’d found a place to capture those demons. I didn’t need to relive their darkness anymore. I thought I’d successfully put that part of me up on the shelf. It’s true that book has allowed me to heal and move forward beyond my expectations. It just sucks when the trauma resurfaces. That loss of self-control and the shock in that moment yesterday, it wounded me again. By hurting me again, it was as if a voice shouted, “You’re not as free as you think you are. I still have power over you.”

In the darkness of night and early morning, I felt disappointed in myself. Irritated that I was human. But this morning, writing this post it reminds me of how wrong that wicked voice is. Because if my trauma still had power over me, I wouldn’t be able to get up and write a blog post for the world to read. I wouldn’t be able to click share and let you see all my vulnerable pieces.

People often wonder how I can be so happy especially when I don’t have “everything I want.” Believe me, sometimes I question my peace and joy. How can I be so happy when there are still so many things I want for my life? I’ve got a two part answer for you—it’s God and it’s faith. God grants me this peace and the more I seek Him the greater it becomes. And faith is all about hoping and believing for what is unseen. It’s not just sitting in “happy imagination land” but about putting into action the good things you are believing for. Faith without works is dead. This blog post is my work, because I know God is making a way where were I don’t see one. He’s growing me and cleaning up the rough edges so I can be ready for the next level.

Last night in my tearful darkness I said, “I know this isn’t going to last forever. I know there’s a purpose. It just doesn’t feel so great right now but I know you are taking care of this.” Years ago I wouldn’t never been able to utter those words. So that experience tells me that years from now I’ll be even better at coping with these rough patches, because He’s strengthened and equipped me to do so.

Have a good weekend, my friends! And remember it’s not failure unless you decide to settle. It really is darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up. And NEVER give up on your always and forever, no matter what that might be. <3

Do you even see me? #FaithConfessions #LoveHugsAndSunshine #Reminders

Do you even see me? Do you ever feel like you’ve mistakenly put on your invisibility cloak?

Maybe you’re on a date. Maybe you’re out to dinner with a parent. Maybe you’re across the table from your child attempting to pour some great life lesson into them or simply trying to get them to not spill their drink all over the table. Maybe you’re standing in front of your boss. Maybe you’re in the front of the classroom. No matter where you are, I’m sure you’ve had a moment or two where you’ve felt invisible.

There have been so many times in my life where I’ve found myself asking does this person even see me? Sometimes I find myself sitting there thinking do I need a neon sign, flashing lights, and a megaphone? Cause I could get those things if necessary. I’ve already got the megaphone—two actually. 😉

Obviously, I know I’m being seen physically but then there are those times when we truly believe we are invisible, no one sees us, no one cares, and we’re a lost cause. Those are the times we feel lost in the shadows of our troubles. In those moments where you feel deeply hidden I want you to remember, you are seen. My faith tells me God sees me. He sees us. I can tell you people see, too. They notice. They may not always say anything but they see.

I never realized how much people paid attention to me until I lost my husband. Of course, what happened in my life caused people to take note but so many people were there watching before that— like my family, my friends, and my co-workers. After my loss, I spent so many dark nights wanting someone to see me, to save me, to help me, because I was so beyond low I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t even have the strength to make such a request.

But God saw me. He heard me. He’d already sent Jesus to save me from my sins and He sent him again to save me from my broken heart. (Technically he never left but I think you get my point.)

My heart has bruises and scars but I don’t see those as negative things. Those wounds have grown me. Those scars remind me that life is more than making the grade and checking items off the to do list. Those bruises have taught me I don’t have this together, but God does. He can and has done work within my soul and in my life I once thought impossible. So when the fear tries to drown out my dreams and fill my mind with doubts, I’ve learned to turn and say, “No, God has got this. He will make this work. He didn’t give up on me so I won’t give up on Him.”

Friends, family, readers, and acquaintances, have noted how they watched my journey through loss, and now tune in for my travels, life updates, and all the megaphone, truck cruising adventures. It’s like I’ve got my own little fan club, which for the tall, quiet girl who always sat in the back of class feeling invisible, it seems wildly impossible and utterly insane to be seen, noticed, and watched. (In non-creepy ways of course. LOL!)

I bet you’ve got your own fan club, too. You have no idea how many people truly see you. They see how you act and they hear what you have to say. They observe how you live, how you survive, and how you thrive. More often than not, we don’t get the privilege of seeing our effect on other people, of hearing about our influence on other hearts. Nothing shocks me more than how just being myself affects the lives of others. I’ve stopped trying to be the person that the world tells me I’m supposed to be and instead I’m being me and running towards growing into the best Michelle I can be. (That might sound cheesy, cliché, but it’s true.) I want to be all that God created and equipped me to be. Crazy enough, the more I focus on that the more I feel like I’m seen. In this endeavor, I’m fulfilled. It’s the root of the peace and joy in my life.

God has always seen me, even when I felt forgotten and unloved. He was still there. He’s always there, sometimes we just get turned around and can’t see His light anymore.

So when I think about those times, when I’m sitting across the table feeling invisible, when I’m throwing all of my energy into a lecture, when I’m pouring encouragement into a friend (young or old), when I’m wondering if my future husband missed the love boat, or when I’m sitting in the corner of a coffee shop attempting to throw words on the page…

I’m seen. I’m noticed. I’m visible. And so are you. Keep working, keep pushing, keep moving towards whatever God has put in your heart. He sees everything—the good, the bad, and in between. I hope along the way your eyes are opened to some of the ways you’re seen by those around you.

I don’t know why this hit me today but that’s just how my weird soul works. I think I needed the reminder for myself and maybe someone reading this, someone who “watches” me needs to hear this too. We are seen. We are noticed. We are NOT invisible. And because of that we should never give up on our always and forever. <3

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #YouAreSeen