Breathing Room

So many stirrings.

Such depths of longing.

Yet, few words will form- or suffice.

I want to make concrete these stirrings I have- this growing hunger for more: more space, more freedom, more ease, more breathing room- but I can’t quite yet.

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It comes like a leaky faucet- in drips and drabs and droplets: the prayers, quotes, songs, pictures, and metaphors of others. Ones for now, I’ll gladly borrow:

The TeacupIlluminata, Breathe with Love. The Coffee ShopStarlight in the Darkness, yoga in the morning. Floating Clouds, open ocean, rustling wind within the trees.

They whisper my unformed words – silent soliloquies.

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It’s a tune I recognize from a pit of knowing-  the woman who longs to emerge and stay:

Who wants more love, less judgement.

More being, less doing.

More get to’s, less have to’s. 

More listening, less talking. 

More living, less striving. 

… In both my external world and my internal.

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In these four weeks of silence, I’ve rediscovered a best friend- the voice I once knew and followed with passion…. my soul.

I hear her again. And her voice is so sweet.

We’re starting at last to honour our own discomfort, to think that maybe we weren’t crazy after all, chafing for years under the oppressive weight of our cultural nonsense.

Millions of us now reach out for our lost, buried souls, and once we begin the search, we’re bound to find it. – Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

….  like an old familiar friend or a cozy sweater; a timeless love song, set to a moody ballad.

At first her voice was quiet, like a soft whisper I strained to hear. But now she’s singing with octane and the innocence of an untamed child.

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Curious, she is; whimsical and passionate; in love with life- her life.

She sees good and beauty everywhere; from an orange, to a butterfly, to the faces of neighbours passing by.

She knows what she wants and it’s not the things this world tells her she does.

She worships in surrender, with a kind of teenage love. Uninterested in religion, but fiercely hungry for God.

She’s inclusive of others, regardless of differences- asking questions without forming opinions first.

She shines bright- Light in poise and manner. Unconcerned with words, she sees no need to explain herself. She lets actions, speak louder.

It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – James 3:13 (The Message)

Like a lighthouse, she feels no need to draw attention inward. She shines outward for the sake of others- a light left on for pilgrims on the journey.

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She delights in her senses and revels in flavour.

She feels at home – in her body and her community.

She sees abundance in place of scarcity and trusts implicitly.

She flourishes in simplicity and blooms inside the margins- with time, in the waiting. 

She’s unhurried and unrushed, trusting in the process and her pleasure.

It’s the journey she’s after- one of meaning: connection and joy; contentment and faith.

This is the legacy she wants to leave.

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As I’ve listen to her voice and befriended her longings, I found new space to thrive- breathing room.

It was there all along, like an unopened present, just waiting for me to see it.

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I was too busy and distracted to notice; to hurried in my tasks to care. I chose instead, the beat of expectation- my own, the world’s, what I thought the church (and God) required of me. 

Now, I find myself rebelling- pushing back against the fence walls that boxed me in and stifled the lyrics of my soul.

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Like my ideas of faith and God, my life is expanding- and in that expansion, I’ve found myself, again- my true self, my soul.

Like a reunion of saints:

Her innocence, my maturity. Her whimsy, my experience. Her freedom, my longing. Her joy, my suffering.

Together, we are better. 

In our union, we’ve found home. 

 

 

 

 

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When you’re tired of beating yourself up for not being good enough

If forgiveness takes away what stands between you and someone else, then forgiving yourself takes away what stands between you and your heart made whole.

The Holy Spirit is screaming of your innocence at each moment, but your wounds scream about your supposed faults. God sees us as we REALLY are, and since we are the perfect image of a perfect God, He sure does love what He sees when He looks at us.

You don’t have faults. You simply have wounds. Your wounds are the places you have judged as ‘not enough’ or ‘unlovable,’ so what if you could forgive yourself for your wounds today, even as they’re being healed?

1) Put your hand on your heart.
2) Close your eyes.
3) Say this out loud: “God does not want to punish me. Christ was punished enough. God wants to heal me. And I will be like Him, so I will forgive myself.”
4) Say this out loud as many times as you need until it sinks in…

“I forgive you, (name), for being wounded.” – Christa Black Gifford | Heart Made Whole 

Kailey, I forgive you for all the times you choose to live small, afraid and chained by your pain. I understand why- truly I do – and from today forward, I choose to simply sit with you in your hurt and give you grace, just as God gives you each moment. I will not blame you, I will not judge you and I will no longer try to fix you!

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I forgive you for being so easily offended.

For so much of your life you’ve felt misunderstood and your heart misrepresented by people’s assumptions. You’ve wanted those closest to you to see you for your strengths and your goodness, rather than your faults and imperfections.

I forgive you for having no boundaries, for people pleasing and doing things out of obligation.

Time and again people have emotionally withdrawn from you or gotten upset when you haven’t acted the way they would like or when you haven’t met their expectations. Your greatest desire is connection, so I can see your fear in not meeting their ideals.

I forgive you for pushing your feelings aside for the benefit of others, to avoid conflict or others anger.

You didn’t know any better and believed that others emotional health was your responsibility. You’re still learning to establish boundaries and to see your emotions as valuable tools.

I forgive you for striving and performing.

Growing up, the attention you did receive was from the things you accomplished, your hunger to grow/improve and for your ferocious work ethic. Although the attention was a counterfeit substitute for love, you took it because it temporarily soothed the hurt of people not staying.  It came from a place of longing to know unconditional love.

I forgive you for worrying and falling prey to paralyzing anxiety.

You felt unsafe and unprotected int his world from the early age of six. You felt it was your responsibility to keep yourself safe and that’s a heavy burden for a child to carry.

I forgive you for seeking the acceptance, approval and love of people more than God.

You’ve experienced rejection in some of your most significant relationship which told you you weren’t good enough. You longed desperately to have someone in your corner who would stay, even when things got hard or you stepped on their toes in your imperfections.

I forgive you for being mad at God, for seeing him as a bully and a punisher; the source of your pain and suffering.

From an early age you were taught about God’s wrath and about religion- a set of do’s an don’t– , rather than relationship with Jesus. You experienced the death of a loved one so young and the messy wrestlings of why bad things happen to good people. It too much for a child to understand. You’ve experienced the churches attempts to tie suffering up in a pretty bow, void of empathy for your personal hurt and experiences. How could you see things any different?

I forgive you for seeing yourself as the main character and heroin of the story, rather than God.

You fell so deeply in love with Jesus so fast and your heart rejoiced in finally hearing YOU MATTER. The child in you needs to soak up the love and attention from your Father, God, to truly come to know her true value in Christ.

I forgive you for judging others and not trusting that God is at work in their life transforming them in his ways and time.

You were taught that if you want something done, you better do it yourself and commit ’till completion. You were made with this drive and a heaping dose of discipline which has aided you in your faith journey. But you’re still learning  that it’s not about what you can do but what’s already been done for you on the cross. You’re still learning that it’s when you let go and stop trying that God finally begins to work miracles. You’re still learning that his way and timing are always, always better than your own – because truth is, your ideas are pretty great sometimes! 😉

I forgive you being afraid of failing and of making mistakes in your decisions.

Because for a long time, you made some pretty poor ones! It comes from a place of so desperately wanting to remain close to God and to stay in his will for your life. You’re just discovering that your faith is like a pendulum attached to a centre axis point; God is that axis point and while you may swing right to left, you will always return to centre.

I forgive you for punishing yourself when you make mistakes, like reacting in your anger.

You suppressed your anger for so many years and your learning to see your anger as a friend rather than a foe. This is a healthy and vital part of establishing boundaries! Your punishing yourself is out of a desiring for personal growth and to walk in the personhood of who God knows you’ll become.

I forgive you for clinging to your expectations and for being heartbroken when they’re not met.

So much of your life has been full of hurt and disappointment and yet you continued to stay strong, with a positive and hopeful outlook. Life continues to get harder in many facets and it seems you’re constantly reminded of your faults and how far you have to go.  You’re tired and you feel let down. Grieving expectations is healthy so that you can move into the future without looking back.

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Kailey, God is not surprised by these things and he forgives you in real time- past, future and more important, present! So I will too!

I resign as chief accountability keeper of your shortcomings, knowing The Holy Spirit is your guide and he speaks correction to you in the way your heart is able to receive in love.

I will choose to speak like over you for all that you ARE, imperfectly, in this present moment, trusting that God is at work in your heart and in your life. In his way and in his time, he will continue to transform you into wholeness.

My job here forward is to to be your friend and your encourager; to offer you forgiveness and my empathy. I promise to take it seriously…

I love you.

 

When you’re hurting and you feel let down and mad at God

I sat once again on my counsellors sofa. I could feel the emotions bubbling just under the surface but after a week of endless emotional fits before God and nothing to soothe the wounds I’d ripped open, I was reluctant to open the dam again.

I wanted more to numb the excruciating pain from the emotional baggage I keep putting down but somehow keep picking back up.

For seven days, I’d been wrestling God with metaphorical punches and then tender embraces, sharing with him all the ugly unspoken broken I’d been processing. It has taken me two long years of depression, grieving, counselling and the hard work of healing to get here, but I’d finally gotten to the core of my deepest pain: Rejection.

In every significant relationship, whether it was romantic, friendship, familial, business or mentorship, I’ve experienced rejection over and over by the people I most adored and desired connection, depth and intimacy with. The ones I sought passionately to know me and love me from the inside out, have in some form or fashion made me feel cast aside, unwanted, unloved, and ultimately not good enough.

And in the last week, I discovered I was now feeling the exact same way about God!

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1,6, 12, 16, 19, 20, 24 and now again at almost 29, I have experienced deep rejection time and again.

I’ve been unpacking my pain and these experiences of rejection with the help of counselling, The Trauma prayer, Wild and Free, as well as Heart Made Whole and sitting alone for hours on end in prayer and guided mediation with Jesus. I’ve been desperate for comfort and love, but not from anyone, from THE ONE.

I’ve wanted God more than any other time in my life to make himself known in a vary real way to me, as my father, my protector, my comforter, my encourager and my healer.

And yet, I haven’t felt him in any way shape of form in recent weeks.

….like a little girl who has her arms outstretched ready for her daddy to pick her up and comfort her in her sorrow and he won’t.

…..like a love sick teenager who’s just poured her heart out, waiting in desperation for a response to her love song and hears crickets.

…..like a hurting friend who’s deep in a pit and longs for someone to see her, sit with her and embrace her without judgement of her heart or blame.

…..like an unsure and scared college grad who longs to know their potential and needs someone to speak life over them and tell them what they’re made for!

These are the things I’ve wanted desperately- almost pathetically– from my Father, God.

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And yet I’ve felt nothing but crickets.

As I sat on that couch, I poured out my hurt, anger and frustration at God. I begged to know why I’m so desperate for God’s affection, to just be with him and to know his thoughts- the very things he says he wants from me– and yet I feel like he’s refusing me. It’s like I know he’s there but he wont do anything but stare at me in silence!

My counsellor listened with such empathy, giving weight and validity to my hurt and anger. “Thank you!” I lamented. “I feel like a freak most days; like no one understands and I’m supposed to just shut up, stop acting like a child and move on already. Like I’m selfish and wrong for feeling these things!”

“Kailey,” she lovingly protested, “That would never work for you, ever! Hear me when I tell you that if you approach your hurt and relationship with God in that manner, you will never be able to receive and feel God’s love for you! You’ll spend the rest of your life striving for God’s affection and still feel rejected and like you’re not good enough in your last breath.

Because everything about that mentality and approach to hurt makes the little girl in you scream in tantrum protest. That little girl in you has experienced pain in her life and she needs someone- The One- to hear her hurt and validate it! No one else will do;Only her daddy can soothe that.”

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“But I’ve been doing exactly that and I’ve been furiously protesting everything and everyone who’s trying to hit me with the message of “grow up and get over yourself.” And yet he wont answer me! He refuses to meet me where I’m at! WHY!”

“Work with me here.”  she said, as she proceeded to take me through a guided mediation in which I spoke face to face with my father, God.

I told him everything I had just shared with her and more and then I waited for his response.

To my absolute astonishment and surprise, God revealed that he’d been earnestly trying – doing everything in his power to comfort me and speak life over me- but the fact is I can’t hear him or see him because I refuse to. My anger has my “talk to the hand” thrown up high and no matter what he does or try’s to tell me, it will never be good enough until…

I FORGIVE HIM.

WAIT…..WHAT? Forgive God?!?!

No one has ever even hinted towards the idea that God, my father, would seek my forgiveness for the ways I feel he has let me down, he should have protected me and I’ve been hurt!

I literally sat in silence for an extended period. I was dumb founded…and that’s a feat for me.

And like the weight of a million bricks was lifted from my heart, I felt peace and such relief for the first time in weeks. I actually started to laugh!

Me. Little old me. My God would choose to humble himself and submit to my choices – to MY will! Wow. That’s crazy.

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an all together new idea but in some aspects, it’s certainly not a common theme you hear preached or discussed in Christian circles.

When your heart explodes with love for someone, it chooses to give the gift of affection, which is why God gave you a control center deep within your heart that possesses the ability to either choose to love Him or choose to reject Him. Since He created the human heart, giving it the great gift called free will, He gave all of us full jurisdiction over our inner realm, including the ability to say “no” to His love, His will, and His ways.

Let that sink in for a second. You are the only one who will ever be in full control of your own heart—not God. He will never violate the control He gave you. Our good God will always be present and willing to be your Counselor, Helper, Protector, Redeemer, Savior, and the Restorer, but you hold the final say. God offers you unconditional love and eternal relationship, but then gives you the freedom to refuse His gift. – Christa Black Gifford | Heart Made Whole 

Part of relationship is honesty and God has been very gracious and gentle in allowing me to learn he is big enough to take my messy and sometimes ugly emotions; in fact he wants me to bring them to him!

But never ever have I entertained the idea of two way forgiveness in our relationship.

And yet that makes so much sense!

In every relationship I have, forgiveness is required on both ends, including my relationship with my daughter. While she is only 15 months, I have already on countless occasion sought her forgiveness. And I have no disillusions that it’ll stop. As she gets older with convictions and ideas of her own – no doubt many that will differ, contradict and even challenge mine- there will be times where I hurt her, even if I don’t mean to… even if what I do or say is quote on quote “for her good.” 

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Because the thing is, emotions are neither right or wrong. They simply are. And no one can tell me that how I feel isn’t valid, because it’s my heart that’s experiencing life in my unique way; my experiences and my personality help shape that.

So, whether or not we always understand why someone feels the way they do, it is always the loving and kind response to seek to understand, to extend grace and empathy and if applicable, to seek forgiveness. And on the other end, it is always the hope that the recipient will accept the invitation and offer forgiveness in return.

Because forgiveness always reconciles connection in relationship.

Isn’t this Christianity 101?

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Find a quiet place in solitude. Perhaps wait until no one is home or try the bath, the closet or your car. It’s important you have the time and space to invest in this moment without feeling nervous someone will walk in/hear you or could be pulled away suddenly. 

Is there anything in your life that you are mad at God for? Do you feel he’s let you down or hasn’t been what you believe you needed at the time? We may never fully understand why God allows certain things on this earth, but we can trust that God weeps with us in our sorrow, that he hurts when we hurt and that he desires to have your heart fully trusting that he is for you and that he is good. 

Close you eyes and imagine yourself sitting face to face with God. Take all the time you need to connect with how you really feel. Invite Holy Spirit to remind you of the things you’ve been ponding and wrestling with – all the things you’ve imagined asking him or saying to him one day in hope of answers. Share your hurt, your pain, your frustration and your confusion. Don’t hold anything back! Let every emotion rise to the surface and allow it to fully run it’s course. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, how you sound or even if what you say makes sense. Just say it out loud! 

When you’ve let it all out, just rest in silence and wait. Listen for what he has to say to you. Trust that the things that come to you in your mind and heart are God’s response. 

If you can find it somewhere inside of you, offer God your forgiveness and ask him to restore your heart to his. If you can’t just yet, that OK! Ask God to help you want to forgive him and trust in time, you’ll get there. 

when you’re serious about breaking free and living beyond the mirror #eatingrecoveryday

Honestly, I hardly noticed the change when it was happening, but now that I sit on the other side – on the other side of  disordered eating and body image issues – I recognize my freedom from it and healing in situations that used to enslave me….

Things like eating dinner out with friends, shopping in the mall, showering and getting dressed in the morning, scheduling my weekly workouts, enduring an acne break out or being around other women.

Those moments felt like a living nightmare and used to [quietly] kill me. 

If your life looks anything like mine, these sorts of things happen on a daily basis. So if you do the math, I used to spend the majority of my days – the majority of my life – feeling crappy about myself, hating my body and fearing the things I need to do to simply function, like eat.

My days were a string of events that felt more like failures in the basic functions of existence and I felt like a failure before I even stepped foot outside each morning.

It didn’t matter how hard I worked, the things I achieved, the nice stuff people said about me or how my life looked on the outside, underneath I believed I wasn’t good enough- never would be- and feared being found out.

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The reality is, our culture and society preys on this type of behaviour and if you ask around, you’ll quickly discover you’re not alone.

Nearly every woman battles these feelings in one form or another. Yes, we all experience them in varying degrees, but never the less, I have yet to meet a single woman who confidently declares she sees no need to change anything about her body or can’t relate to at least one of the battles I used to face daily.

But the truth is, that’s half the problem! I saw my eating disorder and my obsession with my body as normal and so do a lot of woman! We believe that because it’s common and “normal” that it’s ok; that preoccupation with looks and food are just a females reality that needs to be embraced and survived. No one told me any different! But deep down, I knew that wasn’t good enough; I knew that was wrong and I started craving something different- something more…

I wanted to not just accept myself, but even like my body! I wanted to enjoy food again with ZERO guilt or regret. I wanted to love getting dressed without turning sideways to ensure everything looked flat. I wanted my mind to be free from negative self talk; to just be me without shame or wanting to change.

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I started praying desperately for God to change me, asking that he would free me from the thoughts and behaviours that taunted and harassed me every. single. moment. of. every. day. I read my bible daily for encouragement and hope because the burden of my daily existence felt heavy and hopeless.

The LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners- Isaiah 61:1

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart. – Matthew 11:28-30

I started to think: If God truly is who He says He is and if He sent His son Jesus to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free, then this reality I’m living in isn’t from him, because it’s hell!

And like a light switch, my perspective flipped. I saw for the first time that I had been deceived. I recognized what a lot of Christians talked about but hadn’t yet acknowledged in my own life: satan at work in areas where I had given him permission.

Satan is a deceiver who disguises himself in light – things that look and feel good [initially] – but intimately he comes only to kill, steal and destroy. And when I was honest with myself, I recognized that he had done exactly that in this aspect of my life: satan had killed my confidence in who I am as a unique woman, he stole my joy in much of my daily existence and he destroyed my ability to see beyond myself and my pain much of the time…

If your first concern is yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. – Matthew 10: 38-39 MSG

No matter what I was doing, my mind was always preoccupied with how I felt or how I looked, constantly analyzing, comparing and despising my reality. Even my best efforts couldn’t tear me away from my thoughts for longer than a few minutes. No one got the best of me, except me and I surely wasn’t giving myself the best treatment either. Without realizing it, I had made myself and my body my idol.

i·dol – an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship and placed above God in one’s life.

I realized the battle was not one of flesh and blood but of Spirit and if I was going to win – to break free once and for all from my disordered eating and body image issues – I need to get serious about fighting with the right weapon: prayer. I had to listen to what scripture tells me and follow it’s instructions:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. – Ephesians 6:12

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. – Zecharaih 4:6

 I waited patiently and expectantly for the LordAnd He heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], and He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path. – Psalm 40: 1-2

Be generous to the poor and everything will be clean for you. Luke 11:41

And so I did. I prayed, I read my bible, I trusted God and I waited to hear from him. I posted scripture all over my house, my car and my purses – essentially any and every place I would look regularly- and praying it out loud over myself. At first it felt hopelessly silly and I barely believed a word of it applied to me and my life. But in time, my God took my mustard size seed of faith and moved mountains with it. He changed my heart and I developed a confidence that freedom not only possible but it was coming!

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I took verses to heart like Matthew 10: 40-41, that instructed to start small in our generous acts, like giving someone thirsty a cup of water; that even the smallest acts of giving done in love, become great.

I asked God to open my eyes each day to ways I could be generous- to make me sensitive to the needs around me- and like a floodgate, things came left right and centre. And something amazing started to happen…

as I responded to those needs, believing for my own healing, my heart and mind started to change – I began to heal from my disordered eating and body image issues.

It wasn’t overt, but days would come would suddenly I was acting different in familiar situations and the things that used to bother me, suddenly didn’t! I felt freer, happy and I actually started to like myself. Things would happen and like a third party bystander, I’d reflect and realize I was a different person. I was almost afraid to say it out loud in fear of going back, but with time and more consistency, I realized God really was healing me slowly!

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Over the course of a year, I attended weekly counselling. I discovered that my struggles with food and body image directly correlated with my stress levels. When I was upset about something – typically something outside of my control – my issues would flair up.

I also discovered that the root of my struggles were lies that has been planted from experiences in my childhood; primarily the lie that I had to be perfect in order to be liked, loved and accepted.

From my very first memories I learnt that life is a competition, including relationship. I felt as if I had never been anyone’s first choice or true love; it was always me against someone else. Deep down, I wanted to be cherish and adored. I wanted to loved and accepted because of who I was not because of how I looked, acted or what I achieved. 

But the only time people seemed to acknowledge or praised me- which felt like love and acceptance at the time – was for my beauty, my perfectionistic ways, my strength [aka: walled up emotions] and my achievements.  And it perpetuated a cycle of striving, thinking I had to earn love or prove myself worthy. 

At my core, I don’t know or understand unconditional love or anything apart from my looks and my performance.

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I wish I could tell you that healing was an easy three step program and that I recovered from my eating disorder and body image issues by learning to love myself and give myself grace. But I didn’t.

In my experience that doesn’t work and what culture tells us will set us free – female empowerment- will never fully free us. It may help in the short term and bandaid the struggle for a while, but in the end it only perpetuates the problem and nurtures lies of inadequacy and unworthiness at our core.

For me, it was only Jesus that could set me free and bring be back to wholeness; Jesus and the hard work of weekly counselling, discovering, uprooting and replacing the lies I’d come to believe.

My counsellor helped me understand that freedom and healing is largely a heart issue which requires not just healing but transformation. We must die to the old self [the old way of thinking] to discover the new. And if that healing is to be lasting, it must be a work of The [Holy] Spirit. No amount of will power on our part can transform us. Only God can! Our part is simply to show up and be honest about our brokenness.

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Typically, addictive behaviour, disorders and obsessions are the result of a warped core belief that develops at an early age. From then on, that wrong belief subconsciously steers our thoughts and our actions as we mature. To be free of it, we must discover what the lie is, uproot it and replace it with truth.

For me, this lie was that unless I was perfect in my behaviour and my looks, people would reject me and ultimately I’d be alone and unloved. I subconsciously believed at my core that my looks were a direct line to love. Food was simply my way of controlling that.

Once I took that to Jesus for healing and committed to the work with my counsellor, I found healing.

Today, I rest in the confidence of who Jesus created me to be. Im imperfect and so is my body, but Im very much OK with that. I love food and love to enjoy it in moderation and without guilt. I work out to feel good and because it makes me feel alive. It doesn’t own me, nor does the calorie burn. I am satisfied with my wardrobe and how I look in the clothes I wear. I rarely ever give my dress much thought anymore and I can count on one hand the times I’ve felt the need to shop or acquire more. I am content in both my life and my skin, trusting Jesus for the grace I need each day to continue to walk in freedom.

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Friend it’s not hopeless and your healing is just around the corner! It starts with humility and honesty, seeing our need for a Saviour.

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STEP ONE:

If you’d like to invite Jesus into your pain and ask him to begin a healing work in you, pray along with me:

“Jesus, I believe you are who you say you are. That you came to earth, as The Son of God, to die for my mistakes and shortcomings on a cross. That in you, I am forgiven and given a new life, both now and in eternity. I share my struggle with you now, the things and behaviours that hold me hostage: __________ I confess that I have tried in my own strength to heal and free myself but I can’t. I need you. Please begin a healing work in me. Repair my heart and replace the lies I have believed with your truth:That I am loved exactly as I am. Please make yourself real to me in a way I cannot deny. Thank you that you came to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free. I claim that promise for myself now! Thank you in advance for the work you will do in my heart. Believing for complete and total healing and freedom, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

STEP TWO:

Don’t go through this alone! If you have never shared your struggle with someone, start there by confiding in someone you trust. If you have no one, please email me at hello@kaileymichelle.com.

 

STEP THREE:

I would strongly suggest you reach out to a professional [Christian] counsellor, such as FREE TO BE COUNSELLING, if you live in the Vancouver Lower mainland or Fraser Valley.

 

STEP FOUR:

Get in your Bible and start reading about who you are in Christ. Post scripture around your house and read it out loud to yourself daily. Knowledge is power when we give it space to thrive- to move from our head to our heart.

If you are not a person of the Christian Faith, try reading these healing affirmations out loud over yourself each day:

I am a divine creation. I love and accept myself where I am right now. I enjoy who I am and the wonderful parts of my character. I choose joy. I live in the now. Each moment is a new gift. It is safe to be me. I am safe in this world and I trust the process of life. –  Heal Your Body | Louise Hay

 

Other resources that played a part in my healing journey and may serve you well:

Christian Faith Based

Non- Faith Based

  • Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
  • I thought it was just me, but it isn’t – Brene Brown

 

 

 

 

My graduation… from Counselling

I could hardly keep from smiling as I read the post – the words I had typed in bravery over two years prior – confessing my inability to handle death, pain and grief. And I’m sure God was chuckling along with me. Not making fun of me, but in a playful “I told you so” sort of way.

Because I’ve never shied away from praying scary prayers; the bold ones that take courage to even muster out loud and leave you shaking in your boots hoping God chooses NOT to answer them! And I had done just that. As I carried my child in womb, I begged God to heal me from my greatest fear: death, pain and grief.

They kept me from loving well:

……running away when people needed me to run to them

…. Distant when others needed me close

…..Going when someone needed me to stay, to sit and to listen

 

But the reality is, we can only give away what we have first been given ourselves.

And in this case, I couldn’t love well in the midst of hardship, having never dealt with my own pain from my brothers death.

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It was a pain I hadn’t touched in twenty one years, preferring to gloss over and pretend like everything was fine.

So that’s exactly what I would do with others.

Avoid the subject all together. Never ask specifics. Pretend like everything was fine.

And while it wasn’t a true reflection of my heart, it communicated disinterest, ill concern, a “could care less” attitude and a cold lack of compassion.

 

It wasn’t until I gave birth to my daughter, that the trauma came full circle and the band-aid was ripped off, leaving my wounds wide open for cleaning.

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God used a traumatic child birth experience and 9 weeks of darkness to show me I needed to heal, once and for all.

“Burying the hurt, wounds, and scars of your heart and soul does not make them go away. You cannot eat them away, drink them away, ignore them or hide them in your work or relationships. Eventually, they re-emerge (often with habits that are harder to heal than the wounds themselves).” – Jo Saxton 

 

Oh, was this my reality!

While I’d come a long way in my healing journey, I’d relied almost entirely on my own strength; every self-help book read, philosophy learnt and self-discipline method mastered. But still I was wounded and what I’d done was merely bandaged up the hurt and learnt to cope for a while, until it re-appeared again. (Many times looking different than before, tricking me into thinking this new habit and my unresolved pain were not related.)

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With 6 months of counselling behind me and victory on my side, I now stare at the page of things I’ve overcome-  the things I had run to for countless years to mask the hurt and pain.

Like any addiction. These were mine:

 

Now here I am on the other side, a completely different woman.

(Thanks to the Grace of God, much prayer, an incredible counsellor and hours upon hours of self -reflection and the hard work of change.)

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While I could write a book about all that I’ve learnt and discovered on my road to healing, my most profound revelations are this:

  • The pain of our pasts never leaves us until we deal with it, no matter how old we get or how great we get at “coping”  (A good sign you’re coping rather than healed: the issue continues to resurface throughout your life unexpectedly)

  • We either walk inside our story and own it (the hardest, ugliest and messy parts too!) or stand outside it and hustle for our worthiness. – Brene Brown

  • It is our weaknesses not our strengths that connect us with others and it’s in our willingness to be vulnerable that others are drawn to us and a deeper bond/ relationship is formed

  • Your mess will become your message if you give yourself the gift of healing

  • God can and will use you to bring others hope and help set them on the path to freedom, victory and healing… (and that has brought forth the most AMAZING sense of purpose and meaning I’ve encounter in life yet.)

  • The dark looses its scary factor when you embrace it, even when it’s uncomfortable.

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Because once you can sit in your dark cave and not run from it, you can sit with others in theirs and be ok with it…..

You can love them well in their broken and messy moments, when they need most to know they’re not alone.

 

Note:  I do not believe we ever “arrive” or that healing and freedom means we will never have to work or consciously choose to fight the temptation to fall back into old patterns. Instead, that those things that used to hold us hostage and control our thoughts and actions, no longer have the same paralyzing grip on our life.

 

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Please don’t go through this alone! If you have never shared your hurt with someone, please start there by confiding in someone you trust. If you have no one, please email me at hello@kaileymichelle.com.

And secondly, I would strongly suggest you reach out to a counsellor and invest in yourself there, even if only for one session. I invested in 6 months of weekly  counselling with FREE TO BE COUNSELLING, and it was the catalyst and accountability I needed.