Burn The Ships

Last weekend we sang a new worship song, Burn The Ships by the duo For King & Country. It’s a powerful song with a deeply personal backstory mixed with this story about a ship of explorers. Here’s what Luke Smallbone said in an interview about the song:

“I read a story about an explorer going to a new land. When he arrived on the shore, he calls everybody off of the ships and said, ‘Hey let’s go explore this land and see what there is to be seen,'” Luke explains. “All the men were terrified of going into the unknown and he realized that even those boats were grimy, stinky and small, they wanted to stay on the boats because it was familiar. The next day he calls them out again and when all the sailors were on land, he gives the command to burn the ships because he said, ‘We’re not going to retreat. We’re going to move forward in our lives.’ 

Over the coming days the song would not leave me and neither did the story. It hit me because I intimately understand the comfort of a fully destructive comfort zone. The sailors knew the ship was “grimy, stinky, and small” but it was far more comfortable to stay in the horror you know than to step into the unknown. It actually reminded me of my closet.

Yes, my closet.

I used to have what I called My Closet of Hope. It had clothes in every possible size. If you needed formal wear I had gowns from a size 16-28. How about an outfit for work? I had you covered from a size 14-32. Casual day wear? My largest inventory from large to 6x!

Why?

I stayed on a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain. When I lost weight I’d still hold on to my bigger clothes in case I gained again and when I’d gain weight I held on to smaller clothes in the hopes I’d fit them again. After weight loss surgery I decided that I was no longer hanging on to my old clothes. It was harder and far more emotional than I ever dreamed it would be. I kept ONE shirt and ONE pair of pants that I bring when I speak at the hospital.

What does this have to do with the worship song? My Closet of Hope was really a Closet of Fear. Much like the sailors, I feared something new. I’d been overweight for 30 years and it may seem odd but it was scary to even think of being anything else! Holding on to those clothes was almost like giving myself permission to retreat back to the way I’ve always been.

Up to that point I’d been a slave to food because I was using it to cope with my often crippling anxiety. I hid my feelings behind a wall of shame and ate to feel better… yet always felt worse. I was incapable of asking for help and would use humor as a means of deflection. After RNY I unknowingly made the decision to “burn the ships” in my closet. By donating all of my clothing I was propelled into a new way of living with no easy way to retreat. This also meant confronting my feelings, adjusting my coping behaviors, and getting help for my anxiety and food addiction.

That was my ship. Your ship could be removing yourself from a toxic relationship, stepping out in faith at a new opportunity, or leaving anything behind that no longer serves you. It’s never easy to burn a ship, to leave a comfort zone, to try something new. I had to step out in faith, trust God, and fall to my knees before I fall into ice cream.

What’s your ship and are you ready to set it on fire?

Read more of the personal story behind this song and hear the song: Billboard Article – Burn The Ships.

Sowing and Reaping

When I look back on my life I see themes based on how I was feeling mentally and emotionally over time. It seems like there are periods of fear, anxiety, and depression but also times of emotional stability, providence, and abundance. I’ve learned to love and appreciate the ebb and flow of my time on earth. I am able to fully know joy because I’ve been fully intimate with fear and pain.

As time went on I learned more, became more open, and learned to ask for help. My fear of doing these things kept me in over my head, doubting myself, and difficult to be around. Self love is a learning curve and self care is too.

Twenty years ago I could best describe my life as flailing. In the ocean of life I wasn’t exactly drowning but more like doggie paddling for a very long time. My arms would get tired, I’d sink for a bit, flail for a while and get back to paddling. I was always one paycheck and 5 minutes ahead destruction.

The critical mistake I made was instead of asking for help, I’d try to maintain the charade that I had everything under control. I absolutely didn’t. When it all came crumbling down I remember a lot of people being surprised. I was only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

I had a moment to reflect on that time at the Camp Berea Women’s Retreat in Hebron, NH,  this past September. Leaving a workshop I saw a woman I worked with years earlier. She recognized me instantly. We only had a second to talk as we were both on the move. I kept catching glimpses of her the rest of the weekend but I never got a moment with her.

On the final morning of the retreat, we were packing the van getting ready to drive several hours back to Rhode Island and I saw her again. She was with one of her friends also getting ready to leave. There were so many things I wanted to say but didn’t know if I could say them or if I should say them. I turned around to go to the van and it was like God Himself turned me back around. This was my moment and I had something to say.

I went over to say goodbye and then I told her this:

I knew you at the darkest time of my life and you were always so kind to me. I will never forget your kindness, it really was a shining spot when I needed it most.

As the words came from my mouth I was crying and then she was crying. She didn’t realize that she had a positive effect on me. She never knew how sad and overwhelmed I was and just how much I appreciated and needed her encouragement.

It reminded me of a quote that I love (that the internet has been attributed to everyone from ancient Greek scholars to Jar Jar Binks)

The true meaning of life is to plant seeds of trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

Reflecting on my walk with Christ I can feel the true weight of that statement. For years I ran from God but in looking back I can see the seeds that people planted along the way. From my Godmother who first showed me the love of Christ to one of my neighbors years ago who never wavered in her faith despite my many questions and general disbelief. I was getting trees planted all around me!

Flash forward ten years later when my daughter asked my husband and me to attend church I didn’t realize that these seeds were going to get Living Water and ultimately led me to my old friend that God placed right in my path at a women’s retreat 20 years and 200 miles from when I saw her last. She, like the others, never knew she planted a seed of kindness and a seed of God’s love. Two decades later she got a moment in the shade.

You may think your words are falling on deaf ears, you may believe that you aren’t affecting change, you may even think you should stop because people aren’t hearing you. Never underestimate the power of planting a seed. You may even be blessed by a moment in the shade!

 

 

Broken Windows

I saw a quote the other day that I loved:

To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.

Mark Hack

I think we often do that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has tried to be the absolute BEST possible version of myself when I start dating someone. You don’t want your crazy showing too fast! We have high expectations of others and just as high for ourselves. But after a while, we become more comfortable, more trusting, and more vulnerable. In these moments the proverbial rubber meets the road. You’ll either accept the less than perfect aspects of each other or you won’t. The most successful relationships seem to be the ones where you can truly accept your partner… warts and all.

I remember the day that Jeff and I had our first real conversation. We discussed things that I never spoke of to another human being, and it was without effort. I remember being surprised as each word came from my mouth and even more surprised that he didn’t run from the room! He did the exact opposite. He stayed, listened, and comforted without judgment. I am far from perfect and have made many mistakes and questionable decisions in my day. So has he. So has everyone. Being open about these things only solidified our relationship. We let the light of love shine through our broken pieces.

I was so grateful that Jeff could see me past every decision I ever made but it was a long walk to forgive myself. I used to replay the same broken record of my disappointments and spending way too much time being disgusted with my body and my inability to “fix” it. It was a few years into our relationship that we reconnected with Christ and began an entirely new way to live, to relate to one another, and to ourselves.

Having a relationship with Jesus gives you the ability to see things from an entirely different perspective. The Mark Hack quote takes on an even more beautiful meaning. No one is perfect. We all have brokenness. We all have faults. We have all made mistakes. We all have pain. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 NIV This doesn’t change that fact that we are all windows and through our brokenness, our suffering, and our pain, God’s light will illuminate even the darkest rooms of our hearts.

The Cruelest Words I’ve Heard

I read a post on a bariatric group a few weeks ago that just stayed with me. She wrote this:

It’s so sad that strangers are so much nicer to me since I lost weight.

This is a fact that many men and women notice after weight loss. People can be truly cruel, especially when someone who is not an ideal body type. I’ve often said that weight is the lowest hanging fruit on the insult tree. The first thing people grab when they want to throw an insult.

You fat (enter insult here)!!!

Don’t think this is limited to just overweight people. Thin people get this too and it’s just as damaging. I used to think calling someone skinny was the ultimate compliment because I wanted to be thin so badly. It’s not an compliment regardless of your intention. It’s a stone that when thrown leaves a mark. You can’t see the mark but trust me, it’s there.

Ultimately, people are much kinder after weight loss. When I first started walking I didn’t want to walk outside because I didn’t want the stares from people on the street or hear insults yelled from cars. This has happened more frequently than you can imagine.

I was eating an ice cream cone at a county fair minding my own business when a man walked up to me and said:

That’s probably part of your problem.

I don’t know what he gained from this. If your mission in life was break me down emotionally by attacking me verbally, then you won, good for you. If you thought this one second insult made in passing somehow got through to me and I would drop my ice cream and join a gym, that’s where you went wrong. You only succeeded in making me feel bad about myself which is the precursor to bingeing. You literally threw a log on the slow burning embers of my fragile self esteem. Congratulations.

Next my mind wandered to a different place. I’ve fought the battle of my weight for over 30 years. Thirty years of not feeling beautiful – and thinking people who said I was beautiful was lying or crazy. This is not a way to live. Then it hit me:

The cruelest words I’ve ever heard are the ones I say to myself daily.

Yes, people definitely treat me better now that I’m smaller, however, that’s an issue that will only be changed when people learn to accept that all body’s are different but all deserve respect. I can’t change other people’s thoughts, opinions, or even their cruelest words. I can control mine.

I don’t believe in diets or resolutions. I believe in creating lifestyle changes that will better my heath and wellbeing. This year I’m working on that nagging voice that gets in the back of my mind and tells me I’m not enough, not ideal, or not worthy. Negative self talk ends today.

The bible verse 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB) is a great reminder:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Notice it reads “your body is a temple.”

It doesn’t say your body is a temple when:

  • You lose weight
  • You gain muscle
  • You cut carbs
  • You fit your high school prom dress
  • You get your body back after childbirth

Your body is a temple – without qualifier! Again, I’m not one for resolutions but I am all about a good, healthy goal. My goal this year is to silence my inner evil critic and remember my body is a temple and should be treated with – and spoken to – with respect.

Who’s with me?

Farewell 2018

Thank you 2018. What a whirlwind year! Goals achieved, dreams realized, and relationships cultivated; tempered with loss of loved ones, physical health issues, and personal challenges. From the joy of publishing my book and speaking on the famous red dot of TEDx to the tragedy of losing my aunt, this has been a year.

What I’ll take from every joy and pain of 2018, is that life ebbs and flows moment by moment. We tend to trick ourselves into the newness of a year on January 1st but a new opportunity is born every second. Not just on January 1st, not on Monday morning, but every moment you’re alive is a chance to do better or be better. Don’t get sucked into the hype of a new year. Be present in moments. If you stumble, all is not lost! With the simple blink of an eye, by the grace of God, you can try again.

Thank you 2018. If you’re reading this then my heartfelt thanks to you! What a gift and pleasure to share this space with you all. I can’t wait to show you what’s planned for 2019!

God Bless!

Regina

You Don’t Look Like You Have Anxiety

I’ve heard a particular statement repeatedly since I started blogging and speaking about my anxiety:

You don’t look like you have anxiety.

Humans are “gap fillers.” What are gap fillers? We often get presented with some information and then we have a tendency to fill in the gaps with our own perceptions. It’s not “right” or “wrong” it just seems to be something we do.

Here’s a word that I’ve noticed this with often: Alcoholic.

As soon as you read it, your mind went to a particular place based on your thoughts, feelings, and life experiences. I’ve found that when I say alcoholic, many people envision a man alone in a closet who hasn’t slept in days pouring whiskey on corn flakes at 6am. Actually, an alcoholic is anyone who does not know when or how to stop drinking. They spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol, and they cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, and financially. (See this article on Medical News Today)

Based on this information, an alcoholic can be anyone! It’s important for people to understand that. It’s so important that The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has changed the term since “alcoholic” has so many preconceived and negative connotations. It’s now called Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. People with AUD will often NOT fit your description of alcoholic – which makes it hard for people who actually have AUD to seek treatment because they don’t believe they are THERE YET. You know, whiskey on cornflakes there.

What does this have to do with anxiety?

We also seem to have a connotation of what anxiety looks like or acts like so when people don’t exhibit those preconceived traits people don’t believe they have anxiety.

There are many different types of anxiety from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Separation Anxiety to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Trichotillomania, and even Hoarding Disorder. What further complicates what anxiety may “look like,” is there are levels of severity in each type of disorder. (See this article from Anxiety.org)

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic Disorder and Trichotillomania. For me, anxiety comes with substantial amounts of fear that result in avoidance (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). There were times when the thought of answering my phone would cause panic attacks. Even though rationally, I knew that answering my phone would not physically harm me or that not answering the phone could bring on more negative results depending on what I was avoiding… I would still do it. Then my stress would often lead to panic attacks (Panic Disorder). After a panic attack, I discovered some comfort in plucking out hair from my legs, scalp, or face (Trichotillomania). For years I didn’t know what I was experiencing had names!

My eating was also very closely linked to my anxiety. It was the discovery that I was attempting to manage my anxiety with food. That realization opened the door to treatment and overall wellness. Between treatment and Jesus, I’ve been able to manage my anxiety. Manage – not cure. I can work through my feelings better, but still, things can happen.

Case in point, I sent a text message to a friend that had some disappointing news. This was about a month ago. In the intervening 30 days, she’s been insanely busy. I know she’s been insanely busy. Still, I wondered if my text upset her. Then I asked myself repeatedly if she was mad at me. My rational mind tells me that she’s busy and I absolutely know this to be a fact. By week 3 I’m thinking the worst and replaying every limited scenario in my head. It was now week 4 and I was worried and “filling in the gaps” of our experience with my anxiety.

Yesterday,  I sent her a message apologizing for the disappointing news and wondering if we were okay. She immediately responded with YES, she’s just been busy – something I knew! My anxiety caused a snowball of emotion that only worsened as time went by, thus making me question and wonder about things I already knew to be true. This is just one, less severe type of anxious behavior.

It doesn’t look like anything. 

 

God and the Stupid Muffin

There is no doubt in my mind that God provides divine appointments. What some will consider serendipitous or lucky I believe has been put in place by the Creator.

Many know the story of my friend Kathy that I met at the NYC Marathon in 2016. The full story is in my book Food, Sweat, & Fears (no spoilers). There was also the day that I was feeling defeated after an 11 mile training run and my friend Jaime posted something on my Facebook wall that provided comfort and understanding when I needed it most. God places people where we need them, when we need them… especially when we had no idea we needed them!

This brings us to one day at Panera about 8 months after I had RNY Gastric Bypass. By this point I’d already lost 150lbs and I was doing well. I was out shopping and realized I hadn’t eaten in a while and there was a lot of fast food places and a Panera immediately around me. I decided Panera would be my best bet for fresh and healthy food choices. When I walked in the first thing I noticed is the large case filled with bakery items. Bagels, cookies, and breads of all kinds displayed lovingly. The line to order was long and as I waited and I couldn’t help staring at the display case.

Then I saw him. He was as beautiful as ever. Round with the tiniest hint of shimmer and flecked with raisins. This pumpkin muffin was positively calling my name. As the line winded down I was only closer to him. I think I broke out into a sweat.

Me: I don’t want you.

Pumpkin Muffin: Liar. You know you want me.

Me: I don’t. (I look away)

PM: Look at me and acknowledge you want me.

Me: (looking) Fine! I do want you.

PM: Then have me. I’m just one muffin!

Me: It’s NEVER one muffin AND I just had surgery! No! I could get dumping syndrome!

PM: (silence, just staring me down)

As much as I tried to ignore his obvious advances I was getting weak. Apparently, pumpkin muffins are like dogs… they can smell fear.

PM: Just try it and not everyone who has RNY gets dumping syndrome.

Now, the PM is making sense! I could try it. Maybe just take a tiny bite. How bad could that be? I don’t know anyone here! Who would know?

It’s just one stupid muffin.

I finally get to the front of the line and it’s shift change. Of course it is! I always get to places at the wrong time. If there’s a construction person ordering coffee for an entire job site I’m always behind them at the coffee shop. I’m frustrated and now I know I’m going to order that muffin! That will totally make this better.

IT’S JUST ONE STUPID MUFFIN!!

Just as I’m so looking forward to stuffing that muffin in my mouth and savoring every ounce of it – dumping syndrome be damned – a woman comes out to take my order.

Her: Hello! How are you?

I nearly passed out! The smiling woman ready to take my order is Mary Ellen, woman from my church who lives in our neighborhood! She knows me and I’m sure she knows that I had surgery! I couldn’t believe it! When did she start to work there? My heart was palpitating. Can I order the muffin like it’s for a friend? Maybe she doesn’t know what I can and can’t eat? Ugh! What should I do? I really want that stupid muffin!

When God speaks to me sometimes it’s the tiniest whisper in the wind and that gentle breeze of truth changes my heart. This verse was that whisper:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

This time, the whisper felt like a 2×4 to the head! Am I honoring God by trying to justify eating this muffin that has over half of my daily calories? I was one smile-from-a-friend away from sacrificing what I want most – my health – for what I want right now – one stupid muffin! After greeting her warmly I order my plan approved meal and went on my way. That was a seriously close call.

I thought of this divine appointment all the way home. I could see that God knew I was being tempted and placed Mary Ellen directly in my path.

In Greek mythology Sirens were bird-like women with beautiful voices who use their alluring sounds to entice sailors into destruction. The sailors would hear the song and follow it only to have their boats crash on the rocks. Food is my siren song that leaves my will and common sense crashing on the rocks. Food is absolutely everywhere and temptation never takes a sick day. I lose count of how often I think of food and how many times I have to say no to myself per day. I can’t think of how many times I pray for the strength to do the right thing. I’m just grateful to Jesus I have a place to take these temptations and anxieties!

I thought of this story today because I’ve been working on a project and praying for direction. I know what I’m trying to accomplish but I’ve been struggling on some key parts that have held up progress. Yesterday, my only plans were to go to church and meet up with Mary Ellen’s sister. Both of these events almost didn’t happen because I was sidelined by a horrible sinus infection for nearly a week.

Feeling better that morning, I made my way to church and kept my other appointment. These were both divinely ordained. In church, the Pastor’s sermon was directly related to what I was working on and I asked for his guidance on my project. We were both very much aligned with what I was sharing. It was exciting to know I was on the right path and had someone willing to keep me on the path.

When I met my new friend that afternoon it was a tremendous blessing. I’ve often spoken of the power of understanding and the joy that comes from a person who truly gets you. Our conversation will travel through my mind and soul for years to come. Turns out, she is also a person who could greatly influence my project and I had no idea the depth of her knowledge and skill. I didn’t need to know because God placed her squarely in my path on that day, at that time.

I’ve struggled for years with asking for help. I’ve definitely improved over time but sometimes I’ll end up hanging on to something way too long instead of just asking the question that could end the wait. As I reflected on the day this was the whisper over my heart:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

And this time it really was a whisper.

Missed Opportunities

Many people say the same thing when they see my wedding pictures:

Wow! He really loves you!

Ugh.

As you’re looking at photos of my WEDDING I’d like to believe love would be obvious. It seems like they’re really saying:

Wow! He even loved you like that!

There’s a chapter in my book Food, Sweat, & Fears about the anxiety around my wedding day. Everyone wants to look their absolute best and I was no different. But the reality of the situation is that I was over 300lbs. My husband loves me for me and that is a profound blessing.

Jeff and I have a blast together. We always pray that every couple has the crazy, silly, and joyous moments we have when we’re together. He really is my best friend and the first person I can’t wait to tell good news, hug through challenging news, and to make our own news.

What if Jeff let my size stop him for continuing to see me?

What if he thought I was cool and all but he wasn’t attracted to me?

What if I let his love of country music and wearing cowboy hats stop me from getting to know him better?

I recently heard a story about a woman who was on a first date. She thought everything went well and they had a good time. At the end of the date he said something alarming.

You’re really pretty, funny and smart but I prefer my women under 100 pounds.

What?!

I understand there has to be a level of attraction but to say that she’s everything you’re looking for BUT her weight just won’t cut it.

I reminded me a conversation I heard many years ago. Two women I worked with were discussing their lives and how they’re in their early 30s and are still single and have no children. They were reflecting on some nice guys they dated in their twenties but thought they could do better. Those guys are now all married with families and the women are alone.

They keep seeking the bigger, better deal. More money. Better looking. Something that fit the thoughts and dreams of what a relationship should be. One woman even went so far as to say that there was a guy she really loved and had the best time with but he just wasn’t very cute. She regretted leaving him and as they connected over Facebook she was constantly seeing pictures of his wife and family. It was a daily reminder of all he could’ve given to her if she just accepted him as he was. She can see this clearly now.

I think these women learned the lesson that the man on the first date hasn’t yet learned: what really matters is what will sustain you over time. If she’s over 100lbs and under 100lbs will not matter when you lose a job… or a parent… or a child!

Jeff and I seen a lot together this past decade. The joys of weddings, high school and college graduations, and our parents anniversaries. We’ve also weathered many storms like losing so many people we love, the fierce and relentless battle of addictions, job loss, and more. We didn’t need a perfect weight, we needed our faith to be strong and to be together. We cling to God and each other and we will always sit in the peaceful eye of the storm. It’s not without pain, not without challenge, but it’s possible to handle together.

This is Relationship Math

You + Me = (Joys Multiplied) + (Sadness Divided)

Battling Perfection

Sometimes there’s something powerful when you see your behavior for what it really is and deciding to leap instead of continuing to look!

If you haven’t already feel free to like my Facebook page! There’s a lot new information coming that I can’t wait to share with you!

Thank you!

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Beautiful Destinations in Pain

If there’s one thing that’s universal it’s struggle. We all struggle with something. Do you struggle with fear? Anxiety? Failure? Success? Do you struggle with loss? Gain? Misunderstanding? Do you struggle with food? Weight? Alcohol? Drugs?

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. – Zig Ziglar

I’ve seen this quite every where and often quoted to unknown or a million other people. Who said, it is secondary to its power. It’s a powerful quote because it is so true. No matter what card we were dealt, we’re all playing a hand and theres joy in knowing that our struggle will shape us… and will shape someone else.

I knew a young woman (I’ll call her Sally) who suffered from multiple miscarriages. It was absolutely devastating for her and the emotional toll of her losses claimed her marriage and her self esteem. Sally suffered for years carrying the burden of these losses. A few years later another woman (I’ll call Jane) was also silently struggling with the same situation. Jane was unable to carry a child to term and couldn’t vocalize her pain. No one knew how much she suffered. She feared people either wouldn’t understand or would just pity her. Her silence was destroying her.

I was blessed to find myself in the same room with these two women – both strangers at a support group run by my church. As we all shared our struggles they both listened. When it was Sally’s turn to speak, she began to share her story of her miscarriages and how she was struggling to maintain her faith that She’ll be a mother one day.

Suddenly, Jane burst into tears! I was taken by surprise because she was silently listening the whole meeting. Sally immediately stopped and directly asked Jane if she was okay. Between sobs, Jane choked out her story of miscarriages and the pain she was experiencing, how worthless she felt, and how it took up every corner of her brain making it impossible to move forward. She thought no one could possibly understand her feelings of loss and fear.

Sally, who moments earlier was just sharing her struggle walked to Jane and put her arms around her and listened. When she was done, Jane collapsed into Sally’s arms finally unburdened from the weight of her silence and her grief for that moment. Sally was now a comforter, telling Jane that the losses are painful but she knows that one day she’ll hold her babies in heaven and that gives her peace. It was like I could see beams of light coming from their hearts that became entwined. Their shared struggle became a place of healing for both of them. God bonded them through their losses.

I never saw Jane after that but often thought about her and prayed for her. Sally, I’ve seen over the years and I know that she’s happily married with a child now. Something she thought was impossible a few short years earlier.

Imagine your struggle – whatever it is. Imagine the pain, the difficulty, the loss, the fear. It’s all too easy to imagine that these feelings are unique to us, that no one will understand. Until you vocalize your issue you will be internally suffocated by your silence. Imagine your struggle again. Imagine opening yourself up and sharing with a person you trust or in a support group and discovering you are not alone… and you never were. There’s freedom in that, there’s healing in that, there’s life in that. There’s a purpose to walking down these difficult roads.

I let my pain fester in silence for years but once I was unburdened by it and shared my experiences I found healing and joy. Your difficult road is leading you to a beautiful destination. With faith it will be the most beautiful destination of all.