Friday, January 18, 2019

Are You Hiding Behind A Smile?

Hmmm... Where do I start... I know this is probably the worst blog opening yet! I am pretty sure it will not be the last! 
I haven't had a lot of sleep. Lupus has away of making sure several times a month you party in your room all night with Netflix! 
Last night was one of those nights for sure. It didn't matter  how I laid, propped, prayed, or watched. Sleep was very little. So I asked God to show me what I still hadn't let go of so in 2019 I could be my very best for Him.
If you read my last blog you already know He showed me I was knee deep in comparison! Ouch! That one still hurts and is very much a work in progress! 
I have to admit last nights revelation was no easier at all!
My blog name is footsteps of grace for many reasons. 
The number one reason is I could see Gods grace all over my life!
His Footsteps cover my heart and have healed places I have never even shared with a any human! 
So of course as soon as I asked Him to show me was not what I had planned to hear!
He showed me all though He had brought me through many devastating blows in my life I am still scared to share them! 
Oh how I cringed at that! I thought that we had came to a place that it was okay not to share all of my past! That I could keep it all to myself and not put myself out there for all the world to judge or talk about. That's where I was so wrong. So I asked Him where I should start... He told me the easiest.... When it came time to share the hard stuff He would give me the words I need and how to share it. Because my life is laced in grace and I should never be stuck in a performance act to please others. What He thinks of me is way more important than the thoughts of others.
I would like to introduce you to someone incredible special in my life.... Our relationship was not always easy at all is is riddled with deep scars laced with deep ordained love by God. 
Meet my sister Laurie.
She is the one on the right! She had everything going for her when we were young!Beautiful, had a smile that lit up the room when she walked in, she had the voice of an angel, she was popular and everyone who met her loved her! I can even remember a time when I thought I wanted nothing more than to be like my big sister when I grew up! She was 7 years older than me...
As we both got older our lives took very different paths. Being separated by a divorce. There were periods of months and even years when I didn't see her or talk to her! Time and the wrong crowd introduced her to the world of drugs... 
It was then when the sister I loved and wanted so very much to be like, my heart swore I would never take the same path. My life is riddled with loved ones who struggle or have struggled with addiction. My sister was introduced to drugs  not only by her friends but also our Dad. He had been a cocaine addict for years and was able to keep it hidden. Because she sought his approval she did the things she thought made him proud. This would be the performance trap she would be swept away by for the rest of her life. Drugs lead to bad relationships that were violent. to mistreating her beautiful kids, destroying the relationships with the ones who loved her so much.
She sought Love of a Dad who never gave her real love in every man she was ever with. Constantly being abused the drugs became harsher and harsher... Till the beauty we knew faded into the distance. She became involved with Satanism seeking that very same love. After the death of our Dad... I remeber her telling me the only thing she ever wanted from him was to say he was proud of her!
2 weeks before Christmas 6 years ago I received a phone call my sister was in a horrible car 
accident. The car had rolled and she had a head injury.
She was sent home after observation. When I was able to talk to her she told me she could smell the earth when the car rolled. She said she knew that if she would have died that very moment she would not have went to heaven! I told her that day she knew what it took to go to heaven the choice had to be hers. She told me she loved me and she knew that but she wasn't ready, and the phone went dead. Christmas Eve I received the best call ever! She had called and asked a local pastor to come to my grandma's house to speak with her! She got saved that day! We talked everyday for the next two weeks! She would call and we would laugh and talk about the good times and the hard times.A week after Christmas our Dads brother died and something in Laurie snapped on December 28 she called and told me she didn't fit in on earth anymore the ones she fit in with were gone! She told me she was so proud of the woman I became! I told her she was needed here and she could reach so many with her story! On January 3 my sister took her life! On January 4 we had to make the decision to turn the machines off that were breathing for her. It was combination of prescription pain meds and huffing air dusters that claimed her life! Those two weeks before her home going impacted my whole being! The loss of her shook the very foundation of my life! 
Addiction is a disease. It may start out as a choice. It turns into a life long battle. Laurie had received help from family and friends over the year. Suicide was never something we ever thought we would deal with in our family. 
Yet it would only be the first. I am not sure who all reads my blog. I can see the traffic but not see who reads it. I am not sure why God wants me to share some of these things.... Except the fact someone who is struggling with loss ... For myself I had to heal over a loss of someone I had lost and just gotten back. I had to forgive her of some pretty horrible things she had even done to me! Forgiveness is a gift laced with grace! My Daddy in heaven gave me that same wonderful gift! I also know apart of the very reason Laurie turned to the very things that killed her was the shame of deep childhood hurt. She never thought it was okay to reach out to get help. Instead that contagious smile became the mask she wore till it the pain was more than she thought she could bear.... I remember her telling me she would be doing us a favor.
I have been a pastors wife for almost 23 years... I have sat across from so many who aren't willing to seek counseling or professional help because of shame! 
There is nowhere in the Bible where God says we should hide from our past.... Instead I have seen the past be used as tool to reach others. We should not ashamed of the grace he gives at salvation.
His Word says:
"'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:39 (NIV)
The performance trap is a real problem in our society. We choose to put a mask on and go with the flow whether we agree with one another or not! We do this in because we don't want not to be accepted or others to talk about me and my past.
My sister called me Bean.... I think if she could come back and tell me anything it would be, Bean please be sure to share the scars of our stories so that it may bring healing to others! 
It was a long year after her passing it was hard on her whole family especially her kids... 
I think what began the healing for some of us, was the fact that we were able to peal back the band-aid and expose our pain.
I am not sure what your battling with covering up with a smile. Our smile can only hide the pain for so long! God can heal the inner most parts of our souls that we never thought possible...
We Just have to be willing to let Him in and find someone safe that can lead to those who can help. 
I can not stress enough to have a support system! God Is more than enough but He gives us those special people we confide in in our lives for a reason! come up with some way to share with them and make your emotions known and accountable in a healthy way!
If your caught in a performance trap ...Covering up whats really going on in you heart... My friend that only leads to more pain and hurt... I had to give the pain of loosing my sister to my heavenly Daddy and all the ugly emotions that come with it! I also had to find a friend I could share those things with that would keep me in check and pointing me to God for answers and healing.
I want you to know its okay to share your stories... No matter what it is because My Daddy in heavens Grace is more than sufficient. He can and will give us beauty for our ashes. 
His word also promises this:

2 Corinthians 12:9  (ESV)9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I am praying for you my friend! You may not need this now but you may in the future! My prayer is you know who you are in Christ and don't feel you have to be anything other than wonderful you! No matter what your story is! I wish my sister would have realized this! However if her story can healing to you! I know she is glad to know she has reached others for Jesus!
                              Thanks you for stopping by! 
                               Prayerfully Yours ~Shellie

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Year Revelations

Oh how time seems to have flown by!
It seems like I blinked and Christmas was gone and New Years had passed.
I had not planned to have been away for so long. However I must admit I have needed to unplug a little and get my bearings.
Our family had a wonderful Christmas. We celebrated the New Year together. It was wonderful really. Yet I have not been myself. So I have taken sometime to pray. Time to gather myself and prepare to embrace 2019.
I was up really early this morning to prepare for a doctors appointment. While I sat a the edge of the bed and had my quite time. My devotion pierced my heart. 
It was at that moment when I understood why I was struggling, with life and writing.
As hard as I try not to get caught up in the comparison trap!
Somewhere along the way I stepped into the glue trap  that refused to let me go.
I think we all compare ourselves to others in one way or another. Its when we are caught up longing for what others have it over takes you is when the problem begins.
I had found myself longing for a past that wasn't filled with pain.I am a childhood abuse survivor! This has haunted my life for as long as I can remember. All though I feel I had healed tremendously in this area. I found myself longing for any other testimony than mine. This morning devotion reminded me I have a story that can be shared to help others realize there is hope! It does get easier! If we allow God to mend the wounds.
I prayed and asked God to please reveal the other comparison traps I was caught in. To my surprise .... I long to be physically fit like many in my life... I am normally pretty body positive... These past few months have been hard on me.... I have longed for the body I had as few years ago...
At first I argued with my heavenly Daddy! As you can imagine He won! He showed myself value is not found in the number on a scale or the size of my clothing! It is found in Him. His Word is clear that I am fearfully and Wonderfully made in His image! I want to you to take that in His image!!!
If  He thinks I am wonderful the worlds opinion does not matter. I have to learn to love the skin I am in no matter what or no matter how little or big I am I will never ever be satisfied! 

Now I won't lie that was not an easy pill to swallow! Not at all! I wasn't prepared for that! I thought as I sat there I was sure that He was done revealing things to me! I was sure I had enough to work through surely I had not let myself sink into the trap any deeper than I already had!
Wrong Shellie! WRONG! 
The biggest comparison problem I was caught deep in was the acceptance of others! Ouch!
As I set there and digested all I had be revealed .... I felt a tear trickle down my cheek.
I asked my Daddy to please help me to break free from the traps I had gotten myself caught in.
Girlfriend I want to share what He shared with me this morning because the reality is we all are guilty of comparison in one way or another.
First He led me to the scripture in Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! 
Let that soak in .... All things! It had to start with seeing myself the way He sees me!
When he sees me I am beautiful! I am made in His image in the way He thought I was perfect to Him on the day He created me and still today. I have to learn to love the skin I am in. If satan can keep me focused on the things that I feel keeps me from measuring up. God can never use me to my full potential. All though as tainted as my past is ... God gave my abuser a choice! Because of my heavenly Daddy's grace, He can use my testimony to show others His grace, love, and healing. I have to be willing to tell the story first and quit worrying about those who may not understand! He will give the words and the strength to share. I need to be willing to open up and share my story for His glory!   
I am never going to accepted by everyone! I am different and that is okay! The things my Daddy instilled in me that makes me different to others is what makes the ministry I would be called into easy! It makes me stand out and that's not a bad thing!
I knew even as He revealed these things to me. 
I know from experience that once you determine to change your mindset that it is never a walk in the park!
So I came up with a game plan! Habakkuk 2:2 Tells us to write it down! I decided to just that!  I made a pretty 8x10 stationary and on the top I typed out I am Fearfully and Wonderfully made!
printed it out and wrote my name under the verse! then wrote all the things I struggle with on the paper but in front of each thing I wrote I love !
I hung it on the wall beside my bathroom mirror! It fits in with all the other positive messages in my bathroom! Back in the summer I decorated my bathroom in flamingo's! Each picture having a positive quote! 

I learned alot about myself in the 20 minutes spent on the side of my bed this morning! I wanted to share ! For the simple reason someone reading this may need this as much as I do! Lupus has changed a lot about me! I don't want to loose focus on the beauty of my Daddy's love or creation! 
I don't want to stay trapped ! I want to be free of comparison! So I can remain focused on the beauty of the life that is mine!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing apart of your day! ~Shellie