Anxiety. Fear. Dread. Depression. Pain. Loneliness. Confusion. Doubt. Many of us wake up every day with one or more of these emotions swirling in our brain and filling up space in our hearts. We look to doctors, our spouse, friends, alcohol, food, exercise, control - but it never fully goes away. It is as if something is blocking the peace, joy and fulfillment we believe life is suppose to be all about.
When someone asks us about the source of these dark places within us, we are quick to theorize.
- It’s this illness I am dealing with.
- It’s my spouse.
- It’s my weight.
- It’s my finances.
- It’s my job.
- It’s my kids.
- It’s too many responsibilities.
- It’s too high of expectations.
- It’s my failure.
- It’s the loss of x, y or z.
- It’s what this person did to me.
- It’s what happened to me.
I want you to take a look at this list again. For those of you ready to take this on, I ask you to take a moment and think about how many things in your present or past life you could list in each one of these categories that contributes to how you feel emotionally, mentally and even physically every day. It may not be every moment or even every day - but often these things or memories come in and steal (or block) the peace you are so desperate for.
Today I want to talk about your past. I know there is a school of thought out there that encourages us to live in the present and forget about the past. You can’t change the past so why go back there? I believe this only works if you have peace with your past. The majority of women I work with lost their peace in their past and they are so scared to go back and find it that they avoid it - at high costs. The cost is this - whatever unresolved pain or trauma from your past goes somewhere and it has to be managed.
I believe that a big contributing factor so many of these mysterious and undiagnosed conditions in women (and men) is unresolved trauma from our past manifesting in our bodies through unexplained symptoms and anxieties. I have read story after story of outwardly healthy women who have been diagnosed with cancer who know (through Godly wisdom) that the cancer was caused by unforgiveness, bitterness or resentment they had been holding onto. Just because we try to ignore the pain of our past, doesn’t mean that it just sits in our bodies peacefully and quietly. Actually, just the opposite is true. What we don’t deal with with eventually will deal with us.
I hear a lot of women who hear about what I do say, “Oh, I could never eat as healthy as you do, I don’t want to feel deprived.” I’ve been thinking about that lately, what does “deprived” really mean? So I looked it up. Deprived (when it refers to a person) means suffering a lack of a specified benefit that is considered important. In other words, the person is say, “I don’t want to eat healthy because eating unhealthy gives me a specific benefit that I feel is important and eating healthy would cause me to suffer because I would no longer be getting the benefit of eating the unhealthy food.” I can totally relate to this because I used food, alcohol and my need for attention to NUMB the feelings I had inside of me that seemed just too painful to deal with. I definitely didn’t want to deprive myself of these things because then I would have nothing to block the bubbling up of my pain. From where I am now, I have a fresh perspective. I now see that my unhealthy eating and unhealthy behaviors were a form of deprivation. They deprived me of my confidence, peace, joy, health and my relationship with God.
What if part of your current or ongoing struggle with your health is because you are using food and unhealthy habits to numb the pain from your past that just needs to be honored, loved and released? If you are feeling yourself getting defensive or you want to stop reading right now - this is just another way you are pushing down the pain. And remember - it goes SOMEWHERE! Do you have unexplained headaches? Join pain? Hormone issues? Sleep problems? Anxiety? Bouts of depression? Foggy thinking? Uncontrollable cravings at night? Self-sabotaging tendencies? Trouble concentrating or remembering? I am not saying that these are not medical things that need to be addressed and worked through - but WHAT IF the origin of their manifestation is because of the stress and repression of pain, disappointment and trauma from your past?
I’m honestly not quite sure where this blog is going at this point. I just know God has burdened me to tackle this topic because it is the key to freedom for some of you like it was for me. I also sense many of you have been seeking freedom in a lot of outward solutions, methods and willpower - but nothing has worked. I too experienced a lot of pain and disappointment from my past. My human default response was to numb the pain so I partnered with coping mechanisms such as bulimia, excessive exercise, compulsive dieting, laxative abuse, binge drinking, perfectionist tendencies, loose sexual relationships, striving to achieve, etc. Although I was trying to escape to a better place, I ended up with depression, anxiety, insomnia, isolation, etc.
At 28, I was exhausted and done. Literally done. I thought, ‘if this is what life is all about, I don’t want to live. It’s too much.” God has a way of meeting us when we are at our lowest point - when we have exhausted all options and the only option left is to look up. For me, I looked up and there He was waiting for me. I NOW trust in the timing of God. I wasn’t willing to listen or surrender any earlier than my lowest point and God knew that.
I trust that you are reading this blog at the exact moment that you need to be. That my words are no longer for my journey, but they are for you and your journey. I believe that what God allowed into my life and what God walked alongside me through, he did in order to lift you up out of your pit - the same place that He met me in.
At the lowest point in my life, I surrendered. My way didn’t work. It may have appeared to work on the outside - since the world had no idea what I was dealing with since accomplishment, money and a strong body are what the world deems as success. But we can’t hide from ourselves. I just knew that the only way to freedom was to walk through my past with a fresh perspective - God’s perspective so I could fully see the purpose of the pain.
I have had the honor to have intimate and deep conversations with so many amazing women. Women who have created incredible success in their lives and who I know so many women look up to and “want what they have”. It is amazing how quick we are to look at someone and just focus on what they have, without ever acknowledging what it took to get it. Yes, I believe that God can bless us with amazing relationships and businesses and children, but our relationship with God is a partnership. I don’t believe God gives us that which we cannot handle and He oftentimes has to prepare us (often through pain and suffering) so that when we are blessed, we can keep what he gives us.
So anything worth getting in life requires a battle - and to be honest, many times we quit right before our breakthrough. What we see as great accomplishments in other people’s lives are dripping with failures, doubts, struggles, trials and emotions that at times probably felt as if they would swallow them up. But they didn’t quit. They got through it and the fruit of that struggle is what we see as the celebrated and coveted end result. The same victory can be yours too my friend, if you choose a new perspective of your past (or current situation).
I look at where I am today. I could easily look back on my life and tell it from my human perspective and I probably would have to grab a bottle of wine just reminiscing on what I have lived through thus far. But God has given me a fresh perspective and he has one for you too. Through His perspective, your life is full of hope, rich in blessings and dripping with anointing to bless others because of what you have walked through.
What if all the rejection over the course of your lifetime was to teach you that you cannot put your validation and identity in other people? For me, I had to learn this lesson over and over and over again. The enemy has used the tool of rejection in my life (often) to tear me down and try to steal my identity, peace and joy. And as the bible says, what the enemy intended to harm me, God intended it all for good. God allowed all the rejection in my life because He knew that I could not live a life of peace and fully pursue the purpose He created for me if I spent my life seeking validation from other people and searching for my identity through the world’s standards. So as I walked through each battle of rejection (sometimes gracefully, but many times kicking and screaming), I slowly saw the truth permeating through the face of every rejection I faced - my validation and identity can only come from my creator and in Him, my worth is priceless and his faithfulness to me is unshakeable. People will always fall short of my expectation, but my God will never leave me or forsake me. AMEN!
This is how good God is. I know that we live in a fallen world. I know that trials and tribulations are just part of the journey. But God knew that I would face the biggest rejection of my life when I was 38 years old and He had prepared me for it. With a baby in my belly, my husband told me that he was not in love with me and hadn’t been for years. The details around this confession was filled with lies and betrayal. Help me Jesus. What would have killed me in 10 years ago and sent me into a tailspin of dangerous coping behaviors...did not even tempt me. My heart was prepared. Trust me, the sting was more than I thought I could bear. I didn’t think I would survive it and there are still moments (long moments) where the waves of devastation and disappointment feel as if they will drown me, but God’s grace is sufficient for me and his power is made perfect in weakness. He rescued me before and he will do it again. This betrayal and disappointment, for me, was my final piece of evidence that I needed. I fully know in the core of who I am that people cannot, are not and will not be the source of my worth. The only validation I need is from the one who created me and knows me better than myself. And God not only loves me unconditionally, he is always working all things out for my good and for His glory if I put my trust and faith in Him.
How do you view God in the midst of your rejection or disappointments? What could be your new story of rejection through the eyes of God’s love and redemption?
What if all the loss you have experienced is so you fully appreciate the people in your life and look at life as a precious gift that is to be treasured. I watched my mom die of cancer when she was only 45. It was surreal to say the least and I spent years of my life running from the pain of that loss -the feelings of abandonment and rejection. I focused on filling the void and used what had happened as an excuse to check-out and not be accountable to my actions. I walked in that place for what felt like an eternity. God and I had to revisit this loss together and now I can see the beauty and the blessing that far overshadows the pain and loss. When Berlyn was born, I walked into the love that my mom had for me. At 38 my mom received the cancer diagnosis that would take her life. At the same age of 38, I gave birth to Berlyn who would be a daily representation of just how amazing and precious life is. Because of what I walked through in losing my mom, I am the mom God intended me to be. I don’t take things for granted with Berlyn. I see every day as an opportunity to teach her, love her and cherish her. I fully know in the fabric of my being that I am not promised anything other than this exact moment. Berlyn has a version of her mommy that would have never existed without loss of her grandma.
What loss in your life do you need God to show you the gain?
What if all the failures in your life are setting you up for your greatest victory? I look back on my health journey and cringe at what I did in the name of “looking good” and “hitting the number on the scale”. I failed all the time. Every day I would get up and tell myself, “I am not going to binge and purge today” and all would be good until 10 am when I would start thinking about it, obsessing about it and committing to it. That went on for over five years. I would start a diet and swear this was the one that was going to get me to size x. And sure enough, I would fail. I was a coach, a teacher, a mentor to young girls. I was a hypocrite. I would live one life in the public and another life behind closed doors.
I failed over and over and over again. And at the perfect moment (God’s timing), when I was exhausted enough and defeated enough, God stepped in. I was invited to and attended a personal development seminar, I met some new people, I renewed my commitment to my relationship with God and slowly I was delivered from the struggle of trying to look perfect so I didn’t feel broken. I had to admit I was broken, and I couldn't fix it. I knew fixing the outside wasn’t going to heal my inside. God wanted to change me from the inside - out. My journey is outlined in my Healthy Edge program, but I want you to know that God isn’t about making the path easy. He isn’t committed to our comfort, He is committed to our purpose.
Even after I was delivered from most of the behaviors, I felt a lot of shame, guilt and condemnation which influenced every area of my life. I felt embarrassed about what I had done in my past and I believed it was a reflection of who I was and it caused me to hold back the message God has put on my heart to share. Then one day, I was speaking to a group of women and I felt conviction (praise God for the Holy Spirit) and I just said it. I said the truth. I brought into the light what the enemy wanted me to keep in the dark so he could continue to accuse me. I shared my story of bulimia and all the things I had done in the name of “losing weight” and achieving the “perfect body”. And you know what? The women in the room who had looked at me and in an instant made the assumption that because of the way I looked I had no idea what they were going through - saw me through the lens of my past, with a fresh perspective, that showed them that I am just like them. My past has become my platform. My past is not what weighs me down, my past is what I now use to deliver others. It reminds me of God’s faithfulness, my weakness without Him and how absolutely everything will be used for my good.
What shame, guilt or condemnation from your past needs to be brought into the light so God can show you how He is going to work it for your good and the good for those around you?
I could go on and on and share story after story about rewriting my past, but now it’s your turn. I want you to stop focusing on the behaviors you are enslaved to or the weight you want to drop or the husband you want to change or the life you think you deserve. I want you to ask God, in this moment, what are the lies I am believing about my past and what is the truth that you want to reveal? What have I viewed as pain and trauma that you want to reveal as joy and blessing?
It’s all about perspective. Yes, it is true. We cannot change the past. But what if we looked at our past with the faith that EVERY SINGLE moment was allowed or ordained? What if in order to be delivered from it, you have to walk through it - but not alone. God is waiting to show you his perspective.
Here is a poem many of you have probably seen, but I thought it was an appropriate way to end.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.
If you would like more intensive support in your own health and weight release journey and you have not had a free coaching session with me, CLICK HERE to schedule yours today! I look forward to getting to know you!