| Within these stories of heartache, there is a deeper story of how God is |
My name means, "peace," and I have a lot of stories to tell that demonstrate the fact that
I had no clue how to have peace in my own life for most of my life.
These stories include instability in my childhood household, living in 20 houses by the time I was 20 years old, a 20 year battle with depression and suicidal tendencies (as an adult), sexual trauma, divorce, childbirth, anger/bitterness at the "church" and God, losing my home in the recession, single parenting, falling in love, unplanned pregnancy, mis-carriage, career, self-hatred, loneliness, and the mysterious journey through the dark night of the soul.
My first memory was when I was 3 years old, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I was born right into the Jesus movement of the early 1970s, and I'm not sure what led me to sit by my window, hands in prayer position, looking out my window to the sky, but I remember peeking through the orange curtains with an anticipation in my heart. I was responding to the call.
There has been a spiritual battle for my soul since this day, and the sad part is that I didn't know that I was sitting in the middle of the battlefield.
I'm a highly sensitive soul and have always deeply felt the energy around me. Vibes are my speciality, and throughout my life, I've "known" things that people don't understand how I know...about them, about places, about energies.
Without any true understanding of this gift or how to manage living in the world as an empath before the word was common vernacular, events took place that changed me, and I took on different identities or related to the world around me in ways that covered up the sweet heart that I had when I asked Jesus to enter in. I was always aware when the internal "shift" was happening, but I didn't have the tools to not be effected.
When I was in my early 20s, I made a decision that resulted in a sense that I was falling off a cliff into a black hole. For the next 20 years, I suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies that were as natural as breathing to me. Sometimes my mom would often ask me, "Where is the peace from the meaning of your name?" I didn't know. I was angry. I was hurt. I was lonely. I didn't care. Of course I made it seem like I didn't care, but deep down, I longed for that peace. I just didn't know how to have any long term experience of it. It's not that I didn't try. I was constantly trying to find it, and with each endeavor, I went further into the darkness because nothing worked. I could never fix anything, and I was a walking frustrated, angry heartbroken person.
After many years, I stopped believing that this God or this Jesus that I had invited into my heart when I was 3, and that I had grown up learning about, even cared about me. I felt that God just liked playing tricks on me and didn't care about any of my needs. I felt guilty for having needs. And because of the culture of perfection that I had grown up in, I believed that even if God did exist, that God wouldn't want anything to do with me at this point. I had messed up so much. So, I went on, functioning from an internal belief that I had to figure life out on my own. Isolation and self-sufficiency became my way of life.
When my son, Winslow, was born in 2007, I was propelled into a horizontal search for truth. The mother/child intimacy that I experienced with him, shook me to my core. I sobbed uncontrollably for hours one night, when he was asleep in my arms, because this kind of intimacy and love was completely foreign to me, but it's what I had longed for more than anything in my entire life. I remember taking as long as I needed to absorb this feeling into my body. This feeling that there was nothing but pure love between two people. No harm. No heartache. No trauma. No danger. No mis-understanding.
Just pure love between one human being and another.
Experiencing a glimpse of this kind of pure intimacy contrasted the other areas of my life, and I immediately recognized how unhealthy I was. I HAD to get healthy, or I would go farther into darkness and would continue to be spiritually and emotionally diseased. I could see years down the road, when this beautiful child would ask me for truth...I had to find it. I had to know it and experience it for myself so that I could give it to him.
This search for truth and intimacy didn't follow a linear, simple path, but I got on that path. Truth showed up in ways that I could understand, but mostly in ways that I didn't. The search was driven by my gut instincts, throwing myself into situations, and with eyes wide open watching, feeling, learning from and, in my journal, documenting everything that happened.
During this time, I learned about using a journal as a therapeutic tool, and studied new ways to keep a journal. It blew my mind. I had kept a journal since I was in 3rd grade, but only through poetry writing and stream of consciousness. Learning new journal techniques opened me up to new ways of seeing the world and to new ways of living my life...
With intention. With eyes wide open. With very high demands on God.
One day, with all of the piss and fire that was left in me, I decided to give this "God" one last chance to let me know if he existed and if so, then God would have to prove to me that I wasn't too much to handle..that my needs were important. At least ONE. I wasn't asking for much.
I had moved from Phoenix to Denver, and had lost my home in the recession. Living in a small "crappy" apartment in Denver fueled my anger. That home in Phoenix was such a big deal to me. It was the first home that was my own, and after all of the moving when I was younger, I needed my own home to be able to create my own stability, and since that was gone, it was anger that fueled me, not love. There wasn't enough money to transport all of my belongings from Phoenix to Denver. So, I had no bed to sleep on. None of this was a dream come true.
This particular morning, I decided to start a "Jesus Journal. The fact that it had a picture of Michael Jackson on the front cover served my need to be sarcastic. In this Jesus Journal, I decided that I would write a need down, and then see if God cared enough to meet it.
My first journal entry went something like this ... "I need a f***ing bed, God!"
That afternoon, someone was moving out of their apartment and had left a decent couch by the dumpster. My new bed. I was pissed because God was real, and this didn't sit well with my bitter and angry self.
How do you deny an immediate answer to prayer like that? How do you deny the fact that God answered my exact need that I prayed for? This was the real beginning of the establishment of my faith.
Eight and a half years after Winslow was born, when I mis-carried my second baby, Isabella, this quest to understanding truth, intimacy and love came via a straight shot to the heavenly realms.
While in bed, all day and night, after the mis-carriage, in the middle of the grief and loss, I felt a rapid soul development. I didn't know what was happening to me, but I physically could not get out of bed in the morning until I had spent usually 6- 8 hours a day in prayer and meditation.
Some force was holding me there instructing me to pray and meditate. Many times, I would try to get out of bed, but was pulled right back into it. At night, I could physically feel my mind re-programming, releasing old patterns, creating new neuro-pathways.
Prayer, meditation, reading the Bible and re-programing my mind became my full-time job. In the evening, I would find a place on the hill and watch the sun set in the quiet and then would pray myself to sleep. And during sleep, I was awake, going through more of the same.
I began to see that much of what I had previously believed was true, was actually false.
During these times, loneliness became so intense, that it seemed that I had become loneliness itself. Sorrow seemed to be the only home that this world had made for me. During this time, I wrote everything down. All my prayers, all the heartache, all the lessons, all the answers to prayers, all of the new insights from reading the Bible with new eyes were scribed in my journal.
Eventually, I figured out that I was going through a spiritual awakening. The veil had been lifted, and I could feel more into the spiritual realms than before. It was in these times, that a heavier battle for my soul ensued. I was simultaneously in the middle of the heaviness of grief and being pulled higher through a purification process, a cleansing. Everything that was happening was a pull toward God, a pull toward a fuller truth that I had been journeying toward since my son was born. And this truth was beautiful.
Before the mis-carriage, inside of the 8 weeks that I was pregnant, God had given me the baby's name and gender through a beautiful and complex series of events.
Isabella's name means "Devoted to God," and it's clear that her purpose was to serve as a catalyst to propel me through a final spiritual portal. The portal was characterized by the most difficult spiritual battle I have ever felt . Each layer of this battle forced me to look at and dis-mantle the dysfunction of my personality. As I grew closer to unity with God, my true self began to emerge. The young girl that had been beaten up by years of heartache, shame, guilt, confusion and lies, was being healed.
There was an ultimate coming back into full connection with God and the purpose for my life. I have no choice but to be devoted to God in whatever I do. It's in my DNA.
I'm thankful, because it was in the year that followed Isabella's mis-carriage that I was fully born again. God taught me about...
Unconditional Love. Forgiveness. Intimacy. Purity. Safe Community. Peace.
When you experience these things, you will be transformed.
Prayer, meditation and studying the healing power of God are a way of life for me now. These things are as natural as breathing to me now. Everything else is just a matter of living here on earth. The darkness still pulls, and anyone who is honest, will admit that it always will, but I am protected now by the the truth. Prayer feels like a relief to me. I'm so thankful that we have this option available to us.
I believe we are numbed and lied to by the darkness that wants keep us separated from the real truth of God. It's not always obvious, and sometimes it's disguised in beauty, but if there is anything that doesn't point to Jesus as the physical manifestation of God, then it's not the highest form of truth.
The path to peace isn't peaceful, but it's worth every single step.
The path to love isn't always loving, but it's worth every single heartache.
The path toward truth will be filled with lies that you will have to sort through, but if you stick with it, you will be led to God and to the experience of unconditional love.
I hope you are being pulled toward the truth, toward love, toward God. Social media memes won't give you the totality of these experiences. You have to want more. You have to go deeper. You have to dig in to your own story and journey and stay inside of them until you experience the ultimate healing and freedom with Jesus.
What I know about God now, is that God will respond to you in ways that are meaningful to you. Your personal journey with God won't be cookie-cutter. I hope that it's not. It will be authentic to who you are. What you should know is that God cares about your needs, about your pain and will be with you on your healing path. I believe Jesus was the greatest healer that walked the earth, and that his power is still alive and able to heal us spiritually and emotionally.
For you, I am a facilitator, an empath and co-travellor though this life, with the desire to help you feel better by offering you a practical tool for that journey.
You may also like to know that...
I have a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska and studied writing as therapy at the Therapeutic Writing Institute. Since 2010, I've taught Journal Keeping workshops across the U.S. and have worked one on one with people from all walks of life, teaching different journal techniques that make their journal come alive.
I hope you'll discover journal keeping as a beautiful and therapeutic tool. It's practical, tangible, in-expensive and has the power to lift you higher.
It's my passion to share stories, poems, verses, and journal methods with you. Ultimately, just know that God, Jesus and to the Holy Spirit are the ultimate sources of power...and journal keeping is one way to access that power to draw you to a place of unconditional love, purpose and consciousness, and of course, to bring you to a place of peace.