Can You Be Free From The Past And Live In The Present?
Freedom, what does that mean for you?
I believe it is different for anyone you ask. What freedom meant to me was to be free from my past and the memories that haunted me. The day I realized I was my biggest problem was a day that my journey would start into freedom from the past. I was such a prisoner of my past and couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to get out of it. I was locked in to the memories, the addiction, the lack of self worth and I learned how to use it to benefit my own needs, or so I thought.
I see so many people who struggle with this same way of thinking. I was stuck in my victim mentality and couldn’t see the road to the survivor mentality. It was blocked by self pity and self justification. I was really good at hiding my “real” self from the world for a long time. Except for my immediate family people saw me as this outgoing, strong person who was an overcomer. My friend shared with me she was amazed by my ability to get back up after life knocked be down. Sadly it was an outward appearance because on the inside I was dead and so very lost.
Have you ever felt like there was this person living deep inside you that was trying to get out but were afraid of that person. I always felt there was this person I wanted to be but I didn’t know how to be her. She had so much love inside her and wanted to help people and get past the anger that consumed her. She had this joy that just was contagious and so kind. Why won’t she come out? The problem for me and why she wouldn’t come out was because I blamed everyone for everything. I was unable to look at myself because it was to painful. It was easier to point the finger at the world and justify my behavior and my misery. If you went through what I went through you’d be like this too. What a lie that was. I created most of my own misery.
Yes there were things that happened to me that weren’t my fault, and oh boy did I use them for justification in my own bad behavior an attitude. Hurt people, hurt people. It is such a true statement. It was an amazing day for me when I realized I could live WITH my past instead of IN my past. I didn’t have to keep reliving what was already lived. I could begin to heal. In 2003 a new friend God sent me (Elizabeth) gave me some cassette tapes of a testimony by Joyce Meyer. I listened and cried for hours. When I was done I decided that if this woman whose life so paralleled mine could get past her past then so could I. For the first time in my life I had a flicker of hope that I could walk out of my past into the present.
I really do wish I could say it was easy but it was not. I would struggle and fall many times. I was heading in the right direction but I had some obstacles to overcome. First and foremost I didn’t trust anyone or anything. I was hurt so many times so trust was not something that came easy for me. The thing I would hang on to was that flicker of hope and a determination to heal.
It has been many years since I listened to Joyce’s testimony. I feel like a totally different person today. I got up every time I fell and I never gave up. I began learning about forgiveness and stopped pointing my finger at people. Day by day the prison doors I had myself behind began to open. The day would finally come where I could walk out of my past into the present. I was free. Do I have still have “stuff” that comes up? Yes, but the difference today is I don’t hang on to it. I work through it and I move on.
My passion for so many years has been to help people who struggle like I did and I did help people many times. The problem for me was I would say these encouraging words to someone I was helping but not living by them. I felt like I was this phony because I was giving this wonderful advice and not living it. Today I live it.
I am free and I can say with confidence that you can be free also. I know now that my “real” self was the person deep inside me and she was able to come out and live through healing and I’m Living Free Being Me. My hope for you is that you also find that flicker of hope and grab on to it and run with it. We don’t have to relive the past because guess what? It’s over!! And the beautiful part is that you SURVIVED it if you are reading this. God can use your past to help others in the present. I believe everyone has a story to tell and someone needs to hear your story. There is someone in front of you that needs to hear how you got through your life struggle and needs help getting through theirs.
I can’t change my past and barring a concussion and amnesia I can’t forget it either, but I can live with it and use it. There is a Scripture in the bible that I love in Romans 8:28. It says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I believe that everything I went through in my life gives me the ability to identify and help people who have suffered the way I did.
What is the purpose of your life?
Are you tired of the struggle?
Are you ready for change?
Are you ready to be free?
My husband and I have a healing ministry and we love to pray with people for emotional and physical healing. If this is something you are interested in please feel free to contact us.
I pray you have a blessed day.
I'm Living Free Being Me: So What Does That Mean?
It’s sad how so many take on the identity of other people’s words spoken into their lives. They take it on as who they are and it is not even close the person they truly are. The opinions of others become who we think we are as a person and it is usually all a lie. Yes, I was angry and with good reason, and yes I had walls all around me for protection. Although, the truth is it was not who I was, it was who I’d become because of the hurts in my life and the inability to see past them and discover the true me. I looked at myself through the eyes of the people around me who caused the pain in my life and were just as screwed up as I was at the time. I became who they said I was and was afraid to be who I am.
I want to explain about what it means for me to live free being me. The reason for this is because I really thought for years I knew who I was. I was whoever someone else wanted me to be and I never even saw it. It wasn’t until my children started to move out of the house that I really started to see that I had no clue who I was.
Peoples perspective of me for years was that I was this tough girl and shouldn’t be messed with. My mouth kept me out of a lot of fights as a kid and as an adult because what came out of it scared them away. That might have been good because I wasn’t a fighter and probably would have gotten beat up a lot. My abusive childhood built up defensive walls around me and I made it very hard for people to get in.
When I was growing up I always believed there was this person inside of me fighting to get out and she was afraid. The girl inside of me was so emotional so I constantly shut her down. Why? Because I was told too. If I cried I was told to stop or I would be given something to cry for. I was a little girl with many secrets and nobody to tell them to. This taught me to just stuff everything so deep inside and would contribute to the tough exterior of my personality. It would teach me to hurt you before you hurt me. It would define how people saw me but not be the truth of who I was.
Counselors I was taken to as a child told my mom I was angry but not one asked why. Another one I saw as and adult said I had a personality disorder and I was like a chameleon in that I tried to fit into whatever situation I was in. I’ll be whoever you need me to be, because I don’t know how to be who I am, because I had no clue who that was.
I knew who I wanted to be on the outside and it wasn’t me. It was always someone else. I wanted to look different because I thought I was fat. My nicknames growing up were thunder thighs, rump roast, moose, and lard ass. How in the world could I not think I was fat. The pictures from my childhood do not depict a fat child and yet it was etched in my brain I had a weight problem. I was also told I was the “B” word and I would say no I’m not and then told yes you are just accept it. Okay then I’ll just be one then and I was still dying on the inside because it was not who the girl on the inside was. Why won’t she come out. Well, I had her barricaded in so she couldn’t get hurt. I would protect her at any cost.
My friend Ray years ago figured me out. He was in a wheelchair and I would pick him up for meetings a few times a week. He’s get in the car I’d put the chair in the trunk and we’d go. We were heading out one night and he stopped and looked at me and said, “you ain’t so tough.” I’m like what does that mean? He said, “you might be tough on the outside but you are all mush on the inside.” I laughed and told him if he told anyone my secret I’d knock him out of his chair. We laughed and he agreed. Only a few people could see past my wall into my soul and Ray was one of them. I came off harsh to protect myself but I was mush on the inside.
I really was mush when I think about it. Hallmark commercials made me sob, as well as any Lifetime movie. I cried in secret over the silliest things and often would ask myself why I couldn’t cry over things that mattered. Why did I have to come off like this mean, sarcastic, blunt tell it like it is person. I acted like someone who didn’t care if I hurt you and yet when I did I couldn’t sleep for days because of the guilt I felt.
Let’s fast forward a bit I think you get the picture of how the world saw me and also how I saw myself and that it wasn’t who I really was. Finally, I realized fear was the reason I was afraid to be me. I was so afraid people wouldn’t like me if I showed the vulnerable, compassionate, caring side of me. The one who cared about your feelings and your life.
The person I am is a survivor. When Christ came into my life it changed everything I was taught and believed about who I am. A psychiatrist at a mental ward I was ordered to go to asked me to make a deal with him. He asked me to stop looking at myself through the eyes of my mother and that hit me like a ton of bricks. He was so right on it scared me. Since that day I have tried to do just that and have conquered it. Here’s the thing about broken people who see you fighting through the obstacles they have never been able to get through. They will do whatever they can to keep you down. The old saying “misery loves company” is so true. If I look at my family I am the one who always fought to break free from the vicious cycle of dysfunction and addiction that runs rampid.
Sure I messed up a lot but I never stopped fighting and I have won the battle. The walls are almost all the way down and I let people in freely. I don’t hide my tears or the compassion I have towards people who are broken like I was. I have a huge heart to help women who hide behind the mask of others or suffer from addiction, eating disorders or anything else that deters them from seeing who they really are. What I see when I look at women, no matter what condition they are in, is a Princess. A daughter of the Most High God. My goal is to reach as many people as I can in my lifetime and share the truth of who they are and dispose of the lie of who they’ve been told they are.
It has been an awesome journey of discovery and people were weird at first but they are coming along in accepting the real me, the me God purposed me to be.
I’m Living Free Being Me and my hope is for you to be Living Free Being You.
How A Search For Ice Cream Saved My Life
Hey Hey Hey!!
So you may be asking how searching for ice cream can save someone's life. Well it's kind of a cool story of how God answers prayer. I have several blog posts where I mention my friend Elizabeth and how God sent her to me. This is the story of how this all came about.
Back in the summer of 2002 I’m existing in life but it is a hot mess. I’m miserable, alcoholic, angry, depressed and filled with anxiety almost all the time. I live in the past, suffer from PTSD, have flashbacks and hate my life and myself. I’m at this point incapable of living life on a daily basis. I couldn’t look at myself eye to eye in the mirror because I hated who looked back at me. I was working part time at a small country store in the town I lived in at the time and I was absolutely miserable with a big old phony smile on my face.
Let’s start with my prayer. One night I was at my wits end, probably drinking and had had enough. I was laying on the floor of my bathroom in the fetal position crying out to God, who I didn’t have much faith in, and begged him to give me the courage to kill myself or please show me how to get up everyday and live life. I laid on the floor contemplating the knives in the kitchen but, as you can see, I didn’t have it in me to follow through.
Elizabeth’s prayer. In a town close by Elizabeth was on the hunt for ice cream. Friendly’s was right up the road but something in her was pushing her for some good old fashioned homemade ice cream. She prayed, searched and asked people if they knew of a place that served this particular ice cream. Finally someone suggested a country store in the next town over. They told her where it was and how it had homemade ice cream served in an old fashioned setting. So off she went with her husband and three children to have ice cream.
So I’m at work behind the counter and her husband came in first. I checked him out, because let’s be honest I was always looking for someone to save me, and Elizabeth was right behind him. Almost immediately I felt a connection to this family. There was something about them that I was drawn to and I didn’t really know why. Them coming for ice cream became a regular event and I loved when they came in. There was a peace I felt when I was around this family. Their kids were very young and I had a new digital camera so I asked if I could take pictures of them. Elizabeth then asked if I could email her the pictures and handed me a business card to send them to. Have you ever had someone show you something and you try not to show any emotion or shock by what you see? I took the card and look at it and it says Believe in the Truth Ministries. I’m like um, oh, ya thats cool. Elizabeth said check out the website and that her testimony was on there if I wanted to read it and just send the pics to the email on the card.
As uncomfortable as I felt when I read the card I knew now why I felt the connection. I didn’t know it right away but God had answered my prayer and was going to take me on a journey of healing and He was using Elizabeth to walk and guide me through it. Over the next few months though we lost contact somehow. I lost their card and went to my winter job and wonderfully my life that already sucked and I thought couldn’t get worse did. I think it was October to March before I saw them again at the ski area I cooked at. I was so excited to see her again and had a question for her. I sat with her on my break and stuttered nervously and asked if maybe I could go to church with them. She, with her perky personality, said sure you can come this Sunday. I was like oh, um, I wasn’t thinking that quick but ah okay. I went to church that Sunday, and honestly it was a last resort for me, and I became born again.
It for me really was my last resort. I had tried everything out there to be normal. I lived always believing there was something wrong with me and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Why couldn’t I be normal and make my head stop and let things go and stop drinking my pain away? Over the next couple years I was like a puppy following this family around to all kinds of church functions. They travelled to places and I sit in the back with the kids who honestly were a great distraction for me because I was so filled with fear everywhere I went. I would hold Elizabeth’s daughter on my lap so I didn’t have to stand and sing. I watched in awe and wonder how happy people looked. It was so foreign to me because in the circles I hung in people were always partying and miserable.
It was a gradual process for me over the first several years. I had trust issues and addiction issues I wasn’t willing to really give over to God. I fell down often but I always got back up. There was something in me now that wasn’t going to let go of me until He finished what He started. Jesus had me hook, line, and sinker. He fished me out of the depths of my misery and brought me on a journey of healing that changed my life forever. As for Elizabeth we are still great friends today. This woman has stood by me and supported me through all the times I fell. She never judged or stopped loving me even when times would get bad for me again. I gave her a run for her money for sure at times. She is truly a friend.
My funny story to wrap this up. I am pretty much a tomboy kind of person. I like playing and watching sports, I don’t wear makeup, people call me sir on the phone and I’m a jeans and a t-shirt dresser. Elizabeth is this tiny little thing, doesn’t leave the house without makeup with this squeaky voice and perky personality all dressed up for the occasion. In a normal setting she was everything I wanted to be like and everything I hated if that makes sense. I would not have picked her for a friend because she would have irritated me to death and she would not have picked me. We share when we speak together about how if you pray for God to send you someone don’t turn them away because it's not who you would have picked. If I waited for someone to come that was of my liking I’d still be out there waiting.
Be blessed and be careful what you ask for you just might get it.
Willingness to walk through the tough things in life is not easy but is essential for change. If we are not willing to go through whatever it takes to get to the other side of obstacles we are fighting a losing battle. It was something I struggled with when it came to certain obstacles in my journey to change. I was willing to give God only so much but the rest I would try to control to no avail. Every time I have tried to control anything it seemed to blow up in my face leaving me with more struggle.
When I became a Christian I was under the impression that all things in my life would just miraculously get better and I would skip through the tulips of life. I didn't understand what "faith without works is dead" actually meant. The belief that the good Lord above was going to come down, heal what ailed me, take all my pain and I would be happy was soon squashed. I didn't understand then that I had to do some footwork if I wanted to change my life. What I learned is it came down to a willingness to change and a choice to do whatever it took to accomplish my goals.
Walk ThroughThe early days of my journey I was still drinking and on my way to the package store. I would tell God that if He didn't want me to drink then stop me. Drop a tree or something if you have all this power. Well, the tree didn't fall and I would go get my supplies and I'd be off and running. I talk to God like He's my friend but I'm not such a jerk today. I was such a mess back then. There was no willingness to walk through the hard stuff so I kept doing the thing that caused me pain until it almost killed me.
My friend told me once, you know Kristina God can remove the desire but He's not going to remove all the package stores. Yes, this is where my part comes in. I have to be willing to make a choice to first, not test God, and second, choose to make the right decision and walk through to the other side.
Willingness to walk through is a huge obstacle for many people. Too often I hear people say they don't want to suffer through withdrawal or relive the past in order to get better and change. We get comfortable with things the way they are and comfortable with the pain and the fear wins. If the devil can keep us in our misery he will do it any way he can and fear is one of his greatest tools. The fear for me was if I stopped drinking I would start to remember and I didn't want to do that. I knew how to handle chaos and I was okay with that.
To The Other SideWhy is fear of change so hard? What will we do with all the time we have when we are not stressing about everything in life? How will I handle life without all the chaos? Won't it be boring? I'm laughing writing this because my life is so not boring. It still has its fill of chaos and stresses but I am sober and free from the things that haunted me. I came to a place where I had a willingness to walk through and live life on God's terms. I prayed my way through withdrawals and suffered for a time but I was willing. Walking through the tough stuff is not easy but because God is so good and walks with us it's doable. There are so many things in life I could never have gotten through on my own strength.
When we look at ourselves we don't give ourselves enough credit. We don't see what other people see in us. My suggestion is to start listening and believing in yourself. If you made it this far you survived all the past up to today. It's over and you never have to relive it again. Come to a place where your past is used to help someone struggling and needs an answer to getting through. If we walk through to the other side and we make it, we can now help others get there too.
WillingnessWhen I talk with people who are struggling the first thing I pray for is willingness. I surrendered my addiction to God and became willing to do whatever it took to get better and I got better. Life around me my first year was one of the most chaotic, eventful, and dramatic years of my life. I made it through by making the right choices and did the footwork to accomplish change in my life. It wasn't easy for me and I was tempted to throw in the towel many times, but I just kept believing there was another side and I wanted to be on it.
Are you willing to come to the other side and walk through whatever it takes to get there? I'm praying for people reading this that a willingness comes over you and you decide to walk through. It's a place where the world around us doesn't necessarily change but everything inside us does. We begin to see, think, react and live differently. A place where we can live on the other side of brokenness. A place where we see the need to grab someone's hand and pray for their willingness to walk through.
Lowering our expectations. Have you heard the saying, “expect less, get more” before? I'm sure you have and maybe brushed it off as I did for, well let's be real my whole life. I never could really understand the concept of it until a few years ago when I was doing some inner healing work with a woman. It doesn't pertain to everything. For example, if I’m going for a job interview I’m going expecting to get the job but I don’t crumble if it doesn’t happen. I believe I have to go with confidence into these types of situations but in everyday life, with people, it is a different story.
I hear so often from people the expectations they have of other people and the sad part is, we can have them but it doesn’t mean people are listening or going to adhere to them. What I have learned is to lower my expectations I have on people and the end result is less frustration and anger when I don’t get what I want. The truth is when we are selfish by nature and want things our way and when they are not we get mad. Then we say, “oh if they loved me or respected me’ blah, blah, blah.
One expectation I hear a lot about is demanding to be treated with respect. The problem with this is we can’t control other people or how they act or talk. I taught my children to treat people with respect, even if they didn’t respect them, and I stand by that and do my best at being an example to them. I can’t demand people act the same way. All I can do is kindly reply my request in a situation and hope for the best.
What Did I Expect?When a person is continually rude and disrespectful to me and I keep going back for more who’s fault is it? If you keep going back and nothing changes then stop going or stop complaining. Pick one and run with it. If I expect my husband to pick up his socks and he never does it why am I still expecting it? It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t care about where he leaves them and if it bothers me that much then I pick them up. I haven’t quite mastered the no grumbling while I do it but I’m getting better.
There are so many things we expect from people. We get angry when the expectation is not met and only we can change that. Our parents are expected to protect us and when they don’t we stay angry for years. We try to figure out what we did wrong. We expect people to be nice to us or pay attention to us. When they don’t we think they don’t love us. We expect people to tell us they're sorry when they hurt us. When they don’t we are unwilling to forgive them. We allow the expectations we set for people to define how we view ourselves.
If my parents didn’t protect me I must not have value, there must be something wrong with me. Or my husband isn’t nice to me I must not be lovable, nobody will ever love me. If my friend won’t apologize to me she must not like me, I must not be a good person. The unmet expectation becomes a lie, a stronghold, that we cling to as our identity and it is not the truth.
Recently I spoke with a woman, (I’ll call her Mary) and she was going to be seeing her dad after many years and was not sure how it was going to go. She was holding some feelings towards him from past hurts that had not been resolved. Through a course of events, she was taking care of a sister from her dad's new family. He was coming to visit and pick up this sister and Mary was a bit nervous.
I saw her a week or so later and asked if her dad had come and she said yes. It was going well and she stated, “it’s not what I expected”. What she perceived and expected turned out to be different from what happened. An expected uncomfortable meeting turned out to be the beginning of healing with Mary and her dad. The process of forgiving and moving forward started to take place. How many times do we avoid something because of false expectations of what's to come?
When we can learn to expect less from people we begin to get so much more. I’m really working hard at learning to see people as broken vessels. The way God sees us. When I look at my parents as people and not my parents I can see the brokenness in their lives. I look at my husband as a brother in Christ, and I can see that he may be just as messed up as me. When my friend won’t come to me I wonder what I might have done to hurt her and maybe I can reach out first.
Lowering my expectations is about swallowing my pride and letting go of the need to have it my way. It’s about being love, in an un-lovable situation. If we know who we are the actions and words of others can’t touch us. Is it easy all the time, no it is not? Especially when it comes from the ones closest to us. I’ve heard it said many times that people can only hurt us with words and actions if we believe what they are saying. There is so much truth to that statement. If someone tells me I’m stupid it only hurts if I believe I’m stupid. Expectations of others is a nice way of saying I selfishly want it to go my way.
People have a right to their opinions but it doesn’t make it the truth. It is only true if you believe their opinion. They are in control of their own mouths and behavior, not us. When I accept that I can’t control others my life gets easier. Lowering my expectations I can stay in my happy zone no matter what zone the other person is in, I like my happy place.
Please comment and share an experience you had with expectations and how you worked it out. I’d love to hear from you.
Stepping outside the box is a very scary concept for me. As with so many people staying in a zone of comfort and familiarity becomes commonplace. Stepping out of the comfort zone takes faith and trust and a bit of courage. I've gone to South Africa a couple times (2013, 2016) on missions trips and stayed at a place that had most of the comforts of home. I am now going to step out of my comfort zone in Mozambique at the Harvest School of Missions.
Both times in Africa I heard a lot about this missionary school that a lot of the people I know have gone through. It is through Iris Global (https://www.irisglobal.org/home/), and the testimonies were all amazing adding to my curiosity. After my second visit, I came home with a desire to attend Harvest School and began researching. I wasn't sure when or how I would get to the school but I wanted to know everything about it. I prayed and asked God to work it out if it was in His plan for me to go.
God began to work it out about mid-year of 2017. Feeling a strong desire I looked up the requirements for reading and supplies as well as any costs for this school. Again, I'm not sure how this is going to happen but I have a strong belief that I am to attend the summer session of 2018. I wrote out the reading list and begin reading the books in faith that I would attend the next summer session. As soon as the winter 2017 session ended I was able to apply for the 2018 session God told me I would be going to.
Applied, accepted, and now the fear and doubt sets in. What did I get myself into? Harvest School isn't like attending Harvard or even a community college. From what I'm learning it's about humility and going deep with God. It's about getting out of my own way and living within the culture and environment of where I am. Washing my clothes by hand like the folks that live in the community do. Eating the cuisine that is customary on their menu. Stepping out of my comfort zone and humbling myself before God and becoming love.
The fear has been replaced by excitement and I am looking forward to my out of box experience. I'm trusting God for the finances to attend. I actually set up a go fund me and deleted it because I felt funny doing it. Then I tried to set it up again twice and both times it deleted all the information as I was hitting publish. At that point, I heard God say "why aren't you trusting me?". Now I am just going to sit back and give God the glory in providing what is needed to attend Harvest School.
God has provided the airfare thus far and we are working on tuition and supplies. I'm always amazed by His faithfulness and I shouldn't be because He has always been faithful. Whenever I let go of control the miraculous happens. My trip is from May 28th - August 3rd and I am hoping to be able to an update blog once a week while I am there. I wanted to share this with my readers and hope you all come along on my journey.
Please pray for me on this trip and thank you for stopping by I'm LIving Free Being Me.