To the woman who gave me life but couldn’t raise me – Happy Mother’s Day and Thank You.

It took me thirty-eight years to understand that it wasn’t so much that you didn’t raise me as it was that you couldn’t raise me. That there was a difference in ability rather than responsibility and that truthfully, choosing life, was the most important gift you could have ever given me. It was in that moment where forgiveness began replacing resentment and a gratefulness was fostered.

More days than I care to admit I believed the lie that I was unwanted, unloved and unseen because I felt that way by you. However, I don’t believe that lie as often these days. It wouldn’t be fair to lie to you and say that I never slip back into those moments of where I remember what it feels like growing up without a mother, because I do. However, I have a choice to make peace with my past and to remember that just because you gave birth to me does not mean you were meant to raise me and I thank you for choosing to give me life when you didn’t have to. In fact, my being a mother today is because the first thing you were supposed to do a mother, you did right.

It was around this time I learned the the events that modified the narrative of what my have been an otherwise “normal” mother-daughter relationship. One where you were present, one where you could have came from a place of choice rather than circumstance. When we mature and become parents ourselves our eyes are opened to an unparalleled level of understanding. There are situations that as children we are unable to sympathize with, wrap our heads around or see selflessly. What I saw was a mother who gave up, a mother choosing addiction and not choosing me. What I failed to see was a woman who was hurting, self-medicating and lost. When I was four years old taking care of myself and my two-year-old brother, it wasn’t because you couldn’t be bothered to care for us, it was because you were unable to care for yourself enough to even get out of bed. You were in many ways crippled by the blows life had served and a storm that still to this day has you in its grasp.

I understand depression, and although drugs/alcohol are not an addiction I know, I understand addiction manifests in other ways. Believe me when I say that there have been my share of days where depression has crippled me, days where getting out of bed is impossible and days where my unhealthy choices and patterns came before everything and everyone else including myself. You may not have raised me but we are more alike than you will ever realize.

You need to know something and I hope you let this really sink in. If I were six months along carrying my first child at eighteen, and my sixteen-year-old sister was raped and murdered and left along a highway, it would break me too. If nine months after having my baby, my mother died of alcoholism and a broken heart – I might have given up too. Additionally dealing with your sisters murder being unsolved for thirty-eight years, postponing any sense of closure is unbearable. Those are near impossible odds for anyone to come up against and win. Not to mention the small detail of who my father was, how I know he was to you – I’d go so far as to say you did the best you could. And, if the best you could do was to bow out, than I give you a standing ovation. If the best you could do was give me a better life by leaving than you succeeded. At the end of the day that is two things you did right by me, and from the depths of my heart I thank you.

There were moments where I felt alone, where I was angry, and where hate replaced any existence of love but those moments are in the past. It is important that you know I don’t hate you, I don’t even blame you to be honest and that I turned out just fine. My life may have looked different, my path may have been messier than most but God provided the people, the path and the direction I needed. It is not even me that I worry about anymore if I am honest; it’s you. My moments of questioning have cycled to where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing now. My mind also wanders to a place of where I’ll receive the same phone call I got when dad died and whether the loss will feel like a loss that I haven’t already processed. I need you to know, just in case you have regrets that keep you up late at night and I am one of them, or I’m a heartache that is numbed by any substance – you can let that go. Please let that go. Forty years ago you chose life for me, and my prayer for you this Mother’s Day, is that you choose life now for yourself.

I’ll keep praying, Happy Mother’s Day and Thank you.

We all have our own well we visit in the heat of the day.

I want to be like the Samaritan woman. I want to drop my water buckets, run into town and tell the world about the man who went out of his way, in the heat of the day, meeting me at my lowest and chose me intentionally. A man who knew my whole story, and chose to cover me in compassion and grace. We deserve to be alive in and known for our transformation instead of our sin, for what we did AFTER, and who we BECAME. You deserve that too. So, go ahead and drop your buckets, cancel the well visits, find some shade and a few good people who love you first for all you are and all you are not. Allow God to use your story, to use your heart and shed a light to others around you that shame doesn’t live here anymore.

Shame is liar whose only intent is to divert us from or diminish entirely any chance for success. Shame can take a single mistake and make it our identity. In fact the very armor we were meant to wear for power in standing against the devils schemes becomes a buckling weight disguised as weakness and shame.

It is no secret that I love the stories of the women of the bible; Rahab the harlot, the Adulteress, Mary Magdalene and of course the Samaritan woman at the well. Each of these women felt shame, hid from others and ultimately experienced mercy and grace in their darkest moments of carrying guilt. Sure their shame came from what appears to be easily avoidable choices to us, but do we really know their stories? Do we know the backstory or simply what we choose to see selfishly and are we really all that different or innocent? Jesus saw the before and the after and chose love anyhow. Just like he did with Judas, he knew what he would do, and still fed him at his table. Do you ever wonder what it is he knew that made him choose them and love them any way? Or, us? Think of all your shortcomings and the fact that he still sees you blameless and worthy. Shame finds us guilty and Jesus sets us free.

We have a choice to use our eyes as they were intended; to look beyond situations and choices instead of a judgmental stare down. We also have a choice and the ability to see there is always more to what we see or hear as a “story” and have empathy and compassion remembering that behind that “story” is an actual human being living that reality. That behind the rumor, the imperfections, the mugshot, the divorce, the depression and the abuse there is still someone richly deserving of love, mercy and grace. If this is you, you need to know this truth. When I say you are not disqualified, I mean that. We can not fail when God is our qualifier. And, when we least expect it he levels the playing field whether we are prepared for it or not.

This pandemic has opened my eyes to the things we have been doing wrong and the first is forgetting to love others as ourselves – which means we NEED to love ourselves. We can’t love ourselves when our arms are full from carrying the weight of every mistake we have made. It is not intended for us to do so. Even more so, the weight you’re carrying may come from things you don’t even realize you’re hiding behind. Things such as using humor to hide behind depression. Or, facades to hide behind financial struggles, abuse or possibly low self-esteem. Addictions manifest themselves in so many ways besides drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships etc., what about our work? Or, a project? Our phones? Activities, hobbies and sports? A busy schedule to appear important when instead it is just temporarily numbing the pain that silence brings, becoming no different than drugs and alcohol. We hide and find guilt in more ways then we care to admit, and the truth is we all have our own well that we visit in the heat of the day. We just change up the route, however just like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman, he will go out of his way, taking the longer route to meet you right where you are and remind you of his need to use your story, to have you speak life with it and that he loves you.

Sometimes we need to be stripped of all the things that do not hold true value and are no longer serving or benefiting us. If you ask me, God has done exactly that for us right here in this moment. He has leveled the playing field by redirecting our hearts and setting our eyes on him. When we are focusing on God, we don’t see others failures or our own because we are soaked in his word full of hope, promise and love. When we have nothing distracting us our focus is on the people and things we regularly take for granted and we no longer feel the need to hide away in shame or escape the guilt we can’t seem to shake. We realize that our trip to the well at the heat of the day is no longer healthy, it is a hindrance meant to distract us from our calling and purpose. We all have regrets, pain and have at one time or another struggled with the weight of guilt and shame, we are only made different by being obedient to the one who calls us to love one another and ourselves. Shame is not a description of who you are, and guilt is not something that requires being filled at a well that will never quench your thirst the way forgiveness for yourself and others will.

I want to be like the Samaritan woman. I want to drop my water buckets, run into town and tell the world about the man who went out of his way, in the heat of the day, meeting me at my lowest and chose me intentionally. A man who knew my whole story, and chose to cover me in compassion and grace. We deserve to be alive in and known for our transformation instead of our sin, for what we did AFTER, and who we BECAME. You deserve that too. So, go ahead and drop your buckets, cancel the well visits, find some shade and a few good people who love you first for all you are and all you are not. Allow God to use your story, to use your heart and shed a light to others around you that shame doesn’t live here anymore.

Hard to heal doesn’t mean hard to love.

Healing as an adult is ridiculously hard. It requires bravery, brutal and almost blunt-force honesty and it can leave you completely depleted. Especially on the days that sneak up out of nowhere and smack you right in the face. A broken heart, a broken soul or even a broken human can still hold an enormous amount of vitality because broken means open. And, open provides a means of escape for pain and an entrance for hope. Just because it is hard for you to heal does not mean you’re hard to love.

Healing as an adult is ridiculously hard. It requires bravery, brutal and almost blunt-force honesty, and it can leave you completely depleted. Especially on the days that sneak up out of nowhere and smack you right in the face. A broken heart, a broken soul or even a broken human can still hold an enormous amount of vitality because broken means open. And, open provides a means of escape for pain and an entrance for hope. Just because it is hard for you to heal does not mean you’re hard to love.

“Leaving your broken heart open allows pain to escape and hope to enter.”

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never fully heal. I’ll never be understood or fully appreciated or be able to exist just as I am without having to explain who I am and why I feel or act a certain way. It’s as if my heart is filetted wide open, or an open wound even, and just as it’s being stitched up and sanitized, a stitch busts open again. Take a building undergoing renovations yet stays open for business. That’s me. I’m walking around like a “normal” person doing “normal” things all the while I am being gutted, and refortified. I’m being made with a stronger foundation but as each supporting wall is demolished, there is damage revealing itself, screaming, “hey, don’t forget about me – remember that one time? Let’s talk about that!” And, it’s exhausting and some days I feel beaten down.

Healing is hard. Healing is brave. Healing takes time. Think of it like weight loss. If you lose the weight too fast, it usually comes back and with a vengeance. If you lose weight the healthy way, which takes longer – it stays off and you become stronger. Our hearts, minds and bodies all heal the same way.

I think it is important that we share these moments and feelings of inadequacy and defeat because that is being authentic. We need more authenticity in our lives. The truth is sometimes we do feel flawed, inadequate and fearful of failing, and that is okay. It is okay to feel these things as long as you follow it with truth, faith and grace.  Trust me, I know that is not always easy. But healing even the slightest bit, is progress.

Healing requires self-compassion and heaps of grace.

When I feel under attack and unworthy, I remind myself of God’s truth, of his promises and abilities to create through me and within me whatever I lack. On really difficult days, I battle between believing those truths and believing the lie that I am not who God says I am. Truth is, I don’t always see myself how God sees me or even how others who love me see me. Sometimes I see myself how the enemy sees me. My reflection varies from flawless and blameless to the distorted image manifested from what I was told growing up which were lies that became my truth.

Have you ever had to actively retrain yourself to stop believing what you believe to be the truth? A truth that doesn’t make sense to you and feels like a lie? It..is..HARD. It is like taking an apple and placing it in someone’s hand and telling them it is an apple, but they see an orange. To them it looks, smells and feels like an orange, but it is an apple. How do you explain that what you see, feel and sense is false? It is crazy to think that the truth is, your truth is a lie and you’ve believed it your whole life. And it is hard as hell to heal as a grown adult when you were broken as a child.

I feel fear but I choose faith. I feel sadness but I choose joy. I feel hopeless but I choose hopeful. I feel the lie but I choose the truth. 

The truth is:

  • I am loved.
  • I do matter.
  • With God I am enough.
  • I am the girl for the job.
  • I am the mom my children need.
  • I am a good wife.
  • I am a good friend.
  • I am who God says I am.

God says I am HIS, and that I am:

  • Chosen
  • Redeemed
  • Beautiful
  • Valuable

I have a voice, calling and a purpose. God makes no mistakes, and these are the truths I (we) need to root my(our)self in when the lies scream louder. The lies we were taught, and the dysfunctional environments we’ve found ourselves in may look and feel like shackles but if you look a little closer you will see that the shackles unlocked the moment we stepped into the freedom, love and acceptance of Jesus. We were just blinded by the enemy’s lies. We are free to remove ourselves one binding at a time and walk away from those lies and pain and into healing, hope and love.

Whatever you’re battling today, you’re not alone and your no longer bound to the lies of your past. Take a step forward friend even if it is just one each day until you can look back on this day and see the difference, the distance and the growth. Healing takes time and hard to heal does not mean hard to love.

Feel however you want about me, but feel it for yourself.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Your opinion of me should come from your interaction with me, not someone else’s opinion of me, stories of me, or even their interaction with me. Just yours.

Have you heard the saying, “Jealousy is the fun they think you’re having?” well I think we should add a saying onto that for assumptions. Maybe something like, “Assumptions are what other people make for you when you’re too lazy to think for yourself” no, that is a little too harsh. Here’s the thing, I have no inclination to think I will be liked by everyone and even more so, I have zero desire to be. We can be perfectly likable, good people and still be disliked by someone.

This past week I was talking to a friend who was hurt and I told her, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be someone who hates peaches” a quote I have always loved by Dita Von Teese, and then I added, “and don’t be surprised when it’s a peach itself.” She of course looked at me like I was crazy because what do peaches have to do with anything, but I explained sometimes the very reason we are canceled out has nothing at all to do with ourselves, it is simply the reflection someone else sees of themselves in us.

I wish I could tell you why people want to know about someone and go to every other person but that person. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out actually, it is because some people wish you well, but not that well. Moreover, they have no real interest in getting to know you, the actual person, they just want to know about you and any dirt that can be dug up – because they are bored, broken and hurting.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had someone smile to my face at the local wal-mart and then they’re trash-talking me on the way home. I hope you read that with a southern drawl, because it plays out in my head as such. There is comedian, what is her name? Leanne something, deep southern drawl, Leanne Morgan. If you know who she is, re-read the first two sentences again in her voice. That’s just how I meant it. (If you don’t know of her, you’ll want to google her, because she is hilarious! A bless-your-heart southern twang full of sass and gettin’ on.)

While it should be mentioned that you’re better off without these people, it is quite possible you’ll learn they same way I usually do. All heart, all in, and an unanswered text message later that says nothing, but ends a friendship. Why is it that people do that anyhow? Just respond to the text people, just say it, “I don’t like you”, ” I think you’re a jerk”, “you hurt my feelings” whatever the heck it is, just say it and then stop responding. Passive agressive texting is not it chief. Nothing irritates me more than no response or a lie. Ohhh the lies…

Someone lied to me this week actually, and it was one of those obvious lies, and by text even. On my phone, when I text, it shows if the person I am texting begins typing. I asked a question. She begins to type. Then it stops, and no response. It does that again for about five or so minutes until a response comes through with some cockamamey bullpucky that just made me want to call her out. But, did I? Nope! Why not? Because what is the point when I already know the answer. She lied. End of story. Maybe forty has made me less amicable with phony anything. I mean, I am running out of day light, years and life – I don’t have time for people who aren’t adding to my life, encouraging me and my dreams, supporting my family and building me up, not breaking me down.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Look, I’m proud to be a Christian woman, I liken myself to being unpolished and unrefined – but still a dang good Christian. (I have a post coming up about this, so you’ll want to check back on that one!) To me, that does not mean we have to be fake. I can love you with the love of Jesus and not want to spend time with you. The difference is that when I don’t spend time with you that includes time speaking about you, at all. My face can’t even hide being fake anyhow, the thoughts I think, are written in bold face print all my face for all to see. I kind-of love that about myself to be honest, it holds me accountable.

I will smile, wave, say hello and pray for you even if I do not care to interact with you. Even better, if I happen to not like you it will only be because of something that involves you and I personally. Either you did something to me, or I see something in you that reflects something that needs healing in me. Either way it doesn’t involve anyone else and that should be a two-way street.

Our small valley, oh my goodness gracious and all that is holy, it can be rough at times. The things I learn about myself are shocking even to me, I have a much more fascinating life according to my adoring haters. Do you know that another child isn’t allowed to like my child, because of their mom’s friend has an issue. Yes, this person, myself and my child have never had a falling out, we visit in public, but because her friend doesn’t like us – neither can her child. True story. Some people allow others to decide for them.

I also have a friend or aquaintance really who ran one of those free internet background checks on myself and handful of other friends, and then soon after, the invites stopped. There is nothing of interest in my background, aside from divorces or maybe our financial business but everything online is factual, right?

My favorite though happened recently when I was explaining where I lived to someone, and was cut off only to be told, “I know where you live actually”, and then whispered, “you rent, right?” I’m still kind of buzzing on this one, because one hand, so trivial and obnoxious. Yet, on the other hand, the whispering…that got me. I don’t care how this person “found out” where we live, or that we rent even… but the whispering. That said a lot.

Renting to me is not shameful, and given that it was “whispered” this person already assumed it shouldn’t be shared – but if they had known me at all – they would know I am an open book. In fact almost every detail of my life is online, in one blog or another on this site. You don’t even have to run a background check, research my address or ask someone else – you can read it all here or just for grins and giggles, prepare yourself for this, you could just ask me. Crazy, right?!

I’m different than most, if you want to know anything about me I will tell you. Every shameful detail of my past, every dark moment, every mistake – I am an open book and I will sit with you face to face and lay it all bare. I’m not concerned about you judging me, your opinions of me or why it is that you even want to know about these things. I will even be okay with you feeling some type of way about me after and us going our separate ways. That would actually make me respect you. What concerns me though, since I am being totally blunt and forthright is why you need to know?

What is it about highlighting, digging up or sharing peoples past hurts, failures and mistakes that makes you feel better about your life? Because, that. That is where the issue lays. Not with me or anyone else, not whether you like me or them, it’s and issue inside yourself that stops you from liking yourself and anyone else. Someone somewhere at some point lied to you and told you that you were unworthy, unlovable, unimportant and unwanted. Someone hurt you, let you down and now to feel above it all, you do so by standing on top of the people you kick while they’re down. People just like you.

I don’t have to know you to know that you are loved, valued and important to atleast one person, God, and most likely more than him. I don’t ever have to speak to you to know that you were given a voice to speak life over people not cut them down with your words. I don’t even have to see you, to know that you have beauty and kindess and love inside you – it is just hidden behind the mud and the muck of whatever hell you keep shoving deeper inside yourself.

Hate doesn’t feel good, spite doesn’t taste good and ill will weakens your soul. It is not what you were made to feel, to distribute or to know. It was not what you were made of even, because you were made from love, to love others. So, whatever it is, maybe it’s time to start digging up your own “stuff” and shaking off your own skeletons in the closet and doing some healing, some forgiving and some loving. The key is you have to start with yourself first, or else it won’t stick and you’ll be right back to the person I’ll pray for, but would never sit and have a margarita with.

And, I really like margaritas and kind people who just want to love me for me, and ask questions about who I am because they genuinely want to get to know me and ask for the same in return.

Quit Judging!

Trust me when I say that in my younger years of stupidity I was judgmental with unrealistic expectations. My preconceived notions of how I would wear and walk in anyone else’s shoes better or differently than they had were obnoxious. Especially when I was walking with my shoes on the wrong feet, to begin with, or barefoot even. Fast forward to forty-year-old, heavily flawed me, and while my shoes are now at least on the right foot, I just love walking next to anyone who doesn’t have it figured out, who has lost their way and maybe even a shoe or two. Those are my people.

I’ve always had a heart for the ones being gossiped and whispered about, the underdogs, the ones being bullied, the ones no one understands and label as “weird” or “different” because those are my people, they are exactly who I identify with. Originally I wanted to title this, Quit being @$$holes! With working on not cussing as much, at least when I am not driving, I’m trying to avoid that. At face value though, that is how it feels sometimes. People who set out with the sole intent of hurting someone else based purely on judgment and then suffocating them with manipulative shaming. To me, that is just not okay. To me, that is a heart issue, a fixable choice, a ‘you-can-totally-change-and-be-a-better-person’ issue and while it is entirely frustrating and avoidable, I know hurt people, hurt people.

Jay Shetty said, “That person you don’t understand. They’re a lesson you haven’t learned” and it is true. The more mistakes I make, the more situations I face, the more understanding and empathy I have for others. Trust me when I say that in my younger years of stupidity I was judgmental with unrealistic expectations. My preconceived notions of how I would wear and walk in anyone else’s shoes better or differently than they had were obnoxious. Especially when I was walking with my shoes on the wrong feet, to begin with, or barefoot even. Fast forward to forty-year-old, heavily flawed me, and while my shoes are now at least on the right foot, I just love walking next to anyone who doesn’t have it figured out, who has lost their way and maybe even a shoe or two. Those are my people.

We all have a choice in how we treat others, how we respond to situations and what we do with information learned. Knowledge is power and love is a choice. Meaning that you have a choice in what you do with the knowledge you gained and whether to use it for good or evil. You also know when you pick up a shovel intentionally digging up dirt on someone else, whether you have any business holding that shovel yourself. Do you ever stop and think, “why am I doing this?” or “why do I care so much about outing this person?” or even better, “Is this any of my business?” Imagine if you did, the outcome would be much different.

You parent differently than Susie, great! That doesn’t mean Susie is a bad parent. It also doesn’t mean it is your business or place to insert your opinion or announce it on social media, a group text, a church group or the grocery store. For the love of Jesus, just stop it! You know what opinions are likened to right? I’ll give you a clue, it was the third word, in the title I wanted to use. We all have opinions, they don’t all need to be shared. And, PARENTING IS FREAKING HARD! Trust me, I fail at it probably daily and guess who reminds me when I do? ME! So when Susie messes up or just goes about it differently than you, give her some grace.

If someone in your town goes to jail, and you pass their mugshot around the town like a bowl of mashed potatoes on thanksgiving – that’s continuing that cycle of shame. That is purposely discrediting, humiliating and judging someone based on a situation you know nothing of. And, you’re doing it to control people, and not just the person in the mugshot either, you’re attempting to manipulate and control every person you share that mugshot with as well.

Maybe you’ve never gone to jail, maybe there is no physical proof of your most shameful moment, but let us pretend for one second there is. Let us pretend I know your deepest secret, the one you plan on taking to the grave, and because you said something to me once, or didn’t invite me to something, or hurt a friend of mine even, I decided to write it on a billboard for everyone to read as they drive by it on their morning commute to work. How would you feel? Humiliated? Raw? Vulnerable? Angry? And, then imagine I responded with, “well people had a right to know, it’s public record” or “well Susie said it was true so it must be” or even better “how does it feel having a taste of your own medicine?” because these are just some of the reasons we recycle shame. Did you catch that? RE-cycle, meaning it once was ours in some manner or brings up something similar in our past.

Shame is something I think I will always take personal, and I know this isn’t about me, but shame is something I will always identify with. It is a personal jail cell where I have spent many of my years locked up. Shame creates whispers, shame is hard to admit even to ourselves let alone to another human being. And, shame is HEAVY, SERIOUS and deeply PERSONAL. Abortions, criminal histories, domestic violence, financial hardships, affairs, addictions, mental illness, etc. are all whispered because they carry heavy amounts of shame. Shame that only worsens when another person knows your truth and uses it to continue that shame. I mean, let’s be real and call it what it is – manipulative control, which is emotional and mental abuse. Sounds harsh I know, but it is true.

Timmy got another DUI, Molly relapsed, Amy had her kids taken away by DHS, Jessica got divorced, Mike abused his wife, Bobby got fired for sleeping with his secretary- again! The list goes on and on and it breaks my heart and pisses me off to no end when I read this garbage or hear about it. Did you think for once that possibly these people are struggling, and losing a battle that is costing them their OWN lives, and not YOURS? Did you consider for one second to not forward that text, that mugshot, that article and instead reach out to them personally, pray for them or just let them know you’re there? Heck you could offer to go to AA class with them, give them a ride to work, anything to help instead of hinder and deepen the shame.

Publicizing someone else’s shame isn’t even about what they did. It’s an outward reaction to a personal problem, your personal problem. You’ve heard the saying, “what Susie says of Sally, says more of Susie than of Sally” and that is what lies at the core of all of this. At the end of the day, you are allowed to dislike someone. You’re allowed to disagree with their choices even, but taking on someone else’s failures and differences, making and taking them personally – that is a YOU issue. The question at the heart of the matter is, What reflection are you seeing in them that is creating a monster inside you? That is the heart transplant needed. The cancer that needs cut out. The venom that needs suctioning so that the healing that needs to happen, can.

People will hurt us, that is the natural course of life. Trust me when I say that there are moments when I wish for one second someone could feel how I’ve felt in those moments of judgment, shame and isolation. Then I remind myself that if they are hurting me, they most likely already do. We are responsible for carrying our hurt with us as a method of destruction or as a tool towards grace and healing. You’ll never regret offering a heavy dose of grace instead of judgment because judgment and vengeance is not ours to give, but LOVE is.

Romans 12:17-19 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord