Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Lifelong Struggle

Whenever I am having issues with anything, whether it's relationships, or just the inside war I'm fighting in myself, I will always, eventually, go back to what I feel natural about: authenticity. Few, in my experience are similar to me in that way, which can make for a challenge. I get tired of being the one that usually dives into conflict or confrontation. It seems like I am always making the first move at getting real. Sometimes I go through phases and think, ok, I'm done, and I put a boundary up. But that doesn't last long because not only am I prone to authenticity, I believe we were all created for it. The world doesn't really support us in this way though now does it? That's another blog post.

I've often asked my Mom and Dad if I have always been this way. Emotionally, deep feeling, authentic, seeking beauty, being positive, and passionate about others and life. They both have answered "Yes", as far as they can remember. It drives me nuts that I feel so "different", and I will often go to them asking them why.

What brings me here today is intimate. Very. I've felt discouraged about writing lately because I literally have believed that no one cares or wants to hear from me. Along with going through a lot of changes with my daughter going off to college, I have also felt my voice doesn't matter. So, I stay quiet. I've had a ton of encouragement along the way but I've also been discouraged too.  And there is a reason for that.

Believe it or not I want to talk about abuse today, and what it can take away from you. I was sexually abused when I was 4/5. I won't go into the details of it, and this is insanely hard to share, but lets just say I remember every single thing about it. It's absolutely outstandingly unbelievable what abuse can take from you. All abuse too. Verbal, emotional, physical and even financial abuse. Since the age of 5, something changed in me. Consciously and subconsciously. From that moment on you are a survivor, and you spend most of your life, trying to feel like you are someone. And believe me, there were plenty of ways I tried to be a "someone" in this life, that were terribly dysfunctional. When innocence is taken from you, your very worth (is what it feels like), and you are led to believe you are trash, and nothing more than, well . . .what happened to you, something changes. You do go into survival mode. You fight to feel loved. I have struggled with feeling, and believing I am loved for as long as I remember.

People and circumstances can rob us of a lot. I am here today, writing to tell you to not let it. Whatever it's been for you. Do not let that win. Do not let the person who has rejected you, mislead you into thinking you aren't worth it. Do not let the church that judged you, make you think that that is the true picture of God. Do not let the guy that left you, define who you are as a woman. Do not let the parents that abandoned you determine your very being of how special you truly are. Where you've been, what you've done, what someone has done to you does not have to set your life's path. Do not let that illness win and steal joy from your spirit. Do not let insults or hurls get the best of you, allowing someone else who isn't on your side or out for your best interest win by believing what they say to you!  Do not let a mundane marriage set the tone of your life...fight, I ask you all to fight. Whatever you have to fight for, do it!!! Don't let darkness take over, work toward the light.

I have had to fight for my very psyche. The voices, the lies, they are never ending. YES, they have gotten better over the years, but that's because I FIGHT! For me it has been finding my absolute worth and definition in God, but that doesn't mean that is how everyone else will fight. I believe with my heart and soul that I am God's Beloved, and even just me loving God and Him loving me is enough for me to live. That alone is all I would need, that alone shuts down all the voices and lies. It's God's love that has led me to forgive the man that shattered me 35 years ago and who could have controlled my life until my grave had I not chosen to fight! It's who God says I AM alone, that makes me not only live, but makes me come alive.
It's how I fight. It's why I fight. How will you fight?

When I had to quit work in 2007 due to the 7 surgeries I had that year, it was hard. Not the illness alone and the physical trauma and emotional trauma of all I was going through and had already been through but because in America, we are obsessed with WORK. Not just in our 9-5p jobs, but in our yards, in our garages, in our work work. Yes! I believe a we must work! But when the emphasis is borderline obsessive in my opinion, it can mess with your head and if one doesn't work outside the home, they can tend to feel like a loser or like they are useless. I mean what is the first thing people usually ask you when you are at a party or a gathering? "So, what do you do for a living, where do you work?"

For the first 3 years or so of my not working, I didn't think much of it because I was in such bad condition. But over the last 2 years, my recovery is taking shape, but not to the point where I am able to work yet. If I did work, I wouldn't have a life outside of that because it would take everything out of me, and I would only last a week or two because I would be drowning in fatigue and pain. The point of all of this is that now that I am able to do more in my life and now especially with my daughter gone, it's more all up in my face that I don't work. I can not let this win. I have to shut out voices in my own head, and voices of other people, and always keep telling myself the truth, and reminders of why I can't work. I have to remind myself that I do have things going on, like opening up a Etsy shop come October, and that I am a Lay Counselor. But I don't even have to convince myself that way. It's OK to be non-conventional, even if I could work, and I chose not to, it's OK. How ya like them apples!!!

I encourage you to not let what is beating your spirit down, to continue. Get real, face it, dig deeper and come clean with yourself in your struggles. It's ok to struggle, we all do. But not living in authenticity, like I haven't been with my blog for a while, is not true to who we are. We all have something to share, say and fight for. Sometimes coming clean with ourselves is the hardest thing to do, but I've found it's the most rewarding.

With my daughter out of the house now, I have to find the rhythm of my new life, and not my abuser, or anyone else in a negative way will shape that. They don't define it, they don't have to agree with it. As long as I'm fighting for what's real, and for the truth, my life is worth something.



Pat Riley said...

Gina, You do whatever makes you happy and comfortable. If being home is your best bet - then own it and enjoy. You do not have to meet others expectations, just your own. In reality - a lot of those people who judge and try to put you down for not working are very jealous that they are not able to do the same.

Non-conventional lifestyle does not mean boring or stupid, just different.

Love your life and let the naysayers bubble in their own nasty juices.

I think you are an extremely lovely and happy individual who deserves the best.

Regan said...

This resonated so much with some thinks that have been bouncing around inside my heart. Well written, Gina❤

Lora said...

you are a blessing, gina. thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable. God is using you in a mighty way in so many others' lives. i appreciate you so much! hugs, lora

Hol Davis said...

Thank you for sharing with us and for being so transparent Gina. If only we would all do that. Imagine this world where nothing about us was hidden. I think we'd all be more patient, caring, happy and filled with God's love.

Don't beat yourself up or believe the lies that creep in. You are a beautiful woman inside and out!


BARBIE said...

Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story. I have yet negative things from my childhood and young adult years shape who I am today, and still struggle with understanding the depth of God's love for me today. Praying that God will draw so close to you right now.

Anonymous said...

Gina, I met you through Instagram (@mmedeebrown) ... Firstly from one writer to another ...never believe the lie that nobody cares...:) your voice is powerful and your writing has an impact. Not because of the eloquence of the words or the grammar but the message at the very root of it. It's your story and when that comes to light you are not only empowering yourself but others as well. You are defined by Gods word and not societal standards to KUDOS to you for doing what you enjoy and not like what you feel you are supposed to. You're awesome! Please keep writing .. DB

Jean said...

hugs! hugs! hugs!

my past, present, and future shapes me.

there have been so many people that will be negative to you, but just walk away from those things/people. it hurts, it really does, but move on from that -- that's what i've learned. stay with the ones/things that make you feel better, that encourages you!

i wish i could do so much more w/ my craft and actually start an etsy, but i'm hoping to once i finish school.

you're a wonderful mom, wife, and person. don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

fiddlehead said...

I love apples! ;)
Such a vulnerable place within yourself to share, and you do it with such honesty, bravery and grace. There certainly isn't "one" way to live this life...unconventional or not. As cliche as it may sound, you have one life to live and you are LIVING it! I am proud to call you my friend.

fiddlehead said...

I meant to say...."I love them apples!" ;)

Discovery Street said...

i don't think you realize how much people care about what you have to say Gina! I can't even tell you what a blessing it is to me to know you pray for my sweet Parker and I...two people you've never met! You MATTER!

Sunny said...

Love it. Thank you for sharing and always being real. It's what makes you so wonderful.

Gina @ Not So Random Stuff said...

Yes. Thank you for being real.

It's funny that you mentioned work, as even today I found myself wondering if I was doing the right thing by being home and being only mom.

Then the kids came home and I realized that I'd have nothing else to give them if I did work outside the home. But still, it's hard sometimes-we forget that the most important things in life are not measured by work and I remind myself that I am doing what God has called me to do.

Thank you for reminding me anew of that!

Stephanie said...

I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my have so much to give, such beautiful ways of encouraging and inspiring others. I hope you continue to write...I've missed your beautiful words, and I know that you have so much to share. Thank you for your words today. They are more powerful than you'll ever know.

Everyday, Looking for Rainbows said...

Thank you. this was a very brave post. It has impacted me a lot. It also, has given me the realization, on just how beautiful you really are.

Courtney said...

Ah I'm so glad you're back at writing! I loved reading this post. You open a window to your heart and its so very beautiful and authentic. I LOVE that about you! Excited for you etsy shop opening. :)

Chrissy said...

Gina, such a powerful post filled with so many emotions...I do care about you and what you have to much of what you write about sounds and feels like you are writing about me. I, too, feel I am always the first to make a step and that others don't care about me. It hurts and makes me feel empty and makes me want o just give up as well.
I am so sorry you had to go through so much pain at such a young age...I can only imagine what that must have done to you. So very sorry.
Just know that I am here, and even if it might not seem like it...I am, believe me! And I care!
Feel hugged, sweet friend xxx

Michelle said...

You rock, Gina.

Tamera Beardsley said...

Gina... this is beautifully written sentiment. Your voice and story are powerful... for we are all struggling with brokenness... of one kind or another. When we share our true stories... we not only acknowledge our own histories... but in doing so we are able to forge authentic relationships.

Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. I send you much love dear friend.


PS~ I am excited for your ETSY shop! I have been telling my daughter of the beautiful things you make!

Kelly said...

them apples are amazing! i love you gina keep on fighting and i'll keep fighting too.

i can't wait of your shop to open.


Julie Marie said...

i love you Gina... this is so good. and so true. Ive had to fight too. So many voices of who I am. I know who I am is NOT dependant on circumstances, things that have happened to me, things ive done or not done, people who left me or talked about me or hurt me...I KNOW who I am is who God says I am and I know how much he loves me, yet I find myself up and down even weekly, fighting those thoughts of "who cares?" But at least I fight it and do not let it win. every time I feel depression or loneliness arising, I tell myself, "No, you are not going to be this girl, because this isn't who you are." Youre encouragement to so many is more of a blessing that you know... xo

Anonymous said...

I love this! ! To open up and just lay out your feelings like you do, so amazing. It makes you remember that quote "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" . So many are fighting, and staying positive and real with yourself is key. Thank GOD every day for his love!:)

Love your blog

Natalie said...

I want to hug you through the computer after reading this =) Your courage in writing continues to grow and in turn encourage others. Keep writing. We care!

Yvette said...

Gina, please keep on writing. You have some kindred spirits out here.

ahappygirl said...

Oh you are absolutely incredible and I am so thrilled I found your blog tonight through The Wiegands. I relate to so very much of what you wrote here and cannot thank you enough for pouring your heart out with such bravery. Hugs to you new friend!


shannasummers said...

"Is anyone listening, does anyone care" I often ask the same question. Beautiful thoughts and refreshing to hear authenticity and vulnerability. Loved every word. Thank you.

Beth Morey said...

You matter, and your words matter. A lot. I love this, for it is powerful and raw and true. Thank you.

Krista said...

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this Gina. I love to hear from you, you are such an encouragement through your writing.

Mike Walden Program said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi, I just thought I'd check out your blog. I found it through instagram . Just felt like telling you that there is a small beautiful little book called, if God is good why do I hurt." Read it. Really, because it is so helpful to bring peace to our cry...all the things you have gone through, your pain surgerys, people, the why's , the wonderings if people care. ( I can relate to most of them.) Read the book. I've read it 3 times in the last 5 months. Trust God, talk to friends who will speak the truth to you even if it isn't always pleasant. And rest in Christ and his forgiveness. We are not in control, our heavenly father is. I pray to remember we don't fight against flesh and blood but its a spiritual battle. Gods peace friend.

Knitted Fox said...

Oh Gina~ I'm not sure what to say other than I just want to give you tons of hugs. \*^^*/

the turquoise paintbrush said...

Oh my dear heart. You are so brave.
I have so many thoughts + so much love pouring out to you.

And I believe with all my heart unconventional = THE way to go.