I have this friend that’s been a life-long friend. I keep this friend very close. In fact, this friend is a part of my life everyday. Here’s the thing, this friend isn’t a normal friend that you would think of - someone you’d want around all of the time. This friend scares me. Daily this friend beats me up. Not the fist type, but with the words they say. This friend intimidates me. My friend puts me in my place. Anytime I think I’m getting brave, strong and confident and think I’m going places this friend reminds me that I’m not brave, strong and for sure not confident. This friend reminds me that no one else wants to be my friend. This friend wants to be exclusive in my life. I try, I reach out, break out of this friends fingertips and make new friends, let people in and think yes, I love this and who knew I could be so happy and then this friend says to me NO, they won’t stay, they don’t really like you and I believe this friend. In fact this friend can talk me into being destructive and ruining the good friendships, because this friend has been with me so long.
You might be wondering why I would keep this friend around. . .I mean seriously looking at this list and thinking about all of the things this friend does I’m questioning it myself. But here’s the thing. . .I trust this friend. They’ve been with me my whole life. This friend is protecting me. Helped me avoid getting into friendships and relationships that could hurt me. This friend has reminded me of working hard, staying focused and what is expected of me. Those are good things. This friend keeps me humble. Reminds me of my value. This friend makes sure I don’t get too prideful. Keep perspective on what I deserve.
With all of the things that this friend does good for me I’ve overlooked the bad. I mean no one is perfect and I’ve been grateful for the good things. They’ve made sense. They are things that I’ve believed most of my life and have made sense. From a young age there were trusted people in my life that said these things to me. They told me that if I worked hard, met their expectations, performed better, looked better they wouldn’t leave. They told me that they loved me. They told me that if I shared what happened to me that no one would believe me, but they loved me. They gave me attention. Well, as long as I did good. They would groom me. They built my value around them. They kept me in my place though. You know I needed to do certain things to earn their love. The problem was no matter how hard I tried to be my best, they left. They left me. I wanted to be loved so badly. I wanted love the way they had shown me, because that’s all I understood. They called me stupid and idiot and reminded me of my value to keep me in line. The way they looked at me. . .there was power from them. I knew their different looks and what was expected. It was our secret exchange, because no one could know what was going on. It was our special secret.
This friend, this life long friend, that has deceived me thinking it was doing good things for me, because of the things I was told for so many years is my inner voice. That inner dialogue. In fact, all of the things that I thought my inner voice was doing for me that was good was conversations, words that my abusers helped me understand were good. They weren’t. My inner voice has been my greatest demon. My greatest enemy. My inner voice can take me from laughter to tears and destruction and even suicidal thoughts in minutes. My inner voice can take me from confidence, happy and safe friendships to destruction in seconds.
This last week has been HARD!!! I’ve cried so many tears. I’ve beat the heck out of me. I’ve been in massive destruction. I went into counseling on Monday morning with this whole story. This whole list of all of these people who I’m struggling with. The anniversary of things with my dad dying and how lost I’ve felt and how much I cry over this. The pain has been significant. I went into counseling and was sharing all of these trials and challenges. I was like PLEASE help me stop crying. Help me know how to process and cope with the loss of my dad. Help me know how to trust real, sincere, safe friendships. Help me know how to sort through what and who’s not good for me. Help me bring down the walls that are flying up faster than I can process. I was missing the old me. The me that had walls. My heart locked up tight. The emotions and feelings weren’t allowed to the surface. I was task driven and nothing stopped me. I had perfection down. I didn’t let people down. I wanted the best of both worlds, but not any of the bad. I honestly was at a point in counseling that I couldn’t live with myself ANYMORE! I just kept saying I WANT TO ESCAPE MYSELF!!!!
There’s a person in my life I super struggle with. They do scare me. They intimidate the heck out of me. They can beat the crap out of me and I take it. I honestly live in fear of this person. It’s a great chalIenge for me. Honestly, I can’t figure out why this person has so much power over me, but it’s something that is truly a struggle for me.
As I got done dumping my counselor said to me, “Cheri, you know who is hurting you most? You have your own person - this person that scares me to death - in fact, you’re meaner to yourself than this person is.” I was like what the heck! Honestly it was such a great image. It made this all so real. He said to me, we’re going to focus on how you treat yourself, your inner dialogue. He said to me what if I was constantly calling you stupid and idiot? He said, first I wouldn’t be a decent human being and second, that would keep me beat down. I was like well, when you said those words I believed you, I know I’m dumb and stupid. I honestly felt those words right in my heart, because I say these things to myself all of the time. I’m not sure how to think differently.
I was like, but all of these people, I’m hurting, I need tips and tricks and tools on how to survive all of these specific things. He went right back to my inner dialogue and said that we would address those other things in another session. I honestly thought, oh my gosh, I’ve got another week of completely falling apart. He didn’t give me tools for what’s really the problem.
You see, my counselor is often much wiser than I am - lol. That’s why I go to him. There’s been other times I’ve thought why this assignment or why did he go this direction, but then it all makes sense and my foundation is much stronger. So, I left the session with an assignment to really pay attention to my inner dialogue. He’s talked to me a lot about self compassion and I finally told him yesterday, I don’t understand. I honestly don’t comprehend self compassion. If I perform, if I do things perfectly, don’t mess up, make mistakes, say the right things and the list goes on then maybe I can have self compassion. Isn’t having self compassion really having a pity party? Pity parties are not allowed. No time for those things. I was very sincere with my counselor. I know that might not make sense, but that’s how my mind functions. Over 40 years of programming it’s hard to think any differently.
One thing that I will say is I’ve taken my assignments very serious from my counseling. I want to get better. I can see the blessings. I love who I am becoming. The thing is I told my counselor I’m not sure how to do this well. He said anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. Well, alright, that goes against my grain, but in reality most of the steps I’ve taken in healing have been done poorly at first, but eventually have become a great part of me. It’s been worth it.
SOOO, for 2 days I’ve focused on my inner dialogue. I’ve included the Lord in every single step. I’ve prayed every second of every day in my heart. PLEASE help me. I don’t know how to do this. Yesterday I had a few experiences that were miracles. Very detailed miracles. Words that were said. Words I needed to hear. I was able to find confidence to say words I’ve never said my entire life until last night to a very dear friend. Someone I love so much. The Lord has been my strength. I’ve found a much greater happiness the last two days. A confidence I’ve not felt within myself. Now, I’m sure I’ll falter. I’ve tried this before. But faltering doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means I’m working on it and I fell and stood back up and kept fighting for myself.
I’m going to work on firing this “friend”. My inner dialogue is not a friend of over 40 years isn’t a friend I want to stick around. Not for the good or bad. A lot of it has been bad. Even the good was deceptive. I didn’t have to perform to be loved. I didn’t have to be a certain way or be perfect. . .the list goes on. I’m loved as I am. I’m in the fight for my life. For me. For the real me. For a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who has felt and understood the great pain I’ve suffered for years and years. It’s time to fire my “friend” and make a new friend. A new inner dialogue that sees and knows my real value.
Normally when I’m in this state of mind I choose to not write or blog, because my feelings are super raw right now and often I feel it’s best for me to not share when I’m in this state of mind. The thing is I can write when my feelings are raw when there’s pain or sadness or loss, but anger, that’s a whole different ball game. I don’t really know how to handle anger. I don’t get angry very often. I’ve not even felt much anger towards my past abusers, because I’ve felt bad for them and what they’ve gone through in their lives. I’ve also thought, well, my life has been messed up, but I don’t want to mess up their lives. There’s only need for one life to be messed up and I’m strong enough to push through and change things. I’m confident that someday I’ll be better - I am getting better.
Tonight, no, tonight, I’m ANGRY!!!! Earlier today I was with a couple of friends and something in the conversation caused me to reflect on another friendship and all of a sudden I felt a punch to the gut. I felt sick to my stomach and felt so much anger towards someone in my life. I thought to myself why am I so stupid? Why am I so dumb? Why would I think that I matter to this person? I started reflecting on a whole bunch of things and interactions and thought, seriously Cheri why are you doing this? Why are you begging for this friendship? I thought to myself, if I didn’t make the effort in this friendship there wouldn’t be anything and here I thought this was a good friendship. I’ve spent my life begging and trying to be enough for friendships, wanting to know that I matter to people and here I’m doing this again. This breaks my heart to realize this again. These stupid patterns in my life. I honestly sit here shaking my head at myself thinking when will I stop being so dumb?
As I’ve thought about these feelings and questions today and tonight I’ve thought to myself about a chalkboard or even one of those sidewalk chalk drawings that are so amazing!!! So often I have these friendships, relationships, that are being drawn. There are so many details put into the drawing. It’s becoming a very beautiful picture. Of course, there’s been errors and things that have needed to be adjusted or changed a little bit here or there, but no one can really see the errors, because of the beauty of the overall picture. So many details, experiences, tender times together, opportunities to serve, laughter, memories created. . .what more could you ask for? It feels like ultimate happiness. AND THEN, you realize, no, this isn’t true. It’s not the beautiful picture you thought was being drawn. In fact, the other person wasn’t drawing this type of beautiful picture. They were watching you draw it and led you on. Let you think they were a part of the beautiful drawing, but they weren’t. In fact they didn’t really care about the beautiful picture at all. They just let you believe.
This breaks my heart! I hate this so much! How do I get to this point so often in my life? To think that there’s a beautiful picture being drawn together in a friendship, but no it’s just me making up the story in my mind. I saw the colors and magic and had a vision. . .and then BAM, here’s the real story. The colors turn to black and ugliness and pain. All I want to do is take the eraser, one of those big erasers and pound it, pound it soooo hard and throw it at the picture. I want to erase it all. I don’t want to see any sign of the beautiful picture ever again. I don’t want any of the color left. I want it gone!!! I just want ugly black asphalt or the chalkboard. In fact, I could just throw away the whole chalkboard or the space that the picture was drawn. I don’t want any memory of it at all. It’s just another reminder of how dumb and stupid I am. It’s a reminder that I thought for a short time that I could matter, that I could be important to someone. What was I thinking? I was creating reasons to be important. I was hoping that somehow I’d create a feeling that I mattered to this person, that I mattered to anyone. I hate this!!! I hate that I’m reminded that I created the feeling of mattering and that I didn’t really. I long for this feeling all of the time. This is why I keep my distance. This is why I’ve not let people close to me for most of my life. I get too excited at any sign that I matter to someone and I grab hold and cling on for dear life just praying that I’ll find a way to convince people that I matter, that I have value, that I have something to give, something that they want in their lives. How foolish am I? Foolish. Super foolish. Maybe someday I’ll remember this and not care, not hope to be cared for.
Want to know why I’m ANGRY tonight? I’m angry at my abusers that I feel this way. That I feel I don’t have value. I’m angry that I can’t trust people. I’m angry that I grab hold of any little hope of someone caring about me and hang on for dear life. That I forget that it’s me holding on for dear life and the other person is trying to get rid of me like a leach. They are shaking me off and I’m not getting it. I’m a slow learner, because I want love and people to care about me so bad. I want people to want me in their lives as much as I want them in my life. I long for this so much and so any kind of little hope I’m like I’m in and then my heart gets stomped on again and again.
When will I learn??? When? I pray soon. I pray that I will have more clarity earlier and not cling on for dear life for friendships that just end up hurting me. I pray that someday I’ll get this. I pray that someday I’ll matter.
Until then I’ll keep taking the chalkboard eraser and pounding the heck out of the beautiful pictures that I hope are being created. I hope that someday the beautiful picture will stay and not wash away.
Here’s a confession that many might not believe about me, but those who were my friends in High School can vouch for this. . .I used to have a very bad problem with swearing. My swearing was a habit and it was a very frequent habit. I swore for years. Sometime during my Senior year I decided that I didn’t want to swear anymore. Of course, I tried it in a very casual way, but that didn’t work. I found myself slipping up a lot. I would go back and forth in my efforts. When I would get mad or frustrated the vocabulary grew. I also thought it was cool to swear - so many swore in school and at times, different groups of friends would swear. Then I got to the point that I was serious about this so I told my friends that if I swore the first one that pointed out that I had said a swear word would get a nickel. I carried around rolls of nickels and I was going broke, but it caused me to pause and think about it. Eventually I got to the point that I wasn’t swearing as often and then eventually I wasn’t swearing anymore. Once I broke the habit I didn’t want to go back and I became pretty extreme on the other side of not saying any words that could even resemble swearing. I had not sworn for soooo long that most people have a hard time believing that I swear at all or ever did.
Fast forward. . .the other day I was in my counseling session and we were talking about some struggles that I’m going through right now. Last week I really hit a wall and I could hear all of the old voices talking to me reminding me that I’m a burden, no one could like me, I’m stupid, dumb and the list goes on. I cried a lot last week. I was super depressed. I couldn’t even put into words how much I was struggling. I was sure those closest to me were leaving my life and there was no way they could want me around, because I’m just super stupid to think I have any value. There was a point last week that I had one of my out of body, pressure mounting, anxiety taking over, voices loud and clear that I was worth nothing and a darkness, a darkness that felt so heavy that I wanted to escape myself. I felt that the only option was to end my life. I’ve had these feelings a few times over the last few years as I’ve been working through many difficult things, but I’ve gotten much better. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of these deep dark episodes. I tried super hard to talk myself through with the tools I’ve learned from counseling and I was able to get myself to the point of walking downstairs and asking Rick for a priesthood blessing. I really don’t remember anything from the blessing, but what I do remember is that I could hold on, the darkness lifted and that I could find a way to live with myself.
This was a huge win!!! I didn’t run. I didn’t attempt to end things. I was able to muster up enough reason and logic to come to Rick
As I was in counseling on Monday and we were talking about these experiences from last week and then some other personal challenges that were beating me down hardcore we talked about my intrapersonal relationship. What conversations am I having with myself? What is my self talk? What do I believe deeply within myself about myself? Where’s my value?
Well, for over 40 years my intrapersonal conversations haven’t been good. I’ve played over and over in my head the things that were said to me through the abusive relationships. I wasn’t enough. If I did this, then this, but then when I did this it wasn’t enough so then there were greater punishments - pain in many different ways. More abuse, because I didn’t measure up. And then eventually, no matter how hard I tried, thinking this was the only way I would be loved they would leave. Abandonment Tenderness is super real in me. I so wanted to be enough, because with abuse abusers tell you that if you tell anyone they won’t believe you and there will be harm to them and they won’t love me - I’m used up garbage. In some of my situations there was more than me, another girl, and that was punishment to me, because I wasn’t doing my part. I was failing them. If I did more. If I did things precisely this way then I could get them back. Due to the abuse starting at a very young age I didn’t have a way to understand that some of these things weren’t truth and then the abuse went on for years. I know this can be hard to understand if you’ve not been in abusive relationships, but it’s real, these feelings run super deep, like right in your bloodstream. It’s what keeps your heart beating. I’m sharing a very small part of this part of my life in this blog, but these conversations and belief about myself were me, were my heart.
Then I get living my life. . .having children, volunteering in the community, etc and it sure appears I’ve got my life all together. I’ve got this thing down called perfection. I would not fail even if that meant at the sacrifice of everything I had. I would keep so busy that I didn’t have time to face my reality, the pain that runs deep in me. Every single time I conducted a meeting, pulled off projects, events, etc I would beat the crap out of myself. I would lose sleep and even be super sick before things, knowing that I had to perform up to perfection. There couldn’t be any glitches. After anything, even if it was completely successful, I would sit and write down everything that I did wrong, could have been better, every single criticism that came from anyone and the list would go on. I would commit to doing and being better the next time. I wouldn’t celebrate the successes, because there wasn’t success in my book, it was failure if there was anything that had to be improved.
Some of my favorite terms for myself are: I’m stupid, I’m dumb, why am I so dumb, I’m a burden, I’m too much, they are going to leave my life, I screwed up again, I’m so sorry. I always made promises to be better, do better and to not be myself like that again. I couldn’t be me, because that was a sorry state. A failure. I’ve not trusted myself.
My assignment on Monday from counseling was to focus on my intrapersonal relationship. How do I talk to myself? What is my personal relationship with myself? This is a very hard assignment. I have to change the dialogue I have with myself, the things that have been familiar for over 40 years. I want to change that dialogue and I have been. Honestly, I’ve been doing really well, except for when I mess up, swing into my little girl in the afternoons / evenings.
I was messaging a very dear friend of mine on Monday telling them about my challenge this week. I said, “With counseling I’m focusing on my intrapersonal relationship. Focusing on self compassion for myself and building confidence within myself. The things I tell myself. When I was a teenager and decided to break my swearing habit I carried a roll or actually lots of rolls of nickels around with me and every time I swore whoever first heard me I paid a nickel to. I seriously went through lots of rolls in a day. It was a super bad habit. Today I had the thought maybe I need to do this with you, Rick and another friend with calling myself dumb, stupid, idiot, a burden, etc. I’m afraid I might go broke again though - lol. I’m excited to focus on this, because I feel that this is going to help my confidence, amount I worry and insecurity, peace and overall happiness.”
I’ve not actually gotten nickels, but I’ve shared this with the 3 people as a joke, and I’ve been very self conscious about this and I’m on day 3 of working on this. I’ve not called myself dumb, stupid, idiot, etc. I’ve gotten close and been scared and apologized and been a little worried, but I’ve held strong. I’ve got such an AMAZING support group of friends who are there with me step by step through this journey and showing me so much love and support. It’s exciting!!!
I’ve got a journey. I’ve got a long jagged, up and down, broken road to travel, but I’m traveling it and I’m making progress. I’m making great progress. I can say that I’ve come to understand the love I can have for myself. I’m seeing my value. I love who I’m becoming. I love the happiness and peace that I’m finding in my life. One minute, one hour, one day at a time. Little by little I’m getting better and it’s worth the journey.
I honestly can’t believe it’s the 4th of July. This year looks a lot different than any other year since Rick and I got married. In fact, it looks very different from all of the years I can remember growing up.
Growing up our tradition was to go to Grandpa and Grandma Brown’s home in Provo early in the morning. They lived by the parade route so we would walk down to the seats that they had set out and we would watch the parade. Then we would go back to their house and have a BBQ. I absolutely loved the big slices of watermelon that we would get from Grandma. Then some would go home for a few hours and some of us would stay at grandpa and grandma’s. There was a park right by their house and we would walk down in the afternoon and do activities and just hang out at my grandparents. Then later in the evening we would go down to the park and watch the fireworks.
Over the years things changed a little bit, like we would go to Stadium of Fire when that was added. The 4th of July was a holiday that I absolutely loved, because of our family traditions. My parents and grandparents taught us to be patriotic and to be so grateful for our freedom and the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms. My grandpa fought in the war and he always shared with us to be grateful for our freedoms.
Rick and I got married and his aunt would set up and cook breakfast on the parade route for all of us. It was lots of fun and for years we would go and sit with Rick’s family and then things shifted and our boys would go down and save a big space for my siblings and their children and Rick’s family. We would bring different foods to share for breakfast and had lots of fun.
Following the parade we would go to my parents for a BBQ and swimming and a water fight. My boys absolutely loved this! Then we would go over to the Hardman’s for another BBQ and watch fireworks or city fireworks or family fireworks. Besides the day of activities we would go to the Balloon Festival around 5:30 - 6:00 a.m. on one of the days around the 4th of July, the fireside at the Marriott Center, sometimes the Stadium of Fire. The 4th of July has been a holiday that has been celebrated with family for years - as long as I can remember - and we were always on the go. No time for rest until we got home after the fireworks and we crashed!!!
The last couple of years have looked a little different, because of Covid, but we still continued to have the family bbq’s, water fights, swimming, fireworks. We still found many different ways to celebrate the 4th of July. We have also absolutely loved the Follow the Flag in our community. I have always felt so much emotion and love for our country as I would see the flag in so many different ways and our veterans and the planes that would fly over.
I’ve always loved the holiday, but I’ve also been very grateful for the freedoms that we are able to celebrate and have as a part of our day to day lives. We are truly blessed to live in this country even though it can be very difficult and there’s many things that aren’t feeling as positive at this time, or even for many years.
This year looks extremely different. Much more different than I’ve ever experienced. We chose to not go to Stadium of Fire. We didn’t go to the Sunday night fireside. Everyone is doing different things so we didn’t go to the parade. Tanner wanted to go to the Balloon Festival so Rick and Tanner got up super early and went to the Balloon Festival, but they didn’t end up even getting the balloons out. Rick and Tanner ended up going to Denny’s for breakfast and brought me home some Chik-fil-A breakfast. Rick and Tanner then went over to the baseball field and worked on baseball stuff. When they got home Brayden and Sarah came over to our home and hung out and had some food. We told Zach he could choose what he would like to do and he had friends that asked if he would cover their shifts so he worked 11 hours today. Michael and Alex went over to my mom’s home for the BBQ and then came over to our home and hung out. Tanner went over to my mom’s and played ultimate frisbee and then he came home.
What did I do? What did today look like for me? Well, as of yesterday, as a family we had different plans, but things changed around midnight last night. After a difficult conversation with a family member and lots of emotions Rick and I got to bed around 3:00 a.m. I fell asleep around 3:30 a.m. Alarms went off at 5:00 a.m. for Rick and Tanner to get ready for the balloon festival and Zach got ready for work. At that point I couldn’t sleep anymore. So many thoughts and feelings. My eyes were super puffy from a very emotional, hard night and lack of sleep. I had the opportunity to do a facetime call with a very dear friend early this morning. I prayed. I cried. I sent some messages and my mom and I did messenger back and forth for a little bit.
I finally decided to get ready for the day and then had a phone call with a family member. It was a great call. Good visit, but lots of emotions for me. I came downstairs and wasn’t sure how the day would go, but the plans were I was staying home. Not going anywhere. As my children and their wives came to our home and visited, played games, laughed and just talked and honestly I don’t have perfect words, but it was perfection! I felt like I was the richest person in the world with Rick and my children and their wives gathered together in our home. This is honestly what life is all about! The greatest happiness and peace that can be found. A pure love. Support for one another. Caring about what is going on in each other’s lives. My family, my people, my foundation, those I’ve gone through counseling with and healing and the atonement and growth and worked together through thick and thin and we are a team. A team that rallies and has such a great love and support for one another. Today I found my peace. I found what matters most to me. Those who love me. Trust me. See my efforts and are grateful for who I am and who I’ve become. Who know the trials and the real battles I’ve faced. Who know the trauma that I experienced in my life and know what it’s taken for me to be here - to be alive.
FREEDOM!!! We often think of religious freedom, education, freedom to shop and live and go places, travel, work, etc. Freedom to celebrate. The list goes on. The last few years I’ve come to better understand a very important freedom that I’m gaining and still working at, but feeling oh so much power. FREEDOM TO LOVE ME!!! TO BE ENOUGH!!! FREEDOM TO HEAL! TO RELEASE THE CHAINS OF BONDAGE that I’ve carried for over 40 years from abuse. From intense abuse from many. FREEDOM to have a straight one on one relationship with my loving Heavenly Father and Savior. That no one controls that, but me. I don’t have to be a certain way or measure up or live a certain level of perfection to have that relationship. I am LOVED right now, today, right at this minute AS I AM. I can love myself even when others dislike me. Have distrust. Feel that I have ill intentions or a mean person. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to have everyone love me. In fact, people can hate me and that’s alright. I’m blessed with the ATONEMENT. I make many mistakes. I mess up. I have flaws. Those around me will find what they are looking for in me. The good, the bad or the ugly - it’s all there - each person can choose what they want to see in me. We all have those sides. I don’t have to be SORRY for being me. I have a foundation of people who LOVE ME AS I AM. I have a foundation. I don’t have to be abused anymore. I don’t have to believe all of the awful things that I’ve believed about myself for over 40 years. They aren’t true. I don’t have to be under the table and take the crumbs from people who see fit to treat me that way. I can sit up to the table and eat the same foods and be with those who love me and smile and laugh and just relax. I don’t have to pretend anymore. THIS IS ME! I am FREE!!!!
Today I celebrate the 4th of July in a much different way. Sitting at home in the quiet of my home, reflecting, choosing to surround myself with love. Being me. Celebrating one of the most important FREEDOMS I could possibly dream of!
Well, this week. . .I don’t really have words for this last week. Usually I can make a list of things that have triggered me or the problems that has caused me to be off during the week, but really this last week has felt like one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in a very long time and I believe it’s because there’s so much that’s not tangible. Of course, there’s been things like two of my boys’ cars breaking down on the same day, baseball stuff that’s enough to drive me crazy and make me angry, things being off with my oxygen that caused a really bad headache for a day, but really the majority of the stress has been emotional.
I’ve had many nightmares. Intense nightmares. Not only have I had nightmares, but I’ve had flashbacks and daily emotional struggles. I’ve felt the weight of abandonment tenderness, me being dumb and stupid, not feeling important, rejection and the list goes on. The amount of tears and fear this last week has been crippling. As a dear friend of mine calls it, it’s been many tsunami’s this week. I’ve been blasted with water and couldn’t breath or keep my footing. Honestly, it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt that I just couldn’t go on and this last week the feelings of wanting to escape myself have been intense. There are not even words to describe the intensity.
Last night I decided that I needed to fast - do a very sincere, fast today with Fast Sunday. I always fast, but usually fast a little differently being diabetic and lots of medications that I have to take in the morning. I usually need to eat something small. Today I decided I wouldn’t take my meds until after church and I wouldn’t have any food to tie me over. I needed the Lord’s help in intense ways - to match the intensity that I had felt all week.
I also felt in my heart to fast for a handful of dear people in my life. I felt to share my testimony with them and my love for them. I took the opportunity to do that this morning and I felt so much peace. During the Sacrament I felt so much love. The testimonies were strengthening, but really the spirit spoke with me differently and I gained some clarity into myself and some past experiences. I felt prompted to take some actions today that weren’t easy, but I told the Lord that I’d act as I felt prompted to act.
Following church I had the opportunity to sit and visit with a dear friend of mine for about 40 minutes. The spirit was so strong. I look up to her. I gain so much strength from her and what she’s going through and learning and she shared her gratitude for the things I shared. The spirit was so strong and I felt so grateful for the conversation she and I were able to have. It strengthened my testimony.
As we returned home from church I turned on peaceful, church music and asked the Lord to guide me today. I wanted to feel His love and sort through the strong promptings and feelings I was having. The clarity that I’ve sought and gained today - I needed to sort through things and figure out how to apply those things in my life. How do I remember these miraculous feelings I’ve experienced today when things get hard, set backs, etc
As I was listening to the music a song came on and a very specific experience came to mind as I listened to this song. This song is Cleanse You by Calee Reed.
In December 2019 I started counseling and it was super hard. I had decided that if I was going to do counseling I was going to go in fully committed. This was it! I was going to heal and make life changes. I couldn’t carry the weight of so many things by myself anymore. So much I hadn’t shared with anyone.
Brayden had come home from his mission after being out 3 months to the day. He was struggling. Rick was going to work, the boys were going to school and I was trying to sort through how to help Brayden when he wouldn’t really open up. It was a super difficult time and I honestly felt super alone. It was my life that was being turned upside down in so many different ways. Honestly, at that time I was alone in my journey, because I didn’t know how to share and there was so much healing that needed to happen in our home.
I was sent a very special angel in my life in a very surprising way. Never in a million years would I have guessed how this angel would come into my life and the role they would play in my life to this day. I’ve never met this angel in person, but the love that I feel for this person is super deep and there’s no denying the Lord’s hand in the details.
Anyways, in March 2020 things were changing. Lots of things were changing, including covid. This dear friend who had become a great support to me and helped me look at things differently, had such a great spirit and testimony and had helped me turn to my Heavenly Father and Savior was changing things in their life. Their schedule was changing. Where they were living was changing. I was terrified. With change in people’s lives people leave my life. I’ve always had such a firm belief in that. That I’m not important enough to others that when they make changes I drop off their important list. It’s like this top 10 list and I’m always #10 on anyone’s list and as soon as they make a change or add one other person or thing I’m automatically gone. The pain with this belief is super deep and strong. The pain gets to the point of anxiety attacks, emotional breakdowns and pain that feels like a heart attack. I get hyper focused that these things are going to happen for sure and as I’ve learned over the years I’m so afraid that at times I’ve created and made sure what I thought would happen, would happen. I don’t know how to handle this pain.
So, the date comes of making these big changes. This friend does everything they can to help me know that I won’t be forgotten. That they would still be there, just living in a different place and doing different things. It’s going to be around 24 hours before I hear back from this friend as they are moving. As we said goodbye I knelt in prayer and pleaded with the Lord to help me find peace. I turned on music and this song came on - Cleanse Me.
Here’s the lyrics to this song:
The waves come high
My ship is sinking
And I'm thinking of letting go
The waters deep
And I am gasping
Struggling to hear you, Lord
Captain of my soul
Why did you lead me here to this uncharted sea?
Did you bring me here just to drown me?
"What if I didn't bring you here to drown you but to cleanse you?", He whispers.
And "What if you chose to breathe me in?
Let this wash you clean a-gain," He whispers.
He whispers, "I know the waters deep but if you only knew it isn't meant to drown you,"
He whispers. "But to cleanse you.”
The sun sets low
My faith is failing
And I'm sailing deep into the night
The fog rolls in and I am searching
Trying in vain again to find Your guiding light
Yes, I felt like letting go. I was gasping literally with pain. I didn’t know how I could hear the Lord when I was so sure how things were going to turn out. As I listened to this song that day I felt an immense amount of peace. He didn’t lead me to have this angel in my life just for me to drown. He led me to this dear friend and this opportunity for growth to cleanse me, to heal me. My Heavenly Father wanted me to understand my worth and that I have value and that there are angels brought into my life for a long time, possibly for eternity and that I could heal. I could trust. I could be safe.
I felt so much peace that day and knew that the Lord was in the details and things would work out. I wish I could say that from that day on things went smoothly and I had all the confidence in the world, but I didn’t and things didn’t go smoothly. In fact, many ups and downs, but sooooo much growth and that dear angel friend is still in my life. It took me a long time to grasp that this friend wasn’t going anywhere and to look at this friendship in a healthy, safe light, but I can say that this friendship is eternal.
Today as I pondered this last week and the depths of despair I felt I can say that I honestly thought I would drown. I honestly wondered if I could possibly keep my head above water. The pain has been intense. The destruction that I’ve felt I needed to create to be in my own world and put walls up has been very real.
But, today, as I turned all I have and am over to the Lord and listened to this song I was reminded so clearly that the Lord is aware of me and all details in my life. I’m blessed with amazing angels in my life that stay through the tsunamis. They don’t give up on me. They are there holding a towel out for me to dry off and often holding me down to the ground so I don’t blow away with destruction.
So often the Lord cleanses us to show us a greater way. Greater opportunities. Greater growth. Greater love. Greater healing. We don’t have to drown even when at times in our lives we feel we are gasping for air. This song is super fitting for me, because I’m terrified of water. The thought of being in water, gasping, feeling like I’m going to drown is super real for me. I’ve also found great peace with water and it’s one of my favorite sounds. The Lord can help us. We can be cleansed for so much greater in our lives.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity