It’s the Little Things…

At this point in my life, it is extremely important to find things to be thankful for each day.

For example, I may be living with my parents for the time being, but I have a sanctuary of a room to come home to that my parents worked so hard on out of love for me. A loving support system that is here for me as I slowly get back to myself. This home may be miniature in comparison to those around it, but it is full of love, life, and hope. The hope of a better tomorrow keeps us moving forward. And we do so together.

Since I am still on the search for a job or two, here lately I have been a bit of a hermit. Which, for those of you with depression and anxiety, you know that it’s super easy to just stay in your pjs all day and maybe binge watch some Netflix shows. So, the mere fact that I got out of bed and out of my nightgown in general is “Huzzah!– worthy.

Not only did I get dressed (woo), but I actually made myself breakfast before noon! And no, not my usual bowl of cereal. Since I have also started a new healthy lifestyle, I have been cooking waaaaay more than the college-aged girl inside of me wants to. I like lazy- laziness is what’s comfortable. Pizza rolls and ranch all the way, man! Or cereal for dayyys- I used to eat cereal as though my life depended on it, but that’s a different story.

No siree. This morning, I took to the skillet and fried some bacon, scrambled an egg, and even chopped up some red pepper, sausage and fresh avocado and put that in the mix. Sprinkled a tidbit of cheese to top it all off and mmmmm- mmmm- mmm! Deliciousness.

I know. To some, it seems so pathetic to be celebrating these small tasks. And I get that. I used to not understand, either. Now, after living it, I can tell you that sometimes these “mundane” tasks are quite the challenge.

And, to top the charts today, I was able to spend some time with my Lord and His Words. For me, that’s a rather rare thing. I know… tsk tsk! I’m trying to be better about getting into the Word every day. Today was Day 1 in that journey. You’ve gotta start somewhere, right? It’s also nice that my accountability partner has me taking pictures of the scripture I read each day.

And, finally, the weather outside was GORGEOUS. Not that I noticed it all that much because I opted to stay inside.

That is, until my Dad came home, humming the Smurfs theme to himself. If I ever refer to him as Papa Smurf, you’ll understand why.

He sensed my downtrodden mood and made me put on shoes and walk our little furball. During our walk, we had blissful sun and subtle winds to enjoy, as well as some deep father-daughter discussions (I use “deep” lightly there- he was keeping things lighthearted in order to get some smiles and giggles out of me, which is always his goal).

After the walk, I did feel better. My thoughts hadn’t gone away, but the cloud over my head definitely had. There is something to be said about sunshine and depression; my psychologist recommended getting at least 20 minutes of sunshine a day, preferably with some physical activity such as walking. And if you can’t bear to leave your home, which can be an issue with severe anxiety cases, look on Amazon for a Happy Lamp. It’s supposed to mimic sunlight and improve overall wellness. They can be a bit steep, so search elsewhere if need be for something in your price range.

He and I then cooked dinner together- grilled chicken and zucchini, and homemade mashed cauliflower. We watched Flash together as we enjoyed our delectable masterpiece.

I suppose what I’m trying to get at is just how much happiness is hiding between those dark and desperate moments. I could have looked back on today with a negative view and had absolutely nothing to write about. Instead, I made myself seek out the lights in the darkness that had been surrounding me.

It’s the little things. (:

 

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Let’s Be Honest

Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually my favorite days of the week. During the times of 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, I am blessed enough to be surrounded by a community of individuals who are in the same boat as I am.

Or, at least, some of them are. And if they’ve upgraded their boat to mayhaps a ship or completely settled down on a nice, safe island away from the disastrous waves, then I can at least take comfort in knowing they have been in my shoes…. or boat…

I suppose my metaphorical journey is more of a dingy at the moment; tossed to and fro by the waves, yet never quite getting so beat up that it sinks.

During last night’s Bible study, the ladies and gents were split up to have some deep conversation about a fairly awkward topic when it comes to church-like atmospheres.

You guessed it! Sex.

Now, as a Bible-believing Christian, I am an advocate for saving oneself for marriage. Because God designed sex to be between a husband and wife in a married bed. In this culture, my views are waaaay off base, and many would argue with me, but that’s another topic entirely. Stay with me, here.

Even though I am a Christian who is trying to save herself, I am not perfect. I am open and honest about my story with many walks of life, and sometimes I get a gasp or an odd look in return. Who I was 5 years ago and who I was yesterday are still past versions of me. So sometimes it’s difficult to understand, I suppose, from the outside-looking-in.

Amidst other nervous ladies, I decided to divulge some of my deepest, darkest secrets…

Which gives me the courage to tell you.

Beautiful as imperfection can be, it can also seem like a burden. To be a Christian with such a tainted past? That’s super embarrassing to admit to anyone, especially your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes, it’s hard to admit things to yourself as well.

If you have read my story, you know a smidge about my past, mainly more recent things.

Let’s be honest:

Sex is an addiction. Obvious to some, sure. But did you know that sex is more than just sex? I hadn’t ever thought much on it until I came to my current young-adults group.

Sex is not just a physical action. Sex is honestly more powerful and more permanent than a tattoo. It leaves a mark!

Did you know that God talks about sex in the Bible (Song of Songs, anyone?) and that He tells us of the bond that occurs between a man and woman when they have sex? (1 Corinthians 6:16 says “… And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, ‘The two are united into one.'”)

Science backs God’s Word, actually. They’ve finally caught up to what God has been saying all along. That “bond” mentioned previously is what scientists today call sex glue: the powerful bond when a man or woman gives themselves to one another. As we experience orgasm, our brains produce oxytocin to bond us with whatever we happen to be looking at!

Basically, sex is physical, emotional and spiritual superglue. And God designed this phenomenon to bond you and your spouse- not you and your one night stand and certainly not you and the 2D image of pornography.

Personally, I never imagined that oral sex, kissing or merely touching someone else could be so powerful and leave such a lasting impression.

Well. It most certainly does.

Sex, for me, is a dangerous and addictive thing. If you’ve ever heard Skillet’s “Monster”, it definitely resembles that. She threatens to take over whenever I get the tiniest bit excited.

By the tender age of 15, I realized why. The trigger was flipped when I was very young due to sexual abuse. And sexual attention became a vice for a little girl who should have only been concerned with barbies and tea parties. And as a 22 year old young woman, sexual attention remains a trigger.

In my past, I was addicted to sexting random strangers on the Internet via Omegle and any chat forums I could get into. I sent scandalous photographs to these people. And my devious side had no qualms when it came to gender, either. I saught out pleasure from both sides of the spectrum. I was addicted to lesbian pornography, and went so far as to create a dating site for a one night stand. I let boys from my hometown touch me and fell for “crushes” and their charm, all to wind up parked half a mile down the gravel road from my home on more than one occasion. I let them talk me into touching them, even though I was absolutely disgusted with myself and their genitalia. I honestly couldn’t look at them. I had a phobia, and to an extent I still do (sexual abuse has many lasting qualities).

I have had issues with masturbation, toy play, and got so caught up in the excitement of sexual pleasure that I almost bought into selling sex toys for a living. Because sex sells.

My relationship suffered because sexual intimacy became a key factor over anything else. We fell into the trap of “if it feels good, do it” and listened to friends’ advice, which lead us down a path that is extremely hard to turn away from. We basically did everything but the actual act of sexual intercourse.

I have more of a handle on my “monster” nowadays thanks to God and some outstanding support, but she is always just beneath the surface, waiting for a weak moment.

I am not sharing this because I am proud of what I have been through, much less what I have done. I am ashamed, honestly. However, I know for sure that I am not the only human being to mess up and feel miserable for her past choices. I would say that I wish I could go back and change things.

….. but I really don’t.

I know that seems odd, but I truly don’t want my past to change. Not in the slightest.

Why?

I would not be half of the woman I am today were it not for the trauma and experiences I have had. I have met so many wonderful and encouraging women and men who have shared their stories with me. They have left a lasting impression on my heart.

I would not have learned the vast amount of valuable lessons were it not for the connections I have made during sermons, conversations and even reading articles or books. I have gained so much knowledge and understanding of not only myself but also a better understanding of my past. It’s quite empowering.

This life is full of unexpected tragedy and heartache. We have all had our share of pain. But isn’t it the least bit comforting to know that you are not alone in your struggles and suffering? That others have been right where you are, and there is hope of escaping the vicious cycle you’re caught up in?

That’s why I want to be as open and honest as I can. I want to share my experiences and my story with others so that they might learn something of value. At the very least, know that they are not alone.

So, let’s be honest with one another, shall we? You never know who might need to hear your story.

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