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It’s been a long, long time. A lot has happened since I last shared my thoughts, but I’ll save most of those stories for another day. Let’s start out in a traditional storybook fashion…

Once upon a time there lived a couple who had been married for 27 years. They had their ups and downs, good days and bad days, but they loved each other very much. After a series of unfortunate events (I love those books), they decided it was time for a change in life. The couple packed up all their belongings and planned a move to start a new adventure together. Just a few days before they were going to hit the road, the husband had a massive heart-attack  I believe in the medical world, it is aptly nicknamed the “widow maker.” The wife stood by praying as the EMTs performed CPR, but it was already too late. She watched her husband take his last breath. He was only 50 years old.

It has been almost five (5) months since Kevin died. Let’s be completely honest from the start. Times DOES NOT heal all wounds. Wounds leave scars and scars are painful. Time does, however, give us the opportunity to learn to cope with our pain and find healthy ways to express our grief. I have yet to discover how to do either of those.

Yesterday, after a discussion regarding the necessity of caring for myself, a dear sweet friend asked me what does taking care of me look like and what can the people that are closest to me do to help in that. I didn’t have an answer. I pondered on the question for awhile. My role in life has always been a caregiver not a carereceiver. It’s hard for me to even ask for help moving boxes or running an errand. I can’t imagine asking someone to get involved in my emotional mess! Come on, I already feel guilty being around them when the sadness overcomes me because I don’t want to drag them to the depths where I currently reside.

After praying and thinking through the night, I have answers to the question. I need those who love me to accept my current emotional state for what it is, with its highs and lows. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I really don’t want to be alone. My feelings of guilt will take me away from you because in my mind, it is how I protect you. Send a text on occasion just to see if I’m ok or send a funny picture, anything to help me stay connected. Joke with me, I need to smile and laugh. I thrive on physical touch, which I know can take people way out of their comfort zone. There are probably more, but it has taken me almost an hour to actually put these into black and white.

This is the grieving heart of me thus far. We all do it differently, but I hope that if there is someone else out there who has a hard of a time as I do asking for emotional support, you will read this and be braver than I. Go to those you know love you, talk to them, and let them hold your hand through your pain. God put them in your life for a reason.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

 

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raw and exposed

I debated writing this post. Debated. Prayed. Agonized. Cried. But here it goes…

I have to be one of the most insecure people I know. There is very little about me where I possess confidence. I struggle with second-guessing myself, worry what people are thinking, read negativity into others’ words…you get the idea. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m entirely too sensitive. I hurt easily. My perception can be somewhat skewed. I allow myself to be taken advantage of. I sometimes feel undervalued, unwanted, unworthy, and unloved. I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and dream of being beautiful. I wonder if I make a difference. I feel alone. One minute my expectations of myself are too high and of others too low while the next, my expectations of myself are too low and of others too high. Often, I just do not like me.

So, why am I laying open all these raw feelings and character flaws? Quite simple, I’m tired of them. I am tired of them controlling how I see myself. How I understand myself. What I believe about myself. I recently shared with you my adventures in Mountain Home, Texas. These are those bad behavioral habits that need to be broken. Not all are actually flaws. I want my heart to be sensitive and not hardened. I want to second-guess myself when appropriate to keep from becoming prideful. But, even these behaviors/feelings have to be kept in check.

These are burdens that I no longer want to bear. I have allowed past and present experiences/circumstances to shape me instead of God’s grace, love, mercy, and correction. I was created in His image. It is about time I let myself see Him in me.

I feel I need to qualify this post somewhat. These are not every moment feelings. I am not saying that God hasn’t been given the freedom to mold me. I do believe that others sense His presence in me. The problem is there are times where I give permission for these feelings/flaws to overtake me. My flesh is weak, and I am not relying upon Him to give me the strength and courage I need.

There has been significant growth in my life over the past year, and if you know me, then you have seen God working in me and my life. This is where I am now, and He’s expecting change. I am not looking for your pity, but I will covet your prayers. Old habits are hard to break, but there is hope. Hope in the One who created me. Hope in the One who loves me. Hope in the One desires me to be who He has called me to be. I am His.

Thanks for journeying with me. 🙂

Day 10

5/8/2013 @ 6:21 am

I am exhausted and not just from the lack of sleep. I feel tired in my spirit, if that makes any sense. If it makes sense to anyone else, please explain it to me because I don’t understand it at all. I think I may lay back down for awhile. 

Dad,
I have no idea what happened last night. Please help me understand. Give me rest, both physically and spiritually. I thank You that Your love knows no bounds. 
Love,
Your daughter

@ 6:30 am

As I prayed, I believe God gave me an answer to understanding. Most Christians walk through life oblivious to the spiritual realm because they are afraid of what they cannot see or because it seems too mystical to them. That is the reason it is so easy for the enemy to gain ground with us. We gloss over Scriptures like Ephesians 6:12, thinking it is more theoretical than reality.

“For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)

The fight is real. 

@ 10:43 am

Went to the lodge and talked with Norma for a bit. Sandy had to run into town, but I will see her this evening. Spent some time on the porch watching the hummingbirds then went to feed the horses. Came back to the cabin to find out Carolyn Covey had passed away. Carolyn is one of the sweetest ladies I know. She was always so loving. I pray God’s peace and comfort be with her family. 

@ 2:14 pm

Took a trip into Ingram. It is a beautiful little town. They still have a mom and pop country grocery store where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the family. Everyone was so friendly. Granted, I had to pay $2.00 for a Diet Coke, but it was well worth it. The drive is gorgeous with the winding roads, hills, creeks, and rock walls. This is much more my speed versus the beach. Although, I’m not so sure I could get used to the Texas version of palmetto bugs…scorpions. Funny though, I’m not actually afraid of scorpions but am terrified of palmetto bugs. 

@ 5:06 pm

Went back to spend some more time watching the hummingbirds. They appear to be so delicate and fragile. Appearances can be deceiving. If you watch long enough, you will see them vie for position on the “flower,” bumping another off to take its place. Sort of makes me long for that image, the countenace of being delicate but the reality of being strong. I’m more like a linebacker who cries! 😛

@ 7:33 pm

Walked around the property again. Went off the beaten path this time. I was feeling adventurous and the temptation was too great.

I could see where the longhorn had been through and trampled everything to the ground. Apparently there isn’t a fence that separates Westwood’s acreage from the nearby ranch, so the neighbor’s cattle come to visit every now and again. Just being friendly I suppose. 

The interstate runs directly in front of the property, but what I hear are the birds, the wind blowing in the trees, and the horses. I guess I could hear the cars if I wasn’t so distracted by God’s creation. It’s refreshing because normally I’m distracted by man’s. 

Dear Dad,
Once again, thank You for this time. As I leave here, I pray that I remember the things You have shown me and the tools You have provided me through Potter’s. Also, please be with Christie and Vana. My prayer is that Vana’s fever breaks and the internal bleeding stops. Give her mom comfort. Dad, I love You so much. 
Love,
Your daughter

Day 9

Day 5/7/2013 @ 7:28 am

The air is crisp and cool this morning with a slight breeze. I’m still somewhat fighting the battle that I should be in my office working, but I’m finding it easier to kill that thought each day I am allowed to sit on the front porch and soak in the view. Yesterday I just shot it, today I got creative and hunted it down with a bow and arrow. 🙂 Don’t think I’ll be venturing out on the roads today. My plan is to do some walking around the property again. After I do laundry. Ttthhhpppttt. 

Dad,
Thank You for this beautiful day!
Love,
Your daughter

@ 11:30 am

(Non-redemptive complaining…deleted)

We have talked about wounds and identity a lot over the past several days. I’ve been able to travel back and label some consequential wounds and identity builders in my past. I have listed several in previous journaling, but there is one I haven’t mentioned, and I am finding that some of the others are attached to it. I am quiet. I usually sit somewhere in a room where I can just blend in most of the time. I’m a little better about speaking out than I used to be, but I have to break through a wall of anxiety before I am able to open my mouth. I have come to believe that I should be seen and not heard. During this time at Potter’s, I have been able to trace the origin of this lie and where/when it has been supported. God is healing my heart of the lies and replacing that identity, but the habits I have developed in response to that identity are going to be a challenge to break. 

So, the false identity is: be a good girl and sit back quietly…the lies: what you say is not important; you are not important; you have no value; if you disagree with what other people think, they wont like you. Next step, breaking habits. 

@ 3:49 pm

Well, that was my last meeting with Sandy. Bittersweet. I’ll stop in the logde sometime tomorrow to say goodbye to her, Dave, and Norma.

Today she told me I was much more animated and full of life. It’s all thanks to my Dad. 🙂

@ 5:59 pm

Only one day left before I head back to San Antionio to hop a flight back home. This time there is a short layover in Dallas. I think some crazy person booked these flights…Houston on the way and Dallas on the way back?! The truth is that for the first several days I didn’t want to be here and now that I’m comfortable and at rest, I have to go. Funny how that works. 

When I do get home, the temptation will be to let myself and others dictate my identity, but I have to remember, my Creator is the only one who has that right.

@ 6:57 pm

Let me clarify, I’m comfortable during the day, but I do get lonely at night.

I also need to qualify my 11:30 am post. I do not blame any one from my past or present for how I perceive myself. I chose/choose to believe the lies. 

Dear Dad,
I thank You for the time I have gotten to spend here and the things You have revealed to me about myself. Some of those things are hard to face, but I know that You won’t let me face them alone. Guard my heart. You be the protective covering I reach for.
Love, Your daughter

I guess it’s time to fix my popcorn and dress potatoes. 

Day 8

5/6/2013 @ 8:32 am

Slept five and a half hours last night. It was good. 

Meeting with Sandy at 12:00 pm today. There are a couple things that were said this weekend that I need clarified in my mind and explained on a deeper level: 1) wounds are other-inflicted and sin is self-inflicted. Can we not wound our own heart outside of sin? 2) what can be done to reverse generational curses?

Dad,
Thank You for the peace, calmness, and security I have this morning. Let them be interwoven into this day and the days ahead. Make Your presence strong in those who attended Heart-Shaping this weekend. Their hearts are tender and open to attack. Do not let the enemy take hold. Give them strength and courage to go into battle and be victorious! I love You. You are my God. 
Love, 
Your daughter

@ 10:04 am

Watching a video of a sweet little girl and texting a bit with my eldest. I miss them both so much. 

@12:49 pm

Sandy said my countenance is different today. Lighter. Happier. 🙂

So, the answers to my questions:
Can we not wound our own heart outside of sin? Most of the time our reactions, negative self-talk and thoughts, etc. are the result of a lie that has been attached to a wound. What we do is deepen the original wound. 

What can be done to reverse generational curses? It’s not so much a reverse as it is to just outright break it. The curse must first be identified then its release spoken into the spiritual realm. 

Going to meet up with Sandy again tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Today, I am going to relax. I may even go for a drive and look for those zebras again. Not so sure I mentioned the zebras yesterday, but on my way back from Walmart last night I saw two zebras. Sandy said the guy who owns them is an exotic animal dealer. Close to the zebras is a ranch of axis deer. I also had a black, furry, squirrel-looking thingy run out in front of my car. I have been informed that it was a rock squirrel, and they are not very well-liked because of their destructive nature. Where can you see longhorn, zebras, rock squirrels, scorpions, axis deer, rattlesnakes, hummingbirds, and horses all in the same place? Only in Texas. 

@ 4:26 pm

I had a really nice afternoon. I went for a long drive and stopped in Kerrville to get me a diet cherry limeade. The ranches here a beautiful.

As it gets later in the afternoon, I begin to get a little lonely, wishing I was with my family (immediate and extended). 

@ 7:30 pm
 
Going to make some popcorn and shoot some more zombies. Until tomorrow.

Day 7

5/5/2013 @ 6:32 am

Got a couple hours sleep. This afternoon at 4:30, my plans are to come back to the room and hibernate. We’ll see how that goes. 

Had another emotionally charged evening before I went to bed. I was emptied by the end of the day yesterday (good thing), but I had to face a challenge last night that I admittedly did not handle well which left me drained (bad thing). 

Dear Dad,
Take away any thoughts today that may be a distraction from You. Thank You for the work You are doing in my life. I pray I do not fail You. Your presence has been undeniable. 
Love,
Your daughter

@ 7:13 am

Revelation, but first…SCORPION! Adios cloak! What were you thinking letting me come here? You know who you are! I’m ok now. Cloak enabled. 

Now on to the revelation. God brought to mind a defense mechanism I didn’t recall yesterday. I tend to put myself down before others have the opportunity. If I already express it and feel it, then it can’t hurt that bad coming from someone else, right? Makes perfect sense. 

@ 9:14 am

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

We were given a name card to reflect upon:

Name: Tammy
Meaning: palm tree
Spiritual Connotation: victorious spirit
Supporting Scripture: “Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.” Micah 5:9

I am not victorious. What have I conquered or triumphed over?  I see myself through a dirty filter (one that I created), a person who is sick and weak, full of flaws and failures. This person has no qualities or skills that would win her a battle. She is tired and defeated. My Dad sees me differently. I am His child, I belong to Him. He has made me complete and redeemed me. He has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. In spite of, even through the use of, my imperfections, He will give me victory. It will be for His glory. 

Dad,
Help me to see myself as You see me.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 11:40 am

Dave said, “You can’t be fulfilled until you settle identity and destiny.”
Blessing is God’s mechanism of settling identity and destiny in the heart. 

Identity very simpliy,stated is my perception of me (value).

Destiny has to do with my perception of my function and significance on this earth (purpose).

There have been many people along the way who have contributed to my identity, speaking both blessings and curses in the formation of who I believe I am. MY perception of myself is no value, is not worth loving, is ugly, is weak, is stupid, is a burden, is not good enough. My perception has changed over the years. When I was a child, I felt valued, loved, confident, strong, beautiful. My dad told me these things all the time. He convinced me they were true. 

I hear more curses than I do blessings at this point in my life. That doesn’t mean people are not speaking blessings, I just do not hear them. There are some people in my life who will swear they are blessing me, but you can’t accompany a blessing with a curse and expect me to hear and believe you. Telling me how important I am then breaking my trust…the curse overshadows the blessing.

I have to find and live out my identity in Christ.

My Christian human specific destiny is to be a true disciple of Christ who is called to reach and equip children and their families to follow Jesus with all their hearts. It’s time to be bold in my destiny. 

Dear Dad,
Help me to find my identity in Jesus and to be bold in the destiny You have chosen for me. 
Love,
Your daughter 

@ 4:23 pm

Heart-Shaping has officially ended, but Dave reminded us that this is a journey. 

“You have experienced His healing and freeing touch in your life. But if you walk away from here with the belief that the healing of your wounds and the realizing of your true identity and destiny will not be challenged by the enemy, you are in for a rude awakening.”

Wounds will continue to come, but I’ll have a battle plan!

Now it’s off to Walmart. I know I said I would come back and hibernate but…no. 🙂

@ 7:44 pm

Everyone is gone. A little lonely.

Day 6

5/4/2013 @ 12:07 am

I’m sorting out my junk; what is other-afflicted (wounds) and what is self-inflicted (sins), what belongs to me.

Pretty much can say goodbye to sleep tonight. Too stressed out. I have to learn to shut down and relax!

On a much brighter note which I meant to mention yesterday, I have never been prayed over so much in my life. Sandy, Norma, and Dave have been so encouraging and supportive. (Got to remember the book Dave recommend I read. I wrote it down somewhere). They are awesome people, and this is an incredible ministry.

Gonna go shoot some zombies.

@ 1:44 am

Zombies are kicking my butt. Solitaire it is, and if I can’t win at that then I’m just going to play Elizabeth’s Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head dress up game. Can’t exactly lose at dressing a potato.

@ 6:43 am

The way I’m feeling right now, when the conference ends at 4:30 pm tomorrow I’m going to crawl into bed and stay there until Monday.

Dear Dad,
Keep me focused and attentive to what you have for me today. Thank You for who You are, a sovereign God.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 8:02 am

So Sandy says that today is the hardest day. If we can make it today, it’ll all be downhill from here. Are you kidding me? Today is going to be the hardest day? After the past few days, I can’t imagine worse!

@ 9:01 am

Last night God exposed my true heart, leaving it raw and aching. It will only be by His power that I will not reach out to grab for some kind of covering to keep my heart protected because my default is to protect it at all cost. I believe today His plan is for me to continue in my understanding of the masks I wear/wore so I will be able to recognize when I take one off the shelf to put it on. Healing can start when I am aware that I am making a conscious choice to wrap my real heart in a false one.

What is keeping me from opening my heart to God and others? Simple, I’m afraid. Deep down I feel that there is no way God can possibly think I’m worthy of His love, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy. The only thing I’m deserving of is His punishment. As far as others, if they knew the mess that is me…the insecurities, the fragility, the self-doubt, etc…they wouldn’t love me, they wouldn’t even like me. I run that risk with the words I write at this moment.

I know truth…God loves me and there are people who love me…my problem is getting it past head knowledge. I don’t want to make it sound as if I never feel love, from God or others, I do, more often than not, but I am in a season where it has become a struggle because I resort back to operating out of fear. I’m just plain tired of the hurt. The fear I experience is not of God. What I have and do experience from God is love, grace, mercy, justice, comfort, peace, and now I am looking forward to healing.

Another piercing discovery that I have made while at Potter’s; I am also living in shame…lack of dignity, worthlessness of being, unacceptability and illegitimacy. I am no longer comfortable with that (pretty sure that revelation and gratitude belongs to God).

Dad,
I am open to Your healing, however you choose to send it.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 11:42 am

So we are supposed to label our heart’s defense mechaisms and reflect on our wounds, identify them, list them out. Not only are we supposed to enter into our wounds, they have asked we write some of them on a red felt heart given to us and pin them to our shirts for the remainder of the day. They are asking me to bare my wounds for all to see when I haven’t even shared them with my Dad. How am I supposed to be expected to do that? I’m not strong enough.

I can’t center on every wound that comes to mind (too overwheming), so I will just list the ones that may have caused the deepest gashes:

Death of family
Broken trust
Abandonment
Words/Judgement
Molestation

All these things have created roots of hopelessness, fear, shame, rejection, worthlessness, and bitterness in me. I thought I had become the foremost authority on defense mechanisms. After all, I’ve developed and nurtured them over the years…denial, rationalization, justification, masks, etc…but my defenses are no longer working and the facade is being broken down.

As painful as this process has already been this morning, there has been a release for me. I was told today that it is possible to believe in God for forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life and yet still live your life totally in bondage to the lies that have been attached to your wounds. This is not what God desires for me, but I was set free from a lie. The lie that says if you TRULY believe in God, if you TRUST Him enough, and if you have ENOUGH faith, you should be able to give it all over to Him promptly, walk away, and never think of it again.

Notes from Uncovering the Wounds of the Heart

Wounds cannot be repented of. They are not accompanied by authentic guilt but usually false guilt.

The symptoms of every wound not healed will be passed down to the next generation. (I have cursed my children if I do not uncover and allow God to deal with my wounds).

If you do not have God, and have Him deeply, because of the holes in your heart, you will turn to other lovers (idols).

When a wound is punctured, the lie, the accompanying emotions and darkness are exposed.

Realize that your greatest potential is at your place of woundedness. (Use your wounds for God’s glory).

Remember that God will go to any lengths necessary to set your heart free. (Confirmation of my earlier prayer).

@ 1:46 pm

Dad,
Let my roots grow deep in Your love so You can keep me strong.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 3:00 pm

Making a list of significant people in my life and noting the expectations I have placed on each of them. Next step will be evaluating each expectation to see if they are fair and/or reasonable for the person I’ve assigned them to. If the expectation is unfair/unreasonable, then I have to unchain the person from it, but what if it is fair/reasonable and the person still doesn’t meet the expectation, what do I do? I’m thinking it really depends on what the person is capable of giving and what I’m willing to accept. Thanks, Tammy. I was really looking for implicit directions. You were no help at all. Another thing, what do you use to measure fairness/reasonableness? Don’t ask Tammy, she don’t know nothing.

There are a lot of annoying bugs in Texas.

@ 3:52 pm

How to recognize shame working in your life:

Anger when circumstances seem to be out of my control

Fear of emotion

Difficulty saying “no” to people

Fear of failing

Frequent Depression

Addictive habit or compulsive sin

Need to succeed to be accepted

Isolation

Avoidance of getting Into a position of need or dependence

Great difficulty asking for a favor or help

Being a much better giver than receiver

Being uncomfortable in a small group

Feeling tolerated rather than chosen

Having been a recipient, feeling a need to repay

Had some friends evaluate the above statements for me. The responses were not a surprise. 😦

@ 5:29 pm

I have a lot of junk, wounds and sins, that I have hidden in the darkness which need to be exposed by The Light. We were brought into a dark room, eyes closed with only a flashlight. We were instructed to open our eyes and turn on our flashlights. We had to maneuver through strewn garbage (boxes, cans, etc.) to get to our seats. Point: we needed the light to illuminate the trash so we could see the way to our seats. We need Christ’s light to do the same for us in our daily lives. “Without the light of the Holy Spirit, we are nearly defenseless against our own innate tendencies toward self-deception.”

The sins in my heart are:

unforgiveness towards others and myself, pride, worry, selfishness, and jealousy,

Dad,
I repent of and confess to You the sins that I have buried deep within my heart; my unforgivenness, my pride, my worry, my selfishness, and my jealousy. Please forgive me, purify me. My sins can no longer be hidden. I want to encounter Your light. Thank You for being faithful and just in Your forgiveness.
Love,
Your daughter

Side Note: There are two types of healing: healing of the heart and healing of the habits. Even after the heart has been healed, there are behaviors/actions (conditioned responses) that have developed into habits that still need to be broken and healed.

Tonight we will be taking our sins and wounds to the cross and nailing them there. Praying for freedom. I want to leave them there. Please, just let me leave them there.

Dear Dad,
Thank You for the gift You have provided me in being here, for such a time is this.
Love,
Your daughter

Day 5

5/3/2013 @ 6:00 am

Going off about 45 minutes of sleep. Yep, you heard that right. Think I’ll go ahead and get ready so I can spend some quiet time in my rocking chair.

Dad,
Thank You for another morning filled with Your hope. Let me live this day for You.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 7:26 am

Looked at today’s schedule. There is supposed to be “rest/recreation” time built in, so I should get some journaling done. I like the art of written communication, helps me process my thoughts.

If I haven’t told you lately, I love you. If you are reading this, I’m talking to you. 🙂 I’m throwing the cloak of invisibility back on you now. Disclaimer: I, as the author of this journal, do hereby evoke my right to remove said cloak at my discretion. Should have written the disclaimer before throwing the cloak back on them!

@ 9:49 am

What God has revealed/confirmed to me today while meditating on Scripture:

Your heart is wounded and some of the wounds were undeserved, but you have let the pain become your god. I am a jealous God, and I do not allow my children worship other gods. I will not tolerate this god in your life. The pain from your wounds will remain, but I am here with you. Give me back your whole heart. I AM the only way to healing. I may use people in the process, but make no mistake, it is I who do the healing. Always know I love you, my precious one.

@ 11:40 am

So far this morning we have touched on a couple of areas. I think breaking them out by subject and jotting a few notes after each will be my best bet.

Spiritual Disciplines and Journaling

The practice of the spiritual disciplines is the process of the believer willingly placing himself on the potter’s wheel to be shaped by the Master Potter.

We tend to jump off the potter’s wheel when the kneading and pressure become too uncomfortable.

The spiritual disciplines are always revealing our integrity, shaping our character, and addressing the rough edges of our comfort zone.

Journaling is the practice of writing one’s thoughts, reflections, meditation, prayers, confessions, worship, praise, insights, celebrations, and study revelations as a journey-experience with God.

Finding Your Heart

The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it.

I am regenerated in my spirit (at salvation), but all the wounds and pains in my soul are still there.

A person’s heart is the center of his being.

Much of the anguish, frustration, and emptiness we feel is because we are separated from our real hearts…and don’t even know it. We are living out of a different source or center, one we were never designed to live out of.
Often we believe truths on a logical level, but we never embrace them in our hearts.

What is the condition of my heart?
It is broken, tattered, torn, bruised, BUT not beyond healing. Five days ago I believed there was little hope of healing.

What happened to my heart?
It has been wounded by people, circumstances, personal choices, sin. I have to own my part in the damage that has been done to my heart.

What is the deepest desire of my heart?
To heal, so I can be what/who God has created me to be. I want to be a true disciple of Jesus in every aspect of the word. No BS.

@ 1:35 pm

Had lunch, another short session, and now is “rest” time. I am thoroughly enjoying my small group. Sandy is our group leader. We have two young couples and a pastor’s wife in the group. It’s diverse, people coming from different walks of life with varying perspectives. Very insightful.

Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of one’s life.

The call to discipleship is a call to lead others to know Christ and make Him known.

Christian discipleship, rightly understood and practiced, is done so within the context of being part of a redemptive community of faith that is seeking to fulfill the Great Commission.

The fruit of one’s lips.

“…therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.” (Hebrews 13:15)

Praise involves sacrificing the feelings and responses to life that we otherwise would have had. I must “sacrifice” or “put to death” what I otherwise would feel as a human being in this world.

The fruit of one’s Lord

The Fruit of the Spirit is one nine-fold “fruit” that characterizes all who are true disciples of Christ. They represent the character of Christ.

Pretty tired. I need someone to poke me with a stick.

@ 4:57 pm

Taking Off the Masks That Cover Your Heart

We are hiding, every last one of us-well aware that we are not what we were meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not. We have run off into the bushes to hide…but we have hidden our heart…our real self.
From the place of woundedness we construct our false selves.

Shame, as opposed to guilt, is a deep feeling of “wrongness of being.” Guilt, on the other hand, is a feeling of “wrongness of action.” Guilt says, “I made a mistake.” Shame says, “I am a mistake.”

Fear of being hurt again is the primary force that keeps the shell in tact around the heart.

The fear, which becomes operative in the soul, stimulates the flesh to find a way to save face.

The wall I use to protect my heart is also a wall that keeps the wounds in and God’s love and the love of others out.

Masks are coping mechanisms. Which masks do I wear?

Nice Girl Mask: hides insecurity and fear by trying to be nice to everyone so everyone will like me.

Unworthy Mask: hides insecurity and pain behind a false sense of humility and quietness.

Performance Mask: hides pain by being busy and by “doing” versus “being.”

Perfectionist Mask: needs to be right and do everything right.

Poor Me Mask: finds identity/security when something is wrong.

There are probably more, but these are the ones I can identify quickly. Owning up to those is hard. Letting others know what masks you wear is even harder. Invisibility cloak disabled. I would be naive in thinking you weren’t aware of my masks, but this is me acknowledging them and wanting to remove them. I’m going to need help and accountability. Cloak enabled.

That was freeing and sickening at the same time. It hurts my heart knowing that this is what I have become.

Dad,
Please tell me what it will take for me to shed these masks and be just me.
Love,
Your daughter

We get to go and make masks that we will be wearing to dinner. It’s hard enough being vulnerable with people you love and trust, try doing it in front of 30 strangers. Anxiety level is rising.

@ 7:15 pm

Random: I’m tired of worrying about what people think about me, what I say, what I do, what I write. It really just boils down to my perception of people’s perception. Ugh.

@ 8:06 pm

Removing the Masks

The decision to come out of hiding is our initiation rite into the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

Ingredients of surrender: humility, honesty, brokenness, vulnerability, and trust.

How to remove your masks: OWN your mask, EXPOSE your mask, REMOVE your mask.

I just took my masks to the potter’s fire and surrendered them. It has left me completely bare and on display. I don’t know how to be me. I’m not even so sure who the real me is.

Dad,
I need You.
Love,
Your daughter

Day 4

5/2/2013 @ 8:22 am

Bad night and morning, been extremely nauseated. Not much sleep equals poor coordination. Lost balance and make-up bottle flew across the room. Needless to say everything was covered in “buff beige.” Spent the last however long scrubbing the wall and floor. Now I’m headed to put the towels and rugs into the wash before it’s time to meet with Sandy. Hopefully the next time I check in things will look a little brighter. 🙂

BTW, did I mention that it is in the 50s today, and the wind is blowing like crazy mad. Hmmm. I know someone who didn’t bring a jacket. I’m freezing!!!

@ 9:57 am

Had to cut the session short this morning to process. (Sandy made the call. She said she thought I needed a break). Unearthed some emotions that I’m not really all that comfortable talking about. Cried a lot. Sometimes I feel my crying is a weakness because I do it so often. Anyway, after reviewing the Lie/Emotional Identification Sheet, Sandy says I am dealing with lie based pains (I’m not loved, valued; I am a burden, etc.) that are established in negative self-talk and truth based pains (trust issues, emotional abuse, etc.) that are established in experience. I have to invite God’s truth to put to death the lies and ask Him to help me carry the pain that is based in reality.

I lied. Today is going to be a lot harder than yesterday.

Dad,
Please let Your truth be what I see and hear. Help me remember there are people who sincerely care for, love, and support me. Walk with me and sustain me through the pain I will encounter. Thank You for Your mercy.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 12:44 pm

Right now, at this very moment, I wish I were anywhere but here.

@ 2:53 pm

Getting ready to go and register for Heart-Shaping. Begins at 4:00 pm, but not sure what time it ends. It may be a late update tonight.

@ 9:18 pm

Just got finished with the first session of Heart-Shaping. Powerful. There is so much to write about, but I will just share what really grasped me tightly.

Unless our personhood stays healthy emotionally, physically, and spiritually, we cannot be the conduit of God’s love and ministry as He desires.

Godly boundaries are the key to building healthy relationships with family and extended family.

To truly know God, we must seek Him until we pass through our knowledge of Him into an encounter with Him.

The primary way that healing comes to the wounded heart is through taking what seems to be an inordinate risk. This involves vulnerability for the wall to come down and willingness for the heart to be open and exposed in a safe place.

That is just barely the tip of the iceberg. I really am excited about what God has for me during this conference.

At the end of tonight’s session we were given a piece of clay and were asked to mold it into what we think our heart looks like (mine was broken and torn). Then we took our hearts and laid them at the potter’s wheel, symbolically surrendering it to the Lord.

I wanted to go home so badly this afternoon. I picked up my phone a dozen times to call my Pastor and tell him I couldn’t do it (even though I told him last night I wouldn’t quit). I just wanted to run. Tonight, however, held the answer to why I am here. I know I need rest, I’m worn out, but that isn’t the primary reason. When my Pastor and I first talked about me taking this trip, there were two options: a women’s conference and this one. (Like how I make it sound as if I were totally on board from the start? I agreed to go but wasn’t on board. I have a pretty persuasive pastor). I chose Heart-Shaping for the convenience of my GAL court dates. I had no idea what it entailed because rest and counseling were on my agenda. God’s plan was so much bigger than mine. He does want me to rest, but In His perfect timing, He orchestrated me to be here for this conference. That is the central purpose for me traveling to Mountain Home, Texas.

Journaling may be shorter over the course of the conference simply because there won’t be much time, but I will sneak some in here and there.

Dear Dad,
Thank You for today. Thank You for not letting me give up. Thank You for loving me enough to set this this trip into motion. Thank you for Dave, Norma, and Sandy and their ministry. Continue to give me courage to be open to what You are stirring within me. Bless this time.
Love,
Your daughter

Day 3

5/1/2013 @ 1:56 am

I have been exposed to quite a bit of negativity and criticism over the last several weeks and am experiencing the feeling that nothing I do is right. I’m not good enough to lead this ministry. After wallowing in that for a bit, I prayed, asking God again to show me truth. “I have chosen you and am equipping you. You need to have boldness in the calling I have given you.” Honestly, I have never thought about equipping in that way. He said He is equipping me which indicates to me a continual development. For the past four years I have struggled with being sure of my calling and not being fully readied. So, I don’t have to be fully readied? He works on the skills I need when I need them? Warning, self-contempt statement approaching! I sometimes think I NEVER have the skills I need. With that being settled (sort of), why then was I left feeling my heart had been torn? Do I believe I should never be exposed to unfavorable feedback? Well, actually that sounds kind of nice. 🙂 No, we cannot grow if we are unable to accept constructive criticism or if we are unable to discern fruitless criticism and reject it. 🙂 That’s my 2 cents. Good night!

@ 7:39 am

Mini wheats, morning breeze, God’s Word. Mmmmm.

Meet with Sandy at 9:00 am.

@ 10:10 am

Lots of talk today on forgiveness. It needs to take priority or it will impede how God wants to work in my life. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

This will be one of the hardest days. Without discipline, I will do everything I can to avoid the subject. Forgiveness was covered in Healing Is a Choice. I’m still in the same space as I was two weeks ago when I read the chapter…I’ve been hardening my heart against the people who have wounded me. I have withheld forgiveness because the hurt I feel has obstructed the truth. I foolishly think that in not forgiving, I’m not opening myself up to further injury, therefore I’m protecting me.

My homework for today is to complete a Lie/Emotional Identification Sheet. This should be fun.

Dad,
Let me face the challenges of today with You. Give me courage and wisdom.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 5:16 pm

When I say I’ve been hardening my heart against the people who have wounded me, I’m really just deceiving myself. Is it possible to harden your heart against someone without hardening it against God? “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) According to that Scripture, the answer is no. If I’m not practicing His command to forgive, then I am in disobedience and rebellion. Guess what? I’m in disobedience and rebellion. I did not wake up one morning and say, “Today I think I will rebel against God,” but it is rebellion none-the-less. Reminds me of the saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Choosing Unforviveness=Rebellion
Rebellion=Hardened Heart

I do think I need to clarify what I believe about forgiveness:

Forgiveness is a series of actions that lead to grace.

Forgiveness does not always happen instantaneously. It takes time to work through grief.

Forgiveness means we surrender our right to vengeance but not to justice. Vengeance is for our own personal satisfaction. Justice is moral accounting, a fair penalty.

Forgiving is separating who a person is from the wrong they have done. Forgiving is being able to see a person as yourself, someone who is broken and needs forgiveness.

Forgiving someone does not diminish his or her actions. It does not blind me to the reality that they are capable of hurting me again. But it does allow me to take them back into my world as a person who shares my need for a Savior.

Forgiveness does not necessarily result in restoration. Forgiveness is an act on my part alone. Restoration also requires repentance on the part of the person who caused the hurt.

I have been filtering the images of the people who hurt me through a shroud of wounded memories. I have allowed those people to become the wrong that they have done instead of seeing them as God sees them…the same way He sees me.

I have been rebelling. I have not taken the first step in forgiving. I am sinning and justifying it by blaming the pain and hurt caused by others. The pain and hurt are real, but the sin is an act of my will.

Dear Dad,
I have sinned against You. I have hardened my heart and rebelled against Your command to forgive. I am in need of Your forgiveness. I am also in need of Your strength to do what is necessary to take the steps toward forgiving others. Thank You for Your patience and Your grace.
Love,
Your daughter

@ 6:36 pm

Homework sucked! However, I am excited that the Potter’s Institute: Heart-Shaping starts tomorrow afternoon!