She is beautiful, cute and young.
She is going to wash my hair.
And later, she will blow it dry, make it smooth and long, so that it curls just slightly at the ends.
She will take a roller brush and do magic with it, like the wand Cinderella’s fairy godmother circled in the air with pixie dust.
I’m getting my hair done. And to everyone around me, I’m just another woman enjoying some me-time at the hair salon.
But, I’m really just a broken, healing little girl inside, learning to take steps out into the world — to walk her out and give her a voice.
I’m learning not to hide. I’m learning to leave the way I’ve always done things, to discover new ways of connecting with people.
I’m learning to choose.
Not to melt into the background. To stop saying I’m okay. Even when I’m not.
I’m learning to dare — to trust there is beauty in being cracked open — and letting others see, too.
As she lowers my head back into the sink, she cradles my neck.
Do You Know What I Mean?
“So what do you do?” she asks, as she squirts a few pumps of summer-smelling shampoo into my hair.
I want to tell her what I always say. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I take care of the kids.
Instead, I tell her what I’m just beginning to dare speak into the open air, even though there’s a voice that whispers: Imposter.
“I’m a writer. I like to write.” There. I said it. My heart starts racing.
“Oh…” her eyes grow wide and curious. “What are you writing about?”
Oh, no. Now, I did it. I didn’t want to say. Maybe I should say something generic. I closed my eyes against the spray of the warm rinse of water.
“Well, it depends on what’s happening. I write stories about what I’m going through.” I take a deep breath. And I let it out into the open. “I’m writing about anxiety. Childhood trauma. About making choices. To feed your soul and care for yourself. I’m learning to find my voice.”
“Oh, wow. Really?” She replied. I couldn’t tell if she was really interested, or was it her polite way of signaling this conversation was getting too personal.
I decide to test the waters some more.
“Yeah… You know it’s easier to blend into the background. To make everyone else happy, so you don’t have to afraid of what happens if they’re not.” She was quiet and my eyes were still closed. So, I stopped talking. Oops. That was TMI. I thought.
As her fingers worked conditioner through my hair, massaging my scalp, she asked, “What do you mean?”
“It seemed like nothing I chose was right. It could be something small — like when I used to go shopping and I liked a certain outfit, my mom would say, ‘How cheap.’ She had a way of turning something that looked shiny to me one moment into something wrong and ugly.”
I took a breath, my chest tightening. “Do you know what I mean?”
“Yes. I do.” She replied as she propped me up and tucked a towel on my head, like origami.
Everyone Has To Leave
Later, as this fresh-faced twenty-something gorgeous girl spritzed my hair and began to expertly run the hair dryer over my frizzy strands, she began to tell me her story.
She grew up with a loving momma and daddy who always encouraged her to be true to who she was. But, she lived a different story with a man who did not love and cherish her as she ought to have been.
“It’s funny how I had to learn to choose to take care of my soul, later in life, even though I grew up as a happy child.”
Then, she said the wisest thing that flew the doors of the little girl in me open. She said, “I guess everyone has to learn to leave something or someone at sometime. Everyone has to learn to choose.”
I started to cry as strands of wet hair dabbled over the smock on my shoulders. “You’re right. I am learning to leave.”
These weren’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of joy. I realized I wasn’t so alone in the world. That my journey through pain and rebuilding from scratch is a journey we all have to make at one point. Over and again. Through the many seasons of life.
I felt connected to this girl and she felt connected to me. We laughed and got teary eyed, and it felt like we were far away and close at the same time.
It reminded me of Jesus.
The night He gathered with the disciples before He had to make the final trek of leaving. Leaving His friends, His mother, the people He came to love, His favorite spots along the hills, seeing the sun set and hearing stories of people He’d met and healed.
He knew He had to face the cross — where He would ultimately leave the Father’s embrace and where for the first time, He’d split open with heartbreak — because everyone He ever met his whole life would leave Him when He needed them most.
Jesus did it. He left everything.
So that He can be with you and me.
So that we don’t have to be alone.
Jesus chooses you.
You Can Step Out
I don’t know what journey you are on today, friend.
You may be like me, learning to leave for the first time inside your heart, even though what has happened was many miles of years ago.
You might be like my new friend. You’ve had a wonderful, beautiful journey in the years behind you. And yet, you may have stumbled on a fork in the road, unexpected.
You have to choose. To leave safety. To find your voice.
To find that little girl in you again. And to take care of her. And let her walk out into the world.
You are not alone.
Even if it feels that way.
Because Jesus sees you. Understands you. Loves you. Accepts you.
You and I can step out.
He chooses you.
How is God calling you on a journey to choose?
How is leaving part of that journey?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. I’d love to hear from you. You know how much I am grateful for you.
Photo by Joaquin R. via flickr.
I’m learning to take my first steps out into the big, wide world — with my heart wide open. If you’re walking on the journey of faith out into the world too, I would love to get to know you and enjoy your company.
Join me on my blog as we journey in community together. Let’s keep speaking words of encouragement and friendship with each other in our faith stories — as it’s being made and lived. As is.
Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life.Leave a Comment
I’m a twenty years old woman, loving the life, my family and my friends. And I love my Lord with a deep love, full of thankfullness about his grace. But sometimes – no, really often – I hate the way I live my life.
Because I want to be the little girl, laughing much, dancing over fields of poppy, loving my life with a mind of freedom and peace. But then I always think I have to be the grown-up woman, still twenty years old and with a calm mind, doing and speaking words of wisdom and love. I think I have to be the woman, that shares others problems and still being quiet on waiting on God’s plans. But I’m thinking that’s not me. I know young women who absolutely rest in the godly peace of waiting for her prince. But I fee …und auch doch wieder nicht denn ich will Daniel zur Liebe die Sache mit Tobias beenden. Irgendwie bin ich mir für dieses seltsame Hin und Her zu schade. Und ich will und kann es ja gar nicht. l like I didn’t wait for him so hard as this time. How will I become the woman that has the right, calm and peaceful mind? And how will I become the woman that is respected by MYSELF?
With an embrace full of love,
Bonnie Gray says
Your words are beautiful, Rosie. Thank you for giving us a deep and true glimpse into who you are. Dance in your fields of poppy. Be true to that voice inside who Jesus loves because we all feel connected to Him through you and your story. Because it is like ours. From the little girl in me – squeezing hands with the little girl in you.
I love reading you here, Bonnie! Tears in my eyes and rolling down my face–yes, Jesus on the night before his death is an amazing example of the choosing to leave. Also, His choice to leave His Father, His Oneness and the Completeness of Glory that was fully His before He came to join our messed up humanity in the flesh. He left His perfect “family”, perfect place, perfect culture to come to ours to redeem us eternally. So, today, I can rejoice that I get to do a similar thing and live a half a globe away from my dear father, friends and comfortable place. Will be stepping out at school pick ups and drop offs today! Thanks so much!
Bonnie Gray says
With full embrace, tears and smiles fresh with you, Tami. Are you halfway across the globe? May you feel the kinship of sisters here. I’m thinking of you and thanking God for you — as you do school pick ups and drop off today.
Two months ago, I moved into a new country and culture and language. Back in the U.S., I could bury my insecurities beneath a farce of quick words, witty conversation, and fake smiles. At least I tried to. Now, I can’t even hold a conversation. I barely know how to say hello and goodbye. And so my insecurities are laid bare with nothing to hide behind. I am so vulnerable.
Some days I have to force myself to remember that I CHOSE THIS. I chose to leave family and friends and comfort zones behind. And with that choice comes the daily choice to stumble ahead into yet another fumbled conversation in Swahili, another unknown, and another opportunity to be caught out of free fall by the God who is able to keep me from falling!
Thanks so much for sharing. This spoke joy to my heart!
Bonnie Gray says
Hi Abigail, it must be so surreal to be out of so many comfort zones. Jesus, may you be near to Abigail and hold her heart steady as she new language, new everything swirls around her. Whisper your assurances. Her heart is her home. Steady my sister and wrap her with your embrace as she’s standing bare and open with you.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I have chosen to leave a 25 year marriage filled with verbal and emotional abuse among other things. It was not an easy choice. It was the hardest, gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever done. I still have scars that are learning to heal. One can only hear, for so long, that you are not worthy until you start to believe it. But, God in His goodness, grace and mercy has been healing that hurt little girl and enabling me to choose His truth over the words I’ve heard. I, too, have an anxiety disorder that has been much better after separating. God did not leave me comfortless; He came to me as He promised. Praying for you as you step out and leave that long chapter in your life behind. May God wrap you in worth and love!
Bonnie Gray says
Bev, I’m so sorry you’re having to walk through such a hurtful and overwhelming season of leaving. My heart breaks over all you’re going through. God, be with Bev and guide her steps now.
God has chosen me to leave my past behind – leave my first boyfriend. I’ve just recently done it, even thought we broke up 16 years ago. I realized that I’d kept him in my heart somewhere, and I’ve never really connected to anyone in the same way since. I felt I needed to apologise to him for ways I treated him, and I asked God if He could arrange for that man to contact me – we haven’t spoken since we broke up (not a bad breakup, and was mutual after he proposed and I said no – not sure why he asked because I think we both knew it wasn’t ‘right’). Anyway, after a couple of weeks, he contacted me for the first time in 16 years. I apologised and he said there was no need to apologise, that if anything he needed to apologise to me. Funny, because I predicted he would say that – I knew him very well 😉 He then said if he could go back, he wouldn’t change anything. He is married and happy and I am glad for him. The exchange was spiritually very powerful – I felt the winds shift inside me – and I feel that I have finally let go and can open up again to another man. That will be scary – I have avoided it – but the alternative is a stagnation and loneliness. Bonnie, thank you so much for your writing. Your mom and mine sound very similar. I ALWAYS connect to your writing. You have such a beautiful and pure spirit. May God bless you!!
Bonnie Gray says
Oh, Agnes. Those boyfriends who we’ve let in deep leave such an imprint on our hearts. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable place in our journey with us. I know it is speaking to many hearts connecting right now. Sisterhood.
Diane Payne says
Many years ago I had a full term still born baby girl while my husband was serving in war at Desert Storm. We lived in Germany at the time and flew home to bury her. I grieved heavily for my sweet baby girl. We stayed at my husbands parents for that short time before we flew back to Germany. While at their home, everyone there just ignored me. It was like they dd not know what to do with me. I felt very abandoned and alone. Even my husband stayed away from me and he was the one I needed the most. It has taken years for me to work through the grief and abandonment. I have felt so much resentment against my husband and his parents. I would move two steps forward toward healing only to get thrown three steps back. God reminds me time and time again of what He has done for me. If He could forgive me of all that I have done, I must forgive and move on. Hanging onto those hard feelings will only hurt me and no one else. I have chosen to forgive and let go, to move forward and heal, to be set free from my cage of resentment and pain, to allow God to grow me, to open my hand and just let the Lord take it from me. Nothing is too big for our God to handle. Like you said, many abandoned Jesus. He did not resent them. He loved them. I choose to love through the power of the Holy Spirit. I cannot do it on my own. It is only through Jesus.
Bonnie Gray says
Dear, dear Diane, my heart just breaks picturing you as you tell your story here. Thank you for opening up such a real and deep pain. Forgiveness is a whole ‘nother journey. We also need to honor the beauty of pain that Jesus understands and we need friends who can help us grieve the hurt we’re letting go. You’re not alone, friend.
Susan Ramsey says
I just subscribed to Incourage. Your post is the first one I have ever read. I know I am in the right place. My hesitance to joining this group was that I view the world through the eyes of Spirit, loving Jesus, and also connecting with other forms of spirituality. My fears are gone now. Your writing is beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you for your gift of vulnerability.
Bonnie Gray says
Dear Susan, what beautiful timing. God knows. Thank you.
Just me says
Thank you for being so open with your struggles…you are not alone as you can see from the posts here and I am blessed. I changed for my husband, a good, Godly(most of the time) man, 50 years ago. I love him deeply but somehow I got lost over the years and when “I” try to pop out he squashes me, not meaning to, but still does….I am trying to go each day and moment back to Jesus and love as He does….
Bonnie Gray says
Just me… We hear you and we love and support you. Thanks for being so open with us.
I never tire of reading your thoughts. Your words speak to my heart and encourage me. Thank you. Keep writing.
Bonnie Gray says
Thanks so much, Beth.
Barbra Boland says
How your message ministered to me in so many ways this morning. The past is so filled with pain and abuse that I could writ e volumes ; and I may begin to do that today as part of this healing that The Lord continues to take me through. But today you have helped me see that little hurt girl in me who now can move forward and truly heal! The anxiety issues reared their ugly heads just months ago after a severe infection followed by part if my body being removed . Now healing must begin , the body is better ….. The inner spirit must follow ! Encouragement and hope … What we all need. Thanks for sharing yours. The scripture you posted is up front and in full view as I eat it, receive it, and use it in faith to press onward.
Lord bless you for your willingness to become transparent so that others can feel free to do the same!!! love you in our Lord
Bonnie Gray says
Barbra, it’s a big step to share your voice here. And I truly treasure it. May God hold your heart steady as you courageously walk on this journey. Together. Thank you.
Bonnie, you are such a courageous, articulate person. I plan to re-read this, it’s where I am right now in my life. I need to be heard after so many years of being invisible.
Bonnie Gray says
You are seen here, Lou. Thank you.
Great writing Bonnie! You (yet again!) hit the nail on the head! I’m blessed to see your words out here… Keep up the good work!
Praying for you, your family and marriage, your writing and ministry!
Bonnie Gray says
Thanks, Marina! God bless you!
Bonnie, beautifully said! I am happy to hear you write of tears of JOY…God is working in you and
THROUGH you. I just cannot wait until your book is released!!!
Reading through the comments, I am reminded that we are all on this journey in one way or another and your vulnerability connects us in the very BODY of Christ!
Bonnie Gray says
Big embrace for you, Tara! So grateful to be connected with you.
joanne m. says
Wow! God touched my life through you today. Years of depression, now seeping out with piles of anxiety, anger erupting for the first time in 60 years. I am saying goodbye (how I dislike goodbyes) to the person I was years ago, last month and ‘growing’ I hope. Turning over to God my concerns that others may not understand and relationships may not readjust with me.
Very glad to know (this moment) I am not alone…others experience same feelings/different circumstances, and God is always there. The hymn says, “All is well with my soul”.
Bonnie Gray says
Hi Joanne, you are not alone. It’s time for our heart’s homecoming. No matter our age. Continue to be courageous as you continue to say goodbye, so you can say hello to the new you. May God bring you new friendships who can be His heart to embrace the growing you, as some may not adjust (which has happened to me too).
Just a simple “Thank You” for being obedient to Our LORD & SAVIOR in writing this beautiful message of Hope….and to all the gals who wrote before me, your openess with Bonnie’s has Blessed me so & is also answer to prayer….. I know all if us could never meet face to face but this is the next best thing for such beautiful encouragement… I will pray for all of you that our LORD will continue to heal us in HIS time & way….. Thanks again Bonnie for always being open….. JESUS certainly Shines thru You
Bonnie Gray says
Thanks so much, Michele.
WoW – great story! Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing some of how Jesus Christ continues to work in your life and holding out hope for other daughters and wives.
Love in Christ,
Last night I spoke with God about feeling so lost and alone on this part of my journey. About how I usually l knew in which direction I was heading and could feel His presence walking with me; but now all I feel is silence and fear.
He answered me with Isaiah 42: 15-16
“I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbege; I will turn the rivers into islands and dry up pools.
I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.”
Today’s post is so like Father; reminding me, by day, of His promises given in the night. I thank Abba for your wisdom and courage as you journey into His likeness. I am grateful for all who gather here, my fellow sisters on this narrow road.
Mary Lehman says
Sweet Bonnie, every time I get an email from Faith Barista, it is so, so on time. I have been with you since “Taking that Brave Step” and “The Place of Empty,” which both came at a time when I was experiencing the exact same things. I have walked your journey with you. It is so similar to mine and now TODAY I am also “leaving safety to choose.” Only God could parallel our journeys like this, sweet girl. Thank you for your obedience to write for Him!!!
Not Afraid to Say I Love You!
Thank you for sharing your heart. I’ve been hurting for quite some time now. I’ve not quite known what to do or how to go about healing. Honestly, I’ve been too scared to look deaper. Maybe what you described here is my struggle. I will be pondering this all day and asking God where he wants me to step out!
Thank you so very much for writing(sharing) your heart. I have felt in fellowship with each of you even if I do not know you. You have lifted my spirits up today and I needed it!
God works in ways that are so unbelievable. He is great!
Thank you so much Bonnie for writing with such honesty about your struggles to face your anxieties and insecurities . I so identify with the frightened little girl inside, that we want to hide and protect from any more hurt and rejection, even in my case emotional abandonment. it all happened many years ago, but it has all re surfaced after another major move to a different culture. In trying to protect ourselves we miss out on loving supportive relationships that would really help, but sometimes the risk is so great that we remain in our lonely isolation. I loved reading the other comments which really helped , knowing I am not alone facing this problem. To go to have my hair done and have a chat would be sweet freedom.Thankyou and Bless you for showing us the way through, and forward with the only One who knows and understands, Jesus. He has been with us, and wants us to take a step of Faith and He will take care of the frightened little girl inside. xxxxxxx
Carrie Smith says
It is no small coincidence (or God-incidence as I like to call them) that I was listening to Mandisa’s ‘Overcomer’ while I read your blog this morning. So often we think being an ‘Overcomer’ means beating something big. But I think to overcome something starts with small steps, short conversations where you branch out and share a little more of your heart than you’re used to, praying for God to help you and then listening and looking for the ways in which He is answering that prayer. Thank you for your story, your encouragement and your example.
Laura Brown says
I am learning to live in a domestic way, learning to re-explore my creative self, leaving the corporate world behind and finding acceptance and promotion from friends, family and My Heavenly Father instead of from the “job”. I am leaving security of self reliance and stepping into the path of the dreams that still go with me every day. I am writing and daring to believe that it will be published and even read by others who need to read what I have to say. I am finding ways to incorporate my photography into my life to satisfy that need to be artful and daring to believe that others may enjoy visually, what I love to capture with my digital camera. Even expressing this here is a step out of the norm and away from that comfort zone which hides what and who I was created to be.
THANKS TO YOU – You are a blessing to me. I can do this!
Thank you for sharing your heart! I was encouraged by what you said about that it is easier to hide and let things go as they have been going. But that isn’t really what God wants. He promises that when He prunes us it is for growth, in fact much growth. We really can’t stay the same. We are pruned and we grow then we are pruned again to bear much fruit. Why is it that I want to keep my pruned branches still on me or near me? They are comfortable, but they are dead. I need to trust God, the master gardener, that He knows best…then I can leave those pruned parts and wait as winter passes and the spring growth comes again.
I subcribed to faith baritista, I had not recieved any thing until today. Wow how I can relate. I have been dealing with this stuff since April. Started with 15 days of no sleep, then continued. I went to my sisters in Alaska to proccess past stuff through a ministry called Fresh Start.The sleep stuff has caused anxiety attacks, not like you have described but just cant sit still etc. I started meds two months ago, I feel alot of stuff aboput having to use these meds. God is using them so Ican sleep, and control the attacks. This has been a journey, I pray, speak and confess the Word all the time. Yhis is a season of change, healing bringing me to a place to nothing missing nothing broken.
Thank you for sharing all this. Ibelieve you are a messenger that the Lord has used to speak to me, encourage me today. The storm is around, but Jesus is in the boat reaching out to me like Peter. Come walk on the water, look and focus on Me not the storm. I love that song from Natalie Grant.Hurricane, this has been a journey but i know God is faithful, I have to renew my mind with the Word, and stop allowing the old tapes to play. the enemy wants to stop all of us, he wants to keep us afraid and in the place were we are hidden. Psalm 91:1 says those who dwell in the shelter of the most high, will res in the shadow of the almighty. I dont like using meds for all this, but I believe yhis is temporary to the joy, peace and rest that is coming. I realizi this is a womans website, but I just had to share how this touched me. I will pray and speak the Word over you, I ask you to do the same for me. Steve
My son’s memory verse for last week was “You did not choose me, I chose you.” This post reminded me of what he and I talked about when we discussed the meaning of this verse. This is such a beautiful post. I hope God continues to work his healing powers on your soul. You have a beautiful way with words and I’m grateful that I can read them.
The line “everyone He ever met his whole life would leave Him when He needed them most” brought me to my knees in tears. It took me back in time over the past two years to wounds so deep that they will ache for a good long time, even though they are healing.
I had never realized the pain of absolute betrayal that cuts like a knife… until it happened to me. Until every friend, every professional connection, every family member and all of my own children turned on, disowned, and abandoned me… save for my mom and dad, and my best friend of 37 years. All based on things they didn’t know, lies they believed, and my own inability to stand up and defend myself against three people bent on seeing me destroyed. Three people who, even as they did everything possible to hurt me, claimed that they loved me. (With love like that, who needs hate?)
It has taken me a great deal of introspection, digging into my fears and shame, constant focus on God and prayer for His deliverance, to heal from the damage that I endured. Damage that began long before I realized it had, and festered beneath the surface of my life like an infection that undermined everything good. I’ve worked to let go of anger and hurt and my need to be defended and explained and understood. God took control, and has taken what they meant for evil to come out for His good and His glory, as He has delivered me to a place of understanding and peace about the journey I have been on.
Since September 1, 2011, God has asked me to let go and release almost everything I had. Home, business, material possessions, reputation, friends, familiarity, traditions, memories, a 32 year marriage, and my family. I had to place my children and grandchildren in His hands and pray that He would bring them back to me one day. And He has…. it’s a slow process, reconnecting and getting past the hurt and guilt. But He opened the doors, and I am walking through them with Him. Letting go of the way things WERE has given Him the opportunity to teach me, to re-create me, and to pave the way for healing in my family. Which is what I originally prayed for all those years ago……
Deanna Wiseburn says
Oh how this resonates!!! How we have to choose to take care of ourselves and to share our stories. This is why I blog, to show others they are not alone, to show them of Gods love, and his ability to restore all things.
I’m learning to step out on my own. This past Friday, (Friday the 13th as luck would have it!), I was laid off from a job that I had come to despise, at a company I had worked for, for 14 years. And through out my time there, I have had varying emotions about being there. But then 5-6 years ago, when the real estate market crashed, and the economy tanked, I felt trapped there. How could *I* just leave and find another job? People were being let go left and right, and yet I remained for some reason… God, I believe, had a mission for me there that I may never know about. But, I stayed on my own, until they let me go. However, God had been preparing me to leave. He made it so unbearable that there was no mistaking His voice when He said to my heart: “Can’t you see it’s time to go now?!” And, from that moment on, I knew it was just a matter of time.
One morning, after my boss had come back from a week and a half vacation – during which time I was in heaven! – I sat in my car outside the building and said a prayer. I gave the day over to the Lord because I knew this was the only way I could make it through the day now that she was back. And, ‘shocker’, it worked! I had the best day ever! And these wonderful days carried me through the next week and a half, to the day they let me go. And when the time came for me to leave, I was prepared for it. No anxiety at all, miracles of miracles!
So, I, too, am learning to step out on my “own”. I am SO very excited about the next stage of my life’s journey. I know God has wonderful things in store for me. I believe I will be moving back to my home town soon! A truly wonderful gift from God. I think He may have just grown tired of hearing me ask Him to let me move home and as many parents do, just finally gave in! But what ever the decision, to stay or to go, I know that He is with me always and unto the end.
Thanks for your blog. Now that I have time, it’s wonderful to read others’ inspiring stories.
Thank you for choosing. Your testimony gives us hope. I am choosing to stop believing the lies that I tell myself and the Enemy whispers to me and it is so hard. Anxiety has plagued me for years and the battle is fierce. But the way you shared your heart with this woman? That is what God is calling us to be…authentic. SO we can all come out of hiding and bring into light what we have kept for too long in the dark so we can walk into the freedom that is ours in Christ. May God continue to help you choose the light…
Patty Muich says
Oh it is like I have come home again. I remember your posts from the past and how they touched me. Then I hit another rough spot and left (in) courage when I should have been embracing it.
I have had a very unhappy life and I hid so good! I was Fay’s daughter then Mary & Kevin’s mom along with being Gary’s wife. When I posted a few years ago I id’ed my self as Grandma Patty Ann! It is just this past year I have started being me. At 57 I am Patty Muich and it is hard but it is me.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined a fall group with (in) courage. Now I have to track down your blog and follow you!
I can so relate, Patty, to being someone defined by the roles I play. My favorite pampering is to take off shopping for the day out-of-town, no one to answer to, no one to consult with on decisions, just me being Anita. And now that the kids are out of the house, I’m having to discover just who Anita is, and it’s scary.
In this journey of mine, the LORD wants me to study HIS WORD. To learn more about HIM. I obviously do not know enough and to help others find HIM in HIS WORD. For their journey. It’s kinda amazing cos …. most people do not like to study the WORD of God. How strange. I love studying the WORD of God. So, it’s like to keep things biblical. This is where I’ve got to and I think, probably even deeper in the WORD. The LORD wants me to equip them like I’ve been equipped. Fancy that. 🙂
Charlotte Hammer says
Oh my goodness. Me too. Me too. To so much of what you wrote. From the first time I said, “I’m a writer” instead of “a mom.” To trying to come up with the words to describe what I actually write about. (Leaving a 20 year abusive marriage and finding God in that choice, in that really dark valley.) I know what a gift it is to hear that someone can relate to something I wrote. That they see themselves even though circumstances are different. And that’s exactly what I felt when I read your blog today. Well done.
Thank you – you have encouraged me.
I’m so happy to read your words today and to catch another glimpse of your journey. While I miss reading your thoughts regularly, I relish the times I get to see what’s going on. I love seeing how God is shaping you.
As I am. What glorious words!
Those brilliant moments of God continue to flow into you. From your fingers they flow to me, to us for reminders and courage.
Thank you, Bonnie. Walking with you on the journey.
Lu Wings says
I’ve been recently reminded that, choosing is an on-going endeavor.
And even when I choose my friend’s with care, something can shift with them….and in their own woundedness, they can unexplectedly blast me out of the water and rake me over the coals. Talk about being blind-sided! And then, new choices come into play.
Do I make her stuff my own? Do I blast back? Do I step back and breathe and allow Him to guide me?
Do I own, in His presence how outraged I was at having good things twisted into ugliness, own my brokenheartedness, BE exactly where I am with Him……continuing to trust Him when trust feels like the LAST thing I want to do?
Do I remain who I am in my response, or do I allow her to twist me into someone unrecognizable? How to say I love you, while saying….and I will not be with you while you do this? I value what we did really and truly have, too much, to watch it morph into something distortedly horrible.
It’s her journey. Whatever the trigger, whatever the belief, whatever changed, whatever she didn’t check out, but made assumptions about….all of that, is her stuff, not mine. And I can go round and round and round within myself and try to figure it out (impossible, since I’ll never have all the pieces of information)….or do I simply say: Lord, will You take this and do that Awesome stuff you do?
Yes, today I have a world of choices I didn’t always recognize before. But together with Him, I can continue Celebrating Life…..and invite Him to heal not only my hurting places, but hers.
I am leaving behind a 5 year, one to one, counselling friendship with a priest. Having cultivated my dependence and continually assured me of his continuing affection and friendship, as I reached the point of finally, finally surrendering to trust in him (I have avoided connecting with people due to repeated abuse), he abandoned me and cut contact. I have been in spiritual shock ever since. Having revealed my whole self to him, believing Jesus’ Love held us together, my choices as a result of his betrayal, were death, madness or throwing myself on Jesus. I have never been so close to completely losing my faith and my sanity. He used me to strengthen his own spirit, faith, sense of self and then dumped me when his own life flourished. I can only share this truth with strangers, it is too painful to voice in person. I need God to affirm its ok for me to be angry about this abuse and that He (God) didn’t desire this violation for me.
Mel @ Trailing After God says
Oh how this speaks to my heart. I grew up leaving. We were always moving. On top of my broken little girl heart, was heaped more grief by always having to say good-bye and learn to make new friends. I realize now, that I can choose to use my ability to make friends or I can go with my other preference, which is to stand back and watch in order to self protect. It seems my husband and children and I are being called to leave. To go to Haiti as missionaries, caring for orphans. And it’s leaving on a new plane, one where we will be so very far away and it’s a little scary but also exciting and amazing. Leaving comes in so many ways and is somewhat of a constant in our lives as nothing stays the same. Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging as well.
amanda jones says
This literally gave me chills. You see, this morning, around 7am, I posted THIS on Facebook:
Very restless night of sleep, with my ‘non-friend’ Panic trying to visit. In my few moments of quiet between waking kids up and getting them on their buses this morning, I found this in The Message translation of the Bible…from Isaiah 41:8-13. Going to be thinking on this throughout the day.
“But you, Israel, are my servant.
You’re Jacob, my first choice,
descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
“Count on it: Everyone who had it in for you
will end up out in the cold—
Those who worked against you
will end up empty-handed—
nothing to show for their lives.
When you go out looking for your old adversaries
you won’t find them—
Not a trace of your old enemies,
not even a memory.
That’s right. Because I, your God,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.
Then I come here and read your post and I’m all, “WOW!”…
Fighting a battle against anxiety and panic, and needed to see this today. Thank you, Bonnie!!!
Deb Weaver says
How grateful I am that you are bravely (even with heart and knees quaking) sharing your voice! I hope you’ll hear me alongside your path cheering you on and offering a hug and a tall, quenching glass of grace and encouragement. Your voice and your story is so important. Thank you.
I’m 64 years old. A mother to two amazing women who have given me five precious grandchildren. I’m alone. I was laid off my job. And as I read your post, realize that “my little girl” is crying. Crying over losses, unfulfilled dreams, broken hopes. I have many blessings, yet am still so lost. Thank you for your words. They broke open another of the vials of tears that I keep hidden away so no one can see.
“I have many blessings, yet am still so lost.” That strikes a chord in me. I have been blessed with a good, stable husband, wise-choice-making children, good health, good job…yet I still struggle to know who I am, what my gifts are, the person I want to become, instead of just letting the days drift by; and all this while wearing the facade that says “I have it all together.” I yearn to know other souls intimately and to be known, yet I’m afraid of being vulnerable…
You might say God has kinda pushed me out of the nest as it were. The house where I’ve lived for the last 20+ years is being sold. I have to move. It was my great grandparents house then my grandparents house then my house. Now I have to leave. God graciously provided me a new place to rent. It has a nice yard and it is in a nice neighborhood. I am blessed. I am still heartbroken over the loss of a lifetime of place, presence, and community. And even though my heart is heavy and the tears fall, I choose to follow God. I choose to believe in his love and timing. I have already seen his hand and heart for me as this journey has unfolded. Thank you for shaing and encouraging me and many others through using your gift of writing …your votive.
I am choosing to leave behind 2 years of infertility and seek out the child(ren) already born who God created to be part of our family.
We have been wrestling with this decision for months as medically there is no issue so seems silly to walk away. But we have been convinced that adoption is what God designed for our family.
Amazingly I was seeking some confirmation that this is God’s plan A for us when I came across your blog…don’t you love it when that happens?!
So thank you, Bethany
Stephanie Hanes says
Your writing always, always reaches into my heart and speaks the Truth my heart needs to hear. Thank you for sharing your story, Bonnie, because the more you share your story, the more we realize we are NOT alone after all. There is beauty in each of our stories and it’s time to stop hiding and tell them.
Celeste Vaughan says
Oh how well I can relate Bonnie! I’m a pharmacist and am writing a book, so when people ask me what I’m writing about it opens up a huge can of worms! There is no quick and easy answer, and it always leaves me to bare my soul right then and there. God gave me a story. God gave me a miracle, and God is making me a writer. Stepping out is scary. But stepping out on faith with God beside me makes it possible. Thanks for reminding me I’m not on this journey alone!
Dearest Bonnie, How your message leaves me not feeling so alone either. We have been on similar roads in life and I have been relearning my voice…….. some days it is strong and confident and great and other days it is just weak and frail and hurting. I love you friend. You continue to amaze me with your journey and keeping it real. Praying for you friend as we travel together. LOVE YOU friend.
🙂 It’s always a blessing to read your heart words my friend. I’m on Jo Ann Fores launch team for When A Woman find as Her Voice. So blessed as I am writing my manuscript, and choosing to use power of my voice. I am choosing to leave silence behind.
dear Bonnie, thanks for your blessed words. I have loved to write since I was a child and put in words what was going on with me but put it away for a while, then your words came today and encouraged me and gave me strength ‘to choose’ once again 🙂
#a Brazilian Social Worker long time ago + a stay-at-home mom of an amazing teenager girl + with an incredible hubby + always searching for more of God#
Kathy H. says
Thank you for the words that Jesus left everything for me. I am overwhelmed. My Sunday school class has not even acknowledged my 3 month absence. My Pastor visited me in the hospital last week and said so many people were praying for me. To which I said “How would I know?” I feel alone & no one can really fathom the pain and anxiety I feel because it is one thing after another. Total hip replacement cancelled the day before surgery which was Aug. 20th because of bad swelling. Just let it sink in that all this has happened in less than a month: Emergency root canal & came home to find the dogs had destroyed the living room carpet. Went to ER with double vision. Venous Doppler to check for aneurism, Complete workup by Cardiovascular Surgeon. My Dr. received blood work results and sent me to the ER because I might be bleeding internally. Saw Nephrologist who put me in hospital from her office, had transfusions. Gastrointestinal Specialist did complete work up and says I’m malnourished “like the kids in Africa with distended bellies”. Today woke up with fever and kidney pain, results were so high my Dr. gave me double strength antibiotics and told me that things are now “over his head”. He said I looked pale. I said I feel pale. They drew blood, got it after 4 sticks. Seeing another Gastric Dr. tomorrow. I am exhausted, weak, and sad that God would allow all this to happen. Not to mention my hip replacement will be my 15th surgery since 2000. I had an abusive childhood, in every way. I was disowned by my family for marrying a man who did not go to college, and loves me dearly. We went bankrupt from all the medical bills 8 years ago. Just to give you an idea of my life, I had 3 surgeries last Sept & Oct., 1 of which was a Cervical Fusion. Now hip replacement not 6 months later. We wait for the next shoe to drop. No one understands but Jesus. Thanks for reminding me of that. I would give up completely if He didn’t care.
Your pain and suffering resonates with the Lord for who knew pain and suffering like He did? You are not alone in this time of your life and you have not been left by yourself. Friends, family, and others can neglect at times due to many unjustifiable reasons, and yet we know there is one God and one friend who never leaves or forsakes us. I felt like when I was reading your comment that forgiveness attached to everyone and anything that has hurt you will liberate you and bring the avenue of healing to your physical body. It was a prompting, I believe by the Holy Spirit. The moment you release those who have wronged you, it will release you from stress connected with it. Please believe that God’s desire for you is healing and restoration and He sees you with a heart that is full of compassion, friend. I am lifting you in prayer even now. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Praying for you, Bonnie. Your writing is beautiful and heartfelt….many women are being released and refreshed by your courage to share what you are going through. You are strengthening and encouraging so many here and the sincerity of your heart flows over every word on the screen. I don’t know you personally, but I love you in Christ Jesus~ for you are a sister!
Thank you! All I hear ringing in my heart is that “God choose me” then and “God chooses me now”. And in the echo of the the clamor of that “God” bell ringing I realize that as I stuffed my feelings of all that happened back then as far away as I could that I also left that little girl stuffed back into a corner of my heart. God chooses me….without conditions….God chooses.
I was excited when I got your post in my inbox. Yay, Bonnie is writing again! I am cheering you on and praying for you.
Oh yes, when we open up our hearts to others honestly and transparently we often find that we are not alone. And sometimes God uses our challenges to help and encourage another person. I’m so glad you ventured out and opened up to this young woman. It draws us closer to one another.
I’m venturing out in writing my book too Bonnie. I am not the best writer but I love to encourage others. During the 25 years I worked as a cardiac nurse, I stood at the bedside of many dying patients. I wrote their stories in my journals. When we moved, I discovered my journals and have begun writing down the lessons I learned about life from the dying. I get scared and then stop for a while. But I do believe the Holy Spirit is prompting me to continue to write even if … nobody wants to read it.
I will continue to pray for you Bonnie as you journey along the unknown. But His presence is with you and that is most important of all.
Blessings and love,
Your blog struck a chord in my heart, not that I feel shut down or stunted from outside. No, the shutting down has come from me, from doing the next thing time after time and forgetting how to dream. Then, suddenly, we’re empty-nesting, and I don’t know who that little girl inside me is anymore. I don’t know what I want to become, to achieve. And because I’ve been a people-pleaser all my life, I don’t know what pleases me. It’s like the scene from “Runaway Bride” where Julia Roberts has to learn how she likes her eggs, because she’s always chosen her fiancees’ egg preferences. And I feel like I’ve plodded through child-rearing and not learned how to do the things that would nourish my soul along the way, to make me a more abundant person, if you will. And it’s scary facing the rest of my life, not knowing who I want to be when I grow up. And I feel that after a lifetime of keeping up appearances, wearing my daily mask, I’m being asked to become vulnerable on so many levels, to learn that it’s ok to share with other women and to learn to cry again.
Wow, beautifully written blog. It touched my heart.. I am a sojourner on this journey to becoming Fully Alive….. To God Be The Glory!! Saint Irenaeus: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
Thank-you for this Bonnie,
That phrase, ‘choosing to leave’, is going to stay with me a long time.
It defines what I have been doing and will continue to do.
It is hard, painful work, but God leads the journey. He knows.
Peace and blessings to you and to all of us who walk this journey.
Lansing Molzen says
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you. Isaiah 41:13
I enjoyed reading your post. the above verse has been my favorite verse for the past 6 months. Whenever I feel unsure or fearful, I remind myself that God is holding my right hand and promises to help me. I have been choosing to leave emotional hang ups that have been weighing me down and preventing me from moving forward in life and also in my relationship with God. It hasn’t been easy and I still struggle, but knowing God is for me helps. He has told me I am His masterpiece and He loves me as His own special treasure! You too are His masterpiece and His special treasure! Always remember that, and keep sharing. You are a blessing, Bonnie!
I am so thankful for your ministry, Bonnie. I have really been struggling. I’m taking a class through Brave Girls’ Club called “Soul Restoration” and it has been an eye-opening experience. Through the assignments, I have tried to reconnect with my wounded child-self, and oh! how it hurts! She needs me to help her and keep her safe now, and yet, I find it so hard to reach out. This is my problem, I isolate, I hide, I cower in fear. Even at the ripe old age of 55, my mother has wounded me yet again, and I feel like I’ve been living a lie for the past 20+ years because I thought we were beyond the kind of behavior she has just demonstrated. I’m devastated. Her words hurt me so deeply because they are the same lies I’ve told myself for years. At least I now recognize the lies for what they are.
Thank you for being so brave and shining the light for those like myself who are struggling right along with you.
I, too, have beenlLearning to Leave. Learning to leave behind ‘what no longer serves me’ in my journey to healing from childhood trauma/sexual abuse.
I’ve heard for so many years the necessity of forgiveness. For me, forgiveness meant the abuse was somehow OK – and no longer effecting my adult life. That was not my truth –
The precious gift I found is; The ablity to ‘Leave Behind’ the people who continue to wound and disrespect me. Learning to Leave behind the emotional triggers like vindictive anamostiy, hatred and revenge that have kept the psychological wounds open, bleeding and bound to my childhood trauma. So, for 2 years now I no longer see my mother, who not only allowed my abuse (by her second husband), but participated in the verbal and emotional aspects of it. I no longer hold hatred for my ex-husband who (verbally, physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually) abused me for the duration of our marriage and for many years after it ended.
This has been a incrediable relief to me!! Carrying the weight of ‘Their Abuse’ — has been killing me for years!! It’s not mine – it’s THEIR’S and I choose to un-burden myself of it and Learn to Leave it behind. Thank you so much for this article!
Beth Williams says
Congratulations on leaving all that “Stuff” behind you. May God bless you and comfort you during this time of leaving & stepping out into this world.
I pray for peace and contentment that only God can bring.
Gloria Estes says
Bonnie, It was so hard to read your words. As you described yourself, you were describing me…I am 63 years old and I am still a broken and mending little girl, adolescent, married mom of 3, divorced mom of 3, and rejected older adult. I need to continue to mend and find my way in this beautiful world that God created for Us, His creation…thank you for your words.
Beth Williams says
Praying for you and all the women here. This journey we are all on… can be scary at times, but with God ALL Things are possible. We just have to choose to leave the bad, ugly and unkind junk behind us and move on. Knowing that Jesus left all comfort for us.. surely little by little step by step we can leave all too!
Claire m says
Oh my!!! how this opened up my whole thought today. I so need this – God’s been putting on my heart for a while that my relationship is wrong one with a man – lovely but yet toxic too 3 years down the line I see a different man and have been wrongly with him I guess as we’re not equally yolked I’m Christian he’s not. it’s been hard and I know what’s going to happen but when I don’t know God tells me to wait and I do but it’s tearing me apart – I know God’s got so much for me just don’t want to make any mistakes I mightmake
Raising children is the most important job on earth, so why don’t we have an esteemed title for that? Thank you for being a great mom, and for sharing your heart in WRITING! You made me cry with this post – how I need to be reminded to crack my heart open and be real with people, because we all have pain to share. thank you for sharing your heart, and your reality. Much love and blessings to you. I’m learning.
Isn’t it just like God to surprise you with His healing touch in such a setting, when you obeyed Him by stepping out of your comfort zone just to be there in the first place? God bless that stylist and give her courage to leave where she needs to in her life. May He draw her to Himself or back to Himself.
Darlene Yager says
Bonnie, you never cease to touch the depths of my heart & soul. I am so thankful for you.
Your words always touch me where I am, and this post is no exception. This moved me to tears, which is why it’s taken a few days to respond. God has been working on me for the past several months now on this subject of fear and leaving and taking care of the scared little girl inside of me. I have finally once again made the decision to do this – for real this time, and even though it means going zero contact with my parents and sister. (First time I did was for six months following my divorce/flight from a very abusive marriage, per my domestic violence counselor). This “You know it’s easier to blend into the background. To make everyone else happy, so you don’t have to afraid of what happens if they’re not.” really really resonated with me. It was how I’ve lived my life for most of my almost 38 years… Until God rescued me three years ago when I met my now husband.. .. as I was taking the first steps of faith and realizing for certain that I needed to leave my marriage before it literally killed me. And this ““It seemed like nothing I chose was right. It could be something small — like when I used to go shopping and I liked a certain outfit, my mom would say, ‘How cheap.’ She had a way of turning something that looked shiny to me one moment into something wrong and ugly.” – was life at home for me, too. No matter what it was, my writing that I shared, things I liked, and later how I was raising my children…. was never ever ever good enough and she always made sure to let me know, many many many times over.
Anyway, I just had to thank you for this post, and for the journey to healing that you are sharing. I am praying for you!
Layla Payton says
Once again, Bonnie, your post speaks directly to me. I find it interesting that you are writing about getting your hair done, as I can’t even find the courage to get mine done right now. I trim it in front of my bathroom mirror and hope headbands hide the “off” pieces of hair.
I am very excited about your book, and continuously grateful for your blog. Your words are like twinkle lights around a dark window.
Thank you. <3