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Ashes To Rise

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Be Still. 
Live in the moment. 
What if that moment hurts? 
What if being still is far more painful then running to the noise of the world? 
When my heart aches – I want to be saturated in Times Square – honking taxis- big bright lights, crowds of excited tourists- 
Not sitting in it- silent and still.

A friend of mine had a baby just a few days ago- and has filled my soul with messaging me cute swaddled pictures.
Who can’t ohh and ahh over a sweet newborn baby?
My take of birth is a different one I have written about many times.
My take is – new life is a precious reminder that seasons change, and beauty comes, and is in our human favor.
The first cry of a newborn isn’t only the relief that they are alive – but a cry out that SO ARE WE.
What seems unfair and not in our favor as humans is the end of the life.
Why is that?
Why aren’t we crying out with joy that this soul once birthed into this world with gratitude and grace- gets delivered home with the same praise.
My soul wants to give that.
My flesh can not.
Our ability to love each other hinders us from releasing someone in our lives – to suddenly not be.
Our inability to not understand the universe or our purpose and just trust in the process is hard.

With every soul returned home, delivers a new life birthed.
We rejoice.
One foot in front of the other.
With our whole hearts.
We offer our ashes to grow as flowers.
We anew.

Say Yes To The Season

Have you ever wondered how nature obeys Gods calling better the humanity?

I wondered this while sitting by the ocean in Plymouth, MA this week praying. I was immersed by the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks while enjoying the chirping of the cardinals in the tree beside me. The same ocean that delivered us our nation. And it got me thinking- as humans, do we make it more complicated then it has to be? Everyone wants to know their calling-yet when called they list all the reasons they can’t. Why not start with a yes for once?

When Jesus calls the wind to move, it never asks why, it just says yes Lord. When He calls upon the leaves to drop they just do. When He opens the sun to come out and calls upon the birds to chirp in praise they sing. When He needs the ocean to retrieve itself it pulls back, when he wants it surge it swells. He calls upon the seasons to change and they just do. All of His nature creations rejoices to His call.

Yet when we are in a season – do we move like the wind upon His calling? Do we surge and and recede like the ocean? Do we let go like the leaves? Maybe we rejoice in the sun, but do we with every sunny day?

Instead we ask why, we think our timing is better, and we take hold of our control. We do this to the Father who MADE US- the only one who knows how many hairs grace your head and the exact veins in your heart. Yet, we think we know better.

Humanity has got to learn how to loosen its grip. Our feeble minds are unable to see the vastness of what He has for us. Yet we are all “not now God I need this job” or “God I can’t say sorry because I will be embarrassed” or “if it only paid my bills God”.

Stop. This isn’t living. Your stagnancy isn’t what He has called you to do!!!!! He didn’t make you to hit thirty years old and stay the same until retirement. He made you to grow. He made you to meet new souls and experience life through them. He made you to experience and take note of the wind, the ocean, the birds in the sun, and the leaves dropping.

Just like nature, we are meant to go through to seasons too. Seasons that sometimes we praise Him for and others we loathe Him for. Sometimes we don’t take responsibly for the fact we have chosen that season. Quite often we get stuck into one. But, like the wind we are meant to move when He says to go.

Are you listening? Please listen. You must MOVE. 

Can we be as obedient as nature? Can we love Him the way we sing at church each Sunday, every minute of everyday? Can we NOT ask why and just move when He moves?

 I have been trying to practice like nature, on trusting His call. The freedom I have felt is undeniable. The pressure GONE because I am no longer in charge, He is! I am so drenched in His spirit that I need you all to know, you are seen and being called to.

Will you say YES?
Your next season is awaiting you.87b1019d-a5d5-4635-abd2-df8bd6182afc.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doors: Choose Wisely

D4C90CAF-E023-4F5E-85E6-02246E49422E🤭Let me tell you a secret about life:
The doors will not appear or open until you are brave enough to close the ones that are no longer serving you.

Human existence is programmed to “play it safe”. You can not jam one foot into an existing door while leaping a leg forward to jam the door to next place. Your body is literally not capable … nor is your spirit.

You need to be ALL IN.
You need to say YES first – And THEN figure it out.

People thought I was crazy when I did this. It isn’t how our culture has raised us. But it IS how our God has called us and made us.

So what will you do?

Continue to complain about how you have black cloud over you? That luck isn’t on your side- that this is “just how it is”. Are you going to let yourself slowly die each day?

Or

Will you choose to wake up ALIVE knowing you make the script? Will you be brave enough to know it has nothing to do about luck and EVERYTHING to do about choice?

🚪 Will you choose to continue to walk through the same door you are dying through each day
Or
Will you walk through the door that you brings all the excitement of “what next” – and makes you feel brave and whole and seen?

We all have a next door. Most of us won’t be brave enough.

Will you?

My life isn’t based on luck my friends. As you have seen my journey – very transparent on my blog and on here – has been ROUGH. But when God calls me to the next – I always say YES first and figure out the rest after.
I no longer feel like I’m dying every day.
I finally feel ALIVE-BRAVE-STRONG-WHOLE.
The old me would have never allowed this.
Thankfully I choose to let her go.

Choose the right door.
The one you keep entering that no longer serves you- isn’t for you any more. 😉
My new door literally sits in my new office – as a reminder of bravery:

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Saving My PANS Son

B3108A95-6E6E-4133-9991-162F51AA26D9I remember the day I broke. I was laying on the ground restraining my son. It had followed by my day at school doing three restraints on other people’s children. I had become marked as everyone’s emotional regulation savior, but who would save me?

Years led up to this moment. Years of being let down by some of the best doctors and the smartest people I know. Years of not knowing my own son and watching him deteriorate to someone I couldn’t help.

As a social worker for two decades, I pride myself on knowing most of what there is to know about mental health. Usually, when a case is presented to me, I can figure out the diagnosis, the need, and make a treatment plan in no time.

I had already spent a decade prior to this fighting for this kid. He was high functioning autistic, yet nobody wanted to formally give him the diagnosis because he was “to social”.  Yet when things started to go differently, and he started to perplex us all, everyone wanted to sum it up to it being “just autism”.

A mother knows when something is different and missing the mark. As things got worse, I became more desperate. My school nurses at my job mentioned something they just had learned at a professional development called Pandas/pans. They said I should check it out.

I asked the Neurologist, the Pediatrician, the Psychiatrist, and any and all other doctors we came across for months. All of whom, although very kind and capable people, told me it wasn’t really a thing and is rare.

My son was finally, at age 11 diagnosed with Autism. This should have been a relief yet it was covered by this storm. He was progressively getting worse not better, even on psychotropic medications.

Lucky for me, my boss knew someone that had a child formally diagnosed with Pandas/pans. This amazing beautiful mother, came into my office one day and schooled me on what I was in for. It was no less then a grueling battle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She gave me the ONE doctor is the state Connecticut that she trusted.

When I found that Immunologist/Allergist doctor I felt instant relief. He took one look at my kid and said “this is not Autism  this is PANS caused from a co-infection from Lyme”. He listened to all of the history, he knew exactly what it was, and even better- how to treat it. However, it would be a long road until full recovery.

My sweet boy had become a kid that looked possessed. I had no idea until I met with this doctor that his brain was swelling. The infection he had in it called Bartonella, was the the worst of all the tic born infections to treat. It screws into the blood cells and can lay dormant. A typical CDC regulated Lyme treatment of thirty days of antibiotics wouldn’t even begin the die off phase for this, never mind kill it. In fact, thirty days of antibiotics for anything Lyme related usually doesn’t. Bartonella is the best imitator of psychosis  and can make anyone with it, look like the only answer is hospitalization.

My sweet boy was desperate to get better. In between his brain flares that often resulted in suicidal and homicidal behaviors, he would beg me to help him. He was taking eight pills in the morning, eight at night. Six of which are hard core antibiotics.

I couldn’t tell anyone when he was in crisis. Our kids can’t be treated in the ER or in psych-wards properly, because the CDC refuses to actually recognize it as the epidemic that is. Instead doctors are urged to treat it with psychotropic medications only. This often makes kids with PANS actually worse!!!! There was no safe place to treat my son in the medical community except for one doctors office. Which seems absurd seeing as I live in the state that Lyme disease was named after!

So when my child was at risk, people knowing could put our family at risk. It could’ve been assumed that it was medical neglect. I could not risk it. So we suffered alone. Most often it looked like a dose of Motrin (to stop swelling in his brain), erratic behaviors, screaming for hours, and ending in me laying across him for safety.

I am often sobbing. My other two kids often sobbing. My husband an emotional mess. We were all at a loss daily- not for a week but for years.

Two years of antibiotics and about 10k later, he was better. TWO YEARS !!!!! Before tests showed Bartonella undetected. My son was back to his “normal” personality. His minor melt downs were more related to Autism and less to brain flare.

Here is the thing that enrages me. I am in the mental health profession and I had a hard time navigating getting the right diagnosis and treatment. It took me almost three years! Two of which my child was unrecognizable. If I hadn’t gotten the right care he would’ve ended up institutionalized or dead. I – a seasoned social worker- could barely keep him alive!!!! What about all of those poor babies out there that don’t have the resources? What are happening to them?

I am so happy the governor of my state recognizes this day today as awareness. However, when the CDC refuses to recognize – 99.9% of the medical community refuse to go against them. This is keeping people sick, and not getting access to care they deserve. Insurance won’t pay, so God for bid you have no savings.

When you wonder why suicide rates are on the uptick, more restraining is happening in schools, psychotropic meds aren’t working quite right nor is talk therapy, and no behavior plan can help a a swelling brain on fire – remember this post.

PANDAS is induced by streptococcus. PANS by Lyme and co infections. BOTH can make kids look absolutely out of their mind crazy – from random tics – to psychotic behavior. THEY ARE SICK. It is not something that can be replaced by a reward or medicated to be numb. They literally have an infection raging in their body!

Spread the word. Just because someone is wearing a white coat and went to medical school doesn’t mean they have all the answers. Hell the government knows about this epidemic and refuses to do anything about it! If your gut knows there is more – there probably is. Find someone that is PANDAS/PANS knowledgeable. Get the help your child needs.

And above all, remember you aren’t alone. Ever. Not even on those worst days.

 

The Acorn Story

My body was bleeding.

We were supposed to be on a family vacation in Miami, and instead my body was bleeding.

I had just dressed up my first born with a “big brother to be” t-shirt on our flight from Connecticut to Florida to meet his grandparents. I was over joyed by the news and so ready to become a Mom again.

There I lay on a gurney in the emergency room in Miami, frantically looking at the ultrasound techs face for any clue if there was still life. He looked at me flustered and said “are you even pregnant?”. He called someone else in to check who confirmed they couldn’t find a speck of life.

Instead of the beach, I searched for a quest diagnosis to take my hormone levels. I was desperate to find out that they were fine so I could engage in the vacation that everyone kept waiting for me to show up to. That hopeful answer never came.

Instead, I spent a week amongst palm trees, dying to get home to my own obstetrician. Family tried to encourage me “Not to think about it”, “Enjoy time in the sun”, “Be thankful for the healthy child willing to build sandcastles”. Clearly I was bringing everyones joy down to a level of disappear.

Miscarriages are incredibly lonely spaces. The world insists on going on without you. It is as expected as clearing your body of bad virus. Everyones “kind words” felt so empty and so hurtful. “It wasn’t meant to be”, “Something must have been wrong with it”, “Thank God it wasn’t a REAL baby”. I heard them all. They all hurt like hell.

Nobody seemed to understand the pain and self blame that happens to a woman when her body failed a life.

Lucky for me I knew of one other person in this secret club that nobody ever wants to be part of. She was an old roommate from college who encouraged me to find a small symbol/gift to represent that baby. She also told me that when I had my next healthy child, I would hold it and think about how that life might not have ever been, if this life hadn’t taken a pass.

My last appointment at my doctors office, a none routine doctor, checked me out and yelled down the hallway, “This one is all done”towards the secretary. My regular doctor, and a hand full of visibly pregnant patients in the hallway stared at me. I looked up at my actual doctor and started to weep. How could someone be so insensitive to announce how I am “all done” and with such pride. I didn’t want to be “all done”. My doctor quickly scooped me into her office and held me. She reassured me of my future with healthy babies in my arms and apologized for her colleagues grossly inconsiderate way of informing the secretary I didn’t need a follow up appointment. On the way out of the office that day, sobbing, I look down to find the perfect little acorn drop at my feet.

An acorn. My sign of my beloved baby I so desperately wished I had the chance to meet.

That was almost 11 years ago to this day, and two more kids later. My friend was right, holding my next healthy baby, made me appreciate the fact that she would have never been made if the other had lived. I also, over time, realized it wasn’t anything I could’ve done to prevent it. I do, however, honor the void in my heart that is acorn shaped even a decade later.

Recently, I have noticed it has come up more than I ever anticipated. I imagine it is because I buried most of that lonely, self loathing trauma, that my body held onto. Since I have been in a life transforming place, all has risen to the surface to be dealt with.

At a recent trip to Canada, I found a necklace with acorns on it, that I knew I had to own. Last Christmas a loving friend gifted me a silver acorn saying she didn’t know why but felt she had too. Just last week, I went for a hike in the woods and found a perfect acorn drop at my feet, and I cried. I carried it the entire hike while praying for various things. Then I released it back to earth for God to take care of. As well as the trauma I had buried so deep within me.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness. The same time of year acorns fall from the trees. One out of every four woman will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. It is lonely, brutal, and silent. Please don’t ask your loved one how they are doing- the answer is “not well”. Just treat them as you would anyone who is in the thick of grief. Loss doesn’t need to be scaled by the world, only the persons heart. And do your loved one a favor, get them their acorn. A representation of the baby lost was the best advice anyone could have ever given me.

Seasons change. The seasons of acorns now makes me grateful for my three healthy children, and the fourth that reminds me yearly, how strong I am.

Worthy Of It ALL

Obedience.
Gets a bad wrap for being such a vibrant gifting in faith.

I was walking the beach today- doing some of the hard work.
You see when you say “yes” to healing others in the name of the Lord – it means first He will call to heal you.
No stone left unturned.
The ugly. AND THE BEAUTIFUL.
When He seeks- you GIVE.
ALL of it – leaving nothing.

Recently – in agony – I gave him something so beautiful. Knowing – ones trust in faith comes in the moments you give so freely – even when it’s breaking you.
It comes with a promise from God – that He is more capable then we can ever imagine and more giving then our human hearts can endure.

Today God told me to pick up a broken shell.
I did and He spoke:
“you are so willing to give me the brokenness and the ugly. How often have I blessed you with relief and made right by these prayers”
Often Lord. Thank you.
I walk more down the beach. He tells me to pick up the beautiful shell- the one that shines and I used to call “mermaids finger nails” when I was a kid.
I did and He spoke:
“How often have you given me the beautiful things? How often have you thanked me for them? How willingly are you to give what you love most back to me and still sing my praises”
Not nearly enough Lord.
But today I do
Thank you.

Give him not only the ugly. Give him the beauty too. He is worthy of it ALL.

The Slaying

There is this lie being told that when you do what God calls you to do, that it is nothing but ease and joy. People pray to be “woke” and for clear signs of what they are “meant to do”.

You know what happens when you are “woke”? Everything falls apart that once was.

Mainly, this happens for the sake of your own growth. Also because comfort zones – all of them. People. Places. Things. Will no longer serve you as they once did. Nor will you serve them.

You painfully pry your own hand that keeps holding onto the things you have cherished most. The things you held onto for dear life and promised to never let go of. God keeps calling for them. Eventually, you give.

For me it started with my job. I thought I loved it. There were aspects of it that I truly found joy in. My students finding joy, connection, or support from something I offered. The people I worked daily that saw my worth and loved me whole. However this “comfort zone” turned toxic to my soul. Far more then I could ever imagine while in it. Leaving that space was one of the hardest, yet most freeing decisions of my life. I thought – great Lord- I’m doing it! That had to be the hardest thing I have ever done!

Not a chance.

It started to infiltrate the most valuable things to me. The things I needed to shift, adjust, make sense of, what this is serving me. Do not get this wrong folks- when you open yourself up to this process, no stone goes unturned.

To fault I am someone that loves all in. All in can be suffocating, enmeshed, and co dependent. A space I grew up feeling safe and secure in. A space that was no longer serving my best – most healed- self.

And so I unravel. Piece by piece. One step in front of the other. Opening my prying hands to the Lord saying “ok you can have this”. I’m angry. I’m sad. Yet my faith has taught me that the plan is always greater then my human mind is capable.

Hour by hour I am not sure where I am going, what I am doing, or with who. So in order to focus on the promise of His goodness, I’m seeking joy daily.

Today it’s a latte by the river in Sandy Hook. Sun shining on me. My tears are flowing, but I am just taking the moment with every drop to thank God.

There is a calling on me greater then my emotions. Greater then my knowing. Greater then my brokenness.

So the seeking joy enables me to find the next step. Years ago there wouldn’t have been steps. It would be hiding in my bed unable to enter the world. Literally, numb and immobilized to seek joy .

This says so much about His timing.

Your biggest hearts desire should be living your best life. It should hold the desire to do whatever it takes. However, you must know, it is the hardest, most unpaved road of your life. There is not an expressway. Only the way you pave that includes all the mountain and the valleys, and the slaying of over grown limbs preventing you from movement.

The call is simple. It will break you to your knees. It will be uncomfortable. It will be exhausting. And just when you think you can’t make your next step … you do.

You will also grow immeasurably. The people you love most will look at you in wonder on who you have become. The spaces that once felt like home will feel to small. Suddenly, even in the pain, you will feel more you then you have ever been. You will feel FREE.

Freedom only delivers you when you are willing to let go and let God.

I trust His calling and timing. Even when I can’t imagine being able to bare the next slay on my unpaved path. With a trembling lip, and knocking knees, I keep saying “I’m ready. I’m brave. I got this”. The slaying is the loneliest part of the journey. It is also the place of becoming.

I haven’t a clue what the becoming looks like friends. It’s coming though. And the Lord is holding me we pried hands unwilling to give up on me. So I, release all the fear, anger, and sadness, in being held in his hand, and knowing His promise.

Just know, when you are slaying your over grown limbs on your path, unsure if you are brave enough to do so, you too are being held in His palm.

 

18 years ago

18 years ago today, I was 24.

A blissful age of innocence, and hope. My entire life was sitting in front of me. By then I had acquired a masters degree in social work, and had worked in some hard settings. Yet, I had no idea the pit of dripping black tar hate, that could live in people’s hearts. I assumed all had a will to love each other.

It was cute of me to assume this. It was also beautiful, and protected.

It was my first day at a new job in Boston. A day after I had moved all weekend from New York City – and sent my then boyfriend off, to his new job down at the World Trade Center.

This day 18 years ago, stole all the beauty I thought the world possessed in their hearts. It made me stop and realize- oh- not everyone’s intentions are of light.

I could not wrap my head around the place I called home for years being a place of warfare. I had no idea terrorism could even happen on American soil. I was so naive with my stomach of privilege turned to worlds truths all in one day.

My then boyfriend survived. So did a few of my friends. However, so many- and I mean miles and miles of “have you seen” missing posters- many – never were seen again.

I had a heart staking truth this morning. Usually, on this day I pause and pray. I’m usually working and don’t have the time to sit and reflect on it. Today I wasn’t working, and today I let myself steep like a tea bag in hot water, the truth. I let it infiltrate my  being, and think of what it has taught me.

At 24, I thought I was the most adult an adult could be. Yet now looking back when 42, I realize it was really my second adolescence.

In 18 years I have: moved countless places, traveled, got married, had kids, survived a miscarriage, survived a very sick baby, was a stay at home mom, loved deeply, gained a better relationship with Jesus, met beautiful souls, became a teacher and got a second masters degree, got what I said was my dream job in my twenties as a school social worker, made difference in others lives, learned my own giftings, learn to be brave, survived a very sick child with PANS, lived through Lyme as a family, went through grief, wrote amazing words, and … found my truest self now at 42.

All of those lives lost never had the chance. They didn’t get to look upon almost two decades to count their blessings and changes.

My 24 year old self- although I love her- is unrecognizable when it comes to the growth and being of who I truly am.

So as I was driving to my new office in Newtown, CT past the half mast famous flag-I sobbed. I prayed. I said thank you to God. For here I was driving in another home of mine that delivered the second date in our countries history that stole another layer of innocence. How on earth would anyone, EVER- want to hurt first graders? My heart doesn’t understand that darkness. So what can one do? Deliver it to Jesus.

I don’t know why I was able to live almost two more decades more then those beautiful lives lost on 9/11. I don’t know why we happen to not chose the sandy hook home that would have delivered our  oldest to be in first grade that year. What I DO know is I serve a GREAT GOD that does! He covers us all.

Its important to slow down, reflect, and in the pain, bring it back to HIM.

I’m grateful for the lessons even the painful ones. They help me remember how far life have come in 18 years and how my heart still feels for that day all in one.

May I always love humans naive as the day before 9/11. Because light ALWAYS wins in the end.

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E6BFB9C0-3B46-475A-BDAD-3CC8A8B3887B.jpegA decade ago I was sitting on this same beach in Aruba, reading a book that changed me in an epic way.

It wasn’t that it was my story at the time, but it was where I learned someone else’s words could speak  life into another. It could breathe braveness, awareness, freedom of our darkest secrets. It could dare to change a life. It is where I decided to be a writer.

This gift of words I read on this beach, broke me to tears. Not for Elizabeth Gilbert’s divorce, or her journey to seek what was holy to her, or her glorious Italian meals, but for the pain in which she dropped her own blood into these words, along with the soaked in tears of joy. Eat, Pray, Love was my book of transformation.

Awakenings of any kind are hard. Once they come, it is impossible to stuff them back into the dark. Each and every day it wakes you up saying “remember me? I am still here. What are you going to do with me today? If nothing- guess who is waking you tomorrow?”.

We desperately try to ignore them because it means change. Change means walking out of comfort and into unknowns. People will absolutely revolt against it. Even the most coveted people you hold in your heart.

“How could you?” They will say. “I could never be that selfish.” They will say to others. “Who does SHE think she is.” They will think in their head while smiling in your face.

You will feel desperate to find those truly saying “good for you” and not walking away thinking you are absolutely mad. When you find them, it will be those brave ones that are also willing to be uncomfortable.

The truth is those who speak ill of your growth, are those who are afraid to be woken. So let them sleep. Even if your heart holds them so dear. It has zero to do about you and your becoming, and everything to do about their stagnant stance and inability to move.

You go.

You turn to the sun and keep growing.

You don’t apologize ever for choosing you.

And don’t you dare make yourself smaller then who you have called to be.

And ALWAYS find the brave ones in the bunch. Even if it’s through written words.

It’s ok to leave a job that promises retirement, but no longer serves your soul. It’s ok to take a chance on something you always dreamed of doing without a steady income or benefits. It’s ok to end friendships that no longer feel like you. It’s ok to stand in what you KNOW is your truth even when people in your church say it isn’t right. I know this because I have done all of this in the past six months.

No matter the story line- career, relationships/friendships, family, moving/travel, identity, spirituality, confidence, abuse, trauma, seeking voice…you ALWAYS have a right to choose you.

The reason the book jolted me then, was because I knew in my greatest most hidden core, I had a journey ahead of me that was daring like hers.

At 42, mine has only begun to grow wildly. Much like this Divi tree in the picture, my roots started like everyone else. Then suddenly – I went against the grain and found my own sunshine to grow in.

I bloom at my own pace, in my own time, in my own way.

Between each bloom, I honor the pain and the suffering that choosing brave causes. I know for a fact that is what delivers the greatest joys.

Trembling, I hear the sound of my own voice, owning where I am going. Speaking what’s on my heart.

Radical.

I walk forward in faith instead of fear.

Wishing all of those stagnant, to find the hidden piece inside them that will catapult them into daring who they are meant to be.

Truth: we were never meant to stay the same. We are meant to evolve. Do not die a sprout when you are meant to be a diverse forest.

Not a perfect tree growing up right to the sky, but a winding, twisted, one that constantly seeks the sun.

Be still in prayer.

Move rapidly in all the answers that were given to you when being still.

Instead of buying the “be brave” T-shirt – dare to let go and let God.

Letting go and letting God actually means you have to LET GO.

65655153_10156523426739639_647913348658102272_nI’ve been thinking lately, my life is a lot like an Indiana Jones movie. I have fought vicious fights to get to the cave that holds the treasure. Like blood, sweat, and tears, I have never seen come to fruition, appear in the battle. Just when I thought I would have to retreat and give up, I arrived at the door of cave. “Sweet” I thought. For now on things will be smooth sailing. I will wear a cute dress, my hair will be perfect, and I will beam with joy as everyone claps and cheers that I have found the treasure.

Not so quick. The story never ends without someone trying to steal the treasure the moment you grab for it, or the unveiling of villains that once pretended to be your trusted confidants.

So here I am standing. My heart pounding, sweat dripping, tears pouring, wounds reopening to bare to the people in the most vulnerable way, holding the treasure. Plenty of people of cheering and lifting me up in praise. I can feel the triumph and the bravery that have delivered me to this space. It is glorious and my greatest truth.

Then in the moment I dare to think the hardships are over, I see the dark figure out of the corner of my eye. Its greatest desire is to snatch the treasure from my hand. It reminds me I am unworthy, small, and replaceable. It is in this moment I dare to own the gems or submit to the lies of these shortcomings.

The difference between me and the movie, is that my story doesn’t end with a scroll of directors and producers after that scene. My story continues with amazing cheerleaders, and equally with those hiding in the dark to try to take me down.

Sometimes the darkness is someone who seems like they want to help but are really tailgating on your gifting to try and own them for themselves. Other times they are your family members that think what you are gifted in is conning people, because why on earth would God talk to you? What makes you so damn special? And then, there are those times, when those you have sunk your greatest bite of love onto, abandon you because they aren’t quite sure how to deal with you owning your own truth and making your dreams reality.

The truth is bravery is a lonely island sometimes. Other times is it the most supportive, loving loudly, island that could be found.

Sometimes the brave moments reveal parts of who we are that we hadn’t realized even existed. To give them breath it takes a stance of going out on a limb and trying. This is the most vulnerable part of who we are. Who likes to be vulnerable? Nobody. However, it is absolutely an essential when seeking your greatest joy.

For me, an example of this, looks like hearing messages and honoring the fact I must deliver them, even at the stake of possibly being wrong. Most recently, I was sitting on a beach in Portugal and the message would NOT let up. Over and over, I kept hearing the same thing said to me. I knew who it belonged to, but this person has just been introduced to me thirty seconds prior. So as she stood up to leave, my heart started to race, and I knew I had to be brave. I started with “I know you don’t know me but…” and delivered the message. She automatically knew what I was talking about it, and it was related to a loved one that recently passed in her life. She was in awe. I was in awe. The people sitting on the beach with me, in awe. What would’ve happened had I kept that message to myself, like I have done most of my life with others?

So here I am. I have survived the long journey to get here. I am holding the treasure of my deepest desire of just being me. Yet, I am deeply humble, and in awe, each and every time I help someone to heal, because I am the vessel, and my God is the source. There hasn’t been a time I have stood at the foot of the person I am working on and think “Do I actually know what I am doing?”. The answer is always “He does”.

For all those who are hiding in the shadows, planning a way to steal my treasure, I do not fear you. For one, I have God on my side. For two, I have been through bigger battles than you could ever have imagined. For three, I always survive and rise.

I am free of the temple of doom, onto the last crusade.

If you want to hold my rare diamond, I only accept the light in. Be prepared to have to respect my boundaries. I have worked really hard to find it.