Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Blind Faith

potholes

Blind faith is defined as ““belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” It wasn’t until recently it was pointed out to me, this is what I have.  A positive thing instead of the negative thing I would have described it as.

“It will all work out” has been one of my favorite lines for years.  As a single mom, I always believed things would work out.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know why – I just believed they would.  I actually believe my relationship with God was pretty much nonexistent through HS, college and later in life.  During my early years, I was active in church and a Rainbow Girl.  I believed in God just didn’t have a relationship with him.  Weird, right?

God was there even when I didn’t see or believe it.  He had his hand on everything which is why I believe through my years of addiction, I was saved.  I had a blind faith deep in my soul despite the odds.  My first time in the rooms, I always said I was “spiritual” not religious.  The Serenity Prayer was the closest I got to having a conversation with God.  It was the thing which kept me going even when I was on the road to relapse and during my relapse.  I thought it was more of a foxhole prayer at that point since I had made such a mess of my life.

Now, I have a relationship with God. Are there still potholes in my path? YES!  Do I wonder if I am on the right road or following his purpose for me? YES!  Do I still struggle with fear?  YES! Do I still play the comparison game? YES!  Fear and doubt didn’t not magically go away because of my faith.  Satan loves to play with me especially on days when my MS flares up.

Every morning, I read my “Just for Today” and pause for a moment to thank God for his many blessings.  Truth be told (have you heard this amazing song?), I don’t STOP and wait to LISTEN for God’s message.

 

There are some days, it is more obvious than others I haven’t listened.  The days when the doubts come.  The days when resentments build.  The days when frustration and anger get the best of me.   Those days, I wonder what happened to the belief God would take care of things?

Those are the days, when I forget it’s not my job to fix the potholes in my trail. I need to let God lead, and He will smooth the way.  Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11).  The path may be filled with potholes but no matter where I am headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He’s established for me.

Hubby pointed out to me recently “you have a blind faith”.  I was shocked because I never thought about it.  I used to believe people judged me for the decisions I made.  Many times my decisions were not based on solid facts, just a feeling I had things would be okay.  Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t.  It wasn’t until I took my will back and stopped letting God lead the way, the road to relapse became a downhill spiral.  Me trying to figure things out or fix things led me to a path filled with potholes.  It kept me from letting my light shine and making a difference in the lives of other people.

It is time to embrace my blind faith.  Time to stop trying to fix the potholes.  Time to stop trying to figure things out on my own.  Time to let God lead, have faith and let him show me the path he has prepared for me.  It is “his will for my life, not mine”.

Are you trying to fix the potholes in your life or are you “letting go and letting God”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Hope Wissel, Recovery, Weigh to Goal

Jiggle Thighs and Acceptance

Once a month, I am doing a “me blog post”.  Basically, sharing my strength, hope and experience about something.  I looked back on past blog posts for inspiration when I stumbled on one I did in April 2013.

I am learning to accept me for me.  Not easy since I have had a negative self image for as long as I can remember.  Why is it the negative is easier to remember with my MS than the positive things?  A post for another time….

For as long as I can remember, I have had “bumps” on the top of my thighs and my thighs jiggled.  Yes, they got smaller with the loss of 105 pounds but they are still there!  There was even a time when I was working at WAWA where I think they were not as obvious – at least to me.  I mean standing on your feet and doing lots of walking (15,000 steps a day) had some benefits even though I usually felt like a MAC truck hit me.  As my MS reared its ugly head, I struggled with walking long distances.  I struggled with being on my feet a lot so of course working was no long an option. What is a girl to do?  I ride a stationary bike at least 3 times a week, I walk when I can but probably not nearly as much as I should. Opps, there is that word “should”.  I hate wearing my brace on walks because I am forced to accept my limitations due to my MS.

Since COVID and the move, I have been living in yoga/leggings.  I have maintained my BIG weight loss and am about 10 pounds from my original goal weight yet the “jiggle thighs” seem to still be there.  Of course, to me they are really obvious because my waist shrinks (the first place I lose weight) and nothing is in proportion.  So maybe this isn’t your problem area, maybe it is the “jiggle arms” or the muffin top or the roll our bra creates – no matter what we all seem to judge ourselves when we look in the mirror.

How about this thought….My jiggle thighs (or your problem area) are evidence of God’s goodness in my life! Sounds crazy, right? Mind you I never notice this or any other problem area on other people, just on myself.  Most people don’t mention it – okay maybe an occasional child who is curious but why wouldn’t they be – I’m curious as to know why God has blessed me with these wonderful thighs.  LOL.

 
I read something awhile ago by Jen Wilken who wrote The expectation of physical perfection hits modern females early and often”.  Expectations, OMG!  I have learned in my recovery journey, expectations are not good.   She goes on to say Increasingly, physical perfection is the legacy of womanhood in our culture, handed down with meticulous care from mother to daughter, with more faithful instruction in word and deed than we can trouble to devote to cultivating kindness, peacemaking, and acceptance that characterize unfading, inner beauty.”
 
I say all this to say – let’s not torture ourselves with lies about the need to have a perfect body or to be an ideal weight.  I am not saying – don’t be healthy, what I am saying is strive for a goal that is reachable for you.  I am learning to accept me for me – jiggle thighs and all – knowing I am beautifully made by God.  I am not less than because it has taken me a “LONG” time to reach my goal weight.  I am not less than because my body is not a perfect size 10.  There will be ups and downs in my weight loss journey just like there is in life.  Consider those “downs” as blessings where we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with our Higher Power. Learning to love myself is one of the hardest things I have ever done!  
 
Today, I am living in the hope, security and the arms of a Higher Power who loves me unconditionally.  Give yourself a break today and know as long as you are trying your best – that is all that God is asking of you.
 
For tips on healthy weight loss check out – Weight Watchers. This is the program I lost all of my weight on.  It took me longer than I expected. There are those “expectations” again.  I compared myself to others (guess that is a character defect I will need to deal with, LOL) and still do in many areas of my life.  Just for today, I looked in the mirror and actual like the person I am.  Give yourself a break.  If you can’t love yourself totally, find at least ONE area you can love (great smile, pretty eyes, great personality) and count your blessings.  Have patience, and think positive thoughts.
 
Have ThirtyOne-derful day.
Family

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

My strength comes from God but he gave me an amazing momma to help me along the way…..

Have you ever wondered where you get the strength to go on? Or how you can be strong when others would have thrown in the towel?

I never really thought of myself as being strong BUT I knew my momma was…….despite LOTS of struggles, she came through it.  She continues to shine even on her worst days.  She instilled a sense of faith in me very early.  I know it is her faith which kept her going on the worse days.  Despite my bad choices and in my darkest days, I knew no matter what God had his hand on me and would take care of me.  I am grateful for the lessons she taught me.

Today is momma’s birthday………..

I won’t disclose her age but she DEFINITELY doesn’t look it. The last year has been tough but she has continued to remain strong.  It is her inner strength which continues to guide her even on the hardest days.

Let me tell you a little about this AMAZING woman… I have to admit, I’m grateful for years of blogging since I struggle to remember….

Growing up, Mom was always there.  She made sure our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go.  I may not have been thrilled but I was grateful I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people.  The house was always stocked with snacks.  After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids.  Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.

Off to college I went and there were struggles.  Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy.  I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort.  Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to.  They were tough years but we had fun.  She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room.  After college, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom.  We spent countless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  Fast forward to my move to Egg Harbor Township and more years of rough roads.  In my addiction, I admit I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test.  Along came Belinda and in the beginning there were struggles but through it all – mom was there.  She helped emotionally, financially and physically.  Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us.  Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to visit in Mays Landing felt like an eternity.  Then came my relapse and again mom was there.  She was there to help me through those early rough days.  Day trips to Mays Landing were done about once a month and there never seemed to be enough time.  Juggling travel up and down the parkway, MS issues, medical appointments, and life always seemed to throw us a curve ball.

Fast forward to 2020, when after a quick unexpected sale of the condo in Brick, hubby and I moved to Mays Landing.  Finally just 20 minutes away. Grateful to spend the holidays together, cooking in our new home.  Now I can actually stop by whenever I want or help out when something is needed.

My memories may be gone but in my heart I know I learned A LOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, so this lesson took longer to learn),  the importance of family and about being a mom.  She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now).  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.

When you think about your qualities – strength, perseverance, or faith – have you thought about where you got them from?  We usually think they are a result of the bumps in the road, and they do help build strong character traits. BUT our family – parents, siblings, extended family – help to shape us as well.  They are the ones who help to mold us into the person God would want us to be.  Remember to thank them.

Mom, thank you for all you have done, continue to do and or always being there.  I love you!  Hope you have a blessed birthday!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Choose to Praise God

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know that God promises to never give me more than I can handle. But sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times, His plan is to deliver us in the problem. Praise does not depend upon an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends upon an understanding of and faith in God.

As humans, we will never fully understand God – this side of heaven. God is holy and without blemish. God is all powerful and omniscient. He is Creator of the universe and yet lives in me. He is the only true, living God! We may understand some of His ways and comprehend the reasoning behind some of His plans. We may even come to the place of knowing him on what we call an intimate level, but a full understanding of God is reserved for heaven. Until then, we walk by faith, not by sight. We praise him in the darkness, knowing that the light is just ahead. We trust him for things we cannot see and turn to him in the valleys. Honestly, the thought of serving and relying on a God I can understand is not a reassuring thought.

Most people who know me well would describe me as a strong person, someone who can usually handle what life holds. I thought the same thing until, in 1995, I found myself a powerless, prisoner of the darkness as I battled clinical depression. It took me two long years to climb out of that pit and not a day goes by that I am not reminded of that wonderful, horrible time.

One of the many lessons I learned from my “pit experience” was that I cannot depend upon my own strength or my fickle emotions. God often asked me to praise him when, as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot to praise him for! I didn’t feel like praising him.

I began to understand that praise is not a feeling but a choice, a step of obedience taken without the assurance of a changed circumstance or the elimination of a trial. Praise focuses on God, not the circumstance, and fixes its gaze upon God’s truth and God’s character instead of the trial at hand or just ahead. That is why we can celebrate the battle before it begins. The outcome is neither our responsibility nor our goal. Praise begins and ends with faith in the very nature, personality and integrity of God … and that never changes.

No matter what lies ahead, God is faithful. No matter how hot the fiery trial may be, God will deliver us. No matter what man says or does, God loves and accepts us. So praise God! Thank Him today for every victory tomorrow holds! Celebrate – knowing that the battle belongs to God and because of that single truth, victory is certain.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Confidence

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Confidence. There are days when we feel we don’t even know the meaning of the word.  I long for the days when I had some.  I struggle to remember when it was and what it felt like.  It is hard to stay confident when we feel so weak.  I believe God as a plan for me, yet I often feel incapable of caring it out (or sometimes I don’t even know what it is).

When I used to wear titles like “mom” or “Social Worker” or “employee”.  I had confidence most days to do my job.  I knew what needed to be done and did it.  When left to be “Hope”, the confidence quickly fades.  Comparison steals joy.  Inner gremlins run around in my head with thoughts of “you aren’t good enough”.  It is those times when I have to step outside of ME and rely on my Higher Power.  The Serenity Prayer helped to get me through the struggles in my early years of recovery .  I use it today just as I did then.

It is important we realize where confidence comes from. Our confidence comes from the God. It comes from no-where else. He alone gives the kind of strength necessary to meet every challenge. The things He overcame causes our struggles to pale in comparison. If we believe in God (or a Higher Power), then we will have confidence to succeed.

What are some of your struggles?  Share them with us so we can keep you in our prayers…..

Today’s thought: I can do anything I set my mind to because of Christ in me!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!