Let this be your Christmas to escape.

I’m writing my memoir of healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse. Today, I wrote about the year I broke the “code” and missed Christmas the first time. Celebrating together and visiting everyone was always a big deal. Perhaps the greatest act was to show up, smile, hug, and exchange gifts with my abuser. 

It was the same year that Kelly Clarkson released, Just for Now. I listened to that song over and over. The lyrics that played over and over in my mind were:

“Bite tongue, deep breaths.
Count to ten, nod your head.”

And later:

“Get me, get me outta here.”

Can you relate? 

Being frozen and on high alert wasn’t the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it was all I knew. It was how I coped. 

You don’t know what you don’t know. 

That first year was challenging. At times, I would cry. I allowed myself to be present and feel, and that came with all of the emotions. I wasn’t holding my breath anymore.  

I was able to pay attention and be still. 

I have two great memories from that Christmas. The first was from the Christmas Eve service at our church. My youngest was asleep in my lap, and we were singing Christmas carols. When we sang “O Holy Night,” I “heard” for the first time, “Til he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” 

He was doing that for me as He removed all of my heavy shame. I felt free. 

The other great memory was watching a movie about the birth of Jesus with the kids on Christmas Eve. As the narrator told the story, he read, “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” 

I pressed pause on the movie and ran to get my Bible and mark that verse and date it. 

He is faithful, and I still believe He will fulfill His promises to me.  

We started a new tradition that year. We stayed home as a family in our pajamas all day. We still do, and it truly is the most beautiful time of the year. 

Maybe you know what it is like to show up for celebrations, holding your breath in all of the complicated and messy. 

This is your year to break it off.

Start new traditions. God did not create you to hold your breath and thrive in dysfunction. I longed for an excuse to escape, and this year we all have one. Take it and do something new for you.

Be still.
Breathe.
Pay attention.

 “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45 NIV

I recently started a private group on Facebook and would love for you to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/journeypink

Why me?

Where were you when you heard the bad news that changed everything?

“I wonder if I should I try Mango or Peach,” I thought as I stood staring at the aisle of endless options for sparkling water. My phone rang, and I thought I recognized the number, so I answered it. 

I held the phone to my ear and felt my body go numb. My legs were shaky. I could not take a deep breath. The most profound ache settled in my chest and pounded at my heart.

I wanted to scream.

I rushed towards the blurry exit sign with my cart abandoned in the middle of the aisle. 

The bright morning sun and cold air briefly dried my tears. I sat in my car and cried, “God, why? Why me?”

That phone call changed everything. Life before that day was completely different from life after that day, as if a permanent marker drew a line in the sand.

For me, it meant a significant career change.

Was it easy? No.
Has it been hard? Yes.
Is it still hard? Sometimes, yes.

But, at that moment, it was so raw and painful. It crushed me.

I could hardly go into that store for a while, much less near the sparkling water section. It was too triggering. 

But over time, I came to see God’s hand was with me. Even when I felt alone, he was near. When I needed a breath of hope, he would send encouragement my way. 

There were still many moments when I would ask, “Why me??” 

God sent me a song.

One morning I heard a new song called “Why not me?” by Tasha Page-Lockhart, and it changed everything. I listened to it over and over, and over time my perspective shifted, especially when she sang, “Now that I realize who I am, I’m alive!”

My circumstances had changed entirely, but my Savior was constant. He never changes. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

He is my protector (Psalm 121).
He is the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).
He lifts me out of the pit (Psalm 40:2).
He is my comforter (Jeremiah 8:18).
He is my defender (Psalm 18).
He is my provider (Psalm 34).
He leads me (Psalm 23).

How do you handle bad news?
Are you feeling desperate and hopeless right now?
Maybe you are struggling with your marriage, job, children, or finances?

Your circumstances may have drastically changed your life, but God does not change. 

His faithful promises are true for you in every storm.  

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. James 1:17 TPT

Just recently, I went back to that store and stood in that aisle. I remembered how hopeless I felt about the situation. I thought of how desperately I wanted to fix it. I tried to turn it around. I wanted control. Eventually, I realized I had to let go. Today, I am thankful I did. 

I pray this song will encourage you to remember who you are and who He is. 

Keep stepping. Keep trusting. Keep believing.  

Why not me? By Tasha Page-Lockhart

Do you tiptoe or dive into the pool?

This photo is a screenshot of me attempting to jump on a float in the pool. I will spare you the video, but let’s say it didn’t quite go as planned.

So, it is with life, especially 2020.

I’ve been quiet and absent because I’ve been waiting for a good and stable time. A time when there’s a familiar pace, maybe even a time when I know more or understand more. A time when life doesn’t feel wobbly and unfamiliar. Things have been scary and intimidating.

They still are.

When my child posted the video of me jumping on that float in our family group chat this week, I watched it over and over. I laughed. Sure, I had thoughts like “geez, I am fat!” But I also realized this video depicts what this year has felt like: Me jumping into the unknown, and wondering if I will miss the mark. Water may go up my nose. It may hurt. What if I regret it? I may fail, or worse, drown.

Fear has kept me by the edge of the pool for years. I long for security and safety, and I am highly triggered when I don’t have it.

A lot was peeled away this year, and I am in new territory. I arrived here, kicking and screaming, but here I am.

And I am not alone. If anything, I have sensed the sweet love of Jesus in surprising ways. I can’t say I’ve always handled things well. I’ve cried and had all night long pity parties, and His grace still met me.

His grace is sufficient, especially when you’re desperate for it.

Letting go is not easy, but sometimes He calls us to let go of the things that keep us from our purpose. They may be good things, but sometimes good things keep us from depending on His goodness.

Truthfully, I spent many moments this year with gritted teeth and clenched fists, wondering, “Why? It is not fair! God, please. WHERE ARE YOU?” I didn’t want to let go. I wanted him to help me. I wanted him to rescue me.

Sometimes, He rescues us by helping us to let go.

Maybe we have to let go of the things that have become our identity. They bring us comfort and security. We go to them before we go to Him.

Let go.

Are you in a season of feeling like you have taken a plunge into unknown waters?
Are the plans you made on your lovely 2020 planner you bought in January turning out different?
Does the Vision board you made in December look anything like your reality?

You are not alone. There is hope.

In Psalm 34, David shares his testimony of deliverance.

In just the first few verses, he shares the key to thriving when things are not going well.

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together
.

Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. His praise will always be on my lips.

Praise.

When I was frustrated, I praised Him.
When I was overwhelmed, I praised Him.
When I was angry, I praised Him.
When I was miserable, I praised Him.

Praise did not change my circumstances, but it changed my outlook.
This song is one of the songs that changed everything for me.

Are you in a difficult and challenging season? What song has seen you through? Please share in the comments below. I would love to pray for you and add more songs to my 2020 playlist.
Let us exalt His name together.

Let’s dive in.

Song #1 Speak The Name by Koryn Hawthorne featuring Natalie Grant

the ledge of love

I thought I was a little overwhelmed before.
Standing in the chasm of the unknown.
On the edge
With a tiny toe over.
Do I leap?
Or back fiercely against the stone wall?

There is no where to go.
The wall behind me is solid
No entry allowed.

So I must leap
Two toes over
I think I can
I think I can
Like a little train
In a tunnel
Choo-chooing
Towards any light .

I will leap.
One foot is out now
Extended in the open air
I will jump
And trust
That He will carry me

We have a history.

But the wall behind me
I know that wall.
It’s not comfortable
But it feels safe
Simply because it feels
Known.

Should I just jump?
Leap into the open air?
Go for it?
I can do this.

He will carry me.

We have a history.
One, two, three,
On your mark
Get set …

Corona

The wall behind me
Is the wall in front of me
Or is it?
Walled in.
No air.
No open space.
Toes bent in tension

Quiet.

The quiet is
Like cymbals inside my ear.
Clanging
But only I can hear them.

Awake.
Eyes open at night
Wishing
To wake up
To the ledge again

Disoriented.
Doubt seeps in.
Nerves exposed
In fears
what if’s.
No control.

Breathe.

Be still.
This is inside work.
Preparation
Strengthening the core
Of mind and spirit.
Breathe.

Waiting.
With Hope.
Remembering
His Faithfulness
We have a history.
This is a new chapter.
This is a new day.

Remember His faithfulness.
Remember His goodness.
Remember His love.