Tug of War

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It’s an interesting combination: Having a great fear of being alone, and having a desperate need for solitude and the solitary experience. That’s always been a tug of war for me. – Jodie Foster

Part of my nightly “wind down” routine is to sit on the couch, turn the lights down low, and listen to Pandora. The Lumineers, The Lone Bellow, Mumford and Sons, and Need to Breathe are a few of my friends that accompany me and my wandering thoughts.

In the last few nights, I have heard the song Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars. It’s the kind of song that makes you stop and take notice. Their voices are sharp yet, harmonious, and you can hear the conviction in their voices as they repeatedly sing this line.

I don’t love you, I always will.  

They are torn in the fight of loving someone.

I don’t love you, I always will.  

For some reason, my mind keeps drifting back to playground days where the game of Tug of War was actively played. I can still feel the earth as my body is being dragged across. I can feel the stinging, the burning of the rope peeling away my skin. The pain, the scars are reminders of the fight. I can’t let go.

I dig my feet into the earth and make my stance. I fight hard to hang on. I refuse to loosen my grasp and let go. Why do I hang on so tight? Is the fear of losing too great for me to bear? Does surrendering into something more powerful than me show weakness?

It’s the same with love and with relationships. Why do I fight so hard to hang on to this image, this impostor of a girl who really does not exist? Why can’t I just let go and completely be myself with the one(s) that I love?

I am haunted with this question. What do I have to offer? The answer frightens me. All I have to offer is myself and that should be enough, but for some reason it (I) am not. What am I so afraid of? Afraid they will see the real me and reject me? Afraid they will turn and walk away?

As the song continues on, I hear this and I find myself agreeing.

I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back
The less I give the more I get back
Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don’t have a choice but I’d still choose you

I don’t love you, I always will. 

Over the course of my life, I have played the game of tug of war and I have played it well. I have the scars to prove it. If I am ever going to experience real, amazing love, then I have to lay the rope down and surrender to what is and what always has been. 

Myself.

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Release

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One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it is guilt, anger, love, loss, or betrayal, change is never easy. We fight to hold on and we fight to let go. – Unknown

Release is defined as allowing something to move, act or flow freely. It is also defined as to set something free. By definition, the process of releasing or setting something free should be pretty simple, right? You release the grip you have on the attachment, whether it is a person, place, or thing. You simply let go.

I have spent my whole life trying to let go. Let go of past hurts, my broken heart, the effects of a traumatic childhood, those who abandoned me and left me to defend life on my own. But what I have learned over and over is that “letting go” is a process.

I read in the article, 7 Ways to Let Go, that in order to “let go”, you have to trust the process. For the longest time, trust was not in my vocabulary so I’m not quite sure how I was going to exercise this, but I kept on reading.

So much of letting go is finding the right timing. You let go too prematurely, and your process is going to be harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be. You wait too long and things spoil… the relationship or the project. In Dennis Merritt Jones’ book The Art of Uncertainty, he includes this great quote about timing by Gary Zukav:

Fruit drops from the tree when it is ready. Staying too long, or moving too early, misses the mark. The mark is the appropriateness that causes the fruit to fall when it’s ready…. The process has its own timing, and it creates changes in your life when those changes need to happen.

In the place I am in now, I am dealing with something I should have let go of a long time ago – unforgiveness. I have put this off and put this off for years actually. I kept thinking, I deal with this later. Well, it’s 30 plus years later.

Why is the timing right, you ask? My little childhood baggage, the effects of this unforgiveness, was trying to sabotage my current relationship. I was asking someone to pay for something someone else did to me 30 plus years ago. It was not fair to him.

For some reason, I wanted to hold on to what my dad didn’t do, like not showing up when he said he would, keeping his promises, and honoring his word. I guess holding on to the pain, the resentment, the anger was comforting. It made me feel secure because pain was all I knew.

So in order to “let go”, I wrote my dad a letter. I dug through every painful and not so painful chapter of my life with him. I was completely transparent with my feelings. No stone was left unturned. With each letter I typed, each tear drop that fell, I felt the pain lodged deep into my heart, start to release. And it fell, and it fell, and it fell until there was absolutely nothing left to feel.

Not long ago, I was posed with this question. Nichole, when are you finally going to let it all go? As I choked back the tears, I responded with I don’t know. Because honestly I didn’t.

Life is a process. Forgiveness is a process. It pretty much all comes down to timing. The change that needs to happen indicates when to let go. For me, that was yesterday and so I did.

Knowing what I know now and if asked the question again, I would say when the time is right. Just like the fruit drops when it’s ready, we will let go at exactly the right time and exactly the right place in our life. All we have to do is trust the process.

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The Blind Spot of Love

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Love is blind and love can be foolish. Our heart doesn’t always love the right people at the right time. Sometimes we hurt the ones that love us the most and sometimes we love the ones that don’t deserve our love at all. – Unknown

On this particular Wednesday, I left work and was heading north up Briley Parkway to Church. I was knee-deep in my thoughts with the music blaring from the radio.  My mind was relentlessly trying to decompress the day. I was just trying to get to the next place, when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a green Ford S-10 merging into my lane. The truck was heading right into my right passenger side.

I immediately served to the left and was headed right for the retainer wall. My heart was about to leap out of my chest. In that next second, the driver of the green S-10 realized what was happening and thankfully was able to merge back into his lane without causing a wreck. I however was a wreck emotionally.

I equate this to love. You are cruising right along, consumed by its comfort and its care, oblivious to your surroundings. All you care about is how love makes you feel. If you are anything like me, then you love how love makes you feel special, like there is no one else on the planet. You are completely blindsided. You don’t care about the warning signs that have been dancing in front of you along the way.

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But something happens, and without a moments notice, something or someone  unexpectedly merges into your life awakening you to your surroundings. As time moves on, you realize you have been living with blinders on. You couldn’t see the real picture, the dishonesty, the secrets, at times how you were being used, because you were too consumed with feeling special.

As you move towards this unexpected something or someone, you begin to let go and eventually you release the grip that this love once had on you. And finally, you can see exactly where you are headed.

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Something New

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You can’t make a flower grow. But when you give it what it needs, the growing happens on its own. – Unknown

I would never consider myself a green thumb, but I have a great love for plants. Apparently my two cats second that emotion as they will be go to great links, scale walls, leap onto furniture, just to sink their teeth into a green and luscious leaf. Because of them, I have to stick with office plants only.

I’ve had my plant, a golden pothos vine, for a couple of years. This plant is low maintenance. Its needs water once a week and it is tolerant of any lighting conditions, even though it is fond of low light. It even has a reputation for improving the quality of the air. This plant started off strong and full of potential. It was growing like wildfire and eventually outgrew its pot. When I transferred the plant to something bigger, a place where the roots could stretch out, the growth became stifled. It was like something was choking the life out of it.

I began to wonder if this plant would make it. The leaves, once vibrant green in color, started turning yellow and falling off. I had to trim away the dead vines until there was only one left standing. Determining not to give up, I kept watering my one little vine. I even positioned it right next to the window so it could receive direct sunlight. For whatever reason, the plant held on and over time, a new bud started to appear. Then, another leaf appeared. Before long, a few more leaves sprouted until the plant was in full bloom.

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Just looking at the plant, you can see something different. The leaves were once spotted (as appears on the left) and now they are a lush green. The texture of the leaves are smooth as before they were a bit rough. The plant is now standing upright where before it was dragging across the ground and appeared lifeless.

This plant is similar to a particular relationship in my life.  There was a season where the relationship was thriving and full of life, and then there were times when it felt like the relationship was dying. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There were days I wanted to wrap my hands around that little sucker and shake it violently until the leaves completely fell off. I know this sounds harsh, but it is the truth.

There were days I deliberately chose not to water it. Well, he made me mad yesterday so I’m not going to be nice and I’m sure not going to pray for him. There were days when we felt no sunshine at all, and we experienced some very dark times because of it. We were not kind to each other and sometimes we deliberately hurt each other.

Even though the situation looked dismal, I still loved this person. The roots, the reason we began the relationship in the first place, were solid and still in tact. It seems we just had to wade through some nasty, unwanted weeds. Remembering the love for my “plant”, I made a commitment to water it everyday, no matter how I felt.  I watered it with my love, my words and my actions. I nurtured it by picking off the dried up yellow leaves and trimming back the lifeless vines. I let hope grow.

Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. – Psalm 72:6.

As I sit in my office staring at my plant, I’m still amazed by its unexpected growth. I am also amazed by the unexpected growth in my relationship. This time the relationship feels different. There is something new in the air. The atmosphere feels light where it once felt heavy. There is no animosity hovering over left over wounds.  The memory of the hurtful words and the deliberate actions have been erased. It seems all it needed was a little love, a little bit of forgiveness, and time to heal.

Joyce Meyer said, “We don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges.” I honestly believe we would have never reached this place without the hardships we had to endure. Those hardships made us grow, they made us strong, and they made something new.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

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Illusions

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Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. – Friedrich Nietzsche

When I was a child, I loved looking, staring at optical illusions. Optical illusions are images that differ from reality. The brain and the eyes “see” something different from what appears. My two favorites were the Young Lady/Old Lady illusion and the Duck/Rabbit illusion.

Young Lady / Old Woman Illusion

At the first glance, you see a young lady staring off to the right. She is wearing a hat with a feather on her head. However, if you fixate your eyes, eventually you will see an old woman looking down.

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Duck / Rabbit Illusion

My other favorite was the duck/rabbit illusion. You might see the duck looking to the left or if you look more closely, you might see the rabbit looking to the right.

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I think it is all in where you position your eyes that determines what you see.

For so many of us, our lives are like an optical illusion. We paint a picture of our perfect little world, but if you were to stare closely for too long, you might find that the world is not so perfect after all.

Our desire to look good consumes us. We have to wear this or wear that. We have to eat this or eat that. We have to go here and go there. We have to be seen with this person or that person. We have an image to protect.

What if we got real, real with ourselves and stared closely at the image of us? What if we let our eyes fixate on the lives we portrait? What would we see? Imperfections? Flaws? Chaos? Yes, I’m afraid so. We would see something totally different and the picture may not be so visually appealing.

We would see that the honey moon stage is far from over and our marriage is suffering. We fight more than we get along. We sleep in different beds. We live separate lives.

We would see that our kids aren’t so perfect. They are disrespectful. They are going down a dark path. They are damaged, broken, and “dying” to fit in.

We would see in spite of  all the trips and all the nights out with friends, that in fact, we are alone. We suffer from loneliness and depression, and often cry ourselves to sleep.

We would see truth. We would see life. We would see reality.

What if we had the guts, the gall, to let go of that perfect image? What if we smashed that picture down on the ground and let it shatter into a million little pieces. What would happen then?

Let me tell you. It would hurt like hell. You would feel vulnerable and exposed. You would feel ashamed.  You would feel like you are losing your mind and your whole world.

I know because a few short years ago, I let it all go – the image and the need to be in control. For most of my life, I held on to this perfect image of who I was and who I was supposed to be. I didn’t want anyone to know all the hell and all the chaos that was in my life. So, I hid behind an image so you couldn’t see my flaws.  For my flaws would make me unworthy of you.

What I am learning is that the flaws are what make me who I am. They make me real. They make me authentic and they make me unique. If you don’t like me because of how I look, what I drive, where I live, the mistakes that I have made, or the dysfunction that comprises my life, then you really aren’t worthy of me after all.  For the first time in 38 years, I am proud to be me. I am fulfilled. I have purpose and I have self-worth. It took me all this time to figure this out, and I’m so glad I finally did.

If you do decide to let it all go and to walk down the path that I did, you should know that you won’t stay broken forever. Eventually in time, the pieces will be put back together. Only this time, you will be restored, you will whole, and you will be redeemed :)

“When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn’t put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project–a mosaic that tells the story of redemption.” ~ Ken Gire

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The Gift of Love

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Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve. – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Everyday we are given the opportunity to love one another, to make a life better. In my opinion, that is what we were created for – to love and to be love.  That is the gift we have to offer the world.

Some gifts come in big packages and some gifts come in small packages. Our unique wrapping is what makes the gift so appealing. This gift neatly wrapped with red shiny metallic paper and topped with the big perfect silver bow is just waiting to be open. I feel like ancy child on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to rip through the paper and the box to find out what is inside :)

gift of loveNot all gifts are the same. For some, our gifts come in the form of words. We uplift, we encourage, and we openly state what is needed to be said. For some, our gift comes in the form of action. We catch those ready to fall and leave no one completely on their own. We bail each other out from life’s predicaments. We defend and believe when the world tells us not to. There are times when the best gift is to simply listen. No words or actions are required. Just a pair of ears willing to listen.

No matter how hard we try to give our gifts, there are some that won’t easily accept them. They are not quite ready to open the gift.

Maybe they are too prideful to accept the gift. By accepting it, they would tell the world they have failed because they had to accept help from another. They hand the gift back not realizing all it wanted to do was help.

Maybe the gift makes them uncomfortable and they think it will require them to change or give up the life they’ve worked so hard to create. They return the gift because it’s too much for them to accept.

Maybe they don’t feel worthy of the gift. How can they accept such an incredible gift when they have nothing to offer? They reject the gift not realizing it wanted nothing in return.

The beauty of the gift of love is that it does not give up easily. It does not take the rejection personally. It keeps giving chance, after chance, after chance. Love has no long list of requirements, just open arms to receive it. It wants nothing in return. It’s not trying to change the ones it loves, it simply wants to make them whole :)

If she loved him the way she said she did, she wanted him whole. Maybe this was what love meant after all: sacrifice and selflessness. It did not mean hearts and flowers and a happy ending, but the knowledge that another’s well-being is more important than one’s own. ― Melissa de la Cruz, Lost in Time

As you move into the next season, I hope you leave no gifts unwrapped. And I hope you accept them, regardless if you think you deserve them or not :)

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The Lens of Love

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For many, love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned, we soar. We are taken to heights unseen, where it delights, invigorates, and beautifies. When love is spurned, we feel crippled, disconsolate, and bereaved. Polish the coin and you will see only requited love on both sides. ―Colleen Houck

With any beginning comes an end, and the end of 2013 is vastly approaching. I have been told this was an incredible year. That this was my year. I’m still not quite convinced. Love, my faithful companion, took me on wild and crazy ride – some places I would like to visit again and some I would like to wash away from my memory completely.

Love at the Beach

This year was challenging, grueling, unexpected, demanding, taxing, and relentless. Yet somehow, someway, joy managed to find its way in. This year tested my strength and my resolve. It pulled me out of my comfort zone. Well, I came out kicking and screaming.

Some days I let life get the best of me.

DefeatAnd some days I danced in the rain.
Proof of JoyI carved out space in my life and my perfectly closed heart and allowed my tennis shoe smelling, untidy 18-year-old nephew move in with me. He wrecked my perfectly confined life and my room. Opening up “room” in my life may have been the hardest part of the journey :)

LoganI made peace with the past that I was so desperately trying to escape when I accepted the invitation to my 20 year high school reunion.

20 Year ReunionI soared to the happiest place on earth where my heart was full and overflowing, but the ride was over shortly there after.

DisneyI took risks, I embraced vulnerability and in turn, walls crumbled. I gave when I had nothing left to give. I saw hope where others saw despair. I believed when others told me to give up. I loved my friend at his darkest moment and it nearly destroyed me. I loved and I loved well.

I saw God move in mighty ways and transform lives. He heard my cries. He answered my prayers. I was privileged to see things most people can’t or won’t ever see.  I saw promise – a two-fold promise at that :)

rainbowToday, as I unwrap my final gift of this Christmas season, I am reminded of the most important gift I have received – God’s unconditional love. Through painfully loving others, I in turn, learned just how deep God’s love is for me. His love knows no limits. It is patient and kind. It doesn’t brag or boast, and doesn’t keep records of wrong. It is the greatest gift anyone could receive.

Looking through the lens of love, I now see that this was an absolutely incredible year. This was a year of growth and love altered my life for the better. I am now ready to close this painfully hard chapter and begin the next.

2013So cheers to 2014! May you join me and engage the whole world with a conspiracy of love :)

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The Well of Love

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One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. – Amy Carmichael

In the year of 2013, a little over a 11 months ago, I set out on a journey to find love. My plans tightly defined consisted of falling in love and living happily ever after. Little did I know that my plans would not unfold as I imagined. Oh, I met a man, but not in the capacity I was hoping for – strong and stable both emotionally and financially. I met a man who was broken in every sense of the word and who desperately needed to be loved. So instead, I found a man to love and not a man to love me.

Anyone who knows me can attest, I either give it my absolute all or nothing. Very rarely do I settle on a lukewarm approach. Through the course of time, a friendship developed, and I began pouring my heart and soul into every fragment of his broken heart and damaged mind. I poured out love financially, spiritually, and emotionally and over time, my efforts began taking a tole on me. The demands of my job were just as intense and I was reaching my breaking point. Something had to give.

Through it all, I kept thinking once he gets back on his feet emotionally and financially, then he would replenish what was taken. That time came and went, and the well was still running low. When my wishful thinking did not work, I began verbally sending stress signals. I need this…I need that…Still nothing.

In spite of my warnings and distress calls, he kept coming back taking what little was left. Maybe he kept coming back out of habit. Maybe the need was greater than I could sense and he needed more. Whatever the case may be, the well could not sustain itself and collapsed taking me down with it.

I know him and I know him very well. He’ll get thirsty again and he will try and stop at the well for a drink. Only this time, the well will be gone. Sadly, there is nothing more to give.

Whatever happens at that point is out of my control. I can only hope and pray that he will finally realize what the well has been trying to teach him all along. Maybe he will finally realize just how important love is and without it, he would not be standing where he is today. Maybe then, he will realize that you cannot simply take, that you must also give. No matter what condition your love is in, you give and you give whole heartedly.

There is a world full of hurting people, including myself, and maybe all we need is one drink, maybe one visit from the well. As I close out this chapter of love, I hope that in the next chapter he begins to pour out all the love he has received so that love does not have to stop here.

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I Am Seven

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Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. – Psalms 90:12

I am a mathematician. I manipulate and analyze numbers for a living. This love for numbers spills over into my personal life quite often. I guess I am a bit obsessed with what they represent and what they mean.

Right now, I am consumed with the number seven.

Interesting facts or things associated with the number seven that pop in my head at the moment are:

  • seven days in a week
  • seven days of creation
  • seven days to make or break a habit
  • seven years in cohabitation = common law marriage
  • seven minutes added back to your life by quitting smoking (not sure if this is valid or not, but go ahead and give it a shot :))
  • seven deadly sins
  • Seven Wonders of the World
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Book)

This little nugget of information spiked my interest of seven and hit a little too close to home.  The article, Number 7 Numerology, stated that the number seven is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of truth. The seven doesn’t take anything at face value – it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The seven knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.

Hmm…sounds about right :)

The article, Biblical Numbers 1-10, broke the meaning down a bit further.

In the Bible, numbers have spiritual significance. Of all the biblical numbers, seven is the most familiar because it appears about 600 times. Seven denotes spiritual perfection. It means divine fullness, completeness and totality. It comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to be full,” “to be satisfied,” and “to have enough.

Many times seven is important as a symbol rather than as an actual number. Whenever you read seven, it does not always literally mean seven things or seven occurrences. It is symbolic of the whole or the completion or the ideal situation or the perfect picture of things. Seven constitutes a complete cycle.

Everything changed April 2, 2013. This man who shall not be named showed up in my life and dumped all his baggage at my feet which I quickly took on as my own. I got a double promotion at work. I went from being an assessment editor reviewing test items to managing 17 direct reports and co-leading the item development for a nationwide test. My 18-year-old stinky, shoe smelling, male cousin moved in with me. He completely destroyed my cute, perfectly designed IKEA spare bed room. My once precious and spotless room looks like it threw up laundry all over the carpet…*sigh*

My safe and easy life was uprooted 210 days ago. Yes, I am counting every freaking day. Every hour, every minute that passes through this cycle of hell I call life is another moment gained, another step towards this never-ending finish line.

Today, October 29, 2013 marks month seven and a lot has transpired up to this point. I have spent…

  • seven months fervently praying over people and situations
  • seven months stressing
  • seven months consumed with problems
  • seven months in heartbreak
  • seven months dealing with unanswered questions
  • seven months dealing with disappointments
  • seven months fighting to believe
  • seven months hoping
  • seven months waiting for completion, miracles, and breakthroughs

My spirit senses something new is on the horizon, it recognizes significant change is on the way. My joy has resurfaced, my hope has surged to a new level. Something big is brewing and is about to lock into place. I know this because seven tells me so.

I have no idea what is in store for me, but I’d like to believe some long-awaited dreams are about to be birthed and prayers are about to be answered. I have walked through the hardship, felt the heaviness of my broken heart, and prayed desperately for change.

So tonight, I celebrate all that I have gone through and all that I have gained. Who knows, tomorrow I may be back at one, starting a process all over again, having yet another mountain to climb, another thing to over analyze, and another truth to seek out.  But as for tonight, I am no longer consumed with I don’t have. I am simply consumed with what I do.  I am full, I am satisfied, and I have more than enough.

For tonight, I am seven :)

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What We Allow

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No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it. – Richard Bach

Last night my family and I were having some heavy dialogue concerning Sunday’s message from Church – Hannah and her desperate need to have a baby. No matter how hard she tried, Hannah just could not conceive. She tried to have a baby for many, many years. Even though the Bible says she was favored by God, she and her dreams were ignored.

I relate to Hannah. I know the struggles she faced feeling that her wants and her dreams were being over looked.  I can imagine her asking, Why is this not happening? What is wrong with me? I sense that she strongly doubted herself and her ability as a woman.

It’s been one of my life’s dream to publish a book. I have had a strong desire to tell my story even though it caused me a great deal of pain. I have had the same manuscript in the works for nearly four years. I have made several attempts to publish, but each time it failed. At times I wanted to give up, to discard it like trash, but each time, I was reminded of just how important the story was and is.

So, here I go again. I’ve pulled out the manuscript, brushed away the dirt. I am ready to write again. This time will be different, I tell myself. I will wrap up the edits, polish it up, and it will be published. No matter how many attempts to put pen to paper, I can’t scribble out one word. Doubt creeps in.

Who am I to write a book? Who really wants to hear my story? Are my words captivating? Will someone actually want to read it? It’s hard for me to imagine all my experiences poured into thousands of words will be captivating and viable to make it to fine print.

The conversation my family and I had about Hannah led into deep and personal questions about myself and my doubts.  My cousin’s husband asked, Why do you doubt yourself, Nichole? Who planted these doubts in the first place? Who told you that you can’t achieve this? Who told you that you can’t achieve that?

The deeper he dug and the more he pressed in, the more it hurt, hurt like hell, actually. The questions he was firing were like a scalpel cutting into my old wounds. Stop, it hurts, I cry. I don’t know why I don’t believe.

Yes you do, he said. You just can’t say it.  So, he answered for me.

Maybe it’s because you’ve never had anyone prove to you that you are worthy. You have to let go of the past, Nichole. You have to let go of the power “they” have over your mind.

As the tears began to pour down my face and my thoughts began to crush me, I was reminded, once again, of my past and those who severely impacted my life. I was reminded of those whose actions let me down. I was reminded of those who through their words squashed my desires and trampled my potential to accomplish great things. I was reminded of those who led me to believe that I am not worthy of any real happiness or success.

As the tears began to dry up, and my mind began to clear. I realized that he is right. I have to let go. I have to reprogram my mind with the truth. I am worthy of such great things. I deserve to have a book published, to fall in love, get married, and have a family.  I just have to believe.

I don’t know if you struggle with self-doubt and worth like me, but if you do, I challenge you to ask yourself some of the deep questions I had to answer. Why do you doubt yourself? Why do you hold back on the better life you can live?

As you sift through the painful parts of your past, the words and actions of the ones that stifled your growth, your chance for a better life, you might discover this. Your chance for that better life has been right under your nose, at an arm’s reach, all this time. All you had to do to obtain it, was to allow yourself to take hold of it, instead of letting someone else’s limited thinking limit you.

Hannah eventually gave birth to a son named Samuel. He went on to do great things for the Lord. As my story plays out, I imagine that I will publish a book, get married, and have a family. I too will do great things for the Lord and so will you. I believe in you just like I finally believe in myself :)

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