Peace He Gives Us

This has been an interesting week. I have struggled with all the things that have taken place in our country. I have been fearful at times, calm at others, confused, confident, angry and sad. I’m sure every feeling there is to have I and everyone else in this country have been taking a ride on that emotional roller coaster and would really like to get off. This whole upheaval is going to mess up the second half of my life. Huh?

Yes, that was my thought last night. You people need to get your act together. Can we not just go back to how it used to be. Republicans, democrats, yeah we don’t like each other’s policies but we aren’t drawing a line in the sand and saying, “Don’t you cross it or I’ll rage on you.” I want to yell at the Trump supporters who took an extreme and unlawful position at the Capital. You ruined it for the rest of us. Thanks a lot! Now we are all lumped into this title of “The DC Riots.” Which is an all encompassing unfair title. I want to yell at the media for not reporting the news. They thrive and stay in business off of our fear. They don’t report the facts no matter who’s side they are telling. No matter what network you are watching. I want to yell at the looters from this past year. You know what I have seen change in my town? The name of a High School. That is great but the underlying problems we are talking about are not any better. Burning down property, beating people up and instilling fear in others does not bring us where we need to be. When I think about all this, I just take it all in and I think, we can never go back. We can never fix all this. This is the beginning of the end. Again you people are messing up the second half of my life.

Why? Well I’ll tell you why. I have things mapped out. Wyatt is going to work for so many more years we will be able to travel and enjoy all that we have worked so hard for. We certainly can’t do that if we are having pandemics, burning things down, having riots, looters and protests. We can’t do that if we are in the middle of Revelations. Oh Lord, is Jesus coming back soon. I’m going to miss going to Rome. I knew it. I have wanted to go to Rome forever. Jesus, can you just back things up a bit if you are coming back now. Besides if things are about to blow up and we lose things like our utilities, I don’t do well when I can’t wash my hair. I’m getting ready to cover my porch and add a patio and fire pit outside. Well, I won’t be able to enjoy that. (Throws hands up in the air). Yeah, that’s my insane thoughts. As if God should consider those issues when his plan is being carried out. STOP! Sarah has to go to Rome first. Then! I can darken the sun and the moon and let the stars fall from the sky. I really have to laugh at myself. Those are such selfish thoughts. I have now played the end of the world completely out. I am having an anxiety attack or I’ve taken to much sinus medication. Well maybe I won’t build a patio. If I’m not going to use it then what’s the point. Should I just sit here and wait for things to fall completely off the rails. Then I take a breath and say I don’t know these things. Why am I so afraid. But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. – Matthew 24:36. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27.

It is human nature to be afraid and to think of ones self. At least I think so. I’m not a psychologist but that’s the word according to Wonder Woman. I have to bring it back to Jesus. Which is what I do. Times like this when I’m all these feelings then I have to come to ground. My eyesight also gets blurry to. I start to see things not with God’s eyes but with my eye’s and my eye’s can be very judgmental, hateful and proud. It’s time to bring it to ground. Ground will always be God. I nor does anyone else know when Jesus is coming back. I do not know how bad this chaos is going to get that we are experiencing right now. As far as things going back to the way they were, that’s not going to happen and there are reasons why it shouldn’t. I am certain that Jesus said “Peace I leave with you;” So when I’m checking myself at ground level I know that he says specifically “do not be afraid.” Now I am human so I can’t just shut that off and never be afraid but I have a living God who is never afraid.

I don’t know what to expect in the coming months. God does. I don’t know if I will go to Rome or get to use my patio. Those things are so trivial and ridiculous that they would actually be a concern. When you have anxiety it’s crazy where your mind goes and the onslaught of bizarre thoughts that come at lightening speed. I guess for me this kind of climate can have the power to grab a hold of me and drag me around by my hair and let me know one minute to the next how I should feel or react. I will continually take the power back and not be a prisoner to the fear in this world. I want to grab a hold of the peace he left to me, the peace he gave to me as much as I can.

Fear Of The Lord

It’s the start of a new year. I know that it’s time to drop bad habits and start good ones. It’s the time of year when we all put so much pressure on ourselves to try and be the best version of ourselves. What does that mean? I’ve never really been a New Years Resolution kind of gal but I think we all say generally we will eat healthier, exercise more, drink more water those types of things. What does that mean spiritually? That’s what hit me this morning. I know the changes I want to make with my body and I know the things that need to be done to get where I want to be but spiritually, where am I and where do I want to be? Where does God want me to be?

I spent another New Years sober which is something to celebrate for me. That road has been pretty rocky since my sister died. There have been a lot of pot holes and the path is a real ankle twister. This is the 2nd year in a row that I have had someone in my immediate family die and navigating through my feelings is a daily trek in need of hiking boots. It’s the comfort I miss in my drink. My friend and companion that has been there so long with me. Any alcoholic or addict will tell you that. For me it’s a he and he’s like a friend. Not a very good friend but he’s there and he doesn’t judge you and doesn’t talk back to you he’s just there when he needs to be and he’s warm and he’s numb. He’s also jealous and won’t allow me to have any relationships with my family. He won’t allow me to be shared with anyone especially Wyatt. He wants me all to himself and won’t stop till he has me right where he wants me. All to himself after I have demolished every relationship I have and he is all that is left. So of course I need to continue this journey and continue to battle and know this is not just a battle of the physical body but a battle of the mind, the spirit. There are things fighting for me to give in and give up but there are stronger, tougher things seen and unseen fighting for me to stay in it. It’s worth it. I have been called to stay in it. Spiritually, where am I, am I moving forward, where do I want to be, where does God want me?

I have so many things rollling around in this brain of mine. You would be scared if you could see in there. I have so many ideas and projects and things I want to work on. Pretty big things that I dare not say out loud because that might actually put them out into the universe. I might actually have to overcome my fear and move forward on what I feel I am supposed to be doing. If I do that though, I just might be rejected and I just might fail. That’s a whole lot of just mights and maybe, what if. That all sounds like failure to me. You have no idea how hard this is to write. Again there are so many reasons I can come up with not to move forward but there are bigger, greater more powerful reasons to trust God and move forward.

We all struggle. Some harder than others and I for sure know others have much harder struggles than I do. My sobriety and a few projects I have been rolling around were at the forefront of my mind when I thought about this New Year. This 2021. Like I said most of us go to taking care of our bodies and we know how to do that or how to go wherever we need to go to have someone to help us do that. Do we always look at where we are spiritually? Where we are with God. I want my focus to be there. I know I can’t do anything without God so why would I not start there? Why would I not feed my mind and my soul? Without the word of God and his guidance in my life and seeking him in prayer what foundation do I have? It says in the Bible – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding Proverbs 9:10 I don’t know how many times that is in the Bible. I stopped counting at 9 maybe that’s it, maybe there’s more. I am not a Bible scholar. What I do know is that it’s important. It’s something I want to explore this year.

So I’m going to focus first spiritually on what it means to fear the Lord. How is that the beginning of wisdom? There is so much more behind that scripture than when you just read it at face value. I know whatever God has for me this year (I hope one of those things is to burn this mask) I have to have a strong foundation. I can only do that by understanding how to build the foundation correctly. In order to gain that understanding I need to fear the Lord to even begin to have wisdom. How am I going to do that? Well I’m going to do that by figuring out just what God means by that and the only way I know how to do that is by getting to know him better than I do today. I will never understand if I don’t have a relationship with my Lord and God Jesus Christ. I pray we all have a better year than last year and I will continue to ask God to let me wake up 30 lbs lighter in the morning. Who knows, he does do miracles. Faith of a mustard seed people!!

The It

Sin is so attractive? Doesn’t it make so much sense? It’s so reasonable. You deserve it. You’ve worked for it or earned it. It feels good or else you wouldn’t do it. Some of those sins we share with other people. Some we find that we want to keep hidden and do them in the dark, in the privacy of our own home. You know the most obvious ones. Alcohol if your an alcoholic, drugs, pornography, having an affair down to what we consider little white lies. “Oh these shoes? I’ve had them forever.” Says the wife so her husband won’t get irritated about the money spent on them. The argument is just exhausting. That’s a sin that makes a lot of sense to a lot of women. The same goes for men. Not wanting to hear us moan and groan about getting together with guys after work so you may be working late. Those little white lies. You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s not like you’re cheating. It’s not hurting anyone. Your just saving each other from the evening of arguing. Your actually doing each other a favor.

OK, before you go saying those examples are sexist, it’s what I came up with. Apply it to your life however you like. Maybe the husband is buying shoes and the wife is having drinks. Either way this all comes out the same. I had the opportunity to stay an evening in Miami alone. My brother and I made the trip to get Miriam together but he flew out before I did. It’s seldom I’m alone or in a place where I can do anything I want and absolutely no one will know. Now I have worked very hard the last three years and have not had a drink. I never thought I would say those words. Drinking and I were a couple as far as I was concerned. I was in a hotel 961 miles away from anyone who could physically show up. To drink or not to drink? That is the question. So goes the mind and how I deserve it. No one will ever know. Right down there in the hotel lobby. There is not a soul here that knows me. I have had so much loss and why can’t I just be numb for a while. Only one. Well, only two. Well that probably wouldn’t do it. So, maybe three and a shot just to take the edge off. I couldn’t move off the bed. I kept finding shows to watch and literally could not move from my spot on the bed. I honestly don’t know what I watched that night but I do know I ordered room service and had the best Cuban sandwich I have ever eaten and Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia instead of three and a shot. I did get up to answer the door for room service but locked myself in, jammied up and covered up like there was a blizzard outside.

Cheers to sleeping all night and no drinking, I slept with prayers from my Mom because I don’t know about anyone else but it is also skooky (that is not a typo I meant to type skooky) to be in a hotel room by yourself. Maybe it’s just me. Get ready, feeling good, make sure Miriams ashes are safe and secure for travel. Fly out of Miami and had a lay over in Charlotte. Well Satan and all of hell must have said “Hell NO” (haha get it). Any way they weren’t giving up that easy. My gate that I landed at was literally I think at one end of Charlotte Douglas Airport and the one I had to fly out of must have been at the complete opposite end. I need to stop and grab a drink and start my trek. I kid you not every time I looked up there was an airport pub, tavern something advertising a place to sit down and have some type of alcohol. I must have been hallucinating because when I looked up I saw a bar with liquor bottles behind it and empty chairs at the bar every time I looked for somewhere to buy a soda. I started walking so fast I was sweating purfusely. Then the my mind starts going. Last call, your so stressed, just stop and have one. One can’t possibly hurt anyone. THEN……JESUS said “Do you know how many steps you are getting on your Fitbit? Do you know what your heart rate is right now.” If you stop you will break that rhythm you have going and between this and the Miami airport you could probably burn off that Cuban sandwich. I bet you could get all your steps in today without getting on the treadmill.” I’m not kidding y’all. Jesus was keeping track of my steps and he was like, you go girl, keep moving, keep that heart rate up!! So then it became a challenge of not stopping until I got to my gate. AND I DID!!!! Without stopping. I’m sure people thought they might have to call EMS because walking like that with a mask on is some kind of hard. I was really loud, like I was the only one there and just ran a marathon. Thank you, I’ld like to thank my husband Wyatt, for loving me, my Mom and my sister for always supporting me, my Son for being such an inspiration in my life…… Yeah.

So, I made it home and felt magnificent getting that bear hug at the airport from Wyatt. I know I had lots of help on my trip. I had lots of prayer and Jesus held my hand. The thing is, the biggest lie we tell ourselves is that no one will ever know. Yes, they will know. If your sobriety means something to you and to the ones you love you will not be able to keep that a secret. Not only will it tear you down but you will feel as if you let everyone else down. Please don’t think I am saying relapses don’t and should never happen. That is not at all what I am saying but the lie we tell ourselves that no one will ever know is that. A lie. Being sober is hard. I’m not sure if it ever gets easy and you can just walk on by without a care. I do know right now today I am sober and I am so very blessed and thankful for all the people in the my life that helped me get there.

I will leave you with this because we all need to remember this. If you are an addict or maybe you’re not. Temptation can come your way whoever you are. I didn’t just come out of the gate an addict. IT’S seductive, IT’S logical, IT’S deserved, IT’S pleasurable and IT will rear IT’S ugly head when you least expect it. IT likes the element of surprise. That IT will be whatever you need IT to be.

Conversations With God

I have really been struggling since I wrote my last blog. I think I’ve said it before. I’m a planner. Usually I have some sort of an outline in my head as to what I’m going to write about. Now I will tell you, each time I’ve sat down to write with an outline or general idea in my head, God has taken me in a different direction. The difference is, I had an idea. I had an outline of some sort. I felt confident in sitting down because there was something there. Not lately. It’s like a black hole. It’s blank. I have nothing. I feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

I keep jotting down little thoughts and ideas in my notebook that pop into my brain. Lord knows if I don’t write it down, it’s gone in the next five minutes. Then I start to question myself. Maybe that’s all you have. Maybe you were just supposed to get on here write a handful of times and then move along. Well, maybe that’s true. How am I supposed to know? Where’s my burning bush? Can’t you just give me a word God? Well, that’s the thing. It was pointed out to me the other night in my recovery group that I just need to let it happen. I am listening to the voices of defeat and not even giving God a chance. This oh so wise person said, “You have got to stop trying to plan out everything. You can plan a lot of things but you are going to have to just let God move through you and stop trying to put him on a schedule.” Not planning is along the same lines as going to your job/school naked. Yeah, hermit status for the rest of my life. I want to feel confident before I step out and do anything. I want to feel like what I put forth is going to be met with acceptance and understanding and not get egg on my face or wow did I really say that.

It’s so funny because I used to think I was so confident back when I was drinking. I could talk to anyone, life of the party, dancing on the tables and sometimes the bar. What a false sense of confidence alcohol gives us and oh what it makes us step out and do. Talk about egg on your face or wow did I really say that or do that. We are more afraid of showing our true selves and being real with eachother than we are of being absolute idiots and making a fool of ourselves. That can just be chalked up to, oh, she just had to much to drink. Well that’s not the real me. I am more than that. Why are we so afraid for people to see us? We are afraid they just might not like what they see. It’s like the filters on Snapchat. Ya’ll better stop using those all the time and take some real pictures of yourself. Someone is going to see you in person and not know who you are. I needed to take that filter off. I needed to be me because it got to a point where I didn’t even know me. I had to start finding out who I was again and just where it was that I decided that I didn’t love myself enough.

So I took the advice and picked up my computer today. WITHOUT AN OUTLINE! WITHOUT A PLAN! She was right. That wise person in my recovery group. God knows what I need when I need it. Just like all the other times I have written. I may have felt confident but It was God laying on my heart what needed to be said. It is God writing this today. I just placed my fingers on the keys and started typing. The words just flow and you know what it’s like? It’s really like I’m letting you all in on a conversation that God is having with me. He likes to wait to reveal things to me until I’m typing here. Maybe he thinks someone else might need to hear something similar. My confidence needs to be in God. Not in how well I think I can write about a certain topic, or just how many ideas I have come up with.

It is a process to get to know myself. I have hidden away for quite a few years. I am learning through my conversations with God. I didn’t even realize until tonight that he was showing up in real time and having class with me each time I wrote.The more I remove the filters and remember and find that girl inside, the more I like her. The more I’m not ashamed. I may have done some shameful things but that does not define me. I am more than that. If I could just see myself as God sees me. Whoa!!!! Watch her go. Now that’s a Wonder Woman.

#Baileystrong

I had to take a break from writing and I just got started. Some of you know and some of you don’t. My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo brain surgery last Thursday. This really caught my family off guard and it all took place (diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization) within a week and a half, two week period. Most of all it caught my Dad off guard. He went in for an MRI and found out he’s perfectly healthy in one area and by the way we’re glad you’re here because there’s a little something on that scan that we need to talk about. I suppose no one is ever prepared for that kind of news, but really? A brain tumor? There were no signs. He wasn’t having any symptoms. I guess that’s the blessing. If we would not have known until he started showing signs and symptoms the tumor would have progressed so much more than it had.

The day of his surgery we were sitting in his room listening to some music just spending time with him before he went in and I played Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin. If you haven’t heard it. STOP!!! Go listen to it and come back. It’s an amazing song. I looked at my Dad and my family in the room and those that were on the way and thought of my family who had surrounded us through out the week and the friends and just everyone who showered us with love and prayers and I was completely filled. I knew whatever happened HE is a Good Good Father. I looked at my Dad and loved him so much at that moment because he as well is a good good father and as much as he loves me, which is unconditional, and would give his life for me, how much more does my Father in heaven love me. It can’t even be measured. I want to share something my nephew Nick wrote earlier that morning after sitting with Dad around 6am when it was quiet and it was just the two of them.

“Today I sat with PawPaw in the early morning hours while everything was still quiet. I sat there and prayed for the success of the surgery. I pray for a miraculous healing and I pray that no matter the outcome that not just me, but the entire family still realizes that God is good no matter what happens. It made me realize our hope isn’t in a hospital, doctors, nurses or surgeons although we pray for them and want them to perform above and beyond their best abilities. But our ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ. The fact that HE has laid death in it’s grave and HE is a Good Good Father and we are deeply loved by him. Harper has been singing a song that she learned at church lately and the lyrics are “I know no matter what God loves me” and after sitting and talking to PawPaw I know that he believes that with all his heart.” Nick Bailey

You can’t get any more real than that. I know that no matter what my Dad loves Jesus Christ with all his heart and I can take comfort in knowing that God’s got this. Not just on the surgery day or when I pray extra hard but he has this in his hands. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

For those that aren’t close to the situation my Dad made it through the surgery amazingly well. I don’t know what this next year holds for him but I know I’ll be there with him, with my Mom and as my cousin Allison Kelley stated “although I’ve hated the circumstances I’ve really loved being around family these last few days. #Baileystrong”