Deep Dark Secrets

There has been so much talk about abortion lately. So many people are quick to exert their opinion and to ask questions like, who would ever, how could somebody choose, or why in the world?

This post is only for people who have or have had a deep dark secret, have skeletons in their closet, or have had an abortion. If you’re not one of those people then this is not for you.

If you have a deep, dark secret (like having an abortion, perhaps) I bet you’ve kept it a secret for a reason.

Shame. Guilt. Don’t want to deal with the judgement of people finding out…

Here’s what I have to say about that:

The ONLY opinion of you that matters is from God. And He knows about the deepest, darkest places of your soul. And He loves you more than you could ever dream of being loved.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to [the brim] of all the fullness of God,”
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV), words in [ ] are mine.

God forgives all of the darkest places when we come to Him and ask. That’s all it takes. Asking.

And if you’ve found yourself in a deep, dark hole because of your shame or guilt I want to encourage you. There is ALWAYS a way out. There is ALWAYS hope. There is ALWAYS love. Even down there in the deepest, darkest pit. Find a pinhole of light and begin moving toward it. Even if it feels like it’s a million miles away. And even if it feels as if you have to cross the entire world to get to it. Take one step toward the light today. And if that’s all you can do today, great! You can take another step towards the light tomorrow. Before long, the light will seem so bright you will wonder how you traveled so quickly!

I hear some of you saying, “Carrie! How do YOU know what it feels like to be judged because of what you’ve done or not done or what’s been done to you?”

Well, because I have lived this truth. See, I am one of those that has had an abortion. I let my decision pull me down into the deepest, darkest pit I couldn’t even imagine. And I didn’t tell a soul. For 10 years I let this dark pit grow until it consumed me.  And I wanted to die.  

I’ve lived with the shame and regret and guilt of my decision for almost 20 years now. And what I’ve learned is that forgiving yourself is the hardest part. And I’ve also learned it’s so worth the decision.

I now live in freedom from my past. It no longer holds me in bondage. All because of the love and forgiveness of God.  And God has asked me to encourage women with my story. So, I boldly (only with God’s help) step out and tell you my deepest, darkest secret.

If you’re out there hiding in the darkness because of fear I encourage you to reach to God. Ask Him to help you walk towards His healing, loving, peaceful light. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m happy to listen as well.

There is always a way out.  There is always hope.  There is always love.

Whoa Nelly!

Whoa Nelly:  whoa is the word to stop a horse.  Nelly is what farmers used to call all their female horses (because they didn’t name their work tools and a horse was a tool – according to urbandictionary.com).

In today’s time this phrase is also used to talk about anything out of control – you know a dog, a kid, breakfast time, life…. And it’s usually used after the fact.

Whoa Nelly!  2018 was cray!  That’s the term I’m using for last year.  Whoa Nelly!

In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

The year started off really nicely with a few ski trips with my husband to some new and some familiar places.  One of those new places was New Hampshire in February.  This is where the year began falling off course.  We decided to hike up Mt. Washington.  Tucker’s Ravine to be exact.  With 40 pounds of ski equipment on our backs.  And when we arrived at the hiking location my shoes instantly broke apart from dry rot.  But I didn’t have any other options so I hiked in broken boots.  Oh, and there was a blizzard that day.

I ended up with an injured neck, spine, and foot.  Not from the amazing ski down.  But from the hike up.  Fast forward a few months (I rested and took care of my neck and back, but not the foot) and I re-injured my foot.  I was put in a boot.

Then, my husband ended up in the hospital from an infection from being flogged by our rooster (I know, I know.  It sounds crazy.  And it was.).  He nearly lost his leg and was in the hospital for nine days.  During that time, in my boot, carrying our whole house to and from the hospital each day, my foot got worse.  I got put on crutches and when my husband was discharged they wheeled us both out in wheelchairs.  What a sight!!!

2018-04-30 16.53.16

My husband healed up pretty quickly – in about half the time the doctors expected.  Me on the other hand – my road to healing was not going to be easy.

I wasn’t able to teach or do yoga anymore, but was determined to heal quickly.  Within a month or so, I was back at the gym trying to gain strength.  I had even termed the summer, “My summer of buff.”  But that was short lived.  Because I injured my foot again.  Really?!?! Yes, really.  I was gaining strength and being really mindful and careful, but something wasn’t quite right.

I then began working with a physical therapist (thank you, Penny!!!).  What we found out was that when my foot healed the first time it healed incorrectly, so the re-injury was just a matter of when.  She did so many things and continues to help me so very much!

And today, in 2019, I am still having pain and it gets tired really quickly, but Penny and I are onto something with a plan of healing.

Whoa Nelly!

In addition, the stress of our injuries took my focus completely off my business.  And it really showed.  I allowed stress and fear to overtake my mind, and my business nearly went under.  I even had to take an additional part time job to help make ends meet.

And that was a whole other mind battle to face.  Why am I here?  Why can’t I be good enough to make my business work?  I’m committing my ways to you, God.  Why aren’t you following through on your end?  and so on and so forth.

Sigh…..

Plus, my husband was totally stressed in his job too.  We were just a household brewing stress by the gallons.

I ended up cancelling all the ski trips planned for 2019 because of my foot.  And skiing is my favorite thing ever!  Sigh, again.

So, to say that I was ready to let 2018 go is an understatement.

And now, just a few days after I let go, I have begun anew.  Isn’t it amazing how new beginnings can feel refreshing, energizing, and encouraging?  It’s like I’m a new person.  Why couldn’t I decide to do that in 2018?  That I don’t know, but what I do know is sometimes it takes a new year, an event, an injury, a God intervention…. to wake us up and pull us out of the muck and mire and into our God given destiny.

I am determined.  I am strong.  My mind is focused.  Watch out world, cause I’m free!  I’m leaving my Whoa Nelly behind.  My chains are being broken, and I have God-power behind me!

Wanna De-Stress New Year’s Resolutions?

Several years ago I read an article about how pretty much nobody sticks with New Year’s resolutions. Some people can stick with them for a few months, but most people have lost motivation before February even arrives.

Does this sound familiar? Yeah, me too. I used to set these goals and have high hopes of “this time I’m really going to do this!”

Well, after doing this and failing most of my adult years I learned about a new way to set New Year’s resolutions.

Word of the Year

For several years, I have chosen a word of the year. This is something to focus on during the entire year.

For example, my first word of the year was peace. I painted a small canvas to put on my desk with the word peace, so I would see it daily and remember what I’m focusing on. In addition, I set reminders on my phone to periodically think about and practice peace along with creating a Pinterest board with Bible verses, sayings, and pictures of peace.

Other years, my words have been things like: joy, love, humble servant…

After having this practice for several years, I am pretty sure I will keep doing this for many more years to come.

Do you have a different way of doing New Year’s Resolutions?  Do you choose a word?  Share your ideas!

My Story in Songs

Before I was a health coach, before Ignite Life, and before courage, God spoke to my heart.  He told me, “I want you to encourage women with your story.”

My first reaction was NOOOOOO!!!! Anything but that!

But, I have had the experience of saying no to God and know what happens.  And I didn’t want to experience that again.  So, over the past four or five years God has been preparing me to tell my story.  He’s given me opportunities to tell small groups of people and a few friends and family.  And now he’s asking me to go public with my story.  Sigh.

And if you know anything about me you probably know part of my story:  the depression, anxiety, food allergies, etc.  But you might not know the rest of the story.

So, while I wait for him to guide me in exactly how He wants me to do that I’ll offer a few sneak peaks.

Music is huge in my life.  It moves my soul like nothing else, and it is a form of worship for me.  During the last ten or so years there have been some songs that I clung to during different periods of time that I think help you see where I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  These songs also give you a glimpse of the goals I had during those times too.  Take a listen and see if any of these songs resonate with where you are in your journey.  I’m including a few lyrics that specifically spoke to me during those times.

“Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann

“Truth is I’m tired, options are few, I’m trying to pray, but where are you?  I’m all churched out, hurt and abused, I can’t fake, what’s left to do?  Take me to the king, I don’t have much to bring, my heart’s torn into pieces, it’s my offering.”

 

“Awesome” by Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago

“My God is awesome.  He can move mountains.  Keep me in the valley, hide me from the rain.  My God is awesome, heals me when I’m broken, strength where I’ve been weakened, praise His holy name.”

“Marvelous Light” by Ellie Holcomb

“With years of keeping secrets safe, wondering if I could change, ’cause when you’re hiding all along, your heart can turn into a stone, and that’s not the way I want to go”

“If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli

“Truth is harder than a lie, the dark seems safer than the light, and everyone has a heart that loves to hide, I’m a mess and so are you, we’ve built walls nobody can get through…”

“Shoulders” by For King and Country

“I look up to the mountains, Does my strength come from the mountains?  No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven and earth, and the mountains”

“It is Well” by Bethel Music

“Far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see, and this mountain that’s in front of me, will be thrown into the midst of the sea.  It is well with my soul.”

And I continue to have songs that resonate with me more different weeks or seasons.  What song or songs do you cling to?  What songs give you hope, peace, comfort, support on your journey?

The Comfort Zone

Do you ever find yourself going in the same stall in the bathroom just because you’re used to that one?

Or, do you always park near the same place because it’s what you’ve always done?

I found myself doing these exact things and really thought about my comfort zone.  Perhaps a different stall might be even better, or cleaner, or have purple toilet paper!

My comfort zone is a place where I have experienced certain things and outcomes and know exactly what to expect. It’s comfortable there.

What I also began to realize was my comfort zone kept me in a place that I wasn’t supposed to be, but it was what I knew. I called it my comfortable hell.

I was miserable. I knew God wanted something else for me. And yet, I also knew what would happen if I stayed because I was comfortable there.

God wants us to find comfort in Him, not in our circumstances.

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 (NIV)

Are you in a place, a relationship, a job, a home, a city, a Starbucks rut…. whatever?!?! that God is calling you out of? Is He asking you to step out and trust Him? Then your comfort might just be what is holding you back.

One thing I have learned is that if you seek God with all your heart and follow his will you won’t be residing in a comfort zone for very long. And once you get to a comfortable place, He’ll ask you to change something again!

See, God wants us to consistently and constantly trust in Him. And if we are relying on ourselves and our comfort zone then He doesn’t usually get honored and get credit for what’s going on in our lives. Comfort is a place we can handle on our own. Instead, if we step into a place God calls us where we are unequipped, nervous, or not ready then we have to rely on God. We have to trust Him.

That is His favorite place to shine! He loves to be the strength in our weakness, the comfort in our storms, and the peace in our dark valleys!

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s Power my rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

So, if God is asking you to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him, know that your choice will be rewarded greatly!

And in the meantime go ahead and try out a different bathroom stall! 😜

Is Keto a Fad Diet?

Well, the keto diet sure is all the rage right now. Keto is short for Ketogenic. The basic gist is to eliminate all carbs and eat a high fat and high protein diet to put your body into ketosis- which is a fat burning mode.

This diet eliminates many vegetables, most fruits, and all sugars.

Green Smoothie Girl wrote an excellent article with the help of 22 experts about low carb diets like keto.  Read it here.

Here’s my opinion on this and basically any other diet plan out there:

If you are sick or trying to heal a certain diet with strict rules might be just right for you.

In my personal healing journey I did the GAPS diet where I started out eating just bone broth for two weeks. That’s about as strict as you can get besides fasting. And this diet was something I needed to heal. I totally believe that there are certain diets for certain issues.

I don’t believe that rules of a diet, such as keto, are for everybody for a lifetime. Perhaps a season, but not a lifetime. Strict rules are not sustainable, meaning they get burdensome and no fun to follow after awhile. Who wants to live their lives feeling deprived all the time? Not me!

See, all diets were created for one particular individual. And the rules meet the needs of that one person. More than likely you are not that person. Perhaps there are a few pieces that might work for you, but the whole thing isn’t suited for your body- again as long as you are not trying to heal.

Plus, God created our bodies to need fruits, veggies, carbs, and meat. If we’re not eating all of these then our bodies are being deprived of some form of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, amino acids, or so many other things. With that being said, I don’t believe we need to have meat every meal. Perhaps once a week or a few times a month might be enough for your body.

So, how are we supposed to eat healthy, lose weight, and create longevity in our lives?

That’s exactly what I help clients do! Figure out what works for their unique body!

Do some experimenting to see what foods give you energy and what foods take away energy. Simply paying attention to how you feel after eating a certain food can give you a lot of information.

And I might add that what is healthy for one person may not be healthy for you! In addition, our bodies need different things during different seasons of our lives. So, what works for you this year may need to be adjusted next year, or in five years.

If all this is too overwhelming to try and figure out on your own, let me know! I’d love to help you figure out what foods your body needs so you can create a healthy lifestyle, not just a diet.

This Just Isn’t My Day

You ever had one of those days?!?! You know what I’m talking about. Nothing is going right and everything is going wrong.

You woke up late, spilled coffee on your shirt, had a flat tire, got a ticket, late for work, the boss is grouchy, and…..

We’ve all experienced days like this at some point (maybe even lots of them).

There was one particular sentence I heard on the radio that changed my perspective on these types of days.

I was listening to an interview on Sirius The Message with Jamie Grace. She was telling about a time when she was growing up. She was having one of these particular days and explaining all the wrong things to her dad. She said, “It just isn’t my day.” Her Dad responded with a life changing thought. He said,

“Of course it’s not your day! This is the Lord’s day. Be thankful and rejoice in it!”

At first my heart felt victimized. But don’t you hear all these bad things?!?! And then I realized I was focusing on me and my problems. So, I took a moment to let this truth sink in.

Um, yeah…. today is not my day. This day belongs to God. And for that reason, when I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I can rejoice anyways. Because I have the one who holds the world in his hands living in my heart. And for that I am beyond thankful.

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!”

What can you be thankful for in the middle of the mess?

Just Breathe

So, I’ve had a pretty emotional few days and wondered what in the world I was going to write about today because I’m still in an emotional roller coaster. I decided to just write what was on my mind:

Sometimes life sucks.

Something unexpected happens and pulls the rug out from under your feet. Or something not so pleasant happens that you know is going to happen and it still sucks.

So what are we to do?!?!

My advice is to just breathe.

Breathe in the breath of God.

In Genesis 2:7 it says,

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Without God’s breath this man would not have come alive. AND, it is the same today. Every single being comes to life with the breath of God.

Have you ever heard a baby take its first breath and cry? Guess what?!?! God did that! He breathed His breath into that little, precious miracle.

In addition, every single breath we take we are filling ourselves with the breath of God. Imagine that resurrection power entering our nostrils, traveling to the lungs, entering the blood stream, and what that power is capable of. 🤔

Johnny Diaz sings a song called, Just Breathe, that is such a good reminder for me.

Last week I posted a video on my Facebook page about anxiety. And in that video I discuss one way of breathing to help calm anxiety. And sometimes we could use to focus on the breath to just make it through the day- whether we have anxiety or not.

From a health perspective, breathing can calm the central nervous system allowing us to process the emotions instead of storing them inside our bodies as toxins. (I love talking about emotions and our bodies by the way! Perhaps a blog post topic for the future.) The less toxic we are the better our bodies function and the better we think and feel.

Yes, breathing can help with all that. Wowie! So, today, in the midst of the emotional struggle I’m going to focus on breathing. Breathing in the breath of God.

What life events or struggles have you had that pulled the rug out from under you? Comment below so we can support, encourage, and pray for one another.

Who I am.

Wanna know a bit more about me?  I recently took the Gallup Strengths Finder 2.0 online test. I thought I would share what I discovered.

I really didn’t find my results surprising.  However, it is really helpful to know your strengths so you can focus your efforts on what you’re good at doing.

Here are my top 5 strengths:

#1 LEARNER

“People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.”

I am definitely a life-long learner.  My husband often gets frustrated because I’m always wanting to go, try, and learn new things instead of keep going with what I know.  It’s just in my nature to learn, and I have an intense deep desire to do so. Bring on the self-help books!

#2 INPUT

“People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.”

I think this goes right along with being a learner.  And yes, I do store away little tidbits of info – like the names of the different kinds of columns in the Greek era.  Haha!! Or that the area of your entire digestive system is the size of a tennis court.

#3 EMPATHY

“People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.”

Me being an empath is super great for my clients!  I am compassionate, understanding, a great listener, and can guide you where you want to go.  On the other hand, being an empath is challenging for my personal self.  I often take on the feelings of others as if they were my own, large groups of people overwhelm me, and I cry at Folgers Coffee commercials.  Haha!

#4 CONNECTEDNESS

“People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.”

I definitely believe in divine intervention, and that God puts people in certain places at certain times.  My faith is strong and I use it to guide me daily.  I also believe the best about everybody.

#5 ACHIEVER

“People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.”

Earlier in my life I would’ve called this part of myself perfectionism (my friends called it over-achiever).  While I’ve had much counseling on being a perfectionist, I feel like that part of me has dwindled away almost completely (not totally though! Ha!).  If I have an assignment or a task that needs accomplished you can bet your little tush it’s going to get finished.

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So, why learn about your strengths?

Learning about your strengths can give you an idea of where to focus your talents.  If you’re a construction worker, then you’re not going to focus your time on trying to be the best cake maker out there.  It’s not relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish.  In the same way, we have the opportunity to focus on our strengths as related to our goals and possibly outsource the other tasks to someone else.

Yes, perhaps a construction worker needs a cake for a daughter’s birthday.  But, there are a ton of places that bake amazing cakes.  And if the construction worker doesn’t have time to bake a cake, then outsourcing that task to someone who’s talents include baking cakes could be a time-saving, energy-saving, stress-reducing choice.

Same with us.  If it’s not in our bag of tricks, it drains us, or we don’t have the time (Let’s face it, we could all use more time, right?!?!) then perhaps outsourcing parts of what we need to do would not only benefit us, it also allows others to share their amazing strengths with us.

What is something in your life you could use a little help with?

 

I am willing.

Imagine this:

You’re a young girl, engaged to the man of your dreams, life is amazing, and then…. you get pregnant.  And it’s not his.

Stop for just a moment and imagine what you would be feeling, what you would be saying, what you would be hearing….

This probably wouldn’t be the highlight moment of your life.

Your soon to be husband would probably leave you, your family might disown you, and your friends – well – no longer friends.  Life is all of a sudden not so amazing.

2017-12-19 16.02.58

But for Mary all was well.  But not because of her.  Because God.

God sent an angel to Joseph to let him know to go through with the wedding, and Mary hadn’t been cheating on him.   Mary’s family was excited and she gained more friends and support than she could’ve ever imagined.

We’ve probably heard the story of the virgin birth a bazillion times.  Yet, something new popped out for me this year.

So, in Luke chapter one, an angel comes to visit Mary to tell her she’s going to have a baby.  And not just any baby, but the son of God.  And it’s not going to be Joseph’s.  Here’s the part that jumped out at me:  She says, “I am willing to be used of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.”  (Luke 1: 38 NLV)

“Let it happen to me as you have said.”

Did you catch that?  She didn’t freak out, fuss, argue, complain, or throw a fit.  She said, “I am willing.”  How many times has life thrown us a curve ball and we’ve just said, “I am willing.”  I’m pretty sure I’ve never said that.  HA!

Yet, I’m also pretty sure that when that curve ball is from God, if we choose to go with the flow and allow God to do his thing, then all will be well (not meaning perfect, but well).

Mary had her baby.  Not at home with a midwife, but in a barn far from home with Joseph (who was probably freaking out, right?!?!).  And the baby was perfect – literally.  All was well.

I’m willing to learn a lesson from Mary this year.  When God tugs at my heart, or calls me to a higher purpose, perhaps next time I’ll go willingly, knowing the one who hung the stars is working on my behalf.

I encourage you to open the Christmas story again for yourself this year.  Perhaps something new might pop out at you too!

Merry Christmas!

With peace and love,

Carrie

If you need encouragement this Christmas season, reach out!  To me, to someone you love, a friend.  Don’t put off for tomorrow what you could do today.