Put the light on…

Hey friends,

It’s been a while. Where has the time gone? Can you believe the month of May is slowly creeping on us, I cannot believe it. It was never my intention to be gone for this long. Every so often  I would think about sending out a hello piece, but struggled to find better reasons besides saying, hello. It is important for me that when I do decide to share a piece, it would always come from a now, and transparent place.

As someone who appears strong, confident and sure of herself it’s so easy for people to assume you have your shit together.

‘You always look so good, It’s hard to believe you’ve been through so much’.

What does mental illness look like to you?

Do you know anyone personally that has/is suffering from this illness?

Would you know if you were suffering with it yourself?

What are your triggers?

Can you identify ONE trigger and what has been your coping mechanisms to help you manage?

I am astonished each time I get into conversation with people who for whatever reason simply refuse to get their minds around the fact that I once suffered from this illness/disease and even more, my audacity to claim to be a victor of mental illness.

Sometimes we are mad at people because we want them to love us in a way they don’t know how to.

From the age of 16 I was diagnosed with bi-polar, on medication, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, behavioural therapies, you name it, I had them all. The cycle perpetuated itself, suicide attempts, hospital visits after the other, drug abuse, bad financial decisions that would lead me making poor friendship choices, abusive relationships, and consequently making grave decisions that took me to rock bottom. Until the dimg_1536ay I was presented with  four decisions to make: prison, mental institute, grave or life. Some days I fall humbly to my knees, thankful to God that I chose life. And that His mercies never gave up on me.

You are looking at a victor of mental illness, a victor of someone who did not know that the mind had to be renewed on a daily basis. That you do eventually become how you think. My thoughts were toxic to say the least, thoughts of abuse from a young age, thoughts of abandonment, thoughts of being unloved, rejected…

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.

Today I found myself struggling to get my day-to-day shores completed. All of the sudden, with no warning signs. I found my self procrastinating on things that would otherwise take no time at all. Refusing to accept the truth, I phoned a friend. It was in our conversation, the heart of the matter was revealed. My transparent moment became the reason behind this blog. Through this conversation he told me to retrace my steps and rewind the days leading up to today. It soon became apparent I had been inconsistent with one of my daily habits, and the scariest part of it. It had only been two weeks. Had I known two weeks of missing the gym would’ve made such an impact in my mental health, I think for sure I would’ve reconsidered. I must add this also, I haven’t even as much suffered a ‘down’ day, or ‘low-mood’ day, until today.

But, one thing I can say is that It is so important to be in tune with the triggers that cause you to revert. You must start to understand what triggers you.  You have to protect yourself from these triggers. The same way you would protect your home with a burglar alarm.  My safety net is Jesus. When He told me several years ago that my very life depended on me exercising. I didn’t completely understand it, so I developed an inconsistently consistent habit.  That was until last August. After loosing several family members things were becoming harder and emotions were becoming heavier. I knew besides church and prayer. I had to be more consistent with my pursuit of well being than I’d been in the last 5 years.

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Since January I’ve been attending the gym 3-5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I’m no where close to my fitness levels or weight goal, but; each morning at 6.30am I find myself down a familiar road, walking and talking with Him. No interruptions; just the two of us, desperate to hear Him, but happy to just be still. I get to watch the first sunrise, and marvel at His creation. Yes, the gym for is so much more than just an institution to build physical muscles and the delights of me one day fitting into my favourite skinny jeans. It has become my training field for so many of the other things I see Him working in me.I am beginning to see the discipline of turning your desire into delight and it makes my soul happy.

 

You could say, missing the gym even for a day could have unwarranted side affects. Like today’s sudden melt down.  Truth is I am human. I live in a body. My flesh is constantly throwing its dummy out of the pram desperately seeking attention. Putting the light on it and revealing its ugliness is one way of me fighting back. Today has been a  wake up to the reality that yes, although I’ve come out of depression, after battling with it for 15 years without medication, or counselling.  It was sobering to say the least, and being awaken to my triggers is the greatest help. And my need for Jesus as my healer and constant life support. I’m honoured to be His patient among many things. There is no doubt that day(s) like these will resurface. But I am living proof that there is a God. There is NO pit too deep that He cannot dig you out from. He will bring everything that this world had tainted and work it together for good.

The contradiction of life is that I am experiencing one of my most fruitful seasons. Busy, productive and beautiFULL. Each day I am discovering His goodness in a new way. I even took the step of faith and started that new business which i’ve put off for quite some time. I’m also currently in the process of moving homes, and schools with a teenage son who is also on his journey discovering this gift we call life, and trying to figure out his purpose in the plan of God’s big tapestry. All the while finding my feet in many unchartered and unfamiliar fields, with different projects I will share with you all as time goes on. img_1322

 

I do not pen my heart for follows, or likes. I  do this for you. You might be that  ONE person who feels that their life makes no sense. Fed up of the sameness and monotony of your journey. You might have woken up today wishing you hadn’t. Believe me, I was the same. Some days I begged God to take my life. Just so I wouldn’t have to face another painful reminder of the past and scars. So, before you end it all, throw in the towel, check out. Please believe that there is a God. He loves you so much, that He sent Jesus to die for you. I am living proof of His restoration.

Being transparent is so important, we cannot heal if we remain masked. I know for me I gravitate to people  who allow me to see their true authentic self. And the truth is said for those who have connected with me, in times past and even today. People are drawn to the real you, not the pretend you. For so many years i’ve shared my story in bite-sizes and it has been that level of transparency that have allowed me to form lasting relationships. Being courageous to dare to reveal, and refusing to skirt around my truth has helped healed so many, including myself.

I dare you to reveal

 

I know it’s not always easy, and sometimes it feels safer to  hold back. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to be received if we were to put it all out there, So I understand. This is why it is so important to use wisdom and discernment. And even for me, I share a lot but there’s still so much that I’ve yet to disclose. This is partly because I am under submission to my fathers will. Whatever gets disclosed have to be for the greater good of revealing His goodness in my tests, and to give testimony to His goodness. Anything more outside of that, well for me is irrelevant.  Make no mistakes about it, the beauty in restoration is that it affects everything. Nothing remains the same. The exteriors and interiors have to be demolished in order for the building (you/I) to be remade.

I see us living in restoration mansion together. I see broken men and women being restored back to wholeness. I see masks falling off, and laughter being the sound theme of the every room in our homes. I see scars being supernaturally healed, and relationships revived.

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Jeremiah 31:4

Once again I will build you up,  and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel.

Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people

These were the words I read the week I heard God saying to me that He himself will rebuild my life. I believe this to be the truth for every one of you reading this entry today. As I conclude for today I feel that someone needs to know that the God of heaven and earth is in the business of rebuilding, repairing and  reviving.

Stone by stone He will rebuild our lives. 

God is not wasteful, and nothing you have ever been through will ever be wasted. Lets ‘go-again’ and  get on this road trip together.

 

Mirror mirror on the wall, let me re-introduce myself to you. And it all started with Hello…

 

Signed,

Jewelbygrace

 

Hello…

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My name is Jewel. I am marvellously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation.

Today I decided that I would finally stop running away.

I don’t know who you are. And the reason you’ve chosen to follow my blog. But I promise there is a reason. Together we will discover that reason and find healing and restoration by grace.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m tired of being that runaway kid. Sad to say, but I’ve run away for most of my life. Always shying away from things, commitment, in the fear of someone getting close to me, and inevitably hurting me. Pain has been an address I’ve been all to familiar with. So, in my defence running away has been my form of control in aiding the pain. When you’ve come from a place of brokenness and abuse you learn to protect yourself.

My voice was something I never liked to hear, or was never encouraged to share.

It’ll be 8 years in January when I made the decision to rededicate my life to Jesus christ. And what an interesting journey that’s been so far. I mean to tell you, it’s not like you’ve seen in the movies or even read in the novels. You have to personally take that leap of faith and get it for yourself. I would be doing you a great disservice if I were to even begin to explain how it’s been for me. This by far has been the most unveiling, therapeutic, self discoveries I’ve ever been on. I was born into a christian family, my father was a Bishop and part of the Oral Roberts board of ministers. He loved Dr Roberts so much he named me after his daughter, Jewel. I grew up as a church kid. I didn’t know much else and Jesus would become to me as real as the friend you speak to everyday. For me he soon became my hiding place, my safe place. Abused at the hands of those who were supposed to love and take care of me, I was at a loss. Everything I knew to be true, turned out to be a tale of lies. Trust was broken, my heart was in pieces.

In the year of 1997 I gave my life to Jesus, became radical and went evangelising with great desire and zeal but no knowledge. Soon my hasty feet will eventually miss the way. I wouldn’t say I gave up, more so fell into stagnancy. Church would be my place to hang out and socialise and very soon the place where hurt would reintroduce itself. This time I put on my running shoes and  ran so fast it would take over a decade for me to come back home.

One bad decision after the next I would find myself at a cross roads. 21 & chosen left holding the baby . Motherhood would be the making of me, allowing me to take ownership for my life.

We live with consequences but his grace enables us to live without shame, fear or guilt.

In 2016 I made a decision to finally stop running. So I started from the last place I ran away from: my church home. I will go into more details in other posts regarding this on/off relationship.

It’s not to say I am incapable of being committed, more so in fear of once committed, I would loose control.

Today I decided to get back to journaling. I’ve kept diaries for as long as I can remember. Since I was a young girl in primary school, I’d write entires often. Writing was my happy place. The place I can pour everything on and I wouldn’t leave feeling judged. With my keyboard I feel invincible, yet vulnerable at the same time. Deciding to blog was a whole new  level of exposure. Let’s face it we live in a critical society with onlookers who would rather look for fault to find, than applaud your courage to stand.

I knew the time would come for me to open up again. I’ve been through too much to keep my struggles and victories to myself. There is purpose in pain, it’s a sad but true statement.

My God is not wasteful and nothing we have been through can ever be wasted. If sharing my journey helps just one person, then it’s all been worth it.

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Signed,

Introducing Jewelbygrace