Since I started the Thankfulness Challenge I have gotten sick, taken two weeks off of work, returned to work though still not up to par and celebrated Thanksgiving with friends. The family by blood that I continue to be in relationship with were going to come to stay with me, but in light of me being ill and some things that are out of their control; like a car breaking down, closing on a new house, and needing to buy a new car on a fixed income, we decided that we would forgo this Thanksgiving together. This time of year has been hard for me most of my life due to trauma I experienced at the age of eleven, but the past two years of this journey I have been experiencing healing. I FEEL the sadness, want to avoid and hibernate, and yet I am choosing to live in the grace I’ve been given.
So being true to my word, though late as I usually am, I want to complete this challenge by getting caught up.
Day 14: Something New
I’m thankful for my new house. It is the first home I have bought and I did it all on my own. This is a big deal because I never had the confidence or the discipline to be a good steward with my finances as I was consistently taking care of irresponsible people and neglecting to take care of myself. I have not felt safe for most of my life, living out of boxes has been my norm, and yet I am finding great comfort here and making a place of my own. I am thankful for the way God orchestrated the events that lead to this home being mine. And I can’t wait to share with some little ones!
Day 15: Experience
I am thankful for the experience of going to Woman Camp. Twice a year my church holds camps for men, couples and women. It is an awesome time to unplug from the daily grind and spend time in nature with other sisters in Christ, to be still and hear His voice, and to fellowship with other women. It’s not that I don’t have this at home or in my community, it is the experience of the larger community of women from all walks of life with different and yet similar stories of brokenness, in need of Jesus.
Day 16: Recipe
Orange Fluff. My mom use to make this dessert that we never really knew the name of it, but after she died my best friend from high school, her family and my son started calling it Orange Fluff. It’s cottage cheese, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, manderine oranges and orange Jello powder. When having a pot luck, this is what I’m usually asked to make it. I’m thankful for how easy it is, that everyone loves it and that I think about my mom when I make it… and as we share it, those who knew my mom usually bring memories of her into the conversation.
Day 17: Store
I am thankful for the stores I shop at. I have quite an array of stores I frequent monthly depending on my needs. I think I’m most thankful for Aldi. They have changed in the past five years since I moved to the area in which I now live. The quality of food has greatly improved and they now carry Gluten Free products. Plus you can’t beat the prices. I have to start watching my spending habits since hopefully be spring I will be fostering-adopting some little ones.
Day 18: Quote
I am thankful for the quote my therapist spoke to me in one of our first sessions. “My hope for you is that one day instead of your story being the yuck of your life, your story will be to tell of Him.” I have clung to those words. I had always believed that there has to be more to life than what it had been. And now I believe that there IS more to life and I am seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I am thankful that my story is becoming a story that tells of HIM.
Day 19: Clothing
I have issues with liking my body. I have been rejected because of the size and the way I look so it is natural for me to try and cover it with baggy clothes to hide it; hoping no one will want it or want me to let them in. It has been a covering of protection both my weight and the clothes I use to conceal what I despise. Two years ago I took medication to lose weight and was successful; however when off the medication I gained half the weight back. Granted I have been dealing with some heavy, painful and heart wrenching stuff since then, I still hate it that I’ve gained the weight. I feel like a failure. I’m learning that this is not my identity though. And that I am more than what I weigh or what my body looks like. I’m struggling with the feelings and the impulse to stuff my emotions by eating. And it’s not really the number on the scale. It is about how I feel. And I felt comfortable in that lighter body. I have always joked about my shoes being my favorite clothing because they are a small size that never changes and I always look great. I recently found some LulaRoe outfits that I feel comfortable in and think look great. Still I’m aware of how I actually feel at a deeper level. I’m thankful that God is showing me that it doesn’t matter what I wear, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Day 20: Keepsake
I am thankful for the keepsake of my hope chest my mother started for me when I was a teenager. It is mostly Princess House Crystal dishes. It is what I used last year when I started the tradition of hosting Christmas Eve for some of my single friends. I’m thankful that even in the midst of our dysfunctional family, mom thought out and planned for my future. She never said whether this was for when I get married or just what exactly, but it was quite a bit of money she spent on just me. I have waited for marriage for years to use the stuff and last year I decided, no more waiting! Time to start living!
Day 21: Disappointment/Fear
Though my first inclination is to say that I have been greatly disappointed in this life, I can not negate the fact that I have greatly blessed. Two years ago I was full of fear. I was afraid of Bully Girl. I was afraid of Blob. I was like a child afraid of getting in trouble. I was afraid of speaking, feeling and trusting. I was afraid of failing and succeeding. I was afraid of going back and of moving forward. I was afraid of the reality of the past and the future so I lived in a false reality. I was afraid what my abusers said about me was true. I was afraid that this was all there was to life, but had hope there was more. I was afraid to live and to breathe. This is what Complex Trauma is like. So now, a little more than two years into this journey, I can say WAS to those fears… for the most part. I do continue to experience them, but they no longer control me. I am still disappointed. Disappointed at what life has dealt me, taken from me, and stolen from me. There is no restitution for any of that. And yet I believe God will somehow redeem the wasted years. And for that I am so thankful!
Day 22: Book
Oh my!! I am a Bibliophile! I love books! I love big books! I usually read about three to four books at a time; however lately I have been focusing on only two at a time because of the weightiness of the content. I think I am most thankful for my Bible. I believe it is God’s love letter to me. He speaks truths to me and about me that are replacing the negative words and lies the enemy used through my abusers to deceive me all these years. People say there is no instruction book for life or for raising kids and I think that is so false! I am thankful that the Bible is our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
Day 23: Feeling
To be honest y’all, I’m thankful for each and every feeling that I have! For most of my life I had experienced some love and hate, but mostly fear and numbness. When I entered counseling, I could not tell you what I was feeling. My counselor said she knew three things about me when I started seeing her. I hated Bully Girl, I was deathly afraid of Blob and I missed my Person. She had me start to use the Feeling Wheel by Gloria Wilcox. She even found an app for Apple users that prompts and helps you identify your feelings, recording whom you are with and in what situation your are in at that time. I had to write in a note book the definitions of each feeling in order to determine what I was feeling. Now I am able for the most part to identify how I am feeling without reading the definitions. Despite how hard the pain of trauma recovery is, I am so thankful that I can now feel and identify those feelings.
Day 24: Photo
This has been a touchy subject. I love photos just about as much as I love music, writing, books and being active. Bully Girl moved into the family home. And though I was told I could have the pictures; because I was the only one interested and I was doing the family genealogy; she took it upon herself to say that I could not have them. She proceeded to go through all of our parent’s pictures and divvy out what she thought each of us should get. As usual, she was in control and Blob let her do what she wanted. So I ended up with a box of pictures that were of me, some of my niece and nephews, but seventy-five percent of the pictures were of our parent’s friend’s kid’s weddings. Junk. When asked about the other pictures and albums by Blob, she asked him to make sure I didn’t get them. So this has been something I have had to process through and though it still sends pains of anger and sadness up my spine, I am okay with not having them. I am thankful for the handful that I do have because honestly, they are pictures of the happier times we experienced.
Ahhh… I’m caught up! Though done in a blitz fashion, I have not taken these topics lightly. I am just really thankful for this journey and what God is doing in my life. Day 25 coming up later today! Daylight is burning and I have stuff to get done! So thankful for Saturdays!!