RheasOfHope

one girl's thoughts on life, eating disorder, and self harm recovery and, above all, hope…with a healthy dose of fun and education on the side

When you gather seashells April 7, 2014

“Here’s a good one!” my sister exclaims as she bends down into the gulf water and pulls out a glistening white shell with purple streaks.

 

“But it is broken. Throw it back. We don’t want that one” I reply.

 

“No, look at the swirl pattern on the top. It’s really cool looking. I’m keeping it so I can use that pattern in my ceramics glaze.” she retorts as she gingerly places the broken shell in my shoe (our make-shift shell carrier).

 

This exchange got me thinking…what makes a shell a “good” shell; a shell worthy of toting 1,000 miles back to Cincinnati? Does it need to be fully intact, or is broken still beautiful? Does it have to be all one color, or can it be multi-hued? Does it have to be smooth, or can it have ridges? As it turns out, there are a lot of snap judgments being made about each shell as I carefully bend over to examine its worthiness to be extracted from the ocean and placed in my Toms.  This immediately led me to think about my recovery; as that has been a major concern on my mind lately.  The question, “What makes a shell worthy” became, “What makes a person worthy”. Is it their fully intact-ness, or is it their brokenness that makes them worthy? Does perfection make them worthy, or can they show flaws? Again, snap judgments come into play as we deem worthiness in ourselves.

 

To our eating disorders, worthiness is very clearly spelled out: one can only be worthy if they listen to exactly what the eating disorder tells them to do; worthiness is completely hingent upon following ED’s made up and completely nonsensical rules. Neither binging nor purging, neither restricting nor over-exercising, neither self-harm nor addiction can make a person worthy…despite what our eating disorder will try to tell us. Worthiness is found in one’s character and actions, not in their ability to excel in an eating disorder or other addiction. Worthiness is found in the size of one’s heart, not in the size of their jeans. Worthiness is found in one’s ability to care for themselves as much as they care for others, not in caring for others over themselves.  Worthiness is found in one’s ability to love themselves so much that they choose to ignore ED’s constant berating remarks. Worthiness is found in recovery. Worthiness is found in living a life in which our actions, our character and our heart show that we believe that we are worthy of a life without ED.  At first ED will tell us that we are completely unworthy for not following her every whim. However, as we break away from her choke hold, we will see other qualities in ourselves that make us worthy of love, happiness and life. Because, let me tell you, we are ALL worthy of that no matter what ED tries to say.

 

What qualities and characteristics about yourself make you worthy? It can be anything from your ability to nurture others or nurturing yourself when you know you need it. Your worthiness can be something like being a very good scheduler to something like being a wonderful listener. Worthiness, however, can only be found in recovery; worthiness is never found in ED.

 

Some of my sister's numerous shells

Some of my sister’s numerous shells

Zephaniah 3:15 and 17

The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

When you visit the manatees January 26, 2014

Recently, my friend Hannah and I went to the Cincinnati Zoo so she could teach me how to use my camera. As we stopped in the manatee exhibit, I stared in awestruck wonder at the grace and beauty at the two rescued manatees, Betsy and Abigail, as they floated through the water. The Cincinnati Zoo partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Program to house and care for the manatees until they are ready to be re-released into the wild. Some of the manatees were rescued as an adult; Betsy was rescued at age 18, and is now 22. While some were rescued as calves; Abigail was found orphaned in Florida and is only a year-and-a-half old. So, why, you may ask, am I writing about rescuing manatees on a blog about mental health and recovery? Excellent question my dear reader. The more I thought about the Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release program, the more it reminded me of eating disorder recovery.

            Both Betsy and Abigail were living in Florida when, for one reason or another, their lives were deemed in danger and they were transported to a location in which they could receive proper care. It is at this second location that the manatees receive the rehabilitation, medical attention, and care necessary to, ideally, return to the wild.  Some manatees, like Betsy, remember their life outside of the rehabilitation center. While some manatees, like Abigail, have lived their entire lives within the glass windows of the rehabilitation center. To me, the lives of these manatees have a direct parallel to ED recovery.

            For those of us with eating disorders, our lives ARE in danger; anywhere between 3% and 5% of those diagnosed with an eating disorder will die from the disease (Walter Kaye, MD). While the types of danger in our lives are not the exact same as the manatees—as I believe our risk of getting hit by a boat while walking down the street is very unlikely—our lives are in jeopardy nonetheless. From heart failure and electrolyte imbalances to kidney failure and gastric rupture, eating disorders destroy our bodies and lives. Once it has been determined that our lives are endangered, we must move to a second location. Be it outpatient, inpatient, partial, group therapy, or something else entirely, we must move into some form of treatment plan in order to regain our lives from this deadly disease; no one recovers from an eating disorder alone. No matter the level or location of treatment, we receive the care, education and medical attention necessary to fully recover. It is through treatment that we learn skills necessary to defeat Ed, stand up for our health and are able to return to the “wild” without turning to Ed to cope. Similar to the manatees, there are some of us who remember our lives before Ed and some of us who have lived our entire lives in Ed’s aquarium. Regardless of whether or not you can remember a life before Ed, through treatment (and ultimately recovery), you can have a life without Ed.

            In essence, these manatees reminded me that recovery is possible. And not only is it possible, it is real! It will take work—hard work—patience and grace with ourselves, but recovery, real and sustained recovery, is possible. Never forget that.

Photography has always been an immensely valuable tool in my recovery, so here are some of my photos from  my day at the zoo…

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The Cincinnati Zoo chose this photo of their bonobo as their pic of the week!

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Crocodile monitor lizard

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Red Panda

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Not the greatest photo…but it is Betsy (background) and Abigail (foreground)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

 

When it is your birthday… January 7, 2014

So tomorrow, January 8th , is Stephen Hawkings’ birthday…and Carl Rogers’ birthday…Elvis Presley’s birthday…oh, and mine too. When you are little, birthdays are a BIG deal. You had to have a theme; mine was typically Disney. You had to tell everyone you knew that your birthday was coming up; usually proclaiming the whole month as your “birthday month”. And there was nothing more embarrassing than wondering what do when everyone is staring at you staring at your cake while singing “Happy Birthday”. Well, now that I am no longer 8 years old, birthdays look a little different around my house. There are no elaborate Disney-themed parties, I do not tell everyone I see that January is my birthday month (barely anyone around me even knows that tomorrow is my birthday), and I sill have no idea what to do when people sing to me (good thing that does not happen with relative frequency).

Tomorrow I will be 26! Basically, what I am trying to say is that I am grateful to have made it to 26, even though that number makes me feel old (I realize 26 is not old my anyone’s standards). I have learned a lot in these years such as: not to put keys in light sockets and that maybe those blonde highlights in my black hair in 7th grade was not as great of an idea as I had thought. I have also learned a little bit about recovery; mostly through trial and error and my conversations with those support my recovery. In honor of my 26th birthday, I present to you the 26 things I learned about recovery:

1)      Everyone, yes everyone, is worthy of recovery. Sometimes our disease tries to tell us differently, but EVERYONE is worthy of and deserves recovery.

2)      Recovery is not linear. There will be ups and downs; there will the plateaus, peaks and valley; but I promise you, we will get there…all of us.

3)      Small steps towards recovery are often healthier and longer lasting than giant leaps. We cannot rush recovery no matter how frustrated we may get with taking those small steps.

4)      Mentoring! I know there is no way I would have been able to stay on the path to recovery without my amazing mentors past and present. This is why I am so steadfast about the importance of mentoring on recovery.

5)      When in doubt, write it out. You do not have to have proper grammar, spelling or even full sentences. No one is going to judge your personal writing. Write down the good, the bad and the amazing! I always feel it is better to get out whatever emotions I have than it is to let it weigh on my chest.

6)      Ed’s thoughts do not have to be your thoughts. “Sure,” you say, but it is true. With lots of practice, time and thought reframing, I am able to take Ed’s thoughts for what they are and then reframe them into recovery-oriented thoughts.

7)      The DSM is not meant to disqualify you from the treatment you deserve; although it does do that sometimes. No matter what the diagnosis, or even a lack of diagnosis, everyone deserves treatment.

8)      I have learned that there is a person that exists outside of my eating disorder and that she is deserving of life and love.

9)      You cannot change the hurtful and insensitive comments about weight, appearance and dieting that others make. However, to continue down the path to recovery, you CAN change your responses to those comments.

10)   There is absolutely no shame whatsoever in asking for and accepting help when you need it. Asking for help indicates a very high level of strength and dignity within you; a level of strength and dignity that acknowledges the fact that you deserve recovery.

11)  Despite what both Ed and society will tell you, food has no moral value. There are no “good” or “bad” foods and neither does eating these foods determine whether one is, themselves, morally “good” or “bad”. Food is food, nothing more.

12)  Every time you do something you genuinely enjoy, you are taking back a piece of yourself from your eating disorder.

13)  There is always a little grey in a situation even if it only appears to be black and white.

14)  Recovery will take time; it is not instantaneous. Just as it took time for your eating disorder to develop, it will take time to recover as well.

15)  Have grace with yourself. Grace is one the most important tools I have learned in recovery.

16)  No one can recover alone. Finding and maintaining a kind and knowledgeable support team is essential. Support teams should be a good mix of professionals, friends and family. With me, my support staff is mainly friends and professionals as most people in my family do not know or understand that I have an eating disorder…which brings me to…

17)  Some people will never understand what an eating disorder is or what it is like to have one. These people will simply never “get it”, and that is ok. The important thing to remember is to continue striving for recovery even if people around you do not understand. Besides, recovery is for you, not for those around you.

18)  Recovery is not always easy. Sometimes it is downright hard. In spite of this, do not use recovery being challenging as an excuse to stop. Recovery may be difficult, but it is so worth it.

19)  Gratitude lists make me feel more positive about my recovery and my life. All too often I find myself dwelling on the negatives or the things during the day I could have done better, and that often leads to neglect of recovery. However, when I look past those things to find moments of gratitude, recovery becomes more important. The gratitude lists do not have to be grandiose things; they can be as simple as “I am grateful for the little boy who held the door open for me at Krogers” or “I am grateful that I got to see a squirrel furiously nibbling at an acorn on my front porch”.

20)  Mistakes are not failures. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” That is basically recovery in a nutshell. Use your mistakes–because they will happen–as learning opportunities and motivation to continue working towards recovery.

21)  Perfection does NOT exist. It never has and never will. Constant striving for this unattainable ideal of perfection only serves to frustrate us and allows Ed to flourish. Being genuinely ourselves is enough; no one is asking for perfection, despite what Ed may tell us.

22)  There is no shame in having a mental illness. We have come to a place in our society where there is this huge taboo on discussing mental illness, and having one is even more unmentionable. Where did this shame and stigma come from? Mental illnesses are not character flaws or wide-spreading contagious diseases or world destroying. It is time to lift the veil of stigma off of mental illness and dispel society’s myths and misconceptions about what they entail. There should not be a disgrace attached to mental illness.

23)  Visual reminders of recovery help me stay on the path to recovery. The reason I have recovery tattoos and wear my recovery rings (one says, “the journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step” and the other is the Scripture verse Jeremiah 29:11 “I have plans for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”) is because when I see them, I am reminded why I so desperately want recovery.

24)  Finding alternative thoughts and behaviors for when Ed steps in. I have a list by my computer of activities I can do when Ed wants me to engage in behaviors, they include: writing, photography, knitting, reading, or even taking a walk.

25)  Be honest with your doctors and/or therapists. When you lie, they know. They are not stupid people. And although we may think we pulled a fast one on them by lying, we did not…they know. Lying only slows down and hampers recovery. By being honest with doctors and/or therapists, they can help guide you in the right direction and assist you with further recovery.

26)  Find what you love about yourself and embrace it!

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got! I am only 26, it is not like I have a cache of sage advice. Always remember to take care of yourself and stay strong in recovery.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

When cleaning teaches you about recovery December 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rheasofhope @ 1:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It is always amusing to me the things I can find when cleaning out my grandmother’s basement. This was reaffirmed recently when I helped her clean her basement; it looked a little like the inside of a house featured on Hoarders: Buried Alive. A few of the things we found were interesting, such as: an atlas from her high school days in the 1950’s, the baby blanket she knit for me in 1987, and antique McCoy pottery. But, I also found some really uninteresting things as well: a 20-year-old copy of Women’s World, an entire dust bunny civilization (and I am fairly certain they are staging a coup), and a can of beans that expired in 1998. I also found some downright scary things: a taxidermied duck, an unintentionally dreadlocked Barbie, and photos of me. A newborn Rhea wrapped like a burrito in a pink hand-knitted blanket with a shock of black curls poking out of the top. A three-year-old Rhea dressed in pink OshKosh B’Gosh overalls gnawing on an ear of corn bigger than her head. A nine-year-old Rhea propped up on the 1970’s-style couch proudly showing off her newborn sister. And then…well…then there were a series of shots of me looking progressively sadder, shameful and embarrassed. So what happened? In a word, ED. As I dug further through my grandmother’s basement, I realized just how similar cleaning is to recovery.

 

As my grandmother and I carefully moved through her basement one thing became clear, we were not going to be able to keep all of the things she had accumulated over her 72 years. I quickly cleared out a corner and put up three signs: “Crap”, “Keep” and “Donate”.  While not thrilled with my use of the word crap, my grandmother acquiesced enough to give my system a try. Each time an item was unearthed from its basement tomb, it was inspected and sorted into its proper area of crap, keep or donate. Some items were easy to sort. Other times took her longer because of sentimental attachment, plans for future use, trying to determine what the object actually was, etc. Upon recovery-oriented examination, many of our eating disordered thoughts and behaviors can also be sorted this way. As we look at each belief or action we have about ourselves, the world and our eating disorder, we need to question whether it is: true, useful, purpose-serving, a defense mechanism, or something else entirely. Essentially, what purpose do each of these thoughts and behaviors have in your life, and are those purposes positive or negative? Is there any logic to why you are holding on to ED’s toxic beliefs? I am not saying the answers to these questions will be easy; my grandmother agonized over that 20-year-old magazine thinking she could make a recipe or craft out of it “some day” (note: that magazine ended up in crap, as living for “some day” only holds us back). I am saying, however, that that introspection into ED’s influence is very important towards working towards and sustaining recovery. Into which category (crap, keep or donate) would each of your thoughts and behaviors be sorted?

 

As we continued working, I wondered how my grandmother had amassed so much stuff in her basement. Did she throw it down there and shut the door, refusing to acknowledge it existed? Did she squirrel it away for later hoping to put it to use, but forgot about it? Was it a defense mechanism? I did not have the courage to ask her, but I did have the courage to ask myself.  I will spare you my sometimes rambling thought process and leave you with this: When thinking of how your eating disorder developed, and the purposed it serves/served in your life, what did you find?

 

Finally, my grandmother and I had cleaned out one room of her basement. The transformation was almost unbelievable. I learned the carpet was blue, I found an old ring that she let me keep, and I had a lot of time to think about my own recovery. However, the work did not end there; neither for my grandmother or my recovery. Now that my grandmother had these piles in her corner, she needed to figure out what to do with them. Much in the same way, we have these thoughts we have categorized into crap, keep and donate (although, I would not suggest donating any of ED’s belongings). Now what? It is important to put our newfound knowledge to recovery-oriented use; put your newly unearthed wisdom to work for you. One of Thom Rutledge’s nutshells is appropriate here, “Don’t let your insights live with you rent free. Put them to work.” Meaning, now that we have gained all of this insight into dealing with ED, we need to use it to further our recovery in whatever way we can. What is the use of having this insight if we do not use it?

 

Remember that recovery, like cleaning a basement, takes time. Be kind and gracious with yourself in the process.  You are worthy.

The powder factory by my house reminds me of my grandmother’s basement…do not enter (also, I took this photo)

 

Ephesians 5:15-16

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity”

 

When you find your talents November 22, 2013

“What are your talents, Miss Rachel?” my co-teacher questioned.

“Please?” I asked looking up from the tiny pink converse I had been tying.

“Your talents? What are your talents?” she reiterated.

 

I had been listening to my students share their talents as my co-teacher went around the circle during story time. When you ask two, three and four year olds about their talents the responses you get are priceless: I am good at playing outside, I am good at putting on my shoes, I am good at playing with my toys, I am good at going pee-pee on the potty…etc. Their responses seemed so automatic, so genuine. None of my ten students had to think very long when asked about his or her specific talents. I, however, took an inordinate amount of time.  What in the world is my talent? Ed chimed in, telling me I had no talent; so I should probably just listen to her and be good at an eating disorder. I decided that was NOT a talent. Finally, I decided my talent was reading. Reading aloud to my students is one area in which I do believe I have talent, and it is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.

 

My students and I had been studying the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and the concept seemed a little over their developmental abilities: after all, students at this age are not cognitively capable of making inferences or using abstract thinking. However, we decided that this parable was worth a try. For those unfamiliar with the parable, here is a brief summation. A very wealthy master decided to give three of his servants his gold (known as talents) while he went on a long trip. To the first he gave five talents, to the second he gave two, and to the third he gave one. The first servant put his talents to good use and doubled them, as did the second servant. The third servant, however, buried his in a hole and went about his life never giving a second thought to the talent he was given. When the master returned, each servant presented his talents. The master was pleased at the first two servants for doubling the talents given to them, but was outraged at the third servant and made him give the talent he did have to the first servant.

 

So what is the moral of this parable, you may ask? Through this parable, Jesus wanted to show his disciples that it is not the amount of talent that they were given that matters, it is how they use that talent to further the kingdom of God. Both the first and the second servants doubled their talents, and it pleased the master. The third servant hid his talent. and the master was less than thrilled. In the same way as the first and second servants, we must use the talents given to us by God. Instead of focusing on having fewer talents than others—as the third servant did–we need to recognize how much good we can do with the talents we do have. Instead of burying our talents out of shame that they are not as magnificent as those around us, we need to proudly use them to the best of our ability.

 

I have found myself, all too often, hiding my talents in the hole of my eating disorder, perfectionism, anxiety, self-harm, depression, low self-esteem and whatever else I have used…rather than acknowledging that I actually have talents that can not only benefit my life and recovery, but the lives of others. By acknowledging the talents I do have, I am able to see past the veil of Ed and work towards a more recovery-oriented mindset. Concentrating on our lack of talent and flaws only gives Ed a greater foothold in our lives. Conversely, by putting the spotlight on what we do well, Ed’s power diminishes and the glory of God shines through us.

 

What are your talents? What have you been doing to hide them? How can you use your talents to further your recovery, improve your quality of life and take back your life from Ed?

The stick my co-teacher made for each student (and me) to remind us of our talents

The stick my co-teacher made for each student (and me) to remind us of our talents. My cats decided to investigate it while I was taking a photo of it; they are odd.

Matthew 25:21

His [the servant's] master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

 

When it is your Recovery Anniversary November 12, 2013

Four years ago, I made a decision that drastically altered the path of my life; a decision that, ultimately, would lead me towards the path to recovery. But first, the really scary, really awkward, really intimidating initial step.

 

I stepped silently down the creaky basement stairs in the old house my college had converted into an office space. My boss had told me I should speak to one of her other workers about “my problem”; “she could really help you” she said. At the bottom of the stairs I saw Miranda (name changed to protect privacy), her brown bangs escaping her pixie cut as she sat in the floor putting together a display for the farmers’ market.

 

“Hey Rhea,” she said cheerfully with her typical enthusiasm and broad smile, “What’s up?”

 

I sat crossed legged on the floor near her as silently as I had crept down the stairs, admiring her work while picking at my nails. I noticed the vibrant blue of her eyes and the beauty of her tattoos as we sat there in awkward silence. I took a deep breath, “Miranda, the reason I came here today is that I spoke with Lynn (our boss, whose name has also been changed) and she said we might share some similar experiences. And I was just wondering if I could ask for your help because Lynn said you would be open to helping people like me and I just don’t know what to do because therapy isn’t working and Renée (my therapist, name not changed) doesn’t believe me that I’m sick and I am just so confused” I rambled in one long sentence while fighting back tears. I had done it; I admitted my disease to someone and things were never going to be the same…but for a positive this time. Miranda, the angel that she is, did not judge; she took my frightened, college student self under her wing and mentored me towards recovery for the next sixth months. And, on November 21, 2010 even though we had not spoken in months, she helped me through the anxiety and fear of my intake evaluation at the Lindner Center of Hope.

 

On November 11, 2009 I asked Miranda for help for a disease I had let rule my life for at least ten years. On November 11, 2009 I took the first step to recovery…to freedom.

Since that date:

I have drastically limited the frequency of my purging.

I have moved…three times.

I have quit using laxatives.

I graduated from college, received my teaching license, started work on a special education master’s degree, got at reading endorsement for my teaching license, and served two years in Americorps*.

I got my two recovery tattoos…and had one reworked

I have quit self-harming.

I have re-found my love of photography and writing.

I have upped the amount of calories I have a day.

I had an EKG and endoscopy…and became vegetarian.

I reached out to and made friends with the wonderfully beautiful and strong Meredith.

I have attended therapy sessions.

I have learned that my self-worth is not AT ALL correlated to my size.

I have learned that Ed never ever speaks the truth.

I started this blog and had it featured in NEDA’s blogroll.

I have given presentations and written articles to destigmatize EDs.

I participated in the NEDA walk in Washington DC…my first trip to our nation’s capital.

I have emailed the Secretary of State about passing bills and amendments that support research and funding to ED awareness.

I have continued with my passion of educating children.

I have gone to symphonies, weddings, museums, zoos, concerts, beaches, mountains and unfamiliar cities.

I have begun to separate myself from Ed…and I have never been happier or healthier.

Meredith and me at her wedding

Psalm 34:8 and 18

8: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him

18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

 

When you think about gratitude November 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rheasofhope @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

In the second grade, our teacher, Mrs. Platt, asked us to write a few sentences about gratitude. She then collected our responses, typed them on one of our school’s green-screened Macs, and made the resulting copies into Thanksgiving books for each student in the class. Given the fact that we were six and seven years old, we did not know a lot about what it meant to be grateful. In fact, had my teacher omitted our names, we would each have thought that we had written every entry. Many of us expressed gratitude for family, friends, food and a home. A remarkably large number of us included God in our entries; something that I am surprised, but pleased, we were allowed to do in our public school.

This exercise was the extent of our understanding of gratitude. It was never explained to us what being grateful actually entails. We merely thought about what we have in our life, and wrote down that we were grateful for it. Case in point, I wrote I was thankful for my cat, my parents, my toys, my cousins and my clothes. Wow, one point for originality.

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My contribution to the book

While I am still thankful for my cat (although now I have a different one than in my original writing), my mom and dad…and now my sister (I was an only child until I was nine), my cousins, my clothes, and my toys (adults have toys too, they just look like Nikon DSLR cameras and iPhones), I have come to realize that being grateful is about more than just people and things. In my precocious second-grader ways, I wrote two things that I did not really believe then, but do now, “I am thankful for being alive today” and “I am thankful for God for blessing me.” Nineteen years later, I realize how truly grateful I am to be alive and to be a recipient of God’s blessings.

After going through at least fifteen years of depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder…a broken nose and arm, a car accident, self-harm, being a first generation college student, a super annoying nail biting habit, serving in Americorps VISTA…I am alive. I have had the opportunity to experience all of those things because I am alive. While not every aspect of my life had been easy, neither has everything been difficult. And yet, through it all, I am alive. There is a purpose in my life greater than myself that has kept me alive despite everything I have been through. Because I am alive, I know that God is not done with me yet. There are still lessons to be learned, lessons to teach, mistakes to make, and who knows what else. The important thing is that I do not have to know. I must merely wake up each day grateful for the opportunity to learn God’s lessons, teach lessons, and make mistakes. Who would have ever thought I, the perfectionist, would be grateful for the ability to make mistakes?

If Mrs. Platt were still around, I would write this to be included in our book:

I am grateful for the ability to make mistakes; for in making mistakes I learn lessons, grow stronger as a person, and gain insight into who I am as an imperfect human. I am grateful that God has blessed me, or chosen not to bless me in certain situations, with everything that He sees fit; His will is not my own. I am grateful for my recovery and the support from others I have received along the way; there is something truly remarkable that dwells in the heart of those who serve others. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers, the frost on the autumn leaves, the way my cat, Rowan, is always ready for a game of fetch, and a quiet walk through the fields of my friend’s farm.  I am grateful to be alive and for the ability to experience everything it has to offer.

 

Colossians 3:15-17

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms,hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

 
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