Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I created myself and ruined your view of what a Christian "should" be like.

Trust me, I'm just like you. You might not admit it to anyone else but I know if you are reading this you can relate to me and we have similarities. Usually, people that are drawn to you are like you in some way. The old me, like a lot of other people, I think, came across differently to different groups of people. SO, if I was with my best friend, I was one way. If I was at church, I was another way. When I was at work I was another way. Now, don't get ahead of yourself and judge me.... I'm not saying I was like a hypocrite per say. What I am saying is that I couldn't be the person I am now in ALL settings.

Let me give you an example. If I was around my sister, I would never have a glass of wine or dare mention that I ever did. Why? She doesn't like it or believe in it. Why did I care? I'm not sure, really. Guess I didn't want to let her down. Another example would be at a place I worked where they were EXTREMELY legalistic, totally right winged, rigid Christians that I seriously try to steer clear of now at ALL costs. BUT, that was my job. Anyway, I had to "fit in" and I really don't know of any other way to put it. I was completely terrified to blog about my suicide attempt and struggles for fear of judgment, gossip and ridicule. I know you get my drift. I could give you tons of examples, but I think you know exactly what I mean.

I did all of these things, when I cared. Now, the only thing I care about is being ME. I want to be raw, real, true, authentic and whatever lies in between. I just want to be me and THAT is so very freeing. Look, you either like me, you love me or you hate me. Really makes no difference to me. I've never really been a people pleaser or anything but when I look back at the person I was before I was diagnosed with cancer and compare that to the person I am now..... WOW!!

I was thinking about blogging all week and wondering what I would write about. I thought about this topic and as I started mulling it over, I imagined cussing in the blog post. My mind IMMEDIATELY thought of a dozen or so people that I know read my writings and I have absolutely NO doubt whatsoever they would have a negative or critical thought if they read curse words in this blog. So, that is when I decided to write this damn post!! Ha, ha.

You see, I DO have a glass of wine and you know what? I like it. I don't get plastered and wasted and such, but if I did, it's my business. I used to judge people who cussed and drank and did anything that I was taught was a "sin". When I tried to commit suicide and was in the hospital for days on end, I woke up and I think the first sentence out of my mouth after over a decade of NEVER uttering a curse word was, "You have GOT to be F!@*ING kidding me!!" I dropped the "F" bomb probably 100 times that day. My pastor's assistant came to see me and I used that word repeatedly. Now mind you, I don't have hardly any memory of this. My best friend told me.

I do remember when I finally really came to that I kept using that word. It was like a coping mechanism. You may or may not understand that, but it worked for me. Used to, I would have been so worried about what you or anyone else would have thought, but those days are freakin' GONE. I'm not trying to be mean or hateful. But what I am trying to say is that too many people live their lives according to how they "think" different groups of people "think" they should act and I have come to realize that that is ridiculous!!

Living your life that way can make you SICK. You have ONE person to answer for and that is YOU. You were put in this world to live ONE life. I love blogging because you have NO doubt who I am, what I am like, or what I stand for or believe in.

Someone paid me the greatest compliment the other day. They told me that nearly every woman out there can relate to me on some level because of the things I have been through. And the only way that is true is because I share EVERYTHING. I say the things others only "think" because it is such a relief to hear someone say the very thoughts you have thought yourself and realize you are not alone.

I may never, ever know how many lives I have touched through this blog and with me being as raw and real as I am but I know God has called me to do it. And you know what? I AM A CHRISTIAN. I may not be the version of a Christian that you have in your head. But don't you DARE tell me I'm going to hell or that I'm not living my life right. I serve the same God you do. I have a relationship with him and I am not superior or inferior to anyone. I love God with all my heart and he is my absolute EVERYTHING. I like my life. I like how I am living it. I am at peace.

It astounds me to see so called Christians point out other people's sins. I just do not get it. We are ALL sinners. So for anyone to go tell me about my sin regardless of how big they might think that sin is while smoking or judging or gossiping or stealing office supplies at work or whatever, is completely WRONG.

I may look back and read this 5 years from now and wonder, "What in the hell was I thinking?" But no matter what, I'll be glad I was true to who I was at the time. I'll be glad I wasn't a people pleaser. People pleasers are really Self-pleasers and I just don't want to spend my days living like that.

SO, I guess I should get off this soap box. My advice to you is this, be yourself. Have tact, but be you. I understand that who you are at home and who you are in a business meeting are very different. But be as authentic as you can. Don't hide. Who knows how many people you rub shoulders with each and every single day that needs to hear your story. Go out and be who God created you to be. YOU are God's gift to the world. And NO one can fulfill that destiny, but YOU.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My gig as a guest blogger for a nerdy pastor...

I met a couple in California and immediately connected with them. We've stayed in contact over the years and they have planted a church. I really admire this man because he isn't your "typical" pastor. He thinks outside of the box, he challenges you, and well, his blog title says it all....

"The Nerd Pastor" Link to Pastor Adam's blog

I have so many new readers of my blog that didn't find me because of the church, or breast cancer, but rather because of my suicide attempt and survival. I was so honored when Pastor Adam asked me to be a guest blogger on his very cool blog. Finally, I can direct my male readers to something they too will find interesting!! You're welcome!!

If you have not followed my story throughout the past few years, this is the perfect blog post for you to read that sums up my entire story. Read this post and you will be all caught up!!

Here is part one of my post on his blog...

This isn’t your typical TNP post.
There’s no movie, tv, sports, or zombie story in it.
There’s no pop culture at all.
But I love stories and this is definitely a story worth sharing.
Carrie and I met Kelley and her (then) husband nearly 5 years ago. This Michigan couple met that Texas couple in California. We were all there as part of an assessment for church planting with an organization called Growing Healthy Churches Network. We became quick friends with them and kept in touch after returning home.
It wasn’t long after that we were introduced to Kelley’s health struggles but what came out over the next few months a years was a life story filled with abuse, betrayal, cancer, addiction, heartache, and somehowgrace.
I’ve asked Kelley to share her story on our blog because I believe in what God has done in and through her and believe that her story needs to be shared.
What you’re about to read is raw and I believe it is best that way.
The story will be published in 2 parts over the next two days.
My prayer is that regardless of your story you can get some hope from Kelley’s.
With that,hit the break for part 1.
Wow Adam, I am so honored that you asked me to be a guest blogger! I’m so glad that you understand and see why it is so important to talk about the things others only think about. The only way we can ever see real change is to bring whatever it is out into then light rather than live in darkness.
My life has been colored with tragedy. As I’ve been pondering and praying for direction on what to post about I realized how many different and wide ranges of people my testimony can help. So, with God’s help, I feel I should just start writing from my heart knowing and trusting that God will speak through me and that I would be able to touch the lives of many through my testimony.
Where it all began (Part one)
I sat on the bed so sad, but had no understanding of why, at such a young age I was this sad for another person. My mom was sitting on the edge of the bed, I was about 3 years old, and I just kept asking “What’s wrong mommy?” This is my earliest memory from my childhood. My mom and dad were getting a divorce. My brother, my sister, and I all lived with my mom in an apartment. Looking back now, I realize that my mom was so deeply hurt and wounded that my dad would leave our family and move in with another woman and her children after 15 years of marriage. Even at such a young age, I had such great respect for my mom. She was a fighter.
After my parents divorced, we would drive out to see my mom’s parents in Oklahoma. Every time we went, my mom’s dad would load us up with a bunch of meat and some vegetables from his garden so we didn’t go hungry. I had a cousin who was a few years older than me. She had three brothers and she was the only girl. So, when we came into town, we would be glued together because we were the only girls. Because of the situation, we ended up always sharing a bed. Unfortunately, this girl had been abused by her father and in turn did the same thing to me. This happened every single time we went to Oklahoma and no one had a clue what was happening to me. It truly amazes me how grown people can witness things and sit idly by without saying a word. 
Every time I had to go see my father, I was alone during the day while he was at work. Well, I was a nosey kid, so I went snooping. I didn’t have to look far to find a bunch of Playboy magazines. As I thumbed through the pages it was like a light went off. Now the divorce all made sense. At that very young age the following was seared into my brain…
“My mom doesn’t look like these girls, she doesn’t dress like these girls, and I’m almost sure she didn’t act like these girls!!” No wonder dad left. When I grow up, I am going to look, dress and act just like the girls in these pictures and my husband will never leave me”
I held that belief in my mind for many, many years. When I started getting attention from older men, I liked it. It felt good to actually be wanted by a man. I never, ever felt “wanted” by my father. By the time I was 15 years old, I went on my first date and had sex that very night for the first time. I was too embarrassed to say no because then he would have known I was a virgin. Just a couple of months later I realized I was in a very bad situation and broke up with him. One week later, I found out I was pregnant. Back then, you just got married, it was the right thing to do. So, I did. The baby was born 12 weeks early and stayed in intensive care for about three weeks then he came home. He died from SIDS when he was four months old. It wasn’t long after that when I found myself desperately trying to escape my dysfunctional marriage. 
Imagine at the precious age of 17 losing your first baby boy. I had NO idea how to cope with this. The only thing that made the pain lessen was when I did drugs. So, that was how I coped. I became not only a drug addict but at the age of 18 years old, I became a stripper. So there I was, doing drugs, drinking, and making all kinds of money. Such a terrible combination for a teenager. I knew I was living my life wrong but couldn’t stop. I did end up going to school and became a nail technician but that didn’t stop me. I just worked a full time job, got off work, went to clean up and change and went straight to the clubs. I woke up the next morning and did it all over again. 
There were many, many mornings where I had spent all night doing drugs and when I saw the sun coming up I realized I had been up ALL night. On those mornings I would say to myself,
“Oh my gosh, not again. I’m out of money, I’m out of drugs, and what am I doing to myself? This is just stupid. I’ve got to stop. But how?  What is it going to take to wake me up?! I really think the only thing that would be bad enough to make me quit is if mom died. What?!?!? What in the hell am I thinking?! I’ve got to stop, I’ve just got to stop.”
This went on for three years just getting worse by the day. I got a call at work and was told my mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. To make a very long story a little shorter, she ended up dying from it. As I looked at her in her casket I said out loud to her that I would never, ever touch drugs again, and I didn’t. 
In part 2, the story gets more difficult before it gets better. Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.
PART 2.....
Yesterday we started a journey with Kelley. Today, we’re going to get current with her story.
Here’s part 2:
Mom passed away in April and in December I met an amazing man. He was a new manager at one of the clubs I worked at. He was so handsome and so sweet and he liked ME. We started hooking up and a friend of mine at the salon asked me if she could pray with me. I said I guess and so she did. I left work and headed for the club but decided I didn’t feel like working that night so I just hung out for a while. Usually, I would have downed who knows how many shots by this point. I had one beer ALL night and no shots. 
Day after day went by and I just kept not wanting to work there. I would walk in and look around and just be mortified that I actually worked with these people. The men were disgusting to me now. I decided one night when I was up there to just sell all the outfits I owned to the girls. I went to my boyfriend and told him that I was going to go visit a church and that I just couldn’t live my life like that a moment longer. 
Long story short againhe came with me, we loved it, he gave his two week notice and he gave his heart to the Lord!!!! We immediately quit cussing, quit smoking, quit drinking, and lastly he moved into a different room and we stopped sleeping together. It was hard but we did it. We got married and had two little girls. Our marriage was wonderful. We never, ever fought or argued in any way. He was my prince charming. He adored me. He was such a great daddy. He rolled out the red carpet for me. He was my very best friend in the whole wide world. 
We were married 16 years when I got the call telling me I had breast cancer just like my mom. He left work and came home immediately. I had several surgeries, chemo, terrible drugs to prevent a recurrence, and more. He was amazing during that time. He took wonderful care of me. I am such a very private person. I remember after my first surgery not being able to wash my super long hair because I couldn’t lift my arms. He got a chair and put it in the bathtub and made me feel totally safe enough to allow him to wash my hair. It was a beautiful time that I’ll never forget. Water poured down my back as tears rolled down my face. I couldn’t even look at him. 
The next several months went on like that and he was fantastic. Funny thing is, I met a man who was a breast cancer survivor and he was also a pastor. The first time he talked with us at length, he told us he counsels people in our situation on a regular basis. He went on to tell us story after story after story of men who had cheated on and abandoned their wives after breast cancer. Well, I sure was relieved that I wasn’t a statistic yet again! Then I finished treatment. 
A month or so after my last treatment, my brain started to get clear a little bit from all the chemo. I noticed something was really, really wrong. I ended up investigating a lot and even hired a private investigator all to find out he had been cheating on me, traveling saying it was business and actually meeting other women, conversing with MANY, MANY, MANY women online and who knows what else. To tell you I had been punched in the gut about 1,000 times over or that I had been stabbed in the heart a million times would be a complete understatement to how I felt. Something literally physically happened in my mind and body. Until this very day I have never been the same. 
It would be impossible for me to tell the rest of this entire story in this blog. So I will wrap it up by just letting you know that I felt as though my life was completely over. I had never been a depressed person but chemotherapy threw me into early menopause and made me extremely depressed. Shortly after all of this, my husband got a job in Atlanta, GA. So, I was really stuck. We all loaded up and went. We just thought this would be a great fresh start. We moved and went to counseling every week for two years. 
One day, I got an e-mail saying he had changed his password. Well, I knew then from this terrible pattern of his that he was right back at it. I sunk into the greatest depression you could ever imagine. BUT, I didn’t realize that I was that bad off. Once I found out for sure that not only was he doing it then but he had been doing the same old things since the very day we arrived in Atlanta, I was done. And when I say done, I mean DONE. 
He took the girls to the mall and I watched out the window until they were gone and then quickly proceeded to end the pain. I asked God to please forgive me for what I was about to do. I told Him how deeply I loved him. I cried out to him telling him how terribly sorry I was that I messed this crazy thing called life totally up. I let Him know that no matter where I ended up, He was my everything.
The rest of my story and all the “details” and missing pieces can be found in my 
This might seem like a tragic story and yes, I agree that it is. But you know what? God delivered me from cancer and most importantly, he delivered me from myself. I give God ALL the glory. I wrote a post titled “I am a suicide survivor” and let me tell you, countless people I knew and some I had never even met before started contacting me. I gave the world my email address and my own personal cell number. Oh my goodness my heart broke for these people. Some of these people I KNEW personally and knew them very, very well!!!! 
You may be going through some things that seem impossible. They might be weighing you down a bit. You might even have some crazy thoughts in your head. And you might even be thinking that it would sure be a lot easier to just be done, done, and done. I’m here to tell you that YOU are not reading this by accident. You my friend are being “found” by God himself. You can run from God as far as you would like. But He LOVES you. Oh my how He LOVES YOU. He will go to GREAT, GREAT lengths for YOU. 
The greatest advice I can give anyone is to wait it out. Just wait it out. Even though I am so much better now and am not in that depression anymore I still struggle. I hate admitting that, but it is just true. How I get through it is just wait. It’s like a blip on the radar. It’s just a moment in time that is hard. It’s just tough, ya know? But within a short period of time really, it just leaves as quick as it came and there I sit having beat it yet again. And with every time that I conquer it, I win. Then, the reward is that these hard times get further and further apart. When that happens, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. 
Thank you so much for reading about my life. I feel very blessed and honored. And as always, you can contact me at for any reason. I love being there to walk people through their journey of cancer and even through the tough stuff like depression. I am NOT a counselor in any way, shape or form but I am ME!! I would love to be a listening ear for you even though you will probably be a complete stranger. Sometimes it’s just easier that way. God bless you and don’t forget to “Just Wait”.

For more of Kelley’s story, be sure to check out her blog mentioned above. It has a lot of raw emotion that I think many are afraid to admit or deal with. I’m glad for people like her who are willing to put their own lives out there like this so others will realize they are not the only one.
As C.S. Lewis once wrote: “ Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”"
If this has been similar to your story, you are not alone. 
Thank you, Kelley and thank you to those who took the time to read.