Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unfiltered Life

Here’s my raw, unfiltered version of my life today, August 19, 2017:

Lately I’ve been feeling like I just don’t have anything left to give. 

As soon as I let those words take shape, I get an influx of messages through my brain, letting me know how ridiculous I sound.

“You’re the happiest you’ve been in two decades woman. Get it together!”

I won’t recite the rest of them because they’re not very nice, but you get the idea. I don’t cut myself a lot of slack.

Really now, if I’m so happy why do I feel so depleted? What right do I have to feel this way? My life has done a total 180 degree swing in the last year, and a huge portion of all the things I have been praying for have come to pass.

So why am I so bitchy with my 17 year old who is actively seeking her independence?

Why am I so anxious about Hannah’s future?

Why do I get so overwhelmed by all the things I seemingly have on my plate?

***

If I was to take a step away from myself and pretend I was listening to another woman talk about this stuff, this is how I’d probably respond to her:

“Honey, who says you have to have your shit together all the time?”

For the first time in my adult life I have a real partner. Someone who adores me, helps me, cheers me on, lovingly calls me on my crap, holds me, lifts me up, and lets me love him back. He just really, really loves me well.

But its new to me.

And I think that because I have been working by myself for so long, and have been so weary yet haven’t had the luxury of relaxing, that now that I have someone shouldering the load with me I’m realizing how exhausted I actually am.

And then my spiritual side gets her panties in knot, telling me how God has carried me through so much junk that I have no business putting words to that kind of negativity…

oh eff off.

I’m tired.

***

I can’t help but wonder if there are other women out there, like me, who have so many voices inside, launching torpedoes of shame and guilt at themselves.

Taunting themselves with hot needles of doubt. Whispering about their worth. Are you good enough? Do you deserve it? Are. you. good.enough??

***

I’m learning about self care.

I’m learning about the power of my words. About calling things in, creating with the Creator, and using my authority well.

I’m learning about the raw vulnerability of relationships.

Of how trying to control a teenager is like pouring acid on their self worth. I confess I have a lot to learn in this particular area, help me Jesus. I’m a scared mama.

***

My name is Sheavaun. I’m 47 years old.

… and I’m one strong, tired, happy, sometimes overwhelmed, sassy, recovering from religion, learning-not-to-give-a-rip-about-what-you-think, spiritually awake and alive, Beloved Daughter of the Most High, bad ass white girl. Even if my arms are flabbier than I’d like them to be.

I’m finally living an unfiltered life.

love love

Shev

Horse Pucky: On Figuring Out if God Really Gives a Rip

Most of my conversations with hurting people inevitably wind up revealing a similar theme; one that spills over into how they think, how they speak, how they process their circumstances, and how they see their future.

The gist of it is this: God isn’t really good. At least, not to me, and not how I interpret “good” to be.

I lived in that same headspace for a very long time.

Our reasons for aligning with this belief are varied of course, but churning within all of our bellies are the hard, hard things we have experienced, seen, and survived. They hurt us. They are not good.

And if God was really good, He would not have allowed them to happen.

To take it a wee bit further, the whole idea that God is personal and that He wants good things for us, individually, feels like a load of horse pucky.

Whatever. Believe what you want, you who have had a nice life, comfortable circumstances, have never-been-without, are enjoying safe relationships, and a cozy marriage. You live your life, in all of its pretty, matching neatness, and I’ll live out mine.

Which, in no way, even closely resembles yours.

Amirite?

I spent a good chunk of my early adulthood becoming more and more jaded with common christianity. Touring churches in both Canada and the States as I sang for my bread and butter provided me with a broad view of what I perceived as rigid rules that attempted to contain people rather than providing the way to freedom.

Yeah, I was young. But I was also hurting. And what I consistently came across was the fancy white or shiny wooden pews, unspoken yet well maintained dress codes, and order. Always order.

My messy world didn’t fit in these churches. My disarray was uncomfortable to these people who publicly declared faith in God.

To be fair, I happened to meet a handful of genuine, messy, Jesus-lovers amongst the perfectly put-together parishioners. They were like a salve to my open sores.

I mean, I get it. I understand that order feels safe. Rules are intended to help navigate life, though, not control us.

I digress.

All this to say that the stiffness I encountered in mass amounts translated to my view of God as impersonal, willing to use me as a pawn in the Big Game.

My crash-to-the-bottom-of-everything in ’05 began a series of lens changes to help me see differently. Sometimes when you’re in pain, its kinda hard to see much else. But I firmly believe God hugged me that day as I sobbed all the tears of soul wrenching loss and despair in my bathtub. He sort of interrupted my heaving, which also sort of ticked me off a bit, but mostly I was aware that something outside of myself touched me.

Blanketed me.

Calmed me.

That was the beginning of my search to know if I mattered to Him. Because, why? Why get in the middle of my brokenness?

Here’s what I’ll end with today:

There’s more to God than religion and rules. He isn’t the people that say they represent Him. Sometimes people eff up and actually MIS-represent.

He is I Am.

And when we start to figure out on a personal level that its not all just a bunk of malarky, and God actually does give a rip… something changes inside us.

I always go back to Jesus’ response to the dude asking what the most important commandment was.

He said that the commandments are summed up by this:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22:37 & 38)

We who have heard that quoted a zillion times may have missed how incredibly packed those words truly are.

We have been preached to, taught and admonished that we are to live a life worthy of God. That we are to love Him.

But who of us can love someone we don’t really know? Go ahead and spout all your platitudes, and I will turn my deaf ear to you. That’s the horse pucky, right there.

You can’t really love someone you don’t know.

Period.

Sure you can be loving toward them, and show love, and act out of love.

But I’m talking about truly loving. The kind that grows and matures and fills.

And most of us need to feel loved in return, as well.

And the whole loving our neighbor part?

Honey, it says As You Love Yourself.

Most of us don’t.

Spare me the religious crap.

Here’s what I have learned, and take from it what you will.

God loves deeply, intentionally, personally, and magnificently.

And it is out of this realization, these encounters with Him, that we are able to love Him in return, and learn to value (aka love) ourselves as well.

Oh! And then we can love our neighbors well too. Because we loved Him and then loved ourselves.

The God I know now is all about relationship.

And yes, He is good. To me.

And to you.

We just have to be wiling to explore beyond our pain and short-sightedness.

He came through for me, and I can’t imagine why He would for me and not for you too.

What if its not all horse pucky, and God does really give a rip?

For Pete’s sake, at least ask the question.

love love

Shev

 

 

When Life is Not What You Expected

When I signed in for work this morning, the date caught my attention. June 13th. The day I got married 25 years ago. 

 

Except I’m not married anymore.

Sometimes life just doesn’t go the way we think it should.

So we adapt as best we can, sometimes with bitterness, most of the time with heartache, and find ourselves getting through each day with a noticeable limp.

Broken dreams, dashed hopes, unexpected loss, trauma, and pain tend to set our world upside down and shaken, and most of us don’t know how to get beyond mere survival.

Survival is important. 

No question.

But when does thriving come into play?

Or can it? Maybe we’re too far gone now.

Is it just a myth, this notion of a full life?

A life filled with meaning, with purpose, with happiness, love and goodness?

Yes. Call me crazy, but I believe it is possible.

A good portion of this possibility stems from the notion of hope. Yeah.

Hope.

Despite all the well meaning (I assume) “friends” who made it their mission to tell me how much God hates divorce,

(of course He does. He hates anything that causes us pain, and since He knows the end from the beginning, He also knows all the pain and heartache that brought me to this point. That coat, that cloak, that tunic? It was ripped in two before I took the step to make the end of my marriage legal. You don’t need to pull Malachi out of your hat because my messy life doesn’t fit into your tidy box.)

to try to talk me into praying for my husband more fervently,

to try harder,

go to counseling,

(btw counseling has been a lifesaver for me. I cringe to think of how much longer it may have taken me to realize how horribly codependent I had become. And how horribly narcissistic and manipulative my partner truly was, – not just my dramatic female imagination. Too bad he continually declined to go with me.)

lose weight,

(insert choice expletives here)

and the myriad of other helpful suggestions lobbed my way.

Gee. Thanks.

I used to be one of the pew huggers that looked down on fractured, failing marriages.

Back before I was told that it wasn’t working and he loved someone else.

I used to cringe at the idea that someone was just “giving up on their vows”. The world sure has gone to pot.

Then I became the pariah. The one that became a notch on someone’s belt for inviting me over to lunch after church because it was the “right thing to do”.

Hope still fought to twinkle beneath all the debris.

I saw glimpses of happiness around me, and I wanted some too.

I saw glimmers of hope, and I latched on for all I was worth.

And now…

After all the years of hoping, of praying, of crying, of desperation, of struggle, of pain, of heartache, of weakness,

I gradually became stronger.

Bigger than I had originally thought.

Happy.

Because. I. Chose. To. Be.

Don’t tune me out yet. 

I had to learn, just like you, that how I thought, how I process, how I imagine, and how I speak are crucial to how my life plays out each day.

No joke.

I learned that I don’t have to have a man in my life to be happy.

I really, really wanted one, and I believe that that is just how God wired me and I’m ok with that. Especially since He brought Tinman into my world, and I see what it is like to have my dreams take life.

Pretty darn cool.

The point is, that I hoped for more. I didn’t just stay in my faltering, broken survival state of being. I learned how to thrive and choose happiness even before I felt it.

I made choices to move out of my brokenness. Sought help. Acknowledged my pain, made friends with it, and stepped beyond it. I wanted to be whole.

What you hope for may be different than anyone else.

But it is still hope.

When life is not what you expected, it doesn’t have to keep you pinned and immobilized. At least, not forever.

Don’t let anyone tell you you are not worth more.

Hope is yours. Grab it.

love love

Shev

 

Why Telling You Not to Worry Doesn’t Work. 

I hear people talking about their worries every single day. 

Maybe I’m attuned to it because I understand it so well… but what I know for sure is this: you can tell me all you want that I shouldn’t worry, but if I don’t have the assurance of something bigger than my circumstances that will help me through it, well, I’m just going to keep on worrying

My spiritual practice involves a God that doesn’t fit into the ironclad mold of typical church teachings. You know: the rules, the judgements, the stigmas, the fear, the blahhhh.

The God I have come to love and smile about is the One who gently stepped into my personal mess and hugged me in ways that blew my church experiences out of the water. 

This same God has taught me to think differently than I have in the past. Taught me to expect Him to do great things in me and for me because that’s just Who He is. 

And it’s all about Him. 

In some of my darkest, deepest, murkiest waters He has carried me on His back and brought me to shore. 

And in all of this junk we have traveled through together, the biggest takeaway is knowing that He has my back. Not because I earned it; but because He is just that good. No, He didn’t spare me from going through any of it. But He did stay with me. 

The funny thing to me about all the people who get their panties in a twist about ‘new age’ thinking regarding the power of your thoughts and your words, is that  it’s NOT new at all. 

The Bible is totally on-point when it comes to watching the words that come out of our mouths as well as the thoughts we let course through our heads unhindered. We were given power and authority to wield using our tongues and our brains, yet we don’t often realize what we are doing with it. 

I’ll expand on that more another time. 

But for today, I personally believe that most of my worrying has stemmed from either not knowing, or at least forgetting, how valued I am to the God of the universe, and that He promises to always be with me and get me to the other side of it all. 

And He has shown up and flexed His muscles Every Single Time. 

Maybe not in the exact way I had aniticipated…

 I mean, my son did die. 


So did my Dad.

Raising Hannah and her sisters hasn’t necessarily gotten easier. 

And I actually became one of “them” and got divorced. 

My adult life has soooo not turned out like I thought it would. 

At the same time, I have discovered how marvelously good it feels to be loved with no strings attached by Love Himself. And I firmly believe that’s how I have been able to recognize real love with the new man in my life (whom I will affectionately dub as Tinman from here on out. Just go with it) as well. 


Telling myself not to worry is futile. I’m visual proof of the extra cortisol that has pumped through my poor worry-ravaged body for years. As well as the constant emotional eating I did to try to make myself feel better. 

Doesn’t work I tell you.

Slowly learning that my God is bigger than I am, and that since HE is good something good will follow as I stay close to Him, has profoundly changed my internal wiring. 

Yes. I have my slip up days. But they don’t last as long as they used to. 

Worry sucks. The life. Out of you. 

End of story. 

I hope you relearn how to think and speak in ways that will change your internal wiring as well. 

Because just telling you not to worry isn’t going to work. 

Love love 

Shev

Anxiety and Weirdness and Growth 

Stay there! You can’t leave – no! Don’t get up! No, Mom, you have to stay and watch it all the way through… awww Mom!”

This is what happens when I get triggered.

Could be a movie. Could be Grey’s. Could be anything that draws me in to pain, and I immediately react.  It ain’t pretty.

Most of my adult life I have been walking around in some sort of pain, so I have never really bothered to analyze what the heck my reactions were all about. All I knew was that pain hurt , even on a tv screen. Leaving the scene was my only option.

Along with gasping breaths (which I now recognize as hyperventilating).

Heart racing.

Stomach in knots.

Adrenaline flowing.

You know… normal everyday stuff a grown woman does when watching the boob tube with her kids. (insert eye rolling emoji here)

Its only been in recent months that I have been curious about this weird thing that I do. And I have come to the conclusion that it is anxiety.

I know. I’m a rocket scientist.

Guess what? I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time, without realizing it.

Guess what else? My kids are prone to high anxiety too.

Gah.

But here’s the thing: now that I know what is happening to me when I’m triggered by witnessing pain in any form, I can learn how to manage my reaction. I’ve even discovered Tapping recently, so maybe I will employ some of those techniques. It may take some time to get a handle on it all, but the thing I’m happy about most is that I am aware now.

I tend to get anxious about a lot of things. Even writing gets me agitated. For instance, as I have been typing this piece, I have had to get up numerous times, walk around, rub my hands on my pants, go get some peanut butter and chocolate, and force myself to sit back down again and continue typing.

There is power in the knowing.

And you know what else? I see growth as I look back over the last few years.

So many of those years were spent simply surviving. Ragged, broken pieces of my heart that knew there was more to life.

A faith that refused to give up on what I read about God and the tantalizing possibility that I was important enough to Him to matter. That He would indeed breathe life into my dry, dusty bones and create beauty out of my ashes.

I have held onto those hopes, reveling in His whispers along the way that He was doing a new thing and that I would see it soon.

That His plans for me are good. That no weapon formed against me has a chance of taking me down for the count.

***

I can truly say that I know what joy feels like.

I remember what it feels like to be happy, because I am happy! I am seeing new, green shoots of life begin to come forth and I am giddy with anticipation.

Instead of feeling bound by the chains of fear, disappointment, religious rules, and social approval, I instead feel His freedom.

I feel loved.

Ephesians 16-21 “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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 measure of all the fullness of God.”

Umm. Yeah. I’ve tasted and seen His goodness.

Its for you too. Stick out your tongue and try.

love love

Shev

You Are Made For More

I’m going to come right out of the gate and tell you that it is has been one heck of a week.

I felt like my greatest enemy snuck up behind me and took a bat to my knees. I lay crumpled on the ground, whimpering in pain and disbelief, fear gaining more access by the minute, feeling completely out of control.

But then, are we ever really in control?

I digress.

I refuse to tell you what has actually happened because it is too personal, too fresh, and too painful. I will tell you this, though: my enemy knew the exact spot that would hurt the most.

My thought processes over the last few days have been all over the place. I mean, how much does one person have to face in their lifetime? How much pain is there to endure? What the heck happened to all the promises I have been clinging to, that have been been steadily whispered, chanted, strummed, sung, and roared into my heart, into my soul in very recent months?

I didn’t realize that when you have hit bottom at least once in your life that it was possible to do so again. That there is no statute of limitations on how many times one ends up lying in a heap in their lifetime.

This has been a very intimate attack on my family. Debilitating. At least for now.

I woke in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, and terror seized my heart as the possibility of further destruction entered my mind. I ran into the other room to ensure all was well, and as I climbed back into bed, I trembled as I told God that if this got any worse, particularly after all the recent promises I’d been hearing from Him, that I just didn’t think I could be His anymore. It would be too much.

Yeah, I went there.

In the morning I felt like a wet rag, completely devoid of hope, strength or motivation for anything beyond getting kids fed. Once I had them off to school I sat and knew I needed to continue my conversation with the One & Only.

Before I got anywhere, my ears picked up the sounds of Hannah’s radio still playing the local Christian radio station, and the song was reminding me of Who it is I was about to speak to.

And I repented. Meaning that not only did I say I was sorry, but I switched gears. Changed how I was thinking.

Why?

Because I remembered that He is God and I am not.

You can call bullshit if you want, but this is how it is.

After navigating over a decade of pent-up grief over the death of my infant son; after 20 years of learning how to love and successfully raise a daughter with special needs; feeling trapped in a loveless, warped, dysfunctional marriage for over twenty years and then finding the guts to walk away and live through divorce; figuring out how to love and support my children who live with anxiety… I suppose one could chalk these things up as life’s occurrences and – hey – no one is immune.

But this.

This was an attack.

But God Does Not Change.

Jesus warns us that there will be trouble in this world. The God who loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, allows for us to exercise choices.

Free will.

So, in allowing this… there are often repercussions. Consequences.

People choosing poorly.

Doing bad shit.

Hurting others.

And we can get caught in the crossfire.

Yeah, I pray every damn day for protection over my family. And I was pretty ticked off when it “didn’t work”.

You know what? I forgot that prayer isn’t a lucky charm. GOD is not my lucky charm.

What God is though, is my Savior.

My Helper.

The One who fixes things, even though I wish to hell there was nothing to be fixed in the first place.

He is my Redeemer.

He is my Recompense.

The One who Loves me most. And its deeper, wider, longer, and higher than I can possibly know.

So what now?

Well, hear me on this.

God Does Not Change.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He is good.

He brings beauty out of ashes. Joy out of mourning. 

HE will restore what has been taken. What has been lost.

And multiply it.

Today I will stand.

Not out of my strength, but out of His.

He has infused me with His strength, reminding me that the battle is His, and He is already victorious.

He has reminded me that He has called me. That His hand is upon me, upon my children, and that they will indeed taste and see that He is good.

Because He Is Real.

And He doesn’t mess around.

He is not happy about this turn of events, but His hand is upon us, and there will be moments where we will say: “Wow! Look at God!”

Yes, there are giants in this land. But my God goes before us, He comes behind us, and His hand of blessing is upon our heads.

No weapon formed against us shall prosper, and though the winds may blow, we will not fall down.

He’s made me to be a bad-ass for Him. I am unique, called, and dearly loved.

But it is He that will bring the goodness around.

Not by might, not by power, but by MY spirit says the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)

Here’s what I want to say to you:

Life can really throw some wing-dingers.

I know.

But you are not trapped.

You are not without hope.

You are important.

And you need to see that.

God is bigger than the stuff you’re in.

He sees it.

He sees you.

And He loves you and wants to work good out of it all.

He will if you let Him.

Take it from somebody who’s been through some garbage, and finds herself there again.

Except this time I see God walking with me. I feel His power. I hear His words of strength. Of encouragement. Of direction.

You are made for more than this.

I’m calling you to rise up.

Its better up here.

– love love

Shev

 

 

 

God WILL Bring Goodness Your Way

“God WILL achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you!”  (Ephesians 3:20 The Passion Translation)

***

When reading a scripture verse like this one many of us have an immediate reaction.

And it’s not necessarily positive.

When we have been living with difficulties for any amount of time, we wind up becoming leery of good things that present themselves.

Because the rug has been pulled out from underneath us so often in the past, we are hesitant to believe that the good thing in front of us will either happen or stick around.

It’ll just be booted to the side after another doozy hits us.

***

But… what if we’re wrong?

***

Personally speaking, I was able to ride the festive and busy wave of the holiday season primarily because I learned how to switch my thinking to something positive when  negativity wants to reign.

But I am not immune to the emotions that can whip up without a moment’s notice. The emotions that are tied to memories, – both good and awful. For some reason they are harder to catch than the thoughts I work so hard to manage.

I find myself easily transported to familiar aches.

The shadow of that loneliness that haunted me for so long.

The suffocating pressure of shame & guilt that wants to hold me under again when I realize that I still make mistakes.

To strip me of any hope that I may have been able to muster.

***

As I choke down the cries that bash against my throat and swipe at the tears that keep slipping out and down, I hear a familiar whisper:

“praise me.”

I know this Voice.

I have learned to listen to this Voice.

So I shake my head and sing the song that immediately comes to mind because I understand what He’s trying to do.

Kinda.

***

It is crucial to remember that emotions aren’t to be ignored or stuffed.

But it is equally important to recognize that they are merely indicators of deeper things that should be addressed. They are not to rule our lives or direct our choices.

***

I know I need to learn something here… the shame and embarrassment that keep taking shots at me are not from the Father who loves me.

I know that I am not seeing myself as He sees me at this particular moment.

But its hard.

***

As I sing to Him, He reminds me through scripture verses that begin to play through my memory that God does not change.

That His grace covers me ALL the time, not just when I perform properly.

That’s the whole plan.

Jesus did it all.

Not me.

If earning God’s approval was all up to me, then we’d still be in the Old Testament and there’d be no need for Jesus and what He accomplished for us.

Grace.

And oodles and gobs of Love that I can barely comprehend.

I don’t deserve it.

At all.

***

For the last few years, the Three have been slowly expanding my ability to accept His lavish nature.

I have been so brainwashed to believe that I must earn everything that comes to me… even though there is practicality in most of that way of thinking:

  • We work for a living.
  • We treat others as we want to be treated.

You know. Common sense stuff.

But this… this is different.

They have been educating me on how He has always shown up for those He loves in one way or another, even if they don’t understand it.

That He has always stressed that He rescues, saves, redeems, helps, blesses, showers gifts upon His people simply because He is who He is…

NEVER because they deserve it. Only because they belong to Him and its a reflection of His nature.

Makes Him look good.

Gives Him glory.

And He really, really likes to give good gifts.

***

And I am one of His.

Grafted in.

Part of the Family.

A daughter of the King.

A high priest.

Royalty.

Redeemed.

Loved.

Cherished.

Danced around.

Sung over.

Laughed with, and, I’m sure, at.

***

So, as I process these things my Three have taught me so diligently, I lay my shame at Their feet.

And leave it there.

And ask for help, knowing that’s what They’re waiting for me to do.

And I humble myself to accept the answer that inevitably comes, and fills me to overflowing with gratitude (and a wee bit more embarrassment that I really try hard to squelch).

***

You see, the goodness that comes my way will always come, even though I had been trained to expect the worst because of the things I have experienced as a young woman.

God is good.

He does not change.

And He promises to bring beauty our of our ashes, joy out of our mourning.

It is not about what I do that determines whether or not God will show up, or bless me, or give me good things…

It is always about Him.

And whether or not I choose to believe Him.

And I do.

I choose Him.

I choose to focus on Him.

To see myself as He sees me.

To be grateful. To be thankful.

To praise Him .

Worship Him.

Because He is worthy.

— Lets be clear: its not about what we get, really.

When our focus is on Him, and how good He is, we become in a better position to receive it, rather than unconsciously pushing it away.

The goal isn’t the goodness He pours out onto us, but its a fantastic perk that is ours if we are willing to see it and open ourselves up to humbly accepting it.

***

Instead of piously rejecting free gifts from the One whom all good things are created, lets learn to position ourselves to receive them.

Because He’s got plans that involve His glory, His Good Name, His reputation, and the dreams He planted in each of us to carry on His good works.

Don’t dismiss the gifts just because you don’t think you deserve it.

Because you don’t.

Never did.

But Jesus does, and He qualifies us because of what He did for us.

Simple.

Profound.

Amazing.

He is so good. 

love love,

Shev