Keep asking.

The moment was pivotal; changing the way I went about my life for the next 14 years. Standing in the living room at the age of 14, my dreams were huge and inhibitions non-existent. I asked my parents for money to fund my latest adventure. Who knows, maybe paintball, my cheerleading – I was (and still am) a person of many interests. Overhearing the conversation, my brother – a few years older, and many years more mature – jumped in saying “Don’t ask them for money! They don’t have extra money just laying around for you to spend!”

He was right.

From that moment forward, I was much more conservative in my asking for anything, from anyone. My parents always took excellent care of us and we never went without our needs being met. For the extra luxuries, I got a job and worked to provide them for myself.

While my brother’s intention was to remove any spirit of entitlement, the enemy capitalized on this statement, twisting it into a lie that would keep me from asking my Father (and anyone else) for that which was on my heart. I subconsciously built a mental construct on the foundation that it is completely up to me to accomplish my dreams. Good things must be earned – independently. Free things came with guilt. Help from others would be held over my head.

I knew I was capable of accomplishing a lot; my skills were sharp. And if I couldn’t make it happen for myself, then the dream would simply remain a dream.

(yes, I admit, this was depressing.)

So I went on in life, carrying the weight of my own provision. This is the responsible way to be, right? It’s up to me to pay my bills, right? It’s up to me to work harder and longer to make more money, right? The irony is that through every season even when I made more money, I never seemed to get ahead. My toiling was not creating extra profit. My mentality was flawed.

I perceived from my earthly father that my success was defined by my ability to get a job, climb the ladder, and earn a paycheck. He always taught me to dream, and encouraged my adventures; yet, there was a tension on the two-sided coin. Dream big, but get a job and settle down. Fly, but be stable. The missing piece (and peace) was my reliance on and PARTNERING WITH my heavenly Father. Up to this point, God was God, and my dad was my dad. When people would pray to God saying “Dear daddy” or “Dear Father” I thought to myself that’s for people who don’t have a biological father in their life. He is just God to me.

As I have been walking on the water the past few months, I understand how crucial it is to have an intimate relationship with God as God, and also God as Father, establishing my identity as the daughter of the King.

I used to watch Paris Hilton and see her run amuck with her daddy’s money and feel conflicted. If only my dad had that much money, I would do something worthwhile with it. Not only did I wish I had it to do good, there was also a part of me that felt she must feel so loved to be able to just spend the money her Father had earned. Having that type of access was foreign to me.

My recent exploration and experiences began to deconstruct and reconstruct the relationship that the Perfect Father wants with me. Matthew 7:7 (Amplified) says “Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” Not only does God want me to ask, He wants me to keep on asking, waiting on Him, believing Him for the passions on my heart. When you try to get ahold of a good friend on the phone for something important, you call once and know they will call right back. If not, you call again. You know that you can call as many times as you need because it’s important and you know they will come through for you!

Hebrews 4:16 “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

God wants a relationship with us. He wants to partner with us. We have anxiety and depression running rampant in the world because we were never meant to bear the burden of provision by ourselves. God the Father is just waiting on us to enter into relationship with Him. Once we are walking in trust with Him, activating the covenant by keeping safe boundaries, He obliges Himself to provide for us. It’s not about money. It’s not about success. It’s about the relationship with our Creator (and these shall be added unto us).

When I first stepped into this realization it was very difficult. I felt irresponsible for not worrying about money anymore (even before the answer comes – when I have handed it over to God, I refuse to take it back. I stand firm in the knowledge that the answer is here although I don’t see it yet). I felt guilty for living my purpose instead of just working a job. I worried about what people thought of my choices. I heard the secular voice “What about your retirement? You’re almost 30! Who will want to marry you when you have student loan debt?”

Lies, lies, lies! Get behind me Satan.

I am joint heir with Christ. I am the daughter of the King. I am royalty. I am blessed and therefore wealth is drawn to me. I am about my Father’s business. I trust Him completely. Forever. As long as there is air in my lungs, food and water in my body and I am completing my assignment, everything else is secondary. Let God be the truth and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). He says do not be afraid so I am not afraid. He says He is with me, so I am covered in peace.

Not only shall we ask, seek, knock for the sake of our relationship with the King, we MUST ask for the rest of the world! God has already won the victory on our behalf; we simply must walk it out. He wants to use us the way He used Moses in the book of Exodus. He could have simply shaken the earth to release the Israelites, or killed pharaoh. Instead, he spent time with Moses, instructing him, encouraging him, building him up. Moses had the nerve to be honest with God about his fears of inadequacy. God knew his strengths and weaknesses, and still selected him.

God doesn’t call the perfect; He calls the willing. If you would like to know how to engage with God, or how to take your relationship with Him to the next level, reach out to me! I would love to chat with you and explore what God wants to do in your life.

Divine Breatherator

My brother & I on the beach near the lagoon
My brother & I on the beach near the lagoon

While in Hawaii last summer for a family vacation, my dad, siblings and I were swimming in the lagoon on the beautiful garden island of Kauai; the sun beating down through the sticky, thick air.  We came up with a game treading water in depths beyond any of our toes’ reach.  The game was to swim to the bottom and grab a handful of sand, then racing back to the surface to see who could do it the fastest!  We then would swim out farther, swim to the bottom, then again; deeper and deeper each time.

Ready, go!

I kicked my feet into the air, propelling my head towards the bottom.  A small sense of panic kicks in; everything in your mind screams at you to turn around, you’re going the wrong way! I reached my right arm out straight, eyes closed, madly kicking, anticipating the touch of the sand.  The moment I feel anything but water, I clench my fist – halfway there! I swing my feet around, they are now under me again. With great force I push off the bottom, launching myself back to the surface.

We all did it!  Tesa probably won – she’s fast!  Next level now! We all swam out 10 feet… Ready, set, go!

My mind begins to politely remind me to turn around and go the other way.  The deeper I swam, my lungs began to chime in.  Hello, now is generally the time we inhale… Umm… Excuse me… I ignore my mind and my lungs as I kick my legs, focused to make it to the bottom. Water surrounds me, and then boom, sand!  Returning to the top, we all gasp for air.  Laughing at the struggle and showing our sand-collections.

10 more feet we swam towards the open ocean.  We were now swimming with boats bobbing nearby. I wondered if I could do it. Ready, GO!  Flipping my feet over my head, I madly kicked, in search of the bottom.  Seconds felt like weeks as my mind’s screaming became deafening, my lungs inquiring about a new breath, and to top it off, my ears feeling as if they were being crushed by monster trucks.  Everything in my body is telling me to turn around, turn around, turn around! I pressed on bearing the pain…

The following day, we went on an excursion!

Scuba Diving on Kauai
Scuba Diving on Kauai

I suction-cupped myself into my wetsuit, and hoisted the tank upon my back. We did a few practice dunks in the shallow area; learning how to utilize this newly accessible equipment.  Learning to breathe with the regulator (I prefer the more descriptive term, “breatherator” – patent pending) took a few tries.  My mind had to learn to depend on this tool for air.  I learned how to read the gauge, ensuring that I was equipped with the proper amount of air for the depths I was planning to go. I learned how to adjust my buoyancy, so as not to drop to the bottom, but also not floating to the top.

After our game the day before, I was excited to see how my ears and lungs would adjust to the depths with the scuba gear!  Sure enough, after a few minutes, peace filled my mind, my lungs and ears also in agreement with the journey.

My needs were being met by the apparatus strapped to my back.  I was equipped for the depths.

Family group shot under da' sea
Family group shot under da’ sea

Living in your purpose requires you to go to depths that you are not independently (naturally) equipped to handle.  As I step into my destiny I am realizing that my mega-dreams are not an accident.  They are actually my supernatural purpose.  Walking in faith, my mind freaks out, saying Go back, go back, go back! You had a job, you had an apartment, you had everything set-up perfectly!  Everything around me points to THIS IS CRAZY.  People have other words for it too: irresponsible, hasty… Many do not understand, criticizing me for leaving my traditional job to pursue social justice for strangers.  The pressure is heavy.  

Then I equip myself with the Power that I was meant to have with me all along.  I was never meant to have all the answers.  I was never meant to be naturally able to complete my dreams on my skills alone.  This journey is meant to be shared with the Divine Breatherator.  I am currently in the transition period: going deeper as I get used to using the divine tools I have been given, learning how to check my gauges, adjusting my buoyancy so as not to stunt my descent, but also not to slam into the bottom.  I meditate on His promises, read the Living Word that is relevant for every moment, and I pray without ceasing.  I was never meant to swim to these depths alone.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7) covers me as my King and I go on the very best adventure.

ea55d23f3dbf790b7e2f513cb85cc0d7

digging for revelation

I am so excited to share my first INTERACTIVE MEDITATION GUIDE available for purchase – $14.95

Sample Dev4 GreetingsSampleDev1Sample Dev2 Sample Dev3

Many devotionals offer a scripture with the author’s take-away. I find myself skim-reading, potentially missing my moment to engage with The Guiding Light. I desired an interactive meditation that requires my engagement, for we love a relational God! I hope through this experience you are stretched and find increased enlightenment in your day-to-day affairs.

ALL proceeds directly support social justice work, as I advance my global ambassador skills through the Global Leadership Training Center. Please consider purchasing and please take a moment to share the link with your friends and family. This small investment will prove to be so worth it!

Please SHARE with your friends, family, community, and a few people at the grocery store (why not?)

CLICK LINK BELOW TO PURCHASE

http://www.e-junkie.com/295955/product/505436.php

Gratefully,

Brittany R. Sunshyne

Breaking into wealth

My parents worked diligently my entire life (and still do), providing for our family on trade-school salaries. Naturally, when my brother and I became of working age, there was no question that we would get to it! We were excited for the opportunity to earn income, becoming more independent. My parents made sure we were taken care of and went out of their way to pay for expensive orthodontist care and my extracurricular activities, yet anything above and beyond was up to us to pay our way.

I took pride in my ability to generate wealth independently. I was the first of my friends to get an apartment when I turned 18, and the only one of my friends to move out of state. I knew how to get a job anywhere I went and I thought I knew my value, asking for a few cents increases of salary each time I changed positions.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I remember people telling me that it was a tough city to break into. I had already ‘broken into’ Tampa, Portland, Bend, and South Lake Tahoe so I figured I had it in the bag.  L.A. was definitely the most challenging and fast-paced city I had ever lived, but I was up for the challenge. 15-months of successfully making my own way in the most expensive city I had ever been made me subconsciously feel like I had it like that.

Then God opened up my window to serve and the enemy was about to hone in on an area I didn’t realize was so deeply rooted to my pride and my ego. It wasn’t just about the ability to make money, but also the ability to create a plan and execute it effectively. This is precisely what I thought was happening until 2 days prior to my mission beginning. Suddenly, all of my natural provision was pulled out from under me. My naivety tripped me up as I believed promises that were made from a boyfriend. It was one of those, “the money is coming through, so let’s use your account now, and I will pay you back tomorrow”. Tomorrow never came. One would think that after all I have been through I would stop believing what people say. I refuse to stop believing in people and I am just working on Christ’s discernment within me to determine who is trustworthy in the first place.

My flesh was drowning in the overwhelming sound of nails on a chalkboard as I stepped into my destiny completely empty. My pride was hurt, I was ashamed of how I had so easily trusted the person and therefore spent the funds that I should have saved completely. I repented and cried out to God, and as He always does, He used this very experience to reveal not only His love for me, but the ocean-deep love my parents have for me as well.

Subconsciously there were 2 major issues that God needed to work out within me. First of all, I had a pride issue related to my ability to create wealth. I was giving myself way too much credit. Secondly, underneath that pride was the belief that I was only valuable because of my ability to ‘do it myself’. For years, I had been believing the lie that my dad expected me to have all of the answers and because of that, and my ability to be an independent adult, I was worthy. Arriving to GLTC (Global Leadership Training Center), God had to tear down these strongholds that I was clinging to. This was a painful process as God pealed back the layers of lies that I thought were protecting me. This pattern was revealed: I trusted people the way I trust God, when the people didn’t come through the way God does, I felt betrayed by both, failing to distinguish the difference between God’s faithfulness and that of a human.

Coming into the GLTC, no longer “having it like that”, I was embarrassed, ashamed, feeling worthless and full of doubt. My faith was being overshadowed by these lies and I had to press in repeatedly, declaring Biblical truth over my life (OUT LOUD! Hint: the enemy can only work with the words that come out of your mouth, and he cannot stick around when the Truth is being proclaimed). I filled my headspace with sermons from Pastor Bill Winston, Bill Johnson and Dr. Patricia Bailey herself. As I wrestled with this daily, Dr. Bailey and her team rallied around me, encouraging me to build up my faith and stick with it, never to give up on my destiny because of my current understanding of my resources. I cried with awe and thanksgiving as Dr. Pat promised she would never leave me hanging, and actually backing that up with legitimate action. My dad and mom both came through for me on every level: spiritually, financially, emotionally and psychologically. I am so grateful for them, and for my dad’s beautiful wife, Holly, who fully supports him in his full support of me. This is so beautiful and rare.

God has revealed to me that I have been making “good” money according to my natural understanding and I am ready to make “GREAT” money according to the riches of the heavenly realms.

I am growing. I am a fighter. I am relentless, and nothing will keep me from the purpose that was created for me before I was even in my mothers womb, and that which was revealed to me as a 7-year-old child.

The blessing of the Lord brings me wealth.    Proverbs 10:22

ea55d23f3dbf790b7e2f513cb85cc0d7

Breaking through strongholds

The first week at the Global Leadership Training Center was complex.  I anticipated the meeting of new faces, the settling in of new places, the learning of the new city, and I was excited to soak in the wealth of knowledge.  Sure enough, the many new faces from all over the world (U.S.A., South Africa, Burkina Faso, Philippines, Columbia) was so refreshing and assured me that I was in the right place!  It took me a few days, but I eventually realized that I am the only caucasian in the group.  It is so wonderful to have ended up in a place where so many cultures are coming together for the common cause of loving Jesus and loving people. Wow!

North Carolina has wooed me completely.  It reminds me of the beautiful countryside of my home, the Great Northwest.  The trees are every shade of green, and the birds wake me each morning with their beautiful songs.  The breeze seems to always be gentle and present.  Thank goodness for Google maps, because I depend on that quite often.  I will never forget my new-to-Florida days (almost 10 years ago!) when all I had was MapQuest printouts and the compass my dad had bought me and stuck to my dashboard.  Needless to say, I got lost a lot.

This week alone has been life-changing in terms of my faith increase and revelations about myself, where I stand, and where I want to be.

What I did not anticipate in the first week was the continued spiritual warfare that would stalk each of us after arrival.  I thought the battle to get to North Carolina was plenty.  Monday morning began with multiple holy-millionaires (colleagues of Dr. Bailey’s) imparting their invaluable knowledge and experience to our class.  That morning alone has given me a year’s worth of content to reflect and meditate upon… then we had 4 more days!  The remaining days were rich in prayer, creating music together, laughter, and new knowledge.  It is evident that the curriculum being taught is true and raw, regardless of religion of sources (ex:// secular documentaries, books, etc.), and regardless of how ugly the content may be reflecting on the church.  It is so refreshing to be in a place that will honestly look at history, what went wrong, what is still going wrong, and what we can do to make it right. I cannot wait to be apart of the solution.

An experience such as this will reveal to you any place where your faith may be feeble.  I had started with the mindset of completely trusting God, then I was given what I thought was the answer to my financial prayers.  Then that was pulled out from under me, which knocked me down a few pegs lower than I had initially began.  It is quite the experience battling your mind when your spirit knows the Truth.  I had cheerleaders all around me encouraging my faith, prayers surrounding me, meditation upon the truth of His wealth, and how He loves me so abundantly, that I will always have exactly what I need.  Yet, in those moments of sheer spiritual warfare, the knowledge seems to linger on the surface, refusing to sink in.  The process of meditation involves repeating and dwelling upon what God says is true until you digest it as your personal truth as well.  When the breakthrough finally came this morning (somewhat randomly) after a week of continuous prayer, devotion, mediation, declaration and a few meltdowns, I felt not only mental elation, but physical relief as if a weight had been lifted off of every muscle.  Each of my class members fought colds, fatigue, and mental-battles this week.  By His grace we all made it through and the joy filling the house tonight was beautiful! It was our 7th day breakthrough and the celebration is in full-swing.  The enemy has failed in his attempts to get any of us to go home, and we are a stronger unit because of what we all conquered together this week.

Tomorrow we head to South Carolina and then on to Atlanta, Georgia.  Then the women will be heading to Haiti for a few weeks; a trip that I know will be nothing less than life-changing.  I cannot wait to hold those babies who need a mommy.  Adoption may be in my future.  We’ll see what the Big Guy has planned for me.

‘Til all have heard they are loved…

First steps into my destiny

Sunday morning of Valentine’s day weekend 2015, my beautiful mother  (my favorite valentine) had traveled to Los Angeles from Oregon for a visit. Our weekend was full of love and it couldn’t have been a better intro for what was about to present itself.

The ushers seated us in practically (what felt like) the front row, smack-dab in the middle! The only people around us were seated one row in front, pretty far over to the left. As I worshipped and agreed with the leaders in prayer throughout the service, one of the women in front of me seated to the left repeatedly turned around, looking in our direction. I asked my mom if I had something on my face. I didn’t. I then started to rack my brain as to how I could possibly know her. She kept looking and smiling excitedly as if she knew me. I uncomfortably smiled back, still unsure as to what or who she was looking at. My mom then said “That woman keeps looking at you, do you know her?”

Her question was interrupted with the Pastor of the church calling the woman, Dr. Patricia Bailey, up to the stage to give a testimony regarding her most recent trip to Turkey that our church had financially supported. Her team had gone to assist refugees at the Syrian border whom had been displaced due to Isis. My spirit quickened with excitement learning who this woman was and how we shared a common love for missions.

Dr. Patricia Bailey

After service I jumped over the row of chairs in front of me, on a mission to get to her, allowing nothing to keep me from getting to her. I thanked her for obediently following her call; introducing myself, I said “Next time you go to Turkey, I want to go.” She took down my phone number and said she was so excited and that the world is in need of willing hearts. I expectantly waited for her call that afternoon.

I did not hear from her, so the next day I called her office, leaving my phone number, in the case that she had lost mine. About a week went by and then the phone call came in that would alter the course of my life.

Answering the call, she explained to me that not only would she be returning to Turkey, but that she had an entire school devoted to rising up leaders who have a heart for global development called the Global Leadership Training Center. My body flushed as I experienced every emotion possible in that one phone conversation. I agreed immediately, thrilled and in awe, honored to be 1 of the 10 women invited to attend. Slight anxiety came over me as I realized the program was across the country and I had only a few weeks to prepare. Slight sadness came over me as I realized this meant closing the beautiful chapter of my life that I have so enjoyed in west Los Angeles. Excitement filled my heart, knowing that my destiny was at my doorstep and I would not miss it for the world.

The following weeks were filled with a week spent in Oregon, celebrating my dad’s wedding and soaking up the love from my best friends and family back home, the goodbye to my place of employment where I had spent a year healing, a trip to Las Vegas for my birthday, and a business trip to Kansas City. It seemed that there was a solid plan in place and I couldn’t wait to get started! Days before we were to depart, the person who had planned on driving cross-country with me (L.A. to North Carolina) bailed on me. All of the logistic plans that had been set were now out the window. Finances appeared depleted, and it was just my dog and I. My purpose was calling my name, and the opposition was trying to throw any distraction to trip me up. I refused to relent, pressing onward on the cross-country journey with my dog and the same car I had driven cross-country twice before.

Dad and I Wedding

Divine Peace came over me as I traveled those 3 days, time flew as fast as the miles. My loving parents were not physically with me, but supported me constantly. I am ever-grateful for their love, support, and partnership with me as I pursue a life that is about more than myself.

11:27pm on Friday night, I pulled into the driveway of my new home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where I would be transforming my mind, spirit, and soul for the very best cause. My soul-sisters greeted Kelsa and I with such love. It sank in that I was born for such a time as this.

And I was right on time.

Just start small.

Since making the move to Los Angeles, giving back was a top priority.  I’ve been a dreamer since I was a child, and unlike the typical idea of becoming a doctor or a teacher, I wanted to start an orphanage when I grew up.  As the years passed I became discouraged with the idea and tucked it away deep in my heart.  I may have buried the burning knowledge of my purpose, but I was unable to discard it completely.  Landing in Los Angeles I had a moment of despair, I’m already 27 years old, and still no orphanage, not even close.  I wanted to go big or do nothing at all.  Going big was obviously not an option at this point in my journey, so I (somewhat begrudgingly) settled for the practical.  I became a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program and found that even just a small commitment was a big commitment, and I loved it!  My little sister is intelligent, outgoing and very fun.  She is such an inspiration, wanting to become a cardiologist when she grows up (did I mention she’s 12?!).  This was a great way to locally give back, but I still had more to give.

Recently a friend on Facebook shared a story about meeting in-person the child she had been sponsoring for years through Compassion International.  This story greatly blessed my heart, so I decided to take another step towards my purpose by sponsoring a child through this proven legitimate organization. As I scrolled through the pictures, discovering how long these kids have been waiting for a sponsor, I couldn’t stand the thought of each of them waiting 6+ MONTHS for sponsorship (when it’s only $38 USD per month!) so, I got somewhat carried away and sponsored 2 more.

While still on a small scale I was happy to be doing something to fulfill my purpose (reaching out to the impoverished and victimized).  None of these kiddos are technically orphans, but it was an opportunity that was feasible, helpful, and meaningful.

Little did I know, these few small steps released the flood gates of opportunity.

I am honored to share that I have been personally invited by Dr. Patricia Bailey to be 1 of 10 women mentored this year at the Global Leadership Training Center.  The 6-month internship includes curriculum and hands-on experience related to Disaster & Humanitarian Relief, Christian Community Development, International Public Health, and Environmental Services.  Our group will also be traveling to Haiti and the middle east to provide aide for the impoverished and persecuted.

Please start small and help support the outpouring of love to people who need it most.

Every contribution counts. Even if you must start small.

Walking away from the darkness

healing-quotes-best-deep-sayings-choose-2

They say a woman’s intuition is rarely wrong. Might I add that I have experienced this first-hand. While my ex was in the midst of relapse, I had asked him directly about various odd happenings. Things had stood out to me, not because they were especially alarming, but just because they were unusual, like spending more time in the bathroom. This is not something a normal person would immediately assume is linked to drug use, but it was unusual and I asked him about it, even barging in on him a few times. As he sat naked on the toilet, I felt like quite the fool. He always had a legitimate response for my questions. A few weeks later, he was fired from his job (which now of course makes sense). Leading up to this day he had told me horror stories of his terrible boss. I have my own experience with horrible boss’ and took this opportunity to be the most supportive, non-judgmental girlfriend I could be. I remember being so happy to be able to support him as he seemed so put out from this loss. His pride was damaged and I wanted nothing but to lift him up. Time went on and I began having nightmares that he had relapsed. I would wake up out of a dead sleep, sobbing to the point of hyperventilation, waking him up to tell him the terror of the nightmare. He would reassure me that it wasn’t real and it wasn’t happening, comforting me back to sleep. I had this nightmare three times.

Then the day happened and I was not asleep. I was wide awake and the world felt like it was closing in on me. My worst nightmare was reality and I was devastated. My intuition had been spot on, even to the point that my dreams were warning me.

Risking trust again is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I feel like I am swimming in a deep sea and I don’t know which way is up. I am terrified of being betrayed again. That pain was worse than any physical injury I’ve ever experienced. My self-preservation instincts are on high alert, on the look out for lies, betrayal and deception. The problem with this overprotective mode of living is my spot-on intuition is now clouded with hyper-paranoia. Cognitively I know that those who care for me have nothing but the best intentions for me. And then there are moments that one small miscommunication leads me down a rabbit hole of confusion, suspicion, and questioning of what to believe; desperately trying to determine whether or not this is a valid red flag. This minor miscommunication sets off alarms inside my being, fight or flight kicks into gear; my chest muscles tighten, my gut feels sour, and my heart races. My instinct is to hurry and identify the deceit…. ‘Don’t let this happen again’ my subconscious screams (my pride doesn’t help either). My last relationship exemplified that illogical things that should never happen CAN happen. The person who says they love you more than anything may be lying to your face on a daily basis. You can be living together and think you know everything about one another and find out that you’ve been repeatedly deceived. This sucks big time. Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

And yet, I want to love again. I want to trust again. I believe in good. I believe in honesty. I know that this one experience should not define me. It is maddening to deal with me I’m sure, and it is even more maddening to be inside my own head because I don’t know what to believe! I know that there are good people in the world who understand the true value of honest partnership. I know that there are healthy men who want what I want and bring to the table great attributes that I expect and admire. I want to truly and fully believe that my partner will never hurt me like this. I realize that misunderstandings and mistakes will come about, but anyone with self-discipline, self-control and love for the other would never purposely deceive.

I have come a long way since the moment of realizing my worst fear had come true. I continue to pursue healing, to become even healthier than I was before this experience. Now I desire to get my instincts and panic responses under control.This process is so frustrating. I look forward to the day in which these reflexes of distrust will be a distant memory.

“Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care”  – Jerry Cantrell

Climb on!

Heavy.

The gravity is heavy.

The importance of a decision I will likely make in the next few years weighs heavy on my heart. Awe and humility overcome me as I ponder the ripple affect that will occur. This decision will affect my personal life, forever. It will affect my mom, my dad, my brother, my extended family, teachers, strangers, and future humans who don’t even exist yet.

People make this decision everyday… Sometimes on purpose and often without any foresight at all. I look around at so many, each with their own story; some hurting because of the way the decision was made that created them. The way it was planned so perfectly and then blew up, surprising everyone when nothing turned out the way it was supposed to. And others were the result of complete irresponsibility and carelessness, somehow ending up well-adjusted, with awareness to do it better for their own. As I observe, there does not appear to be a replicable formula to guarantee a positive outcome. A well-off, intelligent, educated person may seem like the ideal partner and then turn to drugs. A person perceived as unintelligent, or with a bad past may use creativity and moxie to rise to the top, loving loyally along the way.

Choosing a life partner will be the single most important decision I make, especially if I choose to have children. This person will set the example of how to love a spouse. This person will mold their hearts and speak to their souls. This person will be one of the first to communicate to them how they should feel about themselves…. answering life’s questions: Am I enough? How do I deal with hardship? What is my value? How shall I love others? This person will have a choice to leave or to stay, everyday. This person will have the choice of participating in society or not. This person will have the choice to love me, or not.

So while I see all of my friends on the app they compare to “hot or not”, picking dates based on photos alone, I realize why I’m the last to know. If I could pick a partner based on looks, I would have done that by now! I dont want a partner selected on only physical attraction. Rather, I want a partner that I’m attracted to spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. So while there are no guaranteed instructions on how to select a life partner who will show up each and everyday, I will cast my desires out into the Universe, praying that God will honor my humble heart.

I pray for my partner, a partner who exhibits and provides stability. A partner who values my whole being, far and above his physical desire for me. A partner who understands the gravity of what lifelong love means, and what an even bigger responsibility parenting is. I pray for a partner who is proud of loyalty and faithfulness. A partner who loves God and is in awe of the power that is bigger than we can fathom. A partner who can accept help and admit when he’s wrong. I pray for a partner who brings out the best in me; someone I respect and trust, who’s advice I will heed. I pray for a partner who will understand that his daughter’s sensitive soul is more valuable than a letter grade, who will offer affirmation more often than criticism. A partner who will love and nurture his son, while teaching him how to be an honorable man. I pray for a man that will be my very best friend, my partner in crime, who will never stop adventuring with me and our family. A partner who acknowledges my needs and allows me to acknowledge his.

Thank you God for preparing us for each other.

What you’re looking for.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for” was inscribed inside one of my goodbye cards from a very good friend a few years my senior. I was 19 years old moving from the great Northwest to sunny Florida. At the time this note left a bad taste in my mouth. Someone who had ‘gone looking for themselves’ I perceived as flawed from my upbringing. I don’t know if my perception was accurate or not, but either way, I was now offended. I’m not looking for anything! I thought to myself, as if exploring this world was in any way something to be ashamed of. I told my family that all I was looking for was an adventure. Little did I know I would find so much more…

I found a land without hills or mountains; with tropical flowers, sea breezes and dolphins swimming in the sea.

I found that my dog is an excellent road-tripper and my very best friend.

I found that I equally love snowboarding the Tahoe mountaintops, and swimming the warm Gulf of Mexico.

I found that I am interested in becoming a pilot.

I found that my interests outweigh my current resources… and this spurs me to continue living and loving with abundance.

I found that the gray, overcast sky makes me sleepy, and the sun helps me to thrive.

I found that I LOVE rich coffee, good wine, and fresh healthy food.

I found that if I had to choose, I choose to live in the city. The energy is vibrant and contagious.

I found new eyes with which to see my hometown and the way life is lived there.

I found that kindness can take you far.

I found that when the chips are down, good people will come through for me and I will rise to the occasion, no matter what.

I found that humans are humans. All of us have some good and some bad. Having boundaries is equally important to loving others well.

I found I am able to put myself out there and reap the benefits of vulnerability.

I found that love endures, and living unafraid is the way for me.

I found that I am unashamed.

So, go!

Go and find all of the things you’re not looking for.