Villa Haven: A safe place for you to be a work in progress. A safe place for VULNERABILITY.
My therapist, Sandy (you’ll hear me talk about her a lot, probably too much. You're welcome in advance for the free therapy) would probably advise me NOT to put my heart on a platter for people who don’t deserve it and can’t protect it. I’m still learning how to do this. How to protect my own heart while maintaining vulnerability. And maybe making a place to protect your heart is a good place to start. We can learn together. After all, I’m a forever WORK IN PROGRESS myself!
We live in a never satisfied, never enough, "Keeping up with the Joneses" world.
We’re addicted to social media and comparing our REAL lives to the UNREAL lives of others. According to CNN, Pew research studies, TED TALK by Adam Alter and several other sources:
Increased screen time is directly correlated with decreased overall happiness.
Statistics show what we all feel: Social Media is stealing our joy.
(Side note: If you need further convincing of the dramatic impacts of social media, check out The American Meme on Netflix. It's a pretty shocking documentary on the addictive, yet depressing effects of social media on Americans. Super impactful.)
That being said: I hope that your time spent HERE with me at Villa Haven is time invested in your wellness, your progress and your eyes are opened to the fact that you’re not the only one with unreached goals and your heart can be put at ease while you’re here.
I’ve got a long life story and you’ll get to know me over time but I’ll start with what has prompted me to create this blog.
The last 2 years of my life have been an absolute whirlwind.
It all started after I went on my first mission trip to Israel.
There are so many memories and God Winks that came out of that trip but I can quickly say that I came home feeling extremely impacted, moved, changed and closer to God than ever with a deeper trust in him and his plan for my life.
Well, my marriage had been on the rocks and it was a major prayer while I was in Israel.
I put my prayer notes into the cracks of the wailing wall and the siding of Jesus' tomb.
I was praying that I would be in love with my husband again.
I was praying for a breakthrough.
God, fix it.
Get in it.
I know you can.
JUST DO SOMETHING!
I'm thankful for the timing of this trip that rooted me in a deeper way to the Lord because I wasn't home TWO WEEKS when my marriage completely fell apart.
Not. exactly. the. breakthrough. I. had. In. Mind. God.
The truth seeped out and light poured into our marriage revealing a lot of pain, lies, deceit and betrayal that left my heart utterly shattered.
(So, I shattered his laptop.)
My identity was gone. My confidence took a nose dive. The visions and plans that we’d built over the last 12 years were suddenly gone. The rug had been ripped out from under me and I couldn’t breathe. It was the kind of pain where you think you might die. I lost 12 pounds in a week.
(Wish I could pull that one off again.)
I was numb. Lifeless. A shell of brokenness that I thought would never heal. I thought I may never get back to being me. And I’ve realized a layer of truth behind that fear: I will never be who I was again.
It was such a challenge letting go of the old me. I needed growth and improvement to move forward into my new life but the old me was the only me I knew. Even if she was a little broken, she was what I knew. I struggled letting go of bad habits and digging deep into my own “character defects.” (Therapy lingo for what’s wrong with me that probably developed at childhood.) Not only was I digging up bad roots but I was building (from the ground up) who I was meant to be.
This time, as a 27 year old adult with a career and 2 children.
So, I started over.
I started learning who I was, dating myself which took a lot of introspection & soul searching. I was looking for answers in all the wrong places for a while…wrong relationships, psychics, opinions of others…it wasn’t helping. In fact, it was making everything worse.
Finally, enough was enough of driving myself crazy and feeling like a hot mess, looney bird with no balance. I realized that the only way to truly heal and get acquainted with the new me was to change my focus from my circumstances, to God. Stop looking at what happened TO ME and start looking at what Jesus did FOR ME.
That’s where it all shifted.
That's where the light crept in.
There were several moments throughout the last 2 years where I fell on my knees in tears crying out to God in the bathroom while I was getting ready in the morning or the middle of the kitchen while I was trying to make my coffee or having to pull over on the side of the road to have a mini meltdown. Yes, that really happened. Waterproof mascara became my ugly cry remedy of 2018. #allmaceverything
But, I did it. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of baby steps that seemed meaningless at first began to string together shaping this person that I was becoming. & the old me was becoming ever increasingly overshadowed by a "new me." A better me.
And it turns out...I like her.
One of the biggest steps I took was getting involved with Choices Pregnancy Care Center as an advocate. As a teen mom myself, I've got a soft spot for young mothers and young women in general.
This is what saved me. Using my own testimony to listen, relate and pray over women who are often facing a major crossroads in their lives. They'll probably never know that those moments behind a closed door with another broken heart healed my own broken heart.
I heard someone say once: "We all have our own brand of sinning."
And I am just like these girls. Even though Jesus healed me and fills me, I still recognize the heart void when I see it in someone else. Sometimes I can feel their pain in my own chest. #empathproblems It’s all too familiar.
And as I sit across from them in a private room - as a perfect stranger…looking into their soul during what is often one of their scariest, most unexpected moments. Many of them have been through more pain than most of us can imagine. & in that moment, they have no choice but to be vulnerable.
If they have walls up, they inevitability come down when we enter into God’s presence with prayer…because they catch a glimpse of who can fill them. Luckily, a glimpse of Jesus is all it takes for an internal awakening. A perspective shift. A step in the right direction. Progress.
But if my role can lighten the load for even one moment of prayer, and create a space for God to come in...it makes my life meaningful and rich and the side effect is two fold:
1. I fall more in love with God.
2. I fall more in love with who I am in him.
If it wasn’t for me being a teen mom...
If it wasn't for me ending up divorced...
If it wasn't for my specific past...
I’m not sure I would have found my purpose & passion at all.
So, cheers to them!
Cheers to those who let God turn their pain into progress & manage to keep their softness & vulnerability along the way.
Y'all, this is sick. Watch here.
I hope Villa Haven inspires you to embrace being a work in progress and becomes a safe place for you to just be.
Until next time...
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