Hope lives here

I’m stalling. I’ve been stalling for weeks, and I know it. I sit down and think about picking it up. I know I should. But nothing comes. Then I tell myself all the other things that need to get done. The clutter picked up. The piles of laundry. The dishes in the sink. 

No. I can do that later. I need to write something. Stop stalling. Stop making excuses.2 hours. I can spare 2 hours. 

Ok. Here I go. 

But still. Nothing. Not so much as the first word is popping into my head. 

I’ve got nothing. 

Then I hear it. The thought in the back of my head. ….“That’s not true. You’ve got stuff. You just don’t want to write about it.” 

Gah. Couldn’t I have just folded the laundry and let myself off the hook instead of smacking myself in the face with the truth? Nooo. That would be too easy. Easier than dealing with my truth.

So here it is. 
I’ve got stuff. Some things I deal with. But it’s really just the same stuff. You’ve heard it all before. Fears. Insecurities. Issues with trust. Control. You know, the regulars. 

And so in trying to write this post, my thought process went a little like this, (basically, ALL over the place) : 
-“Does this part of it, the inability to fully trust, ever truly lessen significantly or do you always think you’re doing better just to have it sneak up and slap you in the face again forever?”
-“Do I even have anything else to say? Or more importantly, do I have anything NEW to say?”
-“Hellooo God, are you gonna tell me what to write about or just leave me hanging here?”
-“Maybe I thought this was my calling, but maybe it just isn’t.”
-“Is anybody even reading these posts anymore?”
-“Is the laundry EVER completely done?”
-“Do you really want to keep telling everyone in the entire universe what goes on in your life and in your mind?”
-“Do you even want to tell this story anymore or just tuck it away and hope it becomes such a distant buried memory that you can nearly completely forget it?” 
Yep. I’ll admit it. I got issues. 
(Am I the only one hearing that Julia Michael’s song “I got issues” in my head now? 😂)

Fear. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Mostly it’s fear. Of so many things. 

Of being betrayed again. Of betraying myself by not seeing it before it’s too late. Of being so afraid of that happening that I sabotage the happiness of now. Of not having security. Of not knowing what comes next. Of not being enough. Of not losing the extra weight I’ve picked up. Of my blood pressure getting any higher. Of failing as a mom. Of writing a book. 

Of NOT writing a book. 

I sit for a minute. I hear Him say “Hope is the anchor.” Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t Him, I tell myself, maybe I just pulled that out of my mind because it’s the subject of the most recent series of sermons at my church. 
But one word stands out. THE. He didn’t say “Hope is an anchor”, or “Hope is my anchor.” I heard “Hope is THE anchor.” 

Ok. Alright then God. I’ll see where that leads me. 

Yes. Hope is my anchor. Hope has always been my anchor. Hasn’t it? I’m all about some hope right? The belief that no matter what, everything’s going to be ok. 

Yes. Sure. Hope is my anchor… I think?

And that’s when the little light comes on and shines itself directly all up into the dark little corners of my heart and says, “hey. See this stuff? Yeah. It’s still there. Maybe you want to think about dealing with that?”

Uh oh. 
IS hope my anchor? Is it what I cling to? Is it what I believe in? Is it what I’m living my life by? 

Or has something else taken it’s place?

Several times over the past few weeks, I’ve felt uneasy for reasons I literally don’t even know. 
You’d think by now I’d know the difference. The difference between an uneasiness that’s prompted by God to alert you of something you need to deal with or avoid or a danger ahead, and an uneasiness that’s not from God, and just a distraction to keep you stuck or drag you down. 

And I kind of do. I know the difference. But that’s where my fear kicks in and tries to make me second guess by throwing all the what if’s at me. “What if this is real? What if you ignore this feeling and you miss something?”

The fear of missing something, of not catching that something has gone wrong in time to fix it before it’s completely broken, it’s like a magnet that pulls me in. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m just stuck there. 

Trying to move forward, trying to let go of it, to break free of its hold on me. But the gravity, the crushing weight of that magnetic pull always pulling me back. 

Or is it? Is the fear holding me? Or maybe, just maybe, am I holding fear? 

I didn’t ask for the thing that brought this fear into my mind, my heart, my life. I didn’t invite it in. It’s a natural byproduct of what I’ve been through. And it didn’t just creep in. It crashed into and enveloped me in a fierce crushing wave, and instead of leaving when the storm subsided, it settled itself right in my heart and made itself at home.

But my life is good now.
I don’t wake up every morning anymore with visions of what Jeff did and questions of what life looks like for all of us when I divorce him. I don’t spend my days sick to my stomach at the thought of what they did. I don’t cry myself to sleep or wake up gasping for air because I feel as if I’m literally drowning. I don’t go lie in a sobbing heap on my bathroom floor because a crushing wave of sadness hits me out of nowhere as I’m chopping vegetables in my kitchen. 

That is not my life today. 
My life is full and good and all kinds of lovely. 

I wake up every morning with a man that treasures me. A man who gives me no real reason to ever doubt or question his devotion to me. Yet, I do. 

I continually question it, because I have a fear of being blindsided. Because I have fear of being deceived. Because I once lived a life believing it was one thing, when the reality of that life was not at all what I perceived and believed it to be. But I don’t live in that life now. I live with a man who hasn’t forgotten what it was like to lose me. A good and decent man. A man who doesn’t want to live that life, the life in which he betrayed me, and God, and himself, ever again.

Why is it so hard for me to just trust in that? 

One word. Fear.
Fear of rejection. Fear of pain. Fear of not having control. Fear of regret. Fear of being made a fool of. Fear of loss. 

Well, maybe there is something else too. Self protection. Defense mechanisms. 

Those two things aren’t always bad. They can be helpful, and sometimes even necessary. But there’s a fine line. A line that is crossed when you begin to LIVE from it. 

Too often, I cross that line.

Too often I live from that self protection. 

Too often I live from those defense mechanisms.

And much, much too often, I live from fear. 

It’s taken me some time to really see that. It’s taken me even longer to face it.

Does the fear hold me, or is it me holding too tight to the fear? 

I think, it’s a little bit of both. It’s a codependency.

I’ve become codependent with the fear.

I battle it, yet I also tend to feed it. I fight it, but I also use it as a source of self preservation. 

That’s not the self I really want to preserve. So it’s time me and fear have a little chat.

Dear fear,

This relationship between you and I really isn’t working out for me. I would say that’s it’s not you, it’s me. But truthfully, we both have contributed to this toxic relationship. It’s time for us to part ways. You’re just taking up too much space here. You cause issues with my real relationships. You keep me from the things I’m supposed to do, and the person I’m meant to be. So, I’m gonna have to break up with you now. 

Sincerely,                                                                  Amy

What are you living your life from? Not on the surface, but really, really deep beneath it? What, truthfully, is your anchor? 

Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it doubt or pain or anger? 

Maybe you need to write a hypothetical Dear John letter today to whatever it is that’s holding you back. 

And that’s just the start. Overcoming whatever it is that holds you, or whatever you are holding on to isn’t solved by making this one declaration. It’s something we have to continually work at. It’s a process of waking up every morning with gratitude for where we are, and countering all the negative thoughts that bombard us with God’s truth. Learning how to lean into discernment instead of paranoia. Learning to live in the goodness of today, and not let the circumstances of the past overshadow it. 

Learning how to enjoy the “It is”, instead of constantly worrying over the “what if’s”
This is where I have to admit to you that all of that is easier said than done. This is also the part where Jeff looks at me and says “You need to read your own blog. There’s some really good and helpful stuff in there, maybe you should listen to yourself.” Ha! 
It’s not easy. It’s a spiritual battle. It’s something that I can write about pretty easily because I can clearly see it and identify it and come to terms with it in my head. The truth is in there, but the actual application of it in our lives is where most of us tend to get stuck, myself included. 
You can’t get unstuck by just acknowledging that you’re stuck. You can’t get unstuck by just thinking through why you’re stuck or even what you need to do to get unstuck. The only way to get unstuck is to actually move. You have to apply the right thoughts and then take that course of action. And then, we just have to be a little more aware and careful of the places we drop our anchors. 

I don’t think my anchor has been completely entrenched in fear. I know it hasn’t, because there is SO much hope in our story. And because we have so much goodness and I can see the progress we’ve made in our marriage and in our lives. The bottom wasn’t an easy place to start from, but despite the difficulties , there’s been a LOT of beauty and joy and happy days. 
I think we’ve been moving forward, sailing ahead, but my anchor just keeps getting caught on the rocks and debris. It doesn’t bring us to a screeching halt but it does a pretty good job of keeping us from getting to where we are going. 

So that brings me back to the whole writers block situation. I told myself it’s because maybe I just didn’t have anything to say. But the truth is that I just didn’t want to say it. And the reason behind that was fear. Fear of being misunderstood or of being judged or of my words just not being anything meaningful to anyone. And there’s the fear of sharing my deepest hidden thoughts with basically the entire WORLD. I am here to tell you, being vulnerable like that is not for the faint of heart. But mostly the fear of facing the things that hold me back. 
I haven’t been writing my book. I did for a while, and then, I just stopped. Mostly because I’ve reached the part that gets into the hardest and most painful days of my life.  I’ve worked so hard to not let it take center stage in my thoughts, so to have to go through the process of writing it out, basically reliving those moments, I just haven’t been able to find the strength to face that challenge yet. I know I could do it. I could recite the story and be capable of separating myself from the pain of it, but I also feel that it’s important that I be able to tell it from that place of heartache, as authentically as I can, because that’s what people will connect with. It’s important that anyone reading it that is going through something similar, or through any kind of heartache, is able to read it and know that they aren’t alone in that place. 

I just have to find a way to be able to write from the recollection of that pain, without being drawn back into it, if that makes sense. Really, when it comes down to it, the procrastination of writing that chapter comes from that same root of fear. I’ve been afraid to face it, and I’ve allowed the fear to convince me that going there and writing out that part of the story will drag me back to a place in my mind I don’t want to be. If I keep telling myself that, then the book never gets written, the story never leaves the pages of this blog, and maybe someone who needs it, who needs the hope of our story, and the hope of God’s goodness, never sees it. And then fear wins. 

The truth is, I can do it. I just have to choose to make it happen. To push through the hard to reach the good, and finish the work set before me. I have to anchor myself in hope. Hope that everything will be ok. Hope that even if at anytime it suddenly isn’t, God will find a way to work things for my good. 

Hope is the thing that holds you steadily in place, yet also the thing that when lifted up, puts the wind in your sails and drives you forward. 

Hope is THE anchor. 

The ONLY anchor.

Anything else is just an anvil pulling you down. 
Fear knocks on the door of all of our hearts everyday. Sometimes it’s just an annoying tap, and other times it beats so hard that it seems the door could cave in. May we all learn to answer that knock with this reply:
“This is not your home. Hope lives here, and there’s no room for anything else.”

💗

Amy Thurston Gordy

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It only matters that I start.

So this post today is actually two blog posts in one. I wrote the post below last month. But I left it in my notes as a draft and didn’t publish it. I didn’t publish it because I felt like there was something else I was supposed to share that day and so I wrote a different post. At least that’s what I told myself anyway. But I think the real reason I didn’t post it, is because if I posted it, I would have to actually do it. If I posted it, I’d be accountable to follow through. And it’s funny because the thing I ended up posting about that day was fear and doubt and how they steal our now from us. 

Yet, I apparently missed my own preaching. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Once again, I let the fear of failure, of not being good enough, and the doubts of how something I want to do could actually become a reality, get in the way of my purpose. I let the doubt and the fear tell me who I am and what I’m capable of. 

And I had forgotten about that post. Until this morning . When Dusty Takle stood up on that stage at church to deliver her sermon and reminded me who I am. She talked about Song of Solomon 2:4 – “Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.” She talked about how a banner is a covering, and how God covers us with His love. And how we need to be each other’s banner. Covering each other with love. She also talked about how she had known for years that she is supposed to write a book. And about how she had let fear and insecurity get in the way. How she had made noble excuses about why she couldn’t do it. Kind of like these excuses I’d been making:

1. I don’t have time. I have a full time job. I’m off 3 days a week, during which I also need to clean, shop, and spend time with my family. Writing is intensive and all consuming and it takes focus and when I write, everything around me fades out. So I told myself it’s not fair to my family for me to take that time. I didn’t want them to feel like they were less important or like I wasn’t present with them.

2. I don’t have the ability. Sure, I’m a decent writer. But, I have no idea how to turn all these thoughts and stories into an actual full book. I also have no idea how to go about procuring a publisher. I’m also a bit of a control freak and not having all these things outlined and planned out step by step freaks me out a little. I don’t like the feeling of going in blind. 

So, let’s break those down. 

1. Kate’s back to school now, so even if my week gets busy, at the very least, I have about 8 hours to myself every Friday. Surely I can carve out some of those to devote to writing.  Also, Jeff looked at me in the car on the way home and said, “So, it’s time you started writing that book.” To which I replied, “I know. But I have felt like it’s too intensive and that it will take too much of my time and focus from y’all, and I just don’t know how to do it without our relationship suffering.” Then, taking a line from the sermon this morning he held his hands up and said, “I’m holding your banner. I’ve got you covered. We’re ok. You can do this.” 

2. Ahh control. It’s kind of a joke, isn’t it? If the past two years have taught me anything, it’s been that God’s plan is the best plan. That the world will throw all kinds of things our way, some really good, and some really, really bad. But, despite what the world throws our way, when we’ve let Him, He’s done things and made things happen for us that we never would have seen coming in a million years.  Things that should never have been possible with all the bad the world threw at us.  Things that were virtually impossible two years ago are now our reality. Because He is good. And He is able. 

And He is in me, and I am in Him, so that means I am good. And I am able. I don’t have to know the plan. I don’t have to know the process. I just have to step forward and walk through it. He will provide the way. He will clear the path, all I have to do is keep moving. 

So today, I’m posting that draft that I’ve been sitting on for all these weeks. If God’s whisper weeks ago wasn’t prompting enough, His direct words through Dusty this morning definitely got my attention. So thank you for that, friend. Sometimes, when we get too still, we need someone to give us a little nudge to get us moving again.

July 23, 2017

I haven’t been doing any writing this month. Not sure why, just haven’t felt compelled to do so. Thought about it a few times, but never really got any clarity as to what to write about. What I do keep having though, is a recurring thought that I should maybe take a break from writing here, and start putting pen to paper, (or fingers to keyboard) and start working on a book. 

I’m not really sure what that looks like. If it will just be a retelling of my story in book form, or if it will be a book about how to survive when your life falls apart, or how to rebuild a marriage, or how to get it right from the beginning so that you don’t have to rebuild, or maybe even just about the goodness of God in all of our days, the good ones, and the really, really, bad ones. Maybe it’s going to be just one of these things. 

Or maybe it’s going to be all of them. 

Honestly I have no idea how this whole book writing thing works. And publishing… that’s a whole big world with very few doors. Publishing houses don’t really accept submissions that they didn’t request from you themselves anymore. So short of a miraculous intervention, self publishing is the most likely avenue and even then the options are confusing and also can be rather expensive. 

I tend to think way ahead and worry about the details of things, which tends to lead me to doubt things and limit the possibilities. Realistically, being able to put a book together and actually get it published , well, let’s just say the odds are against me. But then, I’m reminded that my odds are not regular odds. 

My job is just to write the book. God can handle the rest. 

I have to remind myself that I wrote my first blog with the thought that the odds were that only a handful of people would ever see it. At the time I was actually kind of counting on that, as putting myself out there like that was pretty terrifying. 

I wasn’t even sure what it was going to be, how much I would actually share of my story or what all I had to say. I just knew I needed to write it. 

And here we are, a year and a half and thousands of visitors from over 40 countries later. Never would I ever have imagined that. I didn’t make that happen. All I did was write some words from my heart and press the publish button. 

So regardless of what I know or don’t know about writing books, it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that I start. 

God can take care of the rest.

❤️

Amy Thurston Gordy