When Running Away Leads You Home

New beginnings are like a soft cozy blanket to me.

I feel as at home starting fresh as most people feel in familiar places. I have a bit of a gypsy spirit, that when left untethered can cause me to run wild and free until I crash and burn. 

When you have the tendency to self destruct, sometimes you learn to gravitate toward things that keep you grounded in efforts to build a more stable life...and that's what I did for years. I ran away from myself...the girl from a broken home, a survivor of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse & a victim of domestic violence with deep scars that needed to be healed...and I chased after stability. I checked off all my boxes: Fell in love with my exact opposite, Graduated college, Started a family, Created a business, Tried to balance work & home life, and continuously filled my world with more ways to find order. None of the things I thought would help actually created the life I desired. instead I was left always striving for something out of reach, and constantly failing.

Fighting against who I was was my saving grace for a while, sometimes you are just not ready to face your pain head on, but eventually running away from it became a very destructive force in my life.

Eventually I found myself broken and battered in a pile of attempts to feel at home within the world I created, and I knew I could no longer dust myself off and keep going. So I gave up trying to recreate myself and I ran inward. I slowly let God sit with me in my desperate broken places and he began working deeply within my soul...helping me face exactly who he created me to be and to dive into my past trauma in order let myself heal.

Healing is just plain messy business Ya'll, but its so worth it and so so necessary

I had to shed the things that were no longer serving where I was headed. That meant creating new boundaries and letting go of my business. Photography was where I sought validation for so long, but eventually it had become like an abusive relationship that only magnified my lack of self-worth and tendency toward self-sabotage. It had to go, and with it I felt like I lost a piece of myself....but looking back I can see that this is when the REAL work began.

The following years hit me hard, God was building me back up, but first I had to heal from some very deep scars that I didn't want to face. I wanted to leave it all in the past and run as far away as I could, but I learned the hard way...

...you simply can't run away from trauma...eventually it will find you and keep knocking you down until you face it. 

I started having panic attacks while driving at 70MPH down the highway (not the situation you want to find yourself in), and constant nightmares stemming from past abuse. Depression, anxiety and symptoms of PTSD were part of my everyday life and I was struggling to find my footing. I could barely keep my head above water, but I was deeply invested in facing everything head on, so I went to work, and dove in way over my head. To spare you all the messy details in this initial post, I'll just say that those were some of the hardest years of my life, and I almost didn't think I could make it ...but with the help of God's grace, a new found appreciation for self-care, a daily dose of Zoloft and some amazingly supportive friends & family I started to find healing. I began the process of learning to love myself fully (scars and all), of creating new and healthy boundaries for those who were continuously destructive in my life, and looking to God to help me build a new foundation. I stopped running and I let the healing lead me home.

In this new space, God taught me that a gypsy spirit doesn't always need to be completely tethered. I can live simply and beautifully with a heart wide open and still feel right at home in Him.

I didn't need to run away from who I was to find stability, in fact I needed to dive into myself more fully. God created me to be a dreamer who is always ready for something new and different...but he also desired for me to let my roots run deep. Each day, over and over again my challenge is to nurture my free spirit in a way that allows me to be fully myself, yet to keep coming back to the things that he has shown me to be life-giving so that I can remain rooted in Him. 

A few years ago, when I was in the thick of it and all I could see were all the ways I had fallen short...God gave me these verses and prompted me to keep telling my story, and to find my calling in all the places that made me feel weak....

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

As my eyes have opened to the importance of diving into my pain instead of running away from it, God has shown me just how strong I truly am. Where I used to see weakness, now I see strength within myself. I have failed hard at a great many things, but I've been able to come out of it with a new healthy sense of who I am and what I will allow into my life, and along with that my heart is even more open to those who have suffered trauma, abuse and neglect.

So, in the spirit of diving fully into who I am and who I am called to be, I decided to create this new blog....to keep telling my story, sharing my successes and failures, and to also encourage others to dive in, to live simply and beautifully, and to love with their whole hearts as much as possible. 

Thank you for coming along on this journey!

xoxo,  Kerri