Matthew 10:31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
I am the most imperfect, most sinful, beautiful disaster you will meet. Yet I am here, I am thriving, and so blessed to have another year to share Christ's love with others. Do I do it beautifully? Am I always graceful? Nope and nope. I've come here kicking and screaming, and yet here I am. What am I trying to say here? That even in physical and emotional pain God had used this beautiful disaster. And loves this broken mess of a human that I am. Why do I share this with you? Because I need to remind myself. As we speak I have been dealing with terrible back pain for the last two months. Walking, sitting, and sometimes lying down is painful. I don't say this to make u feel sorry for me, but through this I have had more time to think, and spend time with myself. My joy has been a bit depleted, but I am amazed at how God still uses me, and those around me for His glory. How He has given my husband an amazing amount of patience and tenderness while listening to me cry. How my children are learning to give mom grace and showing what they have been taught. And how God can still use me. He has brought me through so much before, this too is just a part of my chaotic, beautiful story. So if you ever feel like you aren't making a difference or don't matter to the kingdom, THINK AGAIN! He can use all the chapters of our story to write a beautiful novel that is you. Remember this is only a chapter in your life. This will not last forever. The pain, heartache, and the world will return to normal some day. Take time to breath in His grace that He wants to wrap you in. He's got this. He's got you. Keep trusting, keep believing, keep fighting. Love you my friends. Never give up.
Matthew 10:31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In a few days I will be 40 years old. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this upcoming birthday has had me in a bit of a tail spin. Birthdays have always been a little weird for me, but this one has had a hold on me. I decided to take some quiet time and look up and within to see what I have learned and what crazy pieces of wisdom I might share for someone looking at her days ahead, or behind her. So here we go, 10 things Devonne has learned in her 40 years.
(One for each decade.)
1. You can learn from your past just don't live there. Experiences make us who we are. They can give us great insight to why we are who we are. But we can not change the past. We have to let it go to grow.
2. Take time to just "Be". Feel what you are feeling. Gain clarity and breathe. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. You can not pour from an empty cup.
3. Heap Grace on yourself. Stop mentally beating yourself up! You don't have to be perfect, (not to mention it's completely impossible). When you make a mistake, breathe (see #2), and move on. Romans 3:24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
4. Read, watch, listen to things that bring you up, not down. What goes in comes out. Fill your soul with what heals and helps you. Treasure yourself enough that you feed it goodness.
5. Learn to be ok with being you. Enjoy yourself. Write down qualities you like about yourself. You are one of a kind. You are the only you there is. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Suess
6. It is ok to ask for help. We can't do this life alone. We weren't made to. You don't have to just grin and bear it. Whether you need some friend time, or really needing some therapy. Asking for help makes you strong and courageous.
7. Don't carry others or their burdens. It's not your job. God's got them. You can care, but don't carry. Our shoulders were only made to carry our own weight.
8. You always have the right to say no. Don't be the yes girl cause that's what you think a good Christian does. Too may yes's leads to burnout and resentment. Think before immediately responding.
9. Take the compliment! when someone compliments you don't make yourself the butt of a joke because you feel uncomfortable. Say thank you. Appreciate that someone else sees your wonderfulness, (or your great outfit).
10. When feeling weak or vulnerable surround yourself with those who will be there for you. Those who get you, and have your best interest at heart. Never forget that God gets you more than you even get yourself. Matthew 10:30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
1 Samuel 23:16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God
In conclusion, do I have life figured out? Nope. But am I learning how to enjoy it more? Absolutely! So bring it on 40, I'm ready!
As always dear reader sending love and prayers to the Father for you. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Sincerely you sister in Christ, Devonne
The pain and fear rip through me as if I'm made of nothing more than tissue paper.
Not again I think to myself as I am enveloped into nothingness.
The deepest black is all I see.
A continual ache is turning my blood cold.
Before I would cower in my pain and hide both physically and emotionally.
I still feel it, but I call out to You.
In the depth of this despair which they call anxiety.
When I give names to my emotions and they don't seems so scary
I took away their power
So sadness, I will beat you with joy.
Joy for my Savior and for another day on this earth to share His word.
Self Hatred, you can leave. I am made in His image, therefore beautiful in His eyes and that's all that matters. There's the door.
Loathing, I don't know you anymore. A stranger to me now. Good bye.
Heartache, when you call I will refuse to pick up. I am healed and loved by one who is repairing your damage as we speak.
And lastly guilt and shame, you are not welcome in this place. I am forgiven and loved. You have had your fun with my heart, now it belongs to the one who made it.
As my breath calms and vision clears I see your light.
It brightens this darkness that tried to take me.
You are not here traveling this road with me
I look behind and no longer see your silhouette.
Its been awhile since I checked.
I want you to know I will no longer be looking back.
My path is lit up ahead and I choose to go forward.
Do not misunderstand.
There is no hate or anger in my heart towards you.
I wish you no ill will.
We are just not meant to walk this way together.
The past is done and gone.
I have retired my shovel.
No more digging up things that should stay buried.
Letting go is the best thing I have ever done.
If ever you happen to come across my path I will greet you,
but I will keep moving.
For as much as I have forgiven,
I also do not wish to repeat.
I am still unsure if I will share this blog post with you dear readers. If you are reading this then it means after much prayer, and quiet time I have made my decision. As I have stated before, I write to heal. My prayer is and has always been, that in my stories God will help heal what hurts you. I am very passionate about sharing my journey. I pray my words might help shed some light on your path. Not to be "like" me, or have any sense of admiration, but know you are not alone. No matter how scarred, bruised, or hopeless you feel there is a God who loves you more than any words or actions can express.
Writing this now many emotions sweep over my soul. The emotional bruises have faded, and stitches are healing, but there is an ache that reminds me of the things I have wanted to forget. I remember the exact moment. I didn't know it would hit so hard. I now understand that our brains try to help protect us, shelter us from the storm that is coming. Mine had been raging inside for quite sometime. Even now, my hands shake and my heart races. I have to remind myself to breath and that I am safe.
Ever since I can remember I have taken care of others before myself. Never allowing myself to feel anything but hate for myself. Someone one always had it worse was my motto. What I was "feeling" didn't matter and therefore not worth expressing. Besides, who would listen? Even God had better things to do. This was my thought process.
This August it will be one year since my breakdown. Yes, you read that correctly, breakdown. My brain had had enough, and couldn't take one more second of holding back this dam of emotions I had stuffed it so full of. Here's what last summer look for for me. My youngest had what we thought was a just a cyst removed off his back. Turns out it was a tumor, not cancerous, but so rare that the doctor said in 25 years of being a doctor she had never seen one. OKaaay, so, not cancerous so good right? No so easy, apparently these tumors only grow in clusters and like to grow in, and around the heart, causing many issues for the person. It is related to a genetic disorder called Carney Complex. First step, get heart ultra sound scheduled, then genetic testing. Then the same child had some medial issues downstairs, and two holes in ear drums that needed a 5 hour surgery to repair. At the same time my doctor had found a lump in my breast and wanted me to get a mammogram stat. During a routine dentist appointment the X-ray showed what the thought was a tumor in my oldest gum line. As if that weren't enough my mother was going into her 3rd open heart surgery. Her first one they had nicked an artery, and she almost died. Praise God an amazing nurse, after much nagging, convinced the doctor something was wrong.
A lot for anyone right. Now how about someone who doesn't allow herself to feel, or process, just gets it all done like checking off a list. Saying I was overwhelmed is an understatement. In fact the same day as my moms surgery, I went straight from my youngest doctors appointment to the hospital to wait with my sisters. It got so bad the my youngest who was 10 at the time would cry saying he was so tired of doctors everytime we got in the car. There was no time to process any of this even if I wanted to. So, . . . .my brain broke.
I remember vaguely saying to my husband, "I think I'm going to shut down for a little bit." There were no tears just as if there was a knowing, a sensing of impending doom. And I did. I shut down. I stopped smiling, I didn't talk very much. I couldn't think of simple words to say when speaking. I simply existed without living. It was as if I was living inside my head. The world seemed unhappy and unsafe. My laughter was gone. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. I was nothing.
I now know that my brain knew this was all such a heavy load to carry, and I didn't have to tools to know what to do. So it stopped. This lasted for about two weeks. In those two weeks I still went to all the doctor appointments. I still made dinner for my family every night. To those outside looking in you wouldn't have seen a difference. Only those who truly knew me knew. After the second week my husband made a joke and I smiled. He looked at me and said, "I'm glad you are coming back. If this kept on i was going to take you to the doctors. I was getting really worried." I was surprised, I thought ok, I know I'm not the same bit I'm handling it, just a little more quiet. Now when we talk about those times he shares how worried he was, and how hopeless he felt watching me just exist. His joyful wife that he has known for 16 years was acting like a zombie. Just in writing that down make me cry. Because I know how much my husband loves me, and to watch someone you love go through this and not know what to do stabs at my heart.
So desperate to figure out what to do, and out of answers, I called a therapist and made an appointment. It had been encouraged by a friend of mine off and on for 2 years, I rejected each time saying I didn't need anyone. Out of options, only that road was in front of me.
Through my first year of therapy I have learned that I really, I mean really, hated myself. I also realized that I have taken a lot of bullets for people in my past, and yet never took time to repair the damage they caused. I learned that I didn't allow myself to feel because there was so much hurt in my past, I was fearful I would feel it again. I have learned that for every hard thing I get through in therapy I am a little bit stronger. I learned it is ok to mourn losses of relationships, good or bad. Lastly, that it's ok to take time to heal.
So, medically, . . . my youngest just had his ear surgery, and healing wonderfully. No tumors in heart. Still have to get genetic testing done. My oldest, we are still watching the gum line, but think it probably is fine, might just be a piece of a tooth. My mammogram came back wonderfully. And My mother just celebrated her 1 year anniversary of her surgery. She's doing great!
I know now that my story is not over. I know God has given me this mission in life to love others, He just had to help me learn how to love myself. I'd like to thank my Savior for His perfect timing, and helping me with the words to write this out. For teaching me to forgive and keep shinning.
Thank you friends who helped have helped hold my hand through this journey.
S.S., S.L., L.L., N.H.
You know who you are.
And to my Sarapy, thank you for untangling the mess that was Devonne. All my love.
I thought about putting a picture at the top of this blog post as I normally do, but really what picture could represent what is going on in the world right now. Where do I even begin? Should I start at the level at which fear has gripped our hearts and inserted itself into our daily routine? Or maybe I should start at the hate I see all around me, to which even I am having a hard time processing how deep it resides? How opinions are no longer tolerated, how if you disagree you are the enemy? Where do I even begin?
As I sit here typing, never in a million years did I think this is the world I would raise my children in. How do I explain this to them? Where do I even begin?
I guess I should start at the beginning. . . . a man, a son, a sacrifice for us all. A town, a country, a nation, hating Him yelling, "crucify!" Innocence being persecuted at the highest level, hate enveloping hearts like black mold. This is where I choose begin, but not where I will end. I will end with focusing the third day after His death. May we remember the resurrection, the whole story. The grace freely given, the hope, and the light. For if we believers in Christ give up who else will share? If we only point out the evil, and do not share the light what good are we? If we judge so harshly those who oppose our views how are we showing grace?
Will you follow with me? Where we will begin at the beginning, but will not end there.
I pray for you dear readers. Let us keep shinning Christs light towards ourselves and others. Let us keep looking towards the One who loves us ALL unconditionally.
Much love my friends, Devonne Ramer
Escape rooms are all the rage lately. Doesn't do it for me. The thought of not being able to figure out a task right away frustrates me to no end. (I'm a recovering perfectionist). I started thinking about them the other day and started laughing as I thought about being a parent. Some days parenting can feel like an escape rooms.
There are going to be times where you aren't sure what the right answer is. Your going to be confused. You may feel as if you are wandering around in the dark with no flash light. It's a puzzle you need to figure out. On top of trying to figure it our, sometimes we have "helpful" tips given to us by strangers or friends on our parenting practices. They have been through the "escape room" before, here's what they did.
While many mean well, as a young mother these were hard for me to take. I was so hard on myself already, that many of these "tips" came across as harsh and judgmental. I thought great, they can see I'm failing at this as well.
Here are some things that I wish someone would have told me when my kids were younger. Number one being, every escape room, (child), is different. The rest are listed below.
God choose you to be your child's mother.
He believes in you, even when you don't.
Your reaction to a situation is your responsibility,
you are not responsible for others judgement of your abilities.
Your children are watching you, and how you handle situations.
They also look to you for comfort and safety,
that is your job.
It doesn't not matter if someone calls it coddling
you may call nurturing, and that is ok.
Try to remember . . .
Not to get defensive.
They probably mean well.
And try not to get not get lost in all the "advice" given.
It's hard enough to be a good mama, please try to remember every child is different, and most of us are just trying to give them what they need. Be kind to yourself and others as we try to figure out our own escape rooms. We need to remind ourselves of this when we are tempted to judge someone else as well. Many blessing friends. You got this mama!
I am currently 39 years old. I will admit at times I have felt my life saga was over. Over in the sense of completing what I am suppose to do. Meet wonderful man, check. Get married, check. Have children, check. Okay, so I'm doing it, being a wife and mother, and I love it. I volunteer at school, pack lunches, do laundry, clean house, make dinner. I have to be honest, in the past I have thought, ok, I'm good. Believe me I am not minimizing being a wife and mother. I truly feel it is a calling. One I take seriously, and feel blessed to be called to. If I'm honest, I wonder how often I have limited my use for the kingdom thinking I'm done. I'm too old for a new chapter.
I write to encourage you to remember God is limitless. We are the ones putting limits on what God can do, or who He can use. We let fear whisper doubt in our ears. Do not minimize your potential! You have many missions, this is just one. You affect more than you even know. God has called you. I pray that he gives you the knowledge as to what is your next step.
The world is our mission field, what we decide to do with it is up to us.
Simply put, what are you replacing The Word in your life with? What are you filling your head and heart with? Truth and grace, or narcissistic self love? We should all love ourselves, but are we putting our needs and desires before the Lords will for our life? Are we giving ourselves a pat on the back for our accomplishments, or are we thanking the Lord for our opportunities and gifts he has given us? Have we given God the backseat in our life? Do we need to take a moment and make sure He's driving?
James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (NIV)
James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (NIV)
James 4:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.(ESV)
I learned something new the other day, and it helped process and mend some things that were in my heart. In all honesty I learned about it in September, but its taken this long to settle my soul and write. It is called Kintsugi or "golden joinery", it is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with powdered gold , silver , or platinum. The philosophy behind it is that it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
This was so profound to me when I heard about it, and even my friend explaining it to me said that it is what God does for us. How true that is, and how much we need to hear it. See, in my struggles I have wanted to give up. Literally and figurately, in any way possible. I was done, over it, and drained. I wanted to start fresh. I wanted a new piece of pottery, because quick frankly repairing something takes time, and energy. It's work. It's much easier to buy something new and start over. But guess what I'm learning. We are way too valuable to be thrown away and start over. We are a treasure to our Lord that He values, and cherished in a way we can't even begin to comprehend. We look at our brokenness and feel regret. We try to repair it with failure and shame. Guess what, that glue doesn't stick. It won't hold, and it's not from the Lord.
Another reason I believe the Lord does this is to help one another. While we are so busy hiding our scars, The Lord Almighty is coating them in Gold! He is making them more pronounced so we can help others.
Yes, cracking is painful. I'll be the first to tell you, it is the most heart wrenching, guttural ache you will ever feel. But once the fog lifts, (and it does I promise), you can see His repair job glimmering in the light. So please remember dear friends, you may be cracked right now, but you are never too broken.
A mom trying to see the world through Gods eyes, while raising two crazy boys in the process.
I, even I, have spoken;
I have called him.
I will bring him,
and he will succeed in his mission.
Isaiah 48:15 NIV
in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.