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  • Carrie Usmar

This is a picture from my drive down a dirt road yesterday. I looked at this picture and thought wow that tree looks like a peace sign. A great reminder that I am at peace, and I am learning what works for me at this time in my life. I've realized fear is not working. It has dug a hole pretty deep inside me. I hear this voice telling me I can't. Telling me I shouldn't. Telling me I'm not worth it. Telling me people don't want to hear it and that no one can relate. Telling me I am alone. 

Everyone has a season of life. Some are very open and some are closed. I often wonder why I do what I do. Why do I spend hours writing? Why did I start sharing my personal struggle? What do people think?

On the days that I write, I usually wake up at 4am. Not because I want to, but because my baby wakes up around then sometimes and I am just yearning to get some stuff out of my mind and onto paper. It’s the time of day when everyone is sleeping and I can write and create in peace and quiet.  

I’ve been afraid of sharing my writing on my blog for quite some time. Mostly afraid of what people will think. My mind tells me I shouldn’t be talking about this. Or I shouldn’t share that story. Or this piece is not good enough. I don’t often voice these thoughts out loud or in conversation. Sometimes its just painful to talk about, or I don’t feel worthy of sharing my personal struggle.

But I do know what the silent struggle feels like. You feel so alone in the dark. You aren’t sure what to do. You think your friends won’t understand. You think your parents won’t get it. Even your spouse might not get it. So you sit in silence alone. Until you break. And that is a scary thought. I don’t want that for you, or for anyone.

I’ve decided I am going to continue to speak loud and clear about depression, anxiety, finding the light, and whatever else I'm feeling passionate about.  It may not be every day, or every week. But I won’t give into fear or perfection. I’ve been doing that for a while now. The past few days I have felt the urge to face my fears. To be brave and remember why I started this blog. Its called Mama Daring Greatly for a reason. Lately I’ve been consumed with fear. I hope that I can continue to remember to face fears and continue to be brave. And I hope you will continue to read and always remember you are not alone, you are loved, you are more than enough.

  • Carrie Usmar

There are days that dark feeling is so strong. I want to let it be. I don’t feel like fighting it. And why do I have to? It was one of those days. My thoughts were out of control. The fear felt stifling and courage was not an option. I thought about how hard some days can be. My little girl is graduating preschool and there are some overwhelming decisions to be made. I didn’t want to do anything, any cleaning or organizing or all the things I needed to do. There is too much to do and so many choices. I can’t start any projects with kids around interrupting me. What is wrong with me? These negative thoughts went on and on. The indecisiveness settles in. The anxiety is strong. I can’t stop it. I don’t feel like stopping it.

I thought I’d have a cup of tea and go outside. Nature always helps me, brings me back to reality. I’ll go on Facebook or Instagram, maybe that will help put my mind on something else. It works for a few minutes, till I’m tired of being on my phone and it all comes back. I looked down at my teacup and it says “find your anchor” on it.

I feel angry. I don’t want to find my anchor. What is my anchor? What does that even mean? I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to see anyone, I know I need to, but I don’t want to. I wish I could write. But if I start doing that I get more frustrated with my kids interrupting me so it will have to wait.

My son comes close and asks me to help him get in the hammock next to me. You can see the joy in his face as he swings in it and sits next to me. I watch him while drinking my tea.

I started to think, okay,, being anchorless is not going to work for me. I am going to continue further and further into the darkness. So I decided to think of the good things, the positive things. I realized all I was doing was worrying, and thinking of negative things. I think about my kids, they are always a light. I thought about how far I’ve come. Too far to give in to the darkness.

Then, my son came over to me, he wants me to watch him ride his bike. It’s time to stop thinking and start being present with him. I can no longer process these feelings, or even let my mind run. I feel a little better as I move on with my day but something is eating at me.

After school, I decided to take a drive. Get lost somewhere. I felt lost. It’s not a nice feeling. Is lost a feeling? Well I felt unclear, uncertain, out of control, unsure of the future, scared, and anxious. I know going on these adventures helps me. One of my kids was exhausted and needed to sleep so this is my answer sometimes. I found a beautiful, peaceful, quiet dirt road. Not a person in sight. These are the best kind of roads. Just me and the sound of my minivan driving on the dirt.

We drove up to a beautiful pond and walked down to the water. I watched the wind blow the grass in the water and had this wave of feeling come over me. The words “I was lost but now I’m found” came to me. This is where I need to be. Nature always helps me reset. It’s easy to fill overwhelmed with decisions and life, and shut down. And this was a great reminder to me, that I have come a long way and I am here. I can keep going. I can seek the light. Of course 20 minutes later at home, I felt completely lost again. I felt frustrated with kids, whining, crying, don’t know what to make for dinner, don’t feel like cooking kind of crazy. It’s so easy to feel lost.

As I was writing all of this down, I had a real awakening. I remembered in the car I was listening to a song called Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger. I decided to put the song on just to think for a minute. Sometimes when I am writing I wonder why am I writing all of this down, where am I going with this? She sings, “I’ll be your lighthouse when you’re lost at sea… I will illuminate everything…. “

I looked like that emoji with the big eyes, or a deer caught in the headlights, and then started sobbing. Wow. Why did I not even think of him? I sort of thought about him when the words I am found came to me by the pond. But I still felt unsettled. Like something was missing or wasn’t right. I didn’t think to talk to him at any point that day. I’ve been so busy, from a crazy adventure filled vacation, to event after event, I haven’t had time to think or feel. When I did feel down during that busy period, I just got busy again to try and move on. But when I am alone, which is a lot of the time when I’m at home with the kids, that’s when the darkness tries to take over. And that’s when I have no one to help me, or get me out of it but God.

I thought about my tea cup, find your anchor and I realized God is my anchor. He guides me. If I look to him, he will reveal the light from the darkness. I can’t keep letting the darkness settle in and feed me lies and believe them. God always brings me back to the light. He knows me and loves me just the way I am, brokenness and all. He is with me always, I am not alone.

I want you to know you are loved and your brokenness is loved. You may feel lost. It happens to all of us, you are not alone. Find your anchor, what brings you back home. For me, all of these actions, gratitude, nature, music, art, writing, bring me back to God and closer to him. He is my anchor. Yours may be different but I want to encourage you to find it. Make the time to do those activities that help you. At the end of the day, busyness is a coping mechanism. If you’re busy you don’t have to think. You don’t have to worry because you can go from thing to thing. But when there is nothing left to do, and your left in the quietness of your mind, it’s easy to let the darkness settle. To feel inadequate and alone. If you don’t explore those feelings you will never know how to cope with them. And when times get hard, and they always do, you won’t know how to climb your way out and find the light. So you get busy again and your stuck in the cycle feeling lost.

Remember there are always cracks in the darkness. There is always light trying to shine through. Don’t hide, or numb your pain. Feel it, process it, and try to understand it. It won’t go away till you face it. You got this my friend.

  • Carrie Usmar

You’re probably wondering what is so special about this road. It’s just another picture of a road. Well it’s special to me. Firstly, I thought it would be a “normal” paved road. On google maps it looked like a regular cut through to 165, and I think I know where 165 is and how I could get home from there. Is that where I want to be? I don’t know. Okay I guess I’m talking local roads over here. But on google maps these roads look legit. Then when you drive down them you realize you’re alone, in the woods, you might pop a tire, you hope your going the right way and not on someone’s property. I passed a man walking. I wondered, where is he going? Is he walking home from work? I don’t see a house in sight. Do people still walk to work anymore?

H is in the back, where are we going mommy? When will we be home? One of my favorites is “What’s HE doing?” (referring to the man walking) Usually he will ask something like this loud so the person he is referring to can hear loud and clear. And I awkwardly explain what they are doing. Are we going home? Crosby is sleeping. Are we on our way home? When will we go to Celia’s school? When will we be home? I have learned the art of tuning this little guy out on my adventures. But I am amused by him and love his curious mind.

Anyway, I’m on this dirt road. My mind is racing. Its not often you drive on dirt roads anymore, by choice. I have all these questions, concerns. I don’t feel any kind of peace driving on it. It’s not what I expected. I think what also scares me are the private property signs all over the trees in bright yellow. I just want to scream “Where am i???” I want clarity.

Well google maps can give me some clarity. But the reality is, I have to drive it out. There was no place to turn around. Just me, the dirt road, and the trees. All of my concerns are valid. But I can’t just not drive down that road because I’m anxious or afraid. We would never get home. So I slow down, in hopes of not popping a tire, take a deep breath, and drive. I won’t know what is on this road till I drive down it.

In life, a lot of unexpected circumstances come up. Some you can say no to out of fear. Some you ignore because you don’t want to see the truth. Some you don’t entertain because you don’t know what it will be like or the outcome. If you continue to live this way, everything gets heavier and heavier. Each new situation is scarier, harder to work through.

If you do decide to go down a new path, don’t let your mind feed you lies. The mind is so powerful. I wondered about that man, why he was so deep in the woods, was something sketchy happening. Reality is he is probably just taking a walk, but the mind can wander and also have you focus on anything but what you need to focus on right then and there. Fear can fill your spirit. Leaving doubt, hopelessness.

It’s time to let go of all of it. Ultimately you can’t control the outcome, you can take a road you think will take you home but you still don’t know what’s on that road. You could pop a tire, your car might break down, you may encounter some interesting people, maybe a tree fell in the road, but you work through it. You call someone for help. You learn new things. You meet new people. You end up stronger and wiser, because you survived some unfortunate situations, you now know how to work through them, and you know you’re persistent and fully capable of taking that road again.

And the next time your mind jumps to fear of going down another road, you remember all you have overcome and remind yourself you will overcome anything on the path. It won’t be easy, is anything ever easy? But you will be glad you took that road instead of the “normal” paved one. The one that felt so safe, and you knew exactly where it was going.

You become stronger everyday by taking these alternate routes, you learn the truth about yourself, and you also bring light to the lies and the shame. Keep moving onward my friends.

#Inspiration #Depression #honesty #Faith #Brave

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