Real Life Story Update 2018 Edition

Hey friend, want to have a heart to heart?

The most important part of Vintage Revivals, surprisingly isnt the Merc, or my post on how to paint furniture. It’s my Real Life Story. It’s been a while since I’ve updated it and while I wasn’t initially intending this post to be part of it, I feel like it needs to be. Cause struggling and being human is way easier when someone else says “Hey girl, me too.”

I dont know what your last year has been like, but if I had a word for 2018 it would be STRESS. Like that, in all caps, screaming in your face. Over the last few years I’ve felt it compounding, but this last year it was overwhelming. I found myself paralyzed in anxiety, brimming with anger, and disconnected, jealous, and negative. (Which is very unlike my rose colored glasses way of living.) I had a few irrational outbursts, I had stress induced psoriasis patches all over my body, I very intensely thought about driving my car into a wall one night.

The crazy and most frustrating part is that I tried everything that I could think of to find relief. Hormone therapy, actual therapy, change in diet, sticking to a schedule, meditation, exercise, podcasts, books, if it was suggested to me I tried it. And nothing made it better. Every time I cut my hair my sisters were worried I was going to buzz it Britney circa 2007 style.

Have you ever been in a place like this? Where you’ve pulled your boot straps up so high that you’re wearing them like suspenders and yet, you are still there, in the garbage? GAH! It is the worst feeling like you’re letting everything and everyone around you down. Man, if you have my heart goes out to you. Maybe we should start a suspenders club?

For me, I’ve learned, is that it wasnt about the circumstances that were going on (maybe we’ll talk about those soon). What really was happening is that sometime along the way I shifted my spirituality into neutral. Spoiler alert! It seems to be when you put something in neutral, it eventually coasts to a stop and that is what happened. I had stalled out.

For those that don’t know, I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My faith is what has rescued me from the seemingly unreachable darkness. Understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power that it has to bring grace and purpose to my life changed everything. After experiencing all of the miracles that we have over the years, you would think that I would be set on the right path and have all of the energy in the world to endure whatever ups and downs life throws at me, but man it just is not that way.  I was still going to church, Court and I are still missionaries for the 12 Step Program, and still doing the “things” but trying to restart some spiritual momentum out of sheer self loathing is just not the way that it works.

In October I went to a hypnotherapy session that changed everything. It was probably the most sacred and spiritual experience that I’ve ever had. I can’t share all of it, but during the session, I had this huge weight of darkness descend on me. As I focused on it I could feel it, like a thick black mist, intertwining itself around every part of my body. My therapist had me project the feeling outside of my body and asked me what shape it took on. It was like I was staring at a mirror image of myself, but instead of skin and clothing it was a faceless shadow of tumbling black smoke staring back at me.

As I faced it, those familiar feelings of dread, stress, hatred, anger, jealousy, self-will, pride, resentments, and sadness intensified and the smoke grew larger and larger until it was no longer the shape of me, but just a huge swirling black mass of despair. My therapist had me directly ask why it was there, and with a laugh and an energy that I recognized as Satan it replied “because you allow me to be”.

That son of a #&*%$

Slowly, almost undetectably I had let all of these garbage thoughts and feelings take seed in my life and they grew  and grew and grew until I found myself in this horrible place. Never has the term enemy of my soul meant more to me.

I dont know if you know this, but when I started my blog I had never DIYed a thing in my life. I had very little confidence in anything, especially myself, and what little I did have was sucked into the dark hole of Court’s addiction. I was an absolute shell of a person. When I stumbled one day upon the world of DIY blogs, it changed everything! These wonderful, relatable, awesome women shared their knowledge with me and made me feel like I could do something scary. It unlocked a talent that had been completely undiscovered and quite literally altered the course of my life.

A few months into the blog I knew that I needed to share our struggle with addiction. At that point Court had only been sober for a few months, but he was so different than any other time he had been clean, that I didn’t hesitate to believe that this time really was different. From the moment of being willing to be vulnerable things changed for me. I learned who I was, and how God speaks to me. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the reason that I had this gift was to bring people to the blog so that I could share with them hope, and confidence, and happiness. Maybe in a thrifted dresser, maybe in a relationship, maybe in God. But always that change is real and everything can be made better. That purpose unlocked my heart.

But over the years, that perspective shifted. If you ask me point blank, that is still the answer you’ll get, but in my heart it changed. It became about me, not about you. I dont know if the content really changed all that much, but the energy and reason behind it did. I would be interested to know for those long time readers, if you’d noticed.

So for the last little while, I’ve focused on finding my Savior and my peace and my perspective again. It has become my number one priority. It never ceases to amaze me that He is always there. ALWAYS! Even when I turn away from him, even when I struggle and try to do things on my own and make a mess out of the path that he set my life on, he is still there! Through this journey I’ve dedicated more time to going to the temple and reading the Book of Mormon. I’ve cut out everything in my life that doesn’t fill me with hope and happiness (I’m looking at you Netflix) and my heart has been changed.

One of my favorite quotes by President Benson says “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.” It’s quite miraculous how that happens. I feel like I know what my Heavenly Father wants from me and as I am willing to trust him and move forward in faith that he will work the miracle for me to become whatever he intends.

And as for the enemy of my soul, whenever I am feeling frustrated or defeated I read from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 4:18-35

18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

So what does all of this mean!? Hahaha man I have no idea. But I do know that Vintage Revivals always going to be about projects and paint and trips to Home Depot. But if I’m creating that content with love, awareness, and perspective-I believe that it can create a deeper connection and that is what the whole point behind all of this is. To know that none of us are alone in our bad bathroom tile, or in our imperfect lives.

If you’ve made it this far you get 10 Vintage Revivals points and a huge heartfelt thank youuuuu! Thank you for letting me share about where I’ve been cause man, what a lonely and crappy place that is. And thank you for letting me figure this whole thing out. You are wonderful!!

If you would like to learn more about the LDS 12 Step Addiction Recovery meetings, you can get more info for meetings in your area here.

If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of the Book of Mormon, I would love to send you one! Shoot me an email at mandi@vintagerevivals.com!

Love your guts guys!!

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