Thank you for joining us for the fourth and final post of Allison's story. Many of you have been faithful followers of our stories and we appreciate the encouraging comments you've sent. As Allison's week four title suggests, "Life is about the Journey . . . ," my partners Tammy, Lisa and I pray your life's journeys will be blessed and full of hope! ~ Jeremiah 29:11
"Life is about the Journey . . . " ~ by Allison Medina
Ernesto and I just celebrated our 12th year of marriage last week! If you would have told me 10 years ago that we would have made it to our 12th wedding anniversary, I would have not believed it for one second! All signs pointed toward divorce. And yet, here we are! Are we perfect? Absolutely not!! Do we still need counseling at times (and often a referee)? Absolutely!!!
We no longer live in Las Vegas but we continue to have counseling sessions with our counselor, Pat, over the phone. And the truth is, Ernesto and I may always need that to continue to thrive in our marriage. Life long seasons of counseling may very much be part of our story, and that's ok!! The problem is, there's such a stigma with counseling. I'm not really sure why. I think many people think that to seek counseling, you are admitting weakness or failure. But I believe the opposite is true. Seeking counseling is courageous! It's brave! It takes a lot of guts to reveal yourself on a level that exposes you to face dark wounds from your past. It takes courage to open up about pain that was a result of other people's mistakes, or perhaps your own, that you fear you'll be judged for.
Ernesto and I are committed to our marriage and because of that, protecting it by nurturing it and administering healing when it's broken is how we stay together. Just like seeing a doctor at least once a year for a check-up is essential to our physical health, so are check-ups and check -ins with our counselor are just as important to our emotional health and well-being.
I'm just one person. I'm one person out of millions on this earth, so knowing that, I completely understand that my experiences are mine, and that my opinions on life are also mine and in the grand scheme, aren't going to matter to most people. However, I do believe that God allows us to go through circumstances that teach us things about life, about others, and most importantly, about ourselves. And for the greater good, these lessons can be passed on to others in an effort to help them on their journey in whatever capacity it speaks to them. So, in light of that, I want to share a few of my own life principles with you as I conclude my story. These are essentially "rules" I live by, that I've imposed on myself, birthed from my own life experiences.
Denial is a prison -
ALWAYS be honest with yourself, and others. Living your life IN TRUTH is hands down the most important principle I believe any person can live by. It seems simple enough but the truth is, most people often live life in denial. I've seen first hand what denial can do to a person. It affects their relationships, their health and every aspect of their lives. Denial is a mental prison that many people find themselves in because the fear of living in truth is too overwhelming. Or it's too hard. Or too embarrassing. Or too...... You can never be truly free until you tell the truth about your life, both past and present, and continue living your life in the most authentic way possible. I'm certainly not suggesting that you reveal yourself to the masses! I'm saying, seek out a safe person(s) that you can tell your ENTIRE story to, seek healing in areas you need it, and then do what you can to live out the rest of your days in honesty and transparency. The enemy wants you to be ashamed of your past, whatever it is. He wants you to be ashamed of your struggles, whatever they are, but God says that "The truth will set you free"! So allow yourself to experience freedom! Freedom from perfectionism, addiction, grudges, self-righteousness, fear/anxiety, self-loathing, loneliness, hopelessness, self-hatred, self-love, Shame... Freedom from whatever it is that enslaves you.
Choose wisely WHO you reveal yourself to-
This may seem like a little bit of a contradiction having just driven the point home about the importance of living in transparency and avoiding denial, but the two really do go hand in hand. I have learned the hard way the importance of choosing confidants carefully. I live my life in hyper-transparency, and being a "venter" I've been burned many times, and in all honestly, misunderstood! I've been accused at times (some in absolute error and some sadly not) of gossiping. Because of my nature, I talk through everything! So if I've ever considered you a friend at any time, you probably know more about me than you should. And there have been different seasons of life where I've had friends come and go. But after 36 years on this earth, there's a few that remain in my life that I know will be there until my dying breath! Take home lesson? It's not necessary, or even appropriate, to spill your guts to every person you consider a friend. Learn from my mistakes!!! As important as it is to live your life as honestly as possible, and avoiding living in denial, it's also equally important to KNOW who you can trust with your truth and who will keep private the things you've revealed in confidence. I've learned that privacy is a virtue. Privacy is not the same as secrecy, however. Knowing the difference is essential, and knowing who you can share your private thoughts with is just as crucial. Jesus himself had levels of relationships. He had 12 disciples whom he called friends. But then he had 3 close confidants that he revealed himself to intimately. Choose wisely!
Life is about the journey . . . and we will always be working on something -
This is a tough one for me! Just when I think I've mastered a struggle, something happens and I feel like I've ended up right where I began! Obviously I've mentioned many times that fear is a struggle of mine. Fear equals lack of faith! And yet, I just can't seem to be cured of it!!! Just the other night I was scrolling through Facebook and landed on a post from the mother of a 6 1/2 year old precious little girl who is dying of cancer. As I was reading through the post, my heart was gripped with fear, and I was overcome with emotion. I wept! I wish I could say I wept solely for this precious girl and her mama, which is mostly true, but I wept also in fear of something like that happening to my own kids. Then the guilt set in. "It's not about you Allison" were my thoughts. But I couldn't shake the dark and overwhelming feelings of fear that paralyzed me worrying about my own children. Friends, THIS is my struggle! This is an area in my life that I am in need of constant prayer. But you know what? From a child to today at 36, God has done some incredible healing in this area, despite the fact that it still remains...an area. And it's in this area that God usually reveals himself the most. He shows up to comfort and console. He doesn't say "Shame on you Allison, for not trusting me 100%. You don't deserve my love!!" No! Instead He says, "Come to me my precious daughter, I love you and I'm here with you. Do not be afraid, for I am WITH YOU. I want to remind you that I love your children more than you do and infinitely more than you could ever comprehend. My ways are higher, my thoughts are higher. Have peace in your heart knowing this. And in this same way I love them, I love you also!"
God knows my heart, He knows my fears, He knows my struggles, and He continues to invite me to bring these areas to Him for healing! And He invites you to do the same! Though the journey is never ending, and though we may continue to have to work on old hurts, habits or hang ups that seem to continue to resurface, there is abundant life ON the journey! My friends, I encourage you to always choose healing over hurting! Choose truth and honesty over denial! Choose life in transparency over life lived in darkness! Life is not perfect, and it won't be until we are called home to be with Jesus, but it can sure be a life lived in abundance of "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" if we allow God to work! Will we experience all of these fruits all the time and all at once? Most likely not, but we will surely be closer and closer to it the more we are open to doing the healing work!
About our guest writer . . . Allison lives in Seattle, WA with her husband Ernesto and their two beautiful children, Blake and Charlotte. In addition to her first and most important job of being a stay-at-home mom, Allison enjoys using her gifts and passions as an outlet for her creativity! She leads worship at her church in Maple Valley, loves crafting and any DIY projects. Most recently, she has decided to pursue her passion for real estate by becoming an agent in an effort to help others find their dream home! She has a very blessed and perfectly imperfect life!
** Thank you to Allison for her faith, her courage and her story of truth, hope and love!
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