Broken 7/16/19

**I just wanted to share this post that I had written in my drafts from a month and a couple of weeks ago. I know many people have gone through this, and I think it’s vital to share these things and be vulnerable.**

Have you ever literally just gotten to the point where you’ve become too weak to fight anymore? You’re just too broken and you’ve become physically exhausted where you could pass out where you’re standing; you’ve become too weak to walk, too weak to breathe even. It could happen over the course of days, months or years, or it could happen in just a moment, where the reality of truth has become a foreign concept. Your world has been turned upside, and has taken on the mask of a face you’ve never seen before.

Honest assessment: this is the state I’ve been in. I don’t know what’s left or right, or what’s up or down. My mental barriers have been so crushed down, and I feel like my emotions are dead. I feel broken, broken beyond repair. There’s people who I don’t trust anymore, and I feel emotionally manipulated. How could I have let this happen, how could I have gotten in this place? I feel guilty, like somehow this brokenness is my fault. Words that have been spoken to me keep on replaying in my head. Do I do what they want me to do? Why is my heart racing? Why am I about to freak out? What am I supposed to do?

There are times where I can just stare into nothing for hours. You feel guilt because you’re a Christian and Christians aren’t supposed to feel this way. I have laid on my bed and asked myself several times, “How did I get here?” It’s like all hope is lost at this point.

How in the world can one get out of that state of mind?

“No one ever hated their own body…” Ephesians 5:29

“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church-” Ephesians 5:29 NIV

“for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,” Ephesians 5:29 NASB

“No one abuses his own body, but pampers it-serving and satisfying its needs.” Ephesians 5:29 TPT

For those of you who don’t know, but many do, I have Graves’ Disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks a little tiny organ in your throat, something very small that controls so many things in your body, and it’s called a thyroid. I don’t have a thyroid now; I had a total thyroidectomy on 8/27/2015. There are plenty of women on my mother’s side of the family who has dealt with the exact same thing and had to get their thyroid taken out. Even after my thyroid has been taken out, I still have complications.

Before I had my thyroid taken out, I was in a thyroid storm for months, and on two occasions it got super bad, I had to get transported to the hospital by ambulance. My resting heart rate was between 180-200, I lost 60 lbs in two months and I could not put on weight no matter how much I ate (and I ate so much, like too much. You know those frozen bags of Walmart brand chicken nuggets? I would eat one of those for a meal. Everyday. And would not gain a pound, and I inhaled everything in the pantry. I would lose weight even though I ate probably five times more than what one normal person would eat in a day), my eyes protruded from my head (as they still do), I would have muscle fatigue/deterioration, diarrhea, severe emotional distress (you can ask my sister), confusion, bad hand tremors, I could not talk, I couldn’t walk up the steps, I would lightly sleep between 30 minutes to an hour every night, most of the time not sleep at all, and because of the lack of sleep I would hallucinate, and I had extreme anxiety that you wouldn’t believe. Those two years of my life are so blurry, I can hardly remember what happened.

After my thyroid got taken out, I had hair loss, I quickly gained back my weight quick and then some, now it’s so hard to lose it, my sleep is restored to the point where I oversleep and I can fall into a deep sleep practically anywhere now, my eyes still are protruding and will always be big, I’m fatigued easily and my mind can be foggy, one side of my face is bigger than the other, BUT I feel much better without my thyroid, because if I still had a thyroid, all those symptoms I listed in the above paragraph would still be going. I honestly don’t know if I would still be here if I hadn’t gotten my thyroid taken out. According to https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-storm, the mortality rate for people left with an untreated thyroid storm is 75%.

“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14 NIV

Anyways, all this information is the preface to my point in writing this, Ephesians 5:29. I was helping out at an awesome Spirit-filled church, and we were all praying and the pastor asked me if I had something wrong with my body or any pain. Whenever that question is asked, I always say I don’t have a thyroid due to this, this and that. It’s been my prayer for my thyroid to grow back without Graves’ Disease. I’ve heard stories of God restoring limbs, fingers, making the blind see, the deaf hear, I’ve even seen the miraculous happen before my very eyes, so why wouldn’t He be able to grow my thyroid back? I totally believe that He can if He wants to. Whenever I told the pastor that Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disease, he said, “Nobody hates their own flesh, for something to make the body attack itself is definitely NOT of the Lord,” but the thing that stuck out to me was “nobody hates their own flesh.” I knew I heard somebody say that recently, and I knew it was a scripture; I just didn’t know where.

Honestly whenever he said, “nobody hates their own flesh,” the thought popped into my brain, “except me.” Immediately after that thought, this word that I’ve known all too well yelled loud in my mind: self-hatred. Especially during my younger years, I hated my body with a passion, my whole self with a passion, and I personally know that some of the women in my family who have had to get their thyroid taken out due to Graves’ Disease suffer with the same self-hatred. I mean, think about. The definition for autoimmune disease is this: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues. This is a disease where the very thing set up to protect the body starts to destroy it. Self-hatred is designed to seek and destroy all things regarding the body, soul and spirit of a person, which often results in recklessness, depression, suicidal tendencies, rejection, etc. Self-hatred literally destroys how you see your whole self, the outside and the inward workings of your mind. I know self-hatred destroys how you see yourself, which leaves the defenses of the mind open. I can draw the parallels between autoimmune and self-hatred.

While the pastor was praying for me, my mind drifted to “could all of this tie in to self-hatred?” I sort of cringed at the thought of conquering another layer of identity. For what has seemed like forever, I have been walking with the Lord on this identity process. I thought so much hard rock and dirt has been mined through already that I’m so close to the gold by now, right?

I’ve never had a more wrong thought in my life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

For as long as I could remember, I’m currently 23-years-old, up until 18-years-old or around there (which is whenever Graves’ Disease came into play), I remember not wanting to live because I hated myself. It was easy for me to become entranced and immersed into fantasy worlds, video games and books especially, because I could become someone who was not me.

I remember during my teenage years I would lay in bed at night and cry out, literally I would beg and plead for God to kill me. I would give Him every thought of why He should, and I would reason with Him about why He should take my life. I’ve told Him things like, “I was a mistake when You made me. Just kill me and relieve me of my misery,” or, “I hate myself, why would You make me and let me live while I hate myself? What good am I to you?” or even, “I have no purpose, just kill me, Lord!” I tried everything I could to get God to kill me. Every night I went to bed hoping I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, and would be so disappointed when my eyes opened the next day.

I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, and if I did, it’s like I would block out what I looked like. I look back at the younger pictures of myself and seriously wonder why in the world could I not even look at myself in the mirror? Young Brianna was a cutie! Like I’m actually upset with the fact that young me would block out herself and her image. I wish I looked like that now! I was always the odd one physically in the friend group: too tall, too big, glasses, short hair, braces, doesn’t know how to dress, and I thought I never was physically attractive.

“Look at you, my dearest darling, you are so lovely! You are beauty itself to me. Your passionate eyes are like gentle doves.” Song of Songs 1:15

I never sought out relationships and never have been intimate with anyone, I never sought out alcohol, and I’ve never even sought out or seen any type of drug, to cover up the self-hatred I had deep down inside. I wasn’t physically abused or had a bad home life. I was considered your average “good kid” who had mental illnesses such as “depression with suicidal tendencies.” Nobody knew where it came from, heck I don’t even know where it came from (obviously the enemy.) But such a deep feeling of self-hatred, of self-loathing, came over my life at a very early age, and I know there’s more things that lead to this, but that’s for another time and another blog.

I believe there are levels of self-hatred. I believe the top level of self-hatred I had happened in my years as a teenager. Now I can actually look in the mirror and not block out what I see. I see every part of me, and I’m not cringing at it. Two years ago, there was a season where I had to look at myself in the mirror and tell the things that I didn’t like (which was everything) that I loved them in Jesus name. I wear what I want to and what makes me happy now, not care what people think about it, and look pretty fly while doing so. I don’t wear makeup a lot now, and I use to wear makeup everyday, and false eye lashes. In high school there were a couple of times when I went in with a caked face because my thought process was, “at least some part of me has to be some what decent.” But there’s still a stronghold somewhere inside that needs to get taken down. There’s still a tiny lie that attacks what’s on the inside.

I want to tell you that’s it is absolutely 110% okay to be dealing with these things if you are a Christian. You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to cover it up. As long as you are letting Jesus deal with it Himself, and you’re not trying to deal with it in self-sufficiency, you are on the pathway to sanctification. It’s progress, not perfection. This is why we have the Word of God, scripture that we can use as a weapon against the false lies and the false thoughts that seem to creep in. It will get easier day by day the more that the truth of God sets into your soul, the more that you make every thought captive in obedience to Christ, the more that you surrender to Him. One day you won’t even be thinking about because Jesus, gracious in His mercies, will have taken it away from you!

“Fear is a tyrant. He’s always telling me to run.”

As I am mentally getting prepared to leave everything I know to leave and go to BSSM, thinking of fundraisers, figuring out how I’m going to get all of my stuff there, what I’m going to have to leave behind, etc., I realize that this is not a small decision. I realize that I am leaving literally the COMFORT of the things I know, to go live 9 months in a place where I don’t know anybody, I won’t have my mom to help me in case something crazy happens, I’m going to have to make new friends (which is so scary to me), and I’m going to have to learn how to live on my own for the first time, which is scary, too! But the making friends part is way more scary then living on my own. Why? I have no clue.

I’m actually going to have to go shopping for my groceries for the first time in my life. And actually budget. And not buy the things I want, but the things I need. Holy crap, I’m going to have to learn how to cook instead of microwaving things all the time (or just going through a drive-thru). As of right now, I have no clue where I’m going to live or how much rent is going to cost. I basically have no credit, somebody’s going to have to cosign with me, and I’m going to have to be financially responsible enough to pay the rent on time every time. I have no clue where I’m going to work, or how many hours I’m able to work. I have no clue if I’m going to have enough money to financially support myself while I’m up there. Oh my gosh, I’m going have to get car insurance, and a California license if I want to work, and I NEED to work. I’m going to have a car payment and car insurance. All of these thoughts flood my mind!

I’m also leaving family (not leaving them, just won’t be near them) that I hold very close to my heart. I’ve had experiences with The River and Katherine’s Way that will forever be imprinted on my soul. Through all these things, I’ve gained the best friends I could ever find, the best family. Family who will drop anything to help you. People who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong, not to further their cause, but because they care about you and want you to be happy and succeed solely. River people are freaking crazy, and it’s great; it’s the best thing ever. At Katherine’s Way, I saw the love of the Father in its purest form. Most nights of the week, the Lord kept me up praying until two in the morning over the girls,
over their destinies as daughters of God, over the property. He would show me things there through impressions and through dreams of what was going on in the house. I would freak out the new residents sometimes (MOST of the time) because I knew things that I couldn’t possibly know, and it was so cool to see them realize that there is a God, and His name is Jesus, and He knows you from the inside out. I loved to see them conquer their fears, conquer their addictions, conquer trials and get healed inwardly. I loved to see them finally have that bit of freedom that they’ve been chasing after for so long. I have gained many life long friends while I lived there. I found it a privilege live there, and I would do anything to go back.

It would be easy for me to stay in Augusta. I have a job, free rent, a church family, my actual family is here. It’s so hard to leave, and I think that’s a sign itself.

Fear is always telling me to run. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. Run away from things that make me so uncomfortable. It’s very hard for my flesh to go to Redding; it may be easy for others. It was actually uncomfortable for me to move into Katherine’s Way with not knowing a thing about addiction, but that turned out beautifully. I’ve known for quite some time now that the Lord is calling me away. He’s even had to give me dreams (because I’m so stubborn, but He is so good in His mercy) with too many specific details for me, that it would be crazy for me not to go. I know that I know that I know that I have to go. I have no clue what this is going to look like. I don’t know the end result. But I do know that as long as I am walking in obedience to the Lord and being led by Holy Spirit, I’m in for one crazy wild ride, and it’s going to be okay.

So here’s to more experiences with God that make me so uncomfortable that I know it’s Him that’s leading me to do it. I know those things I listed above, like the cooking, and the living on my own may not seem big to you, but they are huge fears to me. I sincerely have no clue how any of it is going to happen. But the Lord will teach me, and help me to have JUST enough. So here’s to growing up with Jesus.

Spirit of a Lion, Mind like a Slave

It’s hard to make it through every day when your Spirit roars like a mighty lion but your mind has been conditioned to live like a slave. For years, that fierce force of thunder has made its appearance when needed, but for the rest of the time, thoughts of unworthiness, sorrow, pain, reign as sovereign in your head. You know the truth, but for some reason the bricks of this stronghold are made of diamonds. How long must one live in this kind of double-mindedness? Oh beloved, you know the only reason why your Spirit roars so loudly is because the Lion who made a way lives in you. When He speaks, the breath of His Word defeats the strongest mountain and makes it tremble before Him. Why wouldn’t He be able to speak to the fortress of your mind and make it crumble, too?

Yes, He will speak to that stronghold trying to hide itself behind your thoughts. Yes, the Righteous Lion will roar, and the walls will fall, but your ears will only hear the sweet melodies that comes from His mouth. With the same voice that roars at the things holding you captive, beautiful songs come to surround you, to cradle you, to lift you up into His arms.

Look! He is coming! Those things that have been holding you as their slave for so long are trembling in fear at the thought of His arrival. Can’t you hear His beautiful melodies echoing in the valley? The captors hear His roar and start to flee! Louder are the melodious sounds of strings, drums, trumpets and the wonderful voice of a mighty King who has come to finish what He started in you, and do you know what all the enemy hears? The battle cry of the One whose name is Jealous.

One by one, the lies that were once so strong that it made what seemed like an impenetrable barrier, are all dissipating at the sound of war coming its way, coming for them. Finally, some sense of clarity has struck you because your mind is getting aligned with your spirit; your mind is getting renewed. The barrier has been broken through, and the stronghold is getting torn down. You realize that there was no chance for those diamond bricks. What seemed like something that couldn’t be destroyed, now is. All you hear are the songs of His kingdom surrounding you now.

The Adventure Begins

Ever since I was a child, I was always writing. It never failed; my imagination would run wild, and then I would be writing down stories about worlds that never existed, mighty heroes and heroines vanquishing evil, or even the redemption story of the villains turning from their wicked ways and saving the day. In elementary school (or primary school as some would call it), we had literary projects every year where we were to write poetry, short stories, and anything that involved writing. A lot of the things I wrote were too advanced for my age, and my teachers even thought that the content I wrote was very dark for a 7-year-old. My mom would receive phone calls from my teachers every year with their concern for me, asking my mother to tell me to stop writing stories like that, but she encouraged my creativity further, even though the majority of the stories I wrote weirded her out.

I’ve always been better with writing then actually talking. A lot of times, I feel like I cannot convey my feelings, or my thoughts, accurately until I write it down. Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing, and I think that’s honestly when I started getting jumbled in my head. My way of organizing my thoughts, my outlet was no more, and that’s whenever the ambiguity, the unclearness so to speak, started to become way more apparent in my life. That is where this blog comes in. I’m confident that through writing, I will once again become inspired. I will look through the eyes of a child once again, and reignite the sense of awe and wonder in my heart. With the creativity that’s been placed in me since birth, I will give back to Him what has been given to me, and I will do it through writing.

As I start to publish content, some posts will be basic journal entries, some will be stories, some will be poems, some will be teachings, but through it all, I will be vulnerable. It’s my hope that doing this publicly will give someone else the strength to be vulnerable, too. If people struggle with the same things I struggle with, maybe they will find this and know they’re not alone. I honestly don’t know why I’m making a specific website for my writings, I just follow the unction of the Spirit. Maybe it’s just for me, or maybe it’s just for the one. Either way, healing will happen.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

-Bri