Bound to Overcome

I’ve had a lot going on in my life, thoughts, and goals just over the past couple of weeks. Not much would show on the surface—but between my ears and behind my eyes, the world is a different place. Maybe because I’m different inside. I know it’s been building for some months now—like the Lord is putting together the puzzle pieces of my life, one day at a time.

This is something I’ve been hoping for, aiming towards, for most of my life. I had an epiphany at age 17, suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my career and life, and started working towards that. A few years (ahem, be polite, don’t run over to my About page) and several setbacks later, I had not progressed very far past those goals. Make that “visibly.” Between the ears and behind the eyes, the world was quite different. But looking at my life from the outside, at a casual glance, not much of that showed through.

For the majority of my young adult years, I lived most of my life inside my head, between my ears, and within a few walls. I was a homeschooled highschooler (personal choice). When I graduated, I was tested at a college level, so I chose to postpone college and dive into the dreams I couldn’t wait to dig at. I spent the next four years living at home with my family, attending business seminars, reading voraciously, and pursuing an advanced art education through studying others’ works and writings. In other words, I homeschooled myself through college, after all.

In the meantime, I was writing. Writing fiction novels and graphic novel scripts. I was drawing, drawing like crazy throughout my days. Doing character design for my graphic novel series, studying comic book publishers so I would know the one I wanted to plug it to. I had my sights set on the independents, because keeping my rights was important to me–I wasn’t writing for the present, I was building the foundation of a future. So I could wait a little, sacrificing present income opportunities in order to invest in a bigger future. For that “income,” I started my own Amway business and did freelance artwork, to tide me over while I wrote. How did that go? Well, let me just say I’m grateful my family let me live at home.

Some of my lack of success was caused by the fact that I was incredibly shy and introverted, trying to build a career in very extroverted fields. But I had that dream—I thrived on inspiration, and let it fuel me forward, even when the shyness made it almost painful to do so. As I look back now on the person I was then, I wonder if I could have made it work, despite my weaknesses? But at the time, I didn’t get the chance.

During my teens and early twenties, my family and I spent ten years as caregivers for my grandparents. My grandmother had dementia, and eventually forgot who we were. My grandfather died unexpectedly from a sudden onset of cancer. There were other hard situations we were overcoming as a family then, too. I learned many things, and grew a lot between the ears, behind the eyes, in those years—things that would never show up in my resume or bank account. They delayed my dreams. But they made me stronger, bolder. Partially because, once you’ve been hurt in certain ways, you stop being afraid of certain things. You lose some sense of self-preservation…you kind of don’t care what happens to you. So you get braver, and bolder.

I moved on with my family (my choice, turned down a graphic design job to do it). I looked at life as a new opportunity—I felt set free from the hurts of the past, and felt I could finally begin achieving my goals for the future. But anyone who thinks they can emerge from an emotionally abusive situation and hit the ground running is deluding themselves. It took a month-long bout with pneumonia and a dance with a nervous breakdown to teach me that.

And yet…I came away from those days, and emerged into a patch of brighter light. Suddenly I was free to return to my dream, and I did, with my whole heart. Back to the writing, back to the drawing. Back to the quibbling freelance work to bring in a bit of income while I lived with my patient family, too; but back to filling my days with creativity and excitement, and plans for a big future.

Enter carbon monoxide poisoning.

This was a setback that not only invaded its presence upon my goal plan, and delayed my dreams yet again; this monster literally stripped me of the ability to achieve my dreams. I forgot my stories. I lost my words. My hands forgot their skill and learned a new weakness, a new tremor that would forever mar my drawing. I was one year away from publishing a fiction novel and was beginning to draw the final draft of a graphic novel when I had to stop, and teach myself how to write and draw all over again.

Starting all over, yet again. When obstacles keep blocking your pathway, over and over, and you have to stop, and start, and stop again, you have a tendency to get tired. When you keep falling face-first into the mud, it gets very hard to see the way ahead. Dreams and faith and hope will carry you far, through many hard times…but Discouragement can be a towering monster. It can overshadow everything. When things get so very dark, the light seems to fade away, and you begin to feel that the darkness is all there is, all there ever will be anymore.

Yet the light is still there—the light of dreams, and hope, and faith. It’s just being obscured for the time being. Somehow, someway, you have to climb up out of the mire and walk past that beast of Discouragement. It’s the only way to see light again. Oh, it tries to walk with you, mark my words—does its very best to keep blocking the light. For me, I actually began doubting the dreams I had held for so many years. I began to doubt the worth of what was between my ears, behind my eyes. And that’s a tough situation, because that was all that I had left in me. Without the dreams? To my eyes, if the dreams weren’t real, then I was nothing.

Enter God.

Not that He wasn’t there the whole time. Until I stand before Him at the end of this life, I probably will not understand the whole meaning behind everything that is in my past. I see glimmers, I get a few things; but some of the “whys” escape me. Somehow I’ve managed to cling to faith through it all. But then again I wonder—is it really so hard to cling to One who is gripping you in an embrace that will never let you go? He’s been there with me the whole time. And now, just when I felt like I couldn’t pick my face up out of the mud one more time, and would lie there and drown in darkness…it’s as if He’s saying, “Let’s turn the lights on.”

I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. Something has changed. Maybe it’s me. Yes, I’ve been working…imagine trying to scale a sheer mountainside by only using your fingernails. Yeah, that’s how I’ve been working the past couple years. So yes, I have all those years of work that must have been building to something. But they never led anywhere, to my thinking.

Until now. Something has changed. Something is different. Between my ears, behind my eyes, it’s been a long journey. It’s been…violating. It doesn’t feel like there’s much of anything left of me inside…just numbness, blankness, tears. Tears that flow easily at times. And fear…the inheritance of so many years of living life in the shadow. Fear that crouches and waits for the merest weakness to show within me…so that it can snatch my new life away from me. And fear upon fear, I am afraid that it has the power to do so.

But then I realize…there are arms around me. Strong, mighty, powerful arms. There is a vengeful love washing over me, shielding me, forgiving me the weaknesses that make me despise myself. Someone is holding me fiercely, saying the He is carrying me on through. Past the mire that threatens to envelop and smother me. Past the dark beast that wants to claim me. Carrying me forward to that beautiful light, which has been there waiting for me all along. He’s taking the emptiness between my ears, behind my eyes, and filling it with glorious things that I never dared to dream of, and can hardly comprehend. The dreams of my future.

And something is telling me that my future, at very long last, is here.

I’m sorry for the long blog post…but I think I’m moving forward on a new journey. And I must have needed to travel light.

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, sounds like you have had quite the journey. Glad to hear your faith has remained strong and helped you through it. Keep dreaming and achieving.🙂

  2. Thanks, Chris for sharing so openly about your life and feelings. You are not the only artist who has felt she lived “between my ears and behind my eyes.” For some reason shyness and introversion are often a part of the artistic nature. Perhaps that is what enables them to see and understand things that others don’t. Your dream will be fulfilled, in a time and method that will amaze and thrill you. It has not been delayed, and the years have not been wasted, but the bigger the dream, the longer it takes to complete. God is using everything that has happened to you up to this point to build you into the person and the artist you will become.

    For what it’s worth, just from reading your blogs and seeing your artwork, I can tell you are a gifted artist. Don’t give up on the dream!

  3. Very inspiring. Never give up on your dreams. In our darkest moments, they only shine that much brighter.

  4. Sorry to hear about the problems you have had in your past, but glad that you are walking into the future with the sun shining on your face. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

  5. Beautiful story. It is always good to read how other people react to God’s presence in their life. It was really late in my life when God’s love became a realization (like you said, it wasn’t that it wasn’t always there) My only regret is that I didn’t see it sooner. It isn’t that you wouldn’t have had hard times, but you would be able to get through them knowing that in the end, no matter what, it was God’s will and things would be OK.

    Robert

  6. truly inspiring… wishing you the best of times

  7. After visiting http://www.whatcausespanicattacks.com, I have learnt so much more about overcoming shyness, and exercises to improve my social skills. It has definitely made a difference to my social life; you should check it out too!

  8. I’ve had my creative ups and downs too. I think we all do, although I think you win with the whole carbon monoxide poisoning thing! there was one point where I was so discouraged that I couldn’t write for several months and I considered giving up the whole thing altogether. There wasn’t any one thing that got me through it. part of it was the constant love and support from my wife, part of it was faith, and part of it was recognition that I couldn’t stop. writing is a part of me now and giving it up would be like giving up a part of myself. I don’t know if I’ll ever be published but I do know that the worst that can happen is that I will be able to say, “I wrote a book!”

    Paint. Write. Stay strong!

  9. You don’t know me, I stumbled across this blog post…but we have a lot in common. I’m an artist and I’ve been through a lot of hardships in my life, always overcoming, and I’m glad to see there are others like me–resilient, ambitious, creative–never giving up. You have a beautiful outlook and spirit and best of luck to you. Very nice writing by the way –Sarah

  10. @ gRegor Thank you for that lovely comment! I will!

  11. @ Della, Thank you so much, you don’t know how that encourages my heart! ((HUGS))!

  12. @ mothpod So well put, thank you so much!

  13. @ Mack Collier It IS, thank you!

  14. @ shawn That almost made me cry, thank you for sharing! You WILL be published, you better believe it! :-):-)

  15. @Robert Thank you for putting it so beautifully. That’s how I feel, also. I couldn’t get by without having God with me.

  16. @ Vijay Thank you, and to you also!

  17. @ Sarah Elizabeth I’m so glad you came by! I look forward to getting to know you!

  18. And thanks to the person who added the link on panic attacks and overcoming shyness. Shyness really can be a hard obstacle to overcome–I know I still struggle with it myself. It’s just harder to see from the outside, now. ;-):-)

  19. this was intense reading my dear!! so many things in our lives seem as though they are obstacles, but in reality they are stepping stones, as I am sure you know~

    your words & writings are always inspiration to my ears, not many people can hold my attention when it comes to writing…I hang on to every word you write, you are gifted with that~

    I am so happy that our paths have crossed & look forward to reading more or your beautiful writings~

    xo ~Bella

  20. An amazing life story, beauitfully written—I can hardly wait to read or experience one of your novels, and the graphic novels—your artwork is lovely. You have completely inspired me to overcome anything within that needs overcoming in order to blossom more fully, and I’m sure you’ll have that effect on anyone who is fortunate enough to read any of your writing or experience your artwork. I’ve wanted to be able to share stories with you and sit in the same room with you. Now we have that chance in the Creative Sage Circle! I don’t think this is just an accident, that we met on Twitter, and now we’re sharing our wisdom and insights about creativity. I hope we meet in person in the not too distant future, and I feel certain that we will. A very warm hug to you. I’m so glad to know you.:-)


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