I have not been loving myself ...

Ephesians 5:2 - And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

When I first decided on this scripture I thought, this is easy, I love my husband, my babies, our family…I can talk about LOVE. But I must be honest it is Saturday at 2pm and I just realized why God gave me this scripture.

I have not been loving myself the last two weeks. In fact I have been so mean to myself that it has affected the love of all the things I was going to tell you were so easy to love.

I suffer from depression and anxiety. This means I will be so anxious and my mind running about with all the things I should get done and all the things that could go wrong but I am also depressed, so those things I think about are just racing thoughts that never get accomplished. When I am in this state I am not healing, loving, and productive Ashley, instead I am 22 Ashley. The Ashley that puts on a big smile, look at me I’ve got it together, I am happy, and this is the best version of myself; meanwhile inside I am screaming what is wrong with me? My thoughts go from he doesn’t care about me anymore, I am just the mother of his children; she doesn’t really like me she is just being nice; to you are literally the worst mom ever!

If you have talked to me in the last two weeks you have probably heard “this is just a hard season, it will pass” and then the laughing and smiling comes; but I have put in enough healing work to know that this is my nervous system's way of keeping me safe. If I let the anxious and depressed feelings out, I will be unsafe. I will be unheard, and people will want to unsee me. People will say, you have it so much better than others how can you complain? In the past this self-destruction would go on for months and there would be a lot of alcohol consumed. If my best friend told me she had these thoughts I would shower her with love and praise, why could I not do that for myself?

In the last weeks I have also been that woman in the story where she is stuck on her roof during a flood, asking God to save her and he sends three different boats but she keeps saying no I am waiting on God. I knew how to get out of this. I have spent the last year healing and learning about myself, but I chose not to do those things and to not show myself compassion and love. God sent me a Facetime with Mags, that I ignored; a husband asking how I was and how he could help; he sent me a text from Cortney, which I allowed to make me feel better for about an hour before I reverted to the anxiety; and he sent me Danielle and Jen, who made me feel comfortable to let my guard down and talk to them and still I fought back the break down and the honesty. But I woke up this morning and decided not to do this to myself – instead I decided to LOVE myself. I started the day off with a family dance session while I made breakfast, I have prayed a lot, I went to Costco and talked myself out of buying wine, I talked to my husband about my feelings, and I sat down and wrote this.

God loved us so much that he sacrificed his only son to die for us-to die for me. How in the heck can I not love myself enough to do the things I know I should do to be the happiest and healthiest me? God shows me grace and compassion and I know he would want me to do the same for myself. I will always have depression and anxiety, the thoughts will always come, the thing is I have so many ways and people to bring myself out of the thoughts and the more I use them the less I will dwell in these feelings. When I show myself the love that Christ shows me I become the best version of myself.

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