Totally self-indulgent.

inspiration_blog-301543Forgive me. This is a totally self-indulgent post. If you’ve ever had something unexpected happen that has filled you with overwhelming joy and if you like a faith filled post, then please read on and share my proud moment. Otherwise I look forward to seeing you for my next post!

Like many mothers I cherish my children as the most amazing and the most special of all beings. My daughters bring me so much joy on a daily basis and are a constant blessing. But this week brought me something unexpected and precious.

“The soul is healed by being with children.”  ~Dostoyevsky

Fifteen years ago, in the weeks before Easter, I was in the depths of the biggest physical and emotional breakdown of my life.  Admitted to a secure psychiatric ward I was addicted to alcohol, suicidal and without a future. I was completely broken in mind, body and spirit.  The world had nothing to offer me and I had nothing to offer the world.

A whisper of hope and a speck of faith were all I had. And many times I believed that this was never going to be enough. But it was.

It was enough to give me the courage to give life one my try. And I did.

“when we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus” ~Corrie ten Boom

Fast forward fifteen years to this week, the week before Easter. I was attending my twelve year old daughter’s first parent-teacher meeting at high school. With every teacher telling me how high her averages were and how wonderful she was as a student,  I became more and more up-lifted.

Then I met the religious studies teacher. Like all the other teachers, she smiled and shook hands as I introduced myself, but somehow this felt different. Again I was congratulated on my daughter’s excellent grades, in particular for her assessed assignment, but there was something that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Like the teacher wanted to say more, but wasn’t sure how to. But just as I got up to leave she asked whether I had read the assignment, which when I replied that I hadn’t, was quietly placed in front of me.The task was ‘to describe a person who inspires you in your faith’.

                                                      My inspiration.

My inspiration is my mum, Carolyn Hughes. She is special to me and she’s my inspiration because of her shining personality, her strong faith in God and her achievements in life. She has achieved many great things in her life, like a degree in psychology and social policy, a very successful blog called ‘The Hurt Healer’ and fifteen years ago overcame a drink addiction. My mum has raised a lot of money for ‘The Kenwood Trust’, a charity which provides treatment and support to anyone with an addiction to drink or drugs.

My mum has a strong faith in God and prays every day. She prays to God for everything and believes that without God, we are hopeless and helpless. It was through God that she overcame her addiction. She says that she has been overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy and her reward has been a fantastic family of her own. Her religion and faith are extremely important to her and she has greatly helped me believe and understand my faith better.

My mum’s personality is amazing, as she is funny, supportive, clever, kind, generous and creative. She is also a great cook, writer and most importantly an extraordinary mum. She is my inspiration and I hope, after reading this, you will see why.

By Rebecca Hughes  🙂

I’m normally quite good with words, but I have none that can describe what I felt as I read that. Other than to say that it felt a bit like I had won the war.

I had battled with depression, alcoholism and everything that comes with it. And I had overcome them both. Over the years I had crawled my way from the brink of an existence. And I could now stand tall and proud as a survivor.

But beyond that I had been able to inspire someone who means the world to me. It may have taken me fifteen years, but today I am proud of who I am and what I have become. And totally grateful to those who have helped me on my way.abstract-floral-seamless-vector-background_50-13191

Thank you for allowing me my proud mum moment and for those of you who are struggling, hurting, grieving, lonely and in pain, let me offer you this Irish blessing.

” May God give you…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”

The Freedom of Forgiveness.

“I’ll never forgive you.” Said in the heat of the moment it can feel like you really mean it. You’ve been hurt. The pain is unbearable. You will never forget and you will never forgive. End of story.

Except that it’s not. Not wanting or not being able to forgive brings further anguish. It doesn’t diminish over time like a memory can. It can filter into your soul filling you with bitterness, intolerance. Thoughts of revenge will keep you trapped in the very past that you despise and keep your heart like stone.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom. It will release you to live the life as the person you were meant to be. Not the person held captive by the actions and words of someone else.

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”     ~ Corrie Ten Boom

In my own life, one of the main barriers preventing my recovery was not being able to forgive. Until I could, I was going to continue holding onto the anger and pain. I was going to continue looking for something to numb me from reality. And I was going to carry on thinking that life owed me. It didn’t.

For me the greatest healing came from forgiving the mother who had abandoned me and the father who had abused me. It was a journey over many years requiring patience, determination and courage. Forgiving isn’t a transient emotion, it’s a decision that continues over time. It was worth it. My reward was a life free from the horrors of my past and the liberty to enjoy each day with a clear mind and an open heart.

Of course there have been many other instances since then that I have been lied-to, insulted and betrayed. Each time I have had to make the choice to forgive. Even when every fibre in my body has screamed ‘Never!’ I have still resolved to make my peace.

Forgiveness is not a form of acceptance or surrender. It is a battle cry. Another person’s actions have already stolen enough from me and I am refusing to let them take any more. Even if there is no recognition of wrong-doing or apology, by forgiving I am taking control of a situation over which I had none.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King.

Have you ever replayed an event over and over in your mind?  Have you driven yourself half crazy doing it? Has thinking it left you feeling depressed, frustrated and emotionally exhausted? You need to let it go.

Remember that forgiveness is not to be confused with being a doormat or allowing the offender to ‘get away with it’. Neither does it mean you should not express your grief and upset. It means that you are willing to move beyond your rawness and vulnerability. And you are willing to let go of the negativity and animosity that hold you emotionally hostage.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~ Lewis B Smedes

Reclaiming your spirit of compassion will release your body, mind and soul.
That’s the freedom of forgiveness.

Top image thanks to Kathleen Tennant http://www.etsy.com/listing/99791173/inspirational-blank-greeting-card-5×7    Bottom image thanks to Elle Major http://www.etsy.com/listing/92536691/dove-of-peace-with-olive-branch