Freedom

Faith, lifestyle, poetry, Uncategorized

“Land! I see land!”

My eyes behold the distant shore. 

This boat I’ve been on, 

Has been my home. 

Rocking me to and fro.

Gently, 

And mercilessly. 

It’s carrying me along, 

But I’m stuck

Within its confines. 

The sea rages, 

And it calms. 

Then thunderously screams, 

“Hear me roar!”

As it crashes against my boat.

The warning of the sea

Keeps me within. 

I’m a weary sailor

Sailing the unrelenting waters

For far too long.

Seasick.

Alone on the ocean,

I’ve felt.

My compass is broken. 

Its failed me.

I know not which way to go, 

Or what to do.

But, then,

My eyes behold it. 

Land!

Will my boat reach it, 

Safely?

And then, I know.

Instinctually, 

I stop resisting. 

My tight grip on the wheel

Loosens,

White-knuckled and clenched, 

My hands finally soften.

I let the wind

Lead me. 

Guide my sails. 

Effortlessly, 

My boat glides gracefully

Upon the land. 

I am stunned.

I made it! 

Now what?

I stand there, 

Paralyzed.

I cannot get out of the boat. 

Safety

Is right outside, 

All I have to do is

Step out. 

Shaking, 

I at last get out. 

The sand is firm. 

Solid ground. 

Grounded. 

Steady.

Shaking . . . I am still,

But the earth holds me.

Welcomes me home.

The wind whispers 

Through the trees, 

“You’re safe.” 

One foot in front of the other.

It’s time now.

Time to run, 

Not in fear. 

But like a wild child, 

An explorer who has 

Discovered a new land. 

Run forward.

Don’t look back.

Run to the future. 

Arms wide open,

I welcome you. 

I laugh as tears 

Fall at the same time. 

Tears of happiness, 

Of Knowing. 

Because I’ve been here before. 

I stood at this place, 

Once upon a time. 

Everything that had caged me in, 

Is gone. 

And I laugh, because I’m no longer frightened. 

I’m no longer lost.

I’ve found land.

Five Years Ago

anxiety, depression, Faith, God, inspiration, mental health, postpartum depression, Uncategorized

5 years ago.

Today.

It was November 17, 2014.

A day I will never forget.

The days leading up to it I had been experiencing mild anxiety and “the baby blues” after the birth of our daughter, Bella. She was born on October 18, 2014. I had gone to the doctor telling her my symptoms and she prescribed me an antidepressant.

The following morning, after taking the medication the day before, is when it all began.

It’s when postpartum depression and anxiety hit me like a freight train.

It was a Monday morning, I remember Josh leaving for work, and then laying in bed and the most awful feeling of dread that I’d never experienced before overtook me. My stomach began to hurt in a way that, also, I had never experienced before. My cheeks got flushed and were burning and were visibly red.

And then the thought crossed my mind. A thought of the bottle of Ambien pills that I knew were in the dresser next to me. Why did I have that thought? I felt like I wanted to die. I felt like I was dying.

That’s when the panic set it. The first panic attack.

That’s the day postpartum depression hit.

The day the Enemy invaded my mind.

From that moment, that Monday morning in our little apartment in Denver, Colorado, where we were living at the time…from that moment is when I entered a battlefield.

A battle that I did not sign up for.

I had to leave Colorado, with our newborn daughter, and fly on a plane with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, leaving my husband behind, to go back to East Texas. To go stay with my parents for what we thought would be a short time. We didn’t know what was going on with me. Thought it was just a bad reaction to the medication.

But, as time wore on and I continued to get worse, we eventually realized that I was fighting against a mental illness.

The next three months were indeed a living hell. Every morning, without fail and like clockwork, I’d wake up with that feeling of dread, and have a panic attack – shaking uncontrollably, thinking and saying irrational things. My mind was out of control…and then I would throw up. It was a cycle, a cycle that kept me in it, and kept me terrified that I was never going to get better. Satan shouted lies to my nearly every moment during my battle.

But…

God.

God intervened at just the right time.

Every day I would see crows and buzzards in the towering, black, dead tree that was in the backyard. The crows “ca-cawing” sound triggered that pit in my stomach.

Until, God “sent help from heaven”, and sent me a wren. A tiny bird that sat on the red rocking chair of the back porch of my parent’s house. It looked in at me through the glass window, a mere two feet away. It looked me straight in the eyes. I felt that I was standing in the presence of God. Our eyes interlocked, and God was the gentle whisper of the wind by gently, but boldly, reminding me of His presence. That He was near. That I WAS going to get better. He whispered and breathed HOPE into my heart, mind, and soul.

Not long after that, I finally found a psychiatrist and she, after diagnosing me with “severe postpartum depression and anxiety”, prescribed me with a new medication.

I took the medicine in February of 2015, and the next day…was the first day in 3 months that I did not have a panic attack!

It brings a lump to my throat now as I write these words and remember…

God saved me.

God healed me.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

And then,

The Joy!

They joy that permeated throughout my entire being.

The smile on my face, the laughter.

The inexplicable happiness that my husband felt after fighting alongside me and after witnessing, helplessly, his wife suffer in agony, just as he suffered. The happiness on my Mom and Dad’s faces as they were truly also in the trenches with me every day. My sister. My brother-in-law. My in-laws. All of my family. My friends.

My daughter.

Oh, my precious, beautiful little Isabella. I could now finally be the mom to her that I’d been longing to be for her. She kept me going each day. Looking at her and knowing that I had to fight, I had to fight this battle, for her.

And so I did.

And, I won.

God reached His hand down to me and rescued me from the angry waves.

I, we . . . my husband and I, could finally enjoy our daughter.

Has it been a heck of a journey since finding my healing that day in February?

Yes.

It has had its twists and turns, ups and downs.

But here I am.

5 years later.

Here I stand.

Here Josh and I both stand, together.

He was my rock and has always been my strength.

My lifesaver.

And here we are, our daughter is five years old now.

The joy she brings to us . . . there are no words. She is the light of our lives. She’s my best little friend, and I love her with all of my heart, mind, and soul.

Wounded?

Yes, both Josh and I still carry wounds, 5 years later . . . every year this time of year, I think we will always be triggered. It brings about so many emotions. Sadness, thankfulness, anger, frustration.

It was a loss.

My counselor encouraged me to give myself the permission to allow myself to grieve. You can grieve over a number of things. This is something I continue and that Josh continues to grieve over.

The loss of “what should have been.”

The loss of enjoying and soaking in those precious moments of our first child’s newborn days.

It’s okay to feel these things.

To have those moments where, you don’t feel so thankful.

Where you do feel mad, angry – feeling that we were robbed. I think it’s okay to voice those thoughts and feelings to God. He can handle what we have to say to Him.

He understands.

He wants us to talk to Him.

He’s listening.

I want to honor my feelings.

Not push them away, or feel guilt for the times when I’m not looking at things on the bright side. That’s reality. The push and pull . . . between how you want to feel, ideally, and how you really feel.

But, I cannot get stuck there. Go there, yes, but I must try and not get stuck.

And this I do know.

This is a story written by the hand of God.

My story.

Our story.

He orchestrated everything.

Not saying He caused any of it to happen,

But the Great I AM,

The Creator, Artist, Master of the Universe,

He orchestrated the beautiful moments.

He allowed me to see that what I went through was spiritual warfare.

Through nature, it was such a strong visual to me,

Of God vs. Satan.

Black buzzards that sometimes even flew in circles above me as I sat outside some days when I was sick.

The Enemy. Darkness.

And then the wren. That tiny bird with the most beautiful birdsong that began to sing to me outside my window every morning, after God knew I’d heard enough of the crows taunting voices.

This is a tale of Victory!

Of Triumph!

The Light won!

Over the past few days leading up to this anniversary, I’ve been a rollercoaster of emotions.

I’ve cried so many tears.

I’ve felt deep frustration and anger at times that we had to go through it. Frustrated that anxiety is still very present in my life.

Wanting so desperately to feel gratitude and thankfulness . . . and, at times, feeling this wholeheartedly. But frustrated that I still experience so much fear. I suppose PTSD, as my counselor has mentioned to me before that it sounds like I have that a little bit.

Yesterday, I went for a run. I needed to let some energy out and all these negative emotions were building . . . I ran so hard and it was so good for me.

I had been feeling in a place of defeat.

Defeat?!

You might wonder why would I feel that?

And that’s where I’d like to say,

That is Satan.

Satan trying to be conniving . . .

Trying to convince me of lies . . .

To steal, again . . .

To steal from me of how I truly should feel.

As I was on my run, ironically enough,

I saw my Enemy.

My trigger.

It was a beautiful, sunny day.

And, out of nowhere,

Appears a lone, black buzzard,

Flying in the sky.

He was flying above, getting closer.

I looked up at him

As he was right above me.

He looked down at me for a moment.

Moment of truth, it felt like.

And then, it kept on flying.

Away from me.

It was a powerful, profound moment.

Perhaps it was Satan realizing not to mess with me.

Or perhaps it was me realizing

That Satan ain’t got nothing on me!

Keep flying, away from here,

Away from me.

You were never welcome,

And you’re never welcome back again.

I’ll start seeing myself now

The way I need to see myself!

Satan’s lies are soon turned to deaf ears,

For I will not listen to him anymore.

I will see myself

How God wants me to see me.

I fought.

I won.

I am not defeated.

Satan is defeated, and I shall trample upon him.

I am a warrior,

“Linzena the Warrior Princess”!

I’m a fighter.

I am strong.

God has given me strength.

5 years later.

And here I stand.

I await the sun to rise this morning,

That marks five years postpartum.

I await the sun to rise,

And rise with it I will.

I will continue to rise,

To hold my head up high,

Proud of myself

For how far I’ve come.

Rise, rise, rise.

Grow, grow, grow.

Shine, shine, shine.

Live, live, live.

Laugh, laugh, laugh.

I am a warrior.

I will raise up my sword today

Up to the sky,

Declaring victory!

I will, with strength and pride,

Carry my shield.

I will stake my claim,

Placing my flag into the ground.

My claim is the right to love myself,

After all I’ve been through,

And to not let the negative self-talk continue on.

I stand upon the enemy’s back,

Yes, he’s trampled upon beneath my feet.

Today, the time has come.

Watch me Rise!

It’s All Gonna Be Magnificent

anxiety, beauty, blogger, christian living, Faith, God, inspiration, Uncategorized

“And there she stands

Throwing both her arms around the world

The world that doesn’t even know

How much it needs this little girl

It’s all gonna be magnificent, she says.”


Whenever I listen to these words from the beautiful, heart-stirring song by “Elbow”, it brings so many images to my mind. 
I see me. How and WHO I want to be. 
I see her vividly in my mind. 


She is laughing. 

She is Free. 

Dancing.

 
Smiling so big that it makes her crinkle her nose. The same smile that she knows her husband fell in love with her, many, many years ago. She still smiles and laughs, but is it the same? Is it as often, back when life seemed easier? More simple?

 
I see the “little girl” that I used to be. The me before “life got in the way.” Life has been beautiful and I Thank God for all my blessings. My husband. My beautiful daughter. I have truly been blessed beyond measure. But, like most of you, I have experienced pain and darkness. Sometimes I feel like it’s taken its toll on my spirit.

 
When this song plays, I see the woman I want to be. A woman who puts her wholehearted trust and confidence in God each and every day. Who believes that He will walk with her through whatever might come her way. Shouldn’t she know that, and have the deepest faith, because He’s always been with her, even in her darkest hours? She wants to believe that God will give her the desires of her heart, and He KNOWS her heart’s desires.

 
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 


Do I want to be that woman?! Do I want to laugh without fear of the future? A resounding Yes! 


Do I want anxiety do my constant companion? 

Do I want fear to STOP Me? 


Can I use this fear, instead, as a CATALYST to drive me forward into the direction, the path, I want to go? Sometimes I think we get to a point in our lives where we get so fed up with… so tired of the way we’ve been living. The roadblocks standing in our way. 


And then we feel this anger rise within us. An anger because, we KNOW, we deserve better than this. We deserve to be treated better than we have been treating ourselves. We become angry at the Enemy for the lies and doubts he’s instilled within us, that we have been listening to for FAR TOO LONG. 


I know that God is walking with me on this journey. He knows where I’ve been. He knows my heart. He knows the power of Satan, and God knows the lies that I have held onto.

 
He’s been working on my heart. This has been a year of “growing pains.” 

Growth. 

Stagnancy.

 
A stirring. 


It’s painful to grow. But it is worth it! 


If you feel stuck, you can get out. A seed has to be planted in the ground, and it works hard to break out of its shell and through the earth to blossom into beauty. To see the sun and the light, sometimes it takes going through darkness. And it takes time. Patience. 


There’s a place where I want to be, and our family to be, that I envision.

 
Striving. 

Trying. 

Growing. 

Learning.


There’s been Resistance. It makes me laugh, because Satan sees. He sees me. He sees this stirring within me, the things I’m trying to let go of, and the good things of God that I’m trying to cling to. And he doesn’t want me to say goodbye to him. He wants to dwell in my heart, soul, spirit, and mind.

 
But he doesn’t belong there.

 
God does. 


And I laugh, because I know that…

“It’s All Gonna Be Magnificent.”

The Wren

anxiety, depression, Faith, inspiration, mental health, postpartum depression, Uncategorized

The wren came to me during my darkest hour.
I was sick.
The sun wasn’t shining.
It was raining.
Clouds covered the heavens.
I was lost.
Lost in terrifying, paralyzing thoughts.
Thoughts I’d never had before.
That were not me.
That rose up within me a feeling that was truly paralyzing me.
Anxiety.
I had just given birth to our daughter a month before.
My husband and I’s first child.

So, why did I feel this way?
Where was the elation?
The happiness?
It was like someone had injected poison into my veins.
Fear.
Worry.
Dread.
Panic.
I was sick.

The postpartum depression was powerful.
It was a living, breathing being.
It truly had a life of its own.
It had become the enemy.
It was my enemy.
Attacking me.
I was fighting back, desperately.
Fighting just to stay alive.
It felt like it was winning.

Every day I would awaken to the sound of black crows.
“Ca caw!! Ca caw!!”
Dread.
Just before the sun would arise each day,
While darkness filled the sky,
The panic attacks would overtake me.
During those three months, I awoke to a panic attack.
And I awoke to the sound of the enemy outside my window.
The black crow taunting me.
And seeing the buzzards that lived in the dead tree behind the house.

Imagine the fear I had!
The visual imagery.
It was winter.
Everything was dead around me.
The buzzards looked down upon me from the towering, lifeless tree.

Hopeless.
I wanted to live, and yet I wanted the suffering to end.

I stood outside that day.
Staring up at the sky.
A break in the clouds.
I saw the sunlight streaming down from heaven.
And then, I heard him.
Faint at first, and then its song reverberated throughout the dark forest.
The melody was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.
I couldn’t see the bird.
I didn’t see him for a long time.

Days later, I sat in the living room, feeling especially depressed that particular moment.
I stood up and walked to the back window.
And then, I saw him.
He sat on the red rocking chair on the back porch.
Facing my direction.
We were merely two feet away from one another.
I stood still.
He looked at me.
Our eyes locked and we both stared into each other’s eyes.
This is why I believe in Magic.
This is why I believe in God.
In miracles.
In that moment, I felt like that bird was talking to me.
He was telling me, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”

And then, I found something I’d been searching for.
Hope.
Hope flooded my heart.
I knew in that moment, that God was with me.
He had not forsaken me.
From that day forward, I kept seeing and hearing that bird.
That bird called a Carolina wren.
It became known as “my wren”.

He made a nest outside my window.
I started hearing the crows less and less.
I’d awaken to the sound of the wren singing his song outside my window.
Singing so loudly.
Scaring away the enemy.
God is in the whisper of the wind,
He’s in the things we deem as “small.”
Like this tiny, little bird that is known for being shy.
My wren was not shy.
He was sent down from heaven to give me hope.
He knew he had to work his magic.
And he had come at just the right time.
When hope had been failing me.

It was still a journey,
But with the Spring came my healing.
At last.

With the Spring came new life.
The wren’s nest outside my window
Now housed a family of tiny, baby wrens.
Life was beginning again.
Healing.
Redemption.
Life.
I was alive.
God had saved me.
He sent me a wren.
Yes, the wren came to me during my darkest hour.

[Photography credit: Tom Mann]

Away From Me

blogger, blogging, christian living, christianity, Faith, God, mental health, Uncategorized

You’ve taken over
I’ve surrendered to you
Unknowingly.
You crept in.
You invaded.
Now you are in my territory.
My mind.
The white flag I’ve raised to you.

How did you get here?
When?
Why?

How could I have let you?
You crossed over the moat.
Neither the river
Nor the iron gates stopped you.

Did I forget to close the gate?

I want my mind back.
My territory.
That’s mine.

I want me back again.
Where did she go?
Where has she gone?

Now you are all I hear.

Blinding me.
Taking me as prisoner. 

Lying to me.

And now I’ve taken the heavy stick
Away from you
And now I use it as a weapon
Against myself.

You’re so conniving.
So smart.
I see your smirk.

You’ve manipulated me.

Now I see myself 
The way you want me to.

You’re laughing.
Laughing as I spiral downward.
As my thoughts take me captive.
Shame.
Guilt.
Anger.
Bitterness.
Unforgiveness.
Oh, you have me just where you want me!

Stop laughing.
Away from me!
Get thee Away from me, Satan!

God is weeping.

“Get thee Away from her!”
He calls down to you.

Down in the depths
Where you creep,
And where you dwell on earth,
In the hearts and minds of His creation.

“She is my Daughter!
I am her Father!”

And the war wages.

You fight.
You’ve fought so hard.
So well.

You’ve been a strong enemy.

God intervenes.
In His majesty,
Through His creation
He sends down from heaven,
And He fights.
He stands by my side.

He storms into the castle.

His wrath against you
Is a fierce sight to behold.

His roaring rage
Sends you scurrying away.
Like a scared dog,
Whimpering and shivering,
Shuddering,
You slither away.

Away from me.
Out of the territory
That never belonged to you.
My mind.
My heart.

I can laugh again.
Smile.
Dance.
Rejoice.

For I am me Again.

The damage has been done
By the enemy.
But God will Restore.
Redeem.
Forgive.

I am Free.