Boundaries, I didn’t know I needed them, what they looked like, how to get them, or even where to begin when I realized I didn’t have them. I spent most of my prayer life asking for self-control so I could lose weight and so I could stop spending money I didn’t have and I was frustrated when I thought God was not answering my prayers. I have learned the hard way most of the time, that God doesn’t work on my time table he has his own and it is always better. I will start this story with a little background because my journey with Jesus is the only thing that matters. I spent my childhood, my teenage years and a huge portion of my adult life screaming and rebelling and hating everything about me. It took me actually reading the book Boundaries to see what all of the fuss was about and to understand why I continued to fall back in to my own vomit, as the word would say. I can tell you that from the beginning of this journey God has faithfully walked with me and shown me the work he is doing in my heart and I started journaling my prayers very early in this relationship. Many times my prayer journals have been a reminder of where I started and where He has taken me and with each step I have seen his perfect timing. God has used many verses to speak to me over the years but when I read that sin is generational and it is passed down from our parents the conviction of how I raised my sons broke my heart and I started praying that day for God to break that cycle in my family. I did not know what I was looking for or even where to begin so I prayed for God to make my sons better than me and for him to teach them how to be parents. I didn’t understand that the change needed to start with me, I am still their mother and I gave them no skills to parent so what did they have to pull from. I taught them nothing about boundaries or how to be proud of whom they are or even how proud I am of them. I spent all the beginning of my life hating myself and believing I was not worth anything outside of my ability to work and unfortunately that mental picture of myself made me angry. I built walls to protect myself and I pushed anyone away that might see the real me, even my sons. I read about Martha and Mary and I hear God say be a Mary but that doesn’t make since to me because I am a Martha, I didn’t know I could be a little of both. The years I have spent avoiding ladies functions and staying in the background of church fellowships because I didn’t want them to see I didn’t fit in caused envy and anger to spring up so much that it hindered my relationship with God and kept me from completely connecting with my church family. God walked me through so many trials and gave me so many victories and I could not stand up and tell about His goodness to me because I was still trying to earn love and hide my own insecurities. Trust is something built in childhood and like a babe in my relationship with my new Father it took patience and so much love and still a long time for me to see it. I look around and I am not alone in my struggles my story is not unique and we all deal with a fallen world so why do we pretend we are not caring baggage with us? Why do we give each other the Sunday school answer in our Christianize and expect someone to get it? We are all on different levels and we all have places God is trying to fix and we are afraid to share that with each other for so many different reasons. We each have our own story to tell and just because my issue is different than yours does not make it better or worse. It took me actually seeing my life in black and white and feeling the hurt and anger again to realize I have a choice. I saw for the first time that someone else’s issues were not mine and I didn’t have to carry that around anymore. I can tell you that I have never been so overwhelmed with emotion and hope because God gave me a glimpse of who I am inside. He made me beautiful, loving, kind, and with a heart that wants to share. I prayed for the first time not pleading with God to fix my mistakes but to fix me. I have asked him many times in the past to change me but it was so I could accept my lot in life and learn to love it, not his plan!!! I have a story to tell and I have a purpose for my life and I actually love people and want to know them. I have no idea how to make the changes or set my boundaries or even how to keep from going back to what I have always known but I have never wanted anything more. My first step is to accept love given without me trying to earn it and to show the love I have for others without trying to make them earn it. God has put that opportunity in my path and I’m seeing it for the first time with a new perspective. I see myself in the eyes of so many young ladies that have not realized their own potential or value and I see now that while God is preparing me to minister to young ladies he has used so many of them to minister to me. My go to advice to all of them has always been “be the woman that deserves the man you want”. That has wrung in my head so many times and even though I believe it to be true I could only see it in someone else’s life. God brought a man into my life and for the first time I believe I am truly loved but this has been a battle for me every step of the way. I have cried and prayed and pushed him away until God convinced me that he had a plan and he would never give me something to harm me. I have never had a relationship that worked or that even lasted long and if not for God this one wouldn’t have either. The days and nights of prayer and of God moving in my heart to slowly show me that the way I viewed marriage and relationships was completely wrong. I did not even know how to accept love let alone express it. I have always believed that love is providing for someone else and that is what I have become good at. I worked 2 and 3 jobs when my sons were young and I didn’t understand when they didn’t feel loved from me so I would try to work harder. Every relationship I have ever been in I have worked and given everything I could to earn their love but I became frustrated and hurt when they didn’t give it back. How wrong to take the very thing I hate and try to make it what I expect from someone else, I have actually looked for someone to rescue me from this life by taking up my prison for me and caring it himself. That might actually be the new definition of crazy and it has taken me a lot to see it. I thank God that he did not allow me to push this man out of my life even though I didn’t understand my need for him for a long time. He is actually the other half of the woman I want to be and not the one I am. I am at the very beginning of this new life of freedom and I am very unsure of where the path is and God is only giving me one lighted step at a time (probably because I would run in the opposite direction) and my soul feels alive and excited to finish well. I look forward to having a different dynamic with the people God brings into my life and to Him teaching me how to be a different mother to my sons and their families. I want to stop dreading vents and gatherings because they are only long days at work but look forward to spending time with people. This is not going to be an easy transition and the people that have grown used to me being Martha are going to push back in many ways but God is stronger than any lie I have ever believed and I am His!