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I have found that in order to experience the freedom that we all long for whether we realize it or not we have to come face to face with our fears and walk right through them. We have to face our demons so to speak. We have to look at those demons straight in the eyes and growl.

That is the reason that fear is so paralyzing. Sometimes we will do anything to avoid facing our fears. Fear holds us back from our highest potential and our highest joy. Sometimes we are even afraid of our highest potential so we continuously sabotage ourselves out of…fear.

Fear is a force in this world. It is almost the opposite of love. “There is no fear in love.” It tries to oppose us at every point of growth. It binds us so that we cannot be free.

When we limit ourselves it is usually out of fear. Sometimes we would rather remain miserable than face our fears in order to be free.

Fear has been an enormous part of my life. I feared for my life on a regular basis as a child. When I grew up I had different fears. I even feared adulthood. I remember collapsing on my mother’s bedroom floor one night when I was about 20 and saying, “I don’t want to grow up. I am not ready. I cannot stop being sad.”

I still carry way too much fear….much of my own…but much of it is shared family fear. I have realized in my adulthood that I carry the fears of my father and mother. I also share the fears of my siblings. I am carrying generational fear.

And it has bound me and paralyzed me and made me miserable in many ways. I see it all around me in my family.

I always said that I would be the one to break free not only for myself  but for my entire family. Why did I say that? I must have had a period of fearlessness, which I have had from time to time, when I announced that mission to myself and God.

That is scary! I am not that strong. But I know that there is a greater strength that I can draw from because I have drawn from it before.

And I have to get free. I long for freedom like a caged bird! That is the reason that I am Grounded Angel. I am meant to fly and soar freely, but I am broken and bound to this earth.

So slowly ….slowly…only as I can handle it… I am facing my fears. I have done it before. I can do it again.  I have done it so many times actually that I am tired. Sometimes I feel there is no fight left in me, but I am going to find my fighting spirit again.

And I am going to surrender to a power greater than myself which is also frightening! But I am! I just have to keep telling myself that I am.

I will face these dark demons that are woven all through out the roots of my family like thick diseased vines. I will face them, and they will break. I will be free. I have to be free. There is no other way to live.

I think I can. …I think I can. ….I think I can.

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As a very small child I had horrible nightmares. I remember a few vivid nightmares even as far back as my babyhood. As long as I can remember I was flooded with intense fear that escalated as night fell. I never slept. I would stay up all night and keep watch because I always had this feeling that someone was coming at any moment to brutally murder me in some gruesome way.

I am not talking about being afraid of the dark. I was afraid of something heinous happening, and I would not let myself sleep because I wanted to be ready to run or fight when this horrible event occurred. I always had an instinct inside me that said, “I will not be an easy target!” I was a little girl when this began….as young as four or five or younger.

I did not know why I had such horrible fear and such gory obsessive thoughts. When asked what I was afraid of  I would always say, “I don’t know.” But I was terrified, and my sleeplessness began in early childhood. I remember telling my mom when I was around nine years old that I just could not take it anymore….that the fear and the sleeplessness was too much for me to handle….that it was ruining my life. It seemed as if no one could or would help me though.

I still have a sleep disorder. My body is well-trained to be awake at night. I no longer have the graphic thoughts that scare me, but I just do not sleep well or sometimes at all.

I have no idea where a tiny girl would get such graphic thoughts of being  violently brutalized. I never watched horror movies. I still do not watch them. They are not good for my soul, and I do not get any joy from being frightened in that way. I do not need a horror movie to add excitement or suspense to my life. I have had enough of that.

Somehow in my subconscious I just had a horrible feeling that there was a predator in my midst and that my life was going to end in some gruesome way.

And I have a waking memory that haunts me sometimes.

I was probably about 5 years old and my sister was about 9. We were sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen, and my step-father was cooking omelets before school. I don’t think that my mother was home because we had just moved to another town when she married my step father, and she was still working an hour and a half away in our previous town. She was not there in the mornings, and she came home at night.

My older sister was sitting at the table across from me sobbing hysterically. She was yelling, “I want my dad!” through her sobs and her attempts to catch her breath. She was inconsolable, but actually no one was trying to console her at all.

I was very little, and I just remember staring helplessly at her across the table. My step father was banging around at the stove.

I just remember being frozen, staring, feeling helpless and hopeless. And I remember my sister not having a child’s tantrum but sobbing desperately, uncontrollably, helplessly…..hopelessly. And no one was there to comfort either of us.

My step father was getting more and more annoyed as the banging around the stove became more intense.

He walked up and dropped an omelet on my plate. I looked at it. I picked around at it with one hand while my head rested on my other hand. I listened to my sister’s cries and screams. My stomach turned. I got up and threw my food in the trash.

Suddenly to my dismay my step father stomped up to my sister and yelled, “Now look what you have done! You have ruined your sister’s breakfast!.”

I remember being shocked. I remember thinking, “No!”

I remember thinking, “How did I just get roped into being on his side. She did not ruin my breakfast. That is not what I was saying. Something ruined my breakfast, but it was not her!”

As a tiny five-year old girl I never said a word. I remained silent. I guess I went to kindergarten shortly after that.

I still do not know exactly what happened with my sister. I do not know what  happened to trigger her desperate cries although I have some good ideas. I cannot remember if this was an isolated incident or a regular occurrence. I know that this is a piece of a puzzle for me though because in spite of all that I blocked out for some reason this dark memory has remained with me and comes to my mind sometimes. It is like a dark shadow coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear, “remember.”

I believe that deep inside a part of me knew that something heinous was going on and that there was a predator in my midst. I never felt totally safe. I just cannot remember details often, and in my baby mind there was a horror movie constantly playing. I could not understand or make sense of or accept what was happening. All I knew was that there was something nightmarish going on, and I was terrified for my life.

I was not the typical bride. I was not the stereotypical girl rushing towards the goal of getting married. I avoided marriage for many years, and I ran away from several marriage opportunities. I was terrified of marriage really!

Yes, I did always enjoy watching weddings on television. I enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding today. I still love seeing beautiful flowing ball gowns on gorgeous radiant girls, flowers in bloom cascading throughout venues, and sparkling jewels catching the light. I am a feminine woman, and I am always drawn to beauty.  My own actual marriage did not come so easily though, and it was not because of my husband. It was me.

I was one of the last ones from my high school class to finally get hitched. When I attended my class mates’ weddings people would always give me those reassuring and pitying looks and say things like, “It will be you one day.” Little did they know that I was not at all worried about that! I was putting off marriage for as long as I could!

When my husband proposed to me we had lived together for about 5 years already. Yes….we were living in sin (insert sarcasm,) but instead of being all teary and girly at the proposal……my first honest reaction was a wave of fear and shock.

I in no way intend to dishonor him or his beautiful proposal in writing this. That is not the point. The point is that I have issues! I have never seen a healthy marriage up close and personally. I have seen my parent’s marriage and both of their remarriages, but…..none of it looked so inviting. My parent’s marriage only lasted until I was 3 years old. They both quickly remarried, and I lived with my mother and step father after that, but I had visits with my dad and step mother.

The examples of marriage that I saw were cold. They were not affectionate. They did not include much encouragement. There was infidelity. There was abuse. There was criticism and degradation. There was screaming and slapping. There was intimidation, lack of support, and honestly lack of love.

When I was around 17 I remember my step father sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me that my mother had caught him in yet another affair and that she had left. He apologized for not coming home the night before, and he said, ” I do not know why I cannot love your mother.”

This weird conversation came the night after I had come home the prior night from cheerleading practice or something to an empty house. I waited and waited for my mother, younger siblings, and step father to return,…….but they never did. I had no idea where they were or when they would return. I ended up calling my high school sweet heart to come and stay with me because no one ever came home that entire night. I guess they forgot about me or just assumed that I would be okay on my own with no idea where they were.

I remember seeing my friends’ parents holding hands and showing affection and being totally shocked! I could not believe that grown people were acting so affectionately! I thought that kind of behavior was just kid stuff for teenagers like myself at the time. I had never seen such a thing before.

So when I went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding it was not what I expected. I felt exhausted and fatigued the whole time like I weighed 1000 pounds. It felt like a chore. When I put on the first gorgeous gown and saw myself in the mirror I literally began dripping with sweat. I felt all of the blood rush out of my head, and I began to see spots. I also felt nauseous. My reaction embarrassed me so I tried to play it cool and hold it together so that no one would know. I wish that I could go back and do it again and actually enjoy myself.

Somehow I got through the whole ordeal of planning a wedding and getting married, and my actual wedding was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the day because on that day I finally surrendered it (the wedding itself that is,) and in spite of a few things that went wrong I managed to remain totally calm, peaceful and genuinely happy that entire wedding day. The wedding day itself is a good memory for me even though the year leading up to it was quite horrible.

Marriage is still a struggle for me though. I still don’t really know how to do it. I am doing it, but intimacy and affection are so foreign to me in the marriage arena. The whole thing makes me feel like I am from another planet.  I know that marriage is difficult in general, and believe me, I have never had romanticized expectations of it, not in adulthood anyway.

I have watched all of the marriage seminars. I know what I am supposed to do, but re-learning everything that was ingrained into me from 0-18 years old proves to be like swimming upstream in heavy rapids. There is so much more to it than head knowledge. There are emotional and physical reactions that are extremely difficult to combat.

I am trying to figure it out, but it is like reinventing the wheel. People can tell me all day how to do it, but nothing replaces actually living in a real working model as a child which I did not…..ever.

It has always been my desire to break the mold and to change the negative patterns that have been created in my lineage. That is so much harder to do than it is to say. I keep hope that this will click for me in time as other things do, and I am committed to the journey.

Spirit of God, purest love…….help me…..carry me…..I surrender it to you.