fills my soul with healing…

When I stopped trying to fill up

every space within me with busyness,

stillness became a welcomed friend

who embraced my soul with healing.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

I am her…

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.
– John 8:36

There was a time, that I didn’t identify with the one who stared at me daily in the mirror.

Sometimes I didn’t like her, other times I felt like I didn’t really know her and many times didn’t understand her. She found herself lost between living to please others and resenting her continued self-sacrifice, even at the cost of her well being.

Ultimately betraying herself.

Numerous times she tried to free her true self, but found it difficult to come out from under the deep despair of childhood trauma and shame.

Today, she realizes it’s ok to choose Her.

She now, carefully cradles her heart, whispering powerful words of truth dripped in non-judgmental love and grace.

She is no longer hidden beneath the layers of trauma, she is emerging, growing and nurturing each space within the weight of her being.

She no longer identifies as an outsider, but acknowledges Her name.

The name her Mother, lovingly graced her with in 1969.

Her name is Denise Marie and I am her.

Painting = peace…

“I find joy in embracing vulnerability”.

Painting brings me a sense of peace. It allows me to free my mind and to be present.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

It’s ok…

Healing doesn’t happen linear, it ebbs and flows and many days I’m battling my mindset as I demolish thoughts that try to set off my anxiety. There are many days when I can smile and genuinely say “today’s a good day” and then there are days when I can barely get out of bed, and yet choose to say “today is a good day…to…rest. Both days are good, it’s all about how I choose to respond to my circumstances.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

my Saviors grace…

What does it take to be free from

the theatrical soliloquies

of carefully pre-selected words which

fall so gracefully on the ears of

those who hunger for his presence,

yet stand at the threshold and leave empty.

Stripped away from all the “wow’s” of the crowd,

to simply being in his presence.

Seeking him as I bare it all,

before the throne of my Savior’s grace,

there is where you will find me.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

I broke my silence…at 40.

A few months ago, I was frazzled by a situation which caused others to look at me with doubting glares and accusing words that began by a simple misunderstanding.

Not being understood and discredited stirred up deep rooted memories from my childhood of not being believed when I told a trusted adult that I had been abused. At 11 years old, my self-esteem immediately plummeted as my worth was devalued deeply beneath the open wound of keeping the abuse a secret. My humanity was denied access to protection. I suffered emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally, internalizing my pain, suppressing my feelings and silenced my voice.

I didn’t talk about it again, until I was 40 years old.

This recent situation, caused me to gravel as I continuously explained myself over and over again only to be looked at as if I wasn’t telling the truth.

My mind raced as my anger grew causing me to want to lash out at the ones who didn’t believe me.

The little girl in me was spiraling out of control, in that moment, I felt helpless.

Instead of using old self destructive ways of coping, I applied tools I’ve learned and communicated my feelings to those who misunderstood me, and I spoke my truth. We were able to clear up the confusion and move forward.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and unfortunately there are millions of survivors in the United States and around the World who are suffering from the affects of sexual assault, it is so important that we speak out against sexual assault and put an end to it.

If you are a survivor I want to let you know that, I believe you, healing is possible and there is hope.

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

win…

I’ve learned to celebrate when I WIN over the urge to shrink, and instead choose to shine.✨

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

Simply becoming…

Breathing deep the sweet fragrance of joy.
~ denise marie

Have you ever just let go?

Really let go of who you thought

you were to be,

to simply just becoming.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Simply present…

Comfortably exhaling all inhibitions as I creatively live freely in spite of imperfections. ~ denise marie

Painting has been an imperative creative outlet in my healing process.

No agenda, no expectations, no right or wrong, just simply being present.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

Celebrating a day in history…

Wearing pearls & Celebrating the History making of our Madam Vice President Kamala Harris 🖤🤎🤍💛❤️

I will not be silenced…

My voice matters.

My opinion matters.

My words matter.

My thoughts matter.

What I have to say matters.

How I feel matters.

My questions matter.

My disagreeing with you matters.

Standing up for myself matters.

Speaking up matters.

What I like matters.

What I don’t like matters.

Telling my jokes matter.

Telling my story matters.

My choice matters.

My dreams matter.

My disappointments matter.

My goals matter.

My style matters.

Being comfortable in my own skin matters.

Being confident matters.

Being unsure at times, matters.

Taking my time to process my feelings matters.

Being sad matters.

Being happy matters.

Being angry matters.

Laughing out loud matters.

My smile matters.

My quirkiness matters.

My “no” matters.

My “yes” matters.

Saying exactly what I mean matters.

Having boundaries matter.

Being kind to myself matters.

Being kind to others matters.

Practicing self-care matters.

Loving freely matters.

My brown skin matters.

Being myself, even when others say it’s “too much” matters.

Being free spirited matters.

Letting go of what I can’t control matters.

Liking myself matters.

Loving myself matters.

I matter.

~ denise marie

lean into his presence…

This week I was feeling a lot of anxiety. Between the pandemic, friends and family battling sickness, the loss of so many lives, the violence, the financial struggles of many, racial injustice and the chaos in our nation, I found myself struggling to hold onto my peace. My emotions fluctuating from sadness, to anger, to fear as I battled my own thoughts to bring my mindset back to a place of peace.

Then I heard a still small voice that said, “Lean into his presence.”. At that very moment I knew he was calling me to him.

One of my favorite lyrics in a song by Elevation Worship goes,

“In Your presence there is freedom
In Your presence there is hope
In Your presence there is healing
Love restores me, I am whole”.

In my moments of distress, I am learning as I lean into his presence, my anxiety surrenders to Him.

Lean into his presence.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

**side note**: I am a firm believer in Jesus and Therapy! God provides us with resources that if we are willing, can come alongside us and help us in our journey. My regular appointments with my therapist and support from my sponsor in Celebrate Recovery, are vital parts of my healing!💗

Time to soar…

So many wasted moments, overthinking, replaying the “what if’s” over and over again. Constantly talking myself out of doing something for fear of failing or waiting for the “perfect” moment to step out of my comfort zone.

I know many of you can relate to finding themselves waiting for just the “right” time as you hope for just one more sign from God that this is what I am supposed to do next.

If I can be blunt with you….Girl please STOP the madness!! (that statement is gender neutral) we have to put an end to allowing our own limitations to stunt our growth.

We (ME 🙋🏽‍♀️) are more than capable of accomplishing anything and everything we set out to do, it doesn’t have to be prefect or even “pretty” our greatest work aka call is done authentically messy, real, honest, laced with plenty of vulnerability and above all else…Gods grace.

It’s time to silence the lies which keep us bound, stand on faith and soar.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

a hope deferred…

I recently met up on zoom with two friends that I have known for 35 years. Though our life had taken us different directions and we tried to talk over the phone occasionally, but us three haven’t been together in one place for 27 years, we quickly were able to pick back up where we left off and that same connection that brought us together 35 years ago was naturally the same connection we had on the zoom call. We laughed and cried as we reminisced, caught each other up on our life and made plans to get together on zoom regularly.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

After our call, in the middle of the night, I woke up and clearly heard the words “a hope deferred”. I knew exactly in that moment what God was trying to tell me.

For years I had longed to be in touch with these two friends, missing them, needing them, allowing feelings of rejection or unrealistic expectations of them to cause me to create scenarios in my mind that were not accurate. Looking back, simply picking up the phone, to let them know how I felt, would’ve put an end to my questions or to scenarios which were not accurate. Reconnecting with my friends fulfilled the longing in my heart and brought me so much joy.

So if you are sitting on the sidelines, watching an old friend or even a family member live their life through the lens of social media but afraid to reach out and really reconnect, I want to encourage you to pick up the phone and let them know you care. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, It’s not too late to let someone know you miss them, or that your sorry and that you love them.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

the stroke of a brush releases anxiety…

✨ Art is beautiful in the eyes of those who simply embrace the freedom of each stroke of a brush.✨

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

When the waves come crashing…I will trust you.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me,
Take me deeper than my feet
could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”.
⁃ Oceans by Hillsong United

This summer, I had an overwhelming need to go to the Ocean, so I told my husband and the next day we drove to Santa Cruz.

As I stood there on these rocks on the beach, I watched the water go from calm to all of a sudden the waves came crashing violently and then the calmness of the water subsided as the waves went back out to sea.

I was so fortunate to capture this photo at the exact moment of impact.

As I watched in awe, I heard God sweetly whisper, “trust me”.

Unbeknownst to me, my life would change four days later, when I survived a pulmonary embolism.

As I heal, this picture is a constant reminder of how we all face the unexpected crashing of overwhelming situations that disrupt our life. But even in those uncertain times, God promises to be our firm foundation, as he continuously whispers “trust me”.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety”.

– Psalm 18:2

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36 #nolongerheldcaptive

They call her Joy…

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.-Nehemiah 8:10

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Inhale the sweet fragrance…

As I inhale the sweet fragrance of self acceptance,
my joy emerges.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Painting imperfectly…

As I am healing, painting has become one of my relaxing pastimes that completely allows me to free my mind and release anxiety.

The need to control every stroke of the paint brush diminishes, as I am no longer self-critical or try to aim for perfection, instead I embrace my vulnerability as I trust myself to just let go. ~denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Be Strong & Courageous…

My new art piece, which is one of my favorite scriptures now hangs on the wall in my bedroom. These words have been on repeat as I continue to recover. I never would have imagined that I would be adding “Survivor of Pulmonary Embolism” to my story. But nonetheless here I stand, believing Gods promises for my life even when things are hard 🙌🏽😭

I have hope and faith as I continue to say:

“I AM Strong and Courageous, I will not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord MY God will be with me wherever I go”. – Joshua 1:9💗

~ denise marie

#nolongerheldcaptive

Living in uncertain times…but there is hope.

A little break from writing poetry as I heal. I am sure I will be inspired soon with words of encouragement and hope as I reflect on my current situation. 💕

A reminder to always listen to your body….I was discharged from the hospital yesterday and am home recovering and resting.

Went to the ER with shortness of breath and extreme chest pain. After a Cat scan, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my right lung (pulmonary embolism). I still have a recovery/healing journey ahead of me, but am praising God because I am here to tell you my story!

Since this happened, I have been battling with some anxiety and some fear, but reading God’s promises, praying, listening to worship, and talking to family and friends have been a huge help!

Some scriptures that have strengthened me and reminded me to focus on hope are the following:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  – Psalm 56:3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” – Psalm 91:1-16

Please keep me and my family in your prayers.

Denise🌸

Throwing stones…

❤️We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19❤️

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

The rise…

The rise from depression and anxiety has been a feat in itself. The ebb and flow of the uncomfortable highs and lows of not being able to describe the exact reason for that particular moment of heaviness or the fast pace racing of my mind.

At times my faith seems stronger in the midst of my “fog”, its in those vulnerable moments where I find myself surrendering as I read the words from my favorite book, the verses of hope in my bible seem to jump from the pages, as I grasp onto each message of truth. Its in my realness that I realize, I no longer am depending on my own ability to overcome, but I lean into a deep longing and yearning for the transformation of my heart by the one who calls me his own. The abolishing of “fake it” till you make it or pretending to be “ok”, these strategies no longer work in the midst of my authenticity.

As I grasp the uneasiness of healing from trauma and line up my thoughts and actions to truth, moving forward…my life will never be the same.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

**Artist Credit: Painting called “Rejoice” by monicastewart.com