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.

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

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!💗

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

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

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