To conceal…to hide; withdraw or remove from observation; cover or keep from sight.

I have hereditary dark circles which have gotten darker due to off and on years of stress and health challenges. Daily I cover these blemishes with concealer so others will not see the dark pigmentation under both of my eyes. This is very similar to the “covering up” of my story due to shame.

Those same fears kept me in a constant cycle of performance based validation as I placed my value and worth in what I did for others and how I “appeared”. This warped view of my identity, made me feel like I was never enough.

I settled for unhealthy boundaries, suppressed pain from my childhood trauma and had a hard time acknowledging the depths of the current pain I was experiencing in 2015. I worked very hard to make people believe my life was “ok”. Until I found myself emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually in a dark space.

Covering up the pain of my past revealed itself in other ways; just like dark pigmentation will not always be able to hide underneath the concealer.

Almost 3 years ago, I wrote the following poem during a time where “covering up” was no longer a possible option:

I was attacked

at the very core

of my being and

was told to end it.

That I was not going to

live past the depression,

the anxiety and the tremendous

amount of pain.

The lies, and self hatred

tried to overshadow every ounce

of hope and faith

I previously held onto.

Even though I walk through the

darkest valley…

Fragmented pieces of the

memories came flashing

back as I tried to piece them

together and make sense

of the realization that these

were not nightmares but

factual suppressed recollections.

I will fear no evil…for you are with me….

It was too much!

I felt as if I was literally being

ripped from the inside out.

Every part of my body ached

as I exposed the truth and

walked through the dark

murkiness of my past.

You protect and guide me,

and I find comfort as you console me…

In my despair,

I wept, as I released the pain.

You are repairing all the damage

that was done to me,

and restoring the deepest,

most real part of me.

Lord, I am standing in my truth as I walk in my freedom. My strength and hope comes from you. (*Psalm 23)

These last 3 or so years have been a time of growing closer in my relationship with Christ, creating healthy boundaries and actively participating in: intensive outpatient therapy, trauma therapy, Celebrate Recovery; a 12-step Recovery program, and learning how to live my life intentionally authentic as I am healing layer by layer.

Today, I choose to continue to walk with courage and speak my truth, as I shine His light on the darkness that kept me bound. Daily continuing to overcome and let others know that with God, you have Hope.💗

~ denise marie

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

Hidden scars…I wanted no one else to see…

Shame

hid itself

distinctively

behind

pride,

causing

a skewed

perception

of my

self-image.

The mask

I wore so

comfortably

became

my idol…

my false

sense of

identity,

which so

easily covered

up the scars,

that I wanted

no one else

to see.

~ denise marie

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

**Artist credit: Painting by Briahna Wenke @artbybri

Where are YOU?

It’s never too late to find yourself.

She’s never left you, she’s been there the entire time, patiently waiting for your return.

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

Forgive yourself…then release.

Don’t keep holding onto what is no longer yours to keep…fear, regret, disappointments, shame, resentment. Forgive, release and let it go.

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

Help is just a phone call away…

It’s ok to speak your truth, you no longer have to live in fear to what hinders your freedom.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline

1-800-950-NAMI

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Celebrate Recovery

https://www.celebraterecovery.com/

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

She found her identity…

She found her identity in Christ’s Truth.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.

– John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Shift your life…

Shifting from the self-sabotaging

fear of change. The unraveling of each layer of my life that I held onto with “white knuckled fists” realizing that I could no longer do things in my own power and strength. I had to release my hold and begin to face the reality of what I was allowing in my life but most importantly what was going on within my heart. Suppressing my pain was the root which affected many of my decisions, my perspective on how I viewed myself and contributed to ongoing health issues and chronic conditions. I am learning and practicing releasing these emotions and allowing God into those areas that I was afraid to give Him access. This ongoing process and inner healing work can be overwhelming but is FREEING me from things I have struggled with most of my life. So, never give up because healing is possible. 💗

~ denise marie

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

Unbecoming to simply become..

When writing this piece, I kept hearing the words, “you have to unbecome to become”. For me that means, ditching the old ways of viewing myself through the unhealthy lenses that are holding me back from my true potential and learning how to embrace my quirky ways by completely loving and accepting myself from all angles. “So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

It takes courage…to ask for help.

It’s ok to ask for help, you don’t have to do it alone. “So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

Take a risk and talk about depression.

Too many are suffering in silence. Take a risk and call, 1-800-273-TALK💗

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

Today I celebrate my 50th Birthday. I love this pic because it was a day that I shared my story. I am overwhelmed by the gratitude that I feel and cherish every memory, both good and bad, for it has brought me to this point in my life that I am able to stand up and use my voice to overcome fear that has kept me quiet for so long. I thank God for His gift of life and the ability to reclaim my freedom!💗

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

#nolongerheldcaptive

I was attacked

at the very core

of my being and

was told to end it.

That I was not going to

live past the depression,

the anxiety and the tremendous

amount of pain.

The lies, and self hatred

tried to overshadow every ounce

of hope and faith

I previously held onto.

Even though I walk through the

darkest valley…

Fragmented pieces of the

memories came flashing

back as I tried to piece them

together and make sense

of the realization that these

were not nightmares but

factual suppressed recollections.

I will fear no evil…for you are with me….

It was too much!

I felt as if I was literally being

ripped from the inside out.

Every part of my body ached

as I exposed the truth and

walked through the dark

murkiness of my past.

You protect and guide me,

and I find comfort as you console me…

In my despair,

I wept, as I released the pain.

You are repairing all the damage

that was done to me,

and restoring the deepest,

most real part of me.

Lord, my strength and hope, comes from you.

(*Psalm 23)

~ denise marie

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