An Introverts Journal

Let’s Revisit Those Journals

Next week we’re going to be moving back to “Excerpts from and Introvert’s Journal”, but before we do, I thought it would be a good idea to do a slight recap for those of you who may have forgotten what I had shared in those posts, as well as for those who are new to Life Exquisite.  After all, it’s been more than a month since we’ve talked about much besides Advent and Christmas.

Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 1

In this first part of “Excerpts…” I shared that I was a bit of a mess in the six-month break that I had taken from blogging.  In those six months my health had begun to fail me.  What started as influenza last March, led to pneumonia, and then another infection and then another, which led to digestive issues and autoimmune diseases.  We were unable to get rid of the infection in my body.  It just kept moving around and we didn’t know where it was or how to fight it.  My body could no longer handle antibiotics, my creatinine levels were high, my white and red blood cells out of whack.  I was scared but didn’t want to worry so busied myself with the drug of distraction.

Until one day…

You can read more of Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 1 HERE.

Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 2

In part two of “Excerpts…” I shared how my health began to affect my relationships.  I could no longer be the mom to my babies that they needed me to be and that I wanted to be.  And while my younger two are still young enough that some snuggles on the couch with a movie, book, or a game is all they need, my older two needed much more. 

They needed a mama they could talk to about all the things that teenage girls deal with.  But my sickness was creating such a mental fog that I couldn’t have conversations.  How could I be the mom they needed when I could barely remember the last word they said let alone an entire sentence or conversation?

My girls began to stop talking to me, knowing I couldn’t handle it.  And it hurt.  It was beyond frustrating to feel so weak and fallible.

You can read more of Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 2 HERE.

Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 3

Part three was the hardest to share.  It took a vulnerability that I didn’t really have the strength for, but with the feedback that I received from you my readers and friends, I know beyond a doubt that God gave me His strength to push the publish button on this blog post.

Between my failing health and my husband traveling for work so often well…

But there is always hope in the redemptive and healing power of our Heavenly Father.

You can read more of Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 3 HERE.

Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 4

This is where we left off right before Christmas.  You may be noticing a theme with all of my journal excerpt posts.  Relationship.  And how perfect is it that God gave me the phrase, “Say yes to relationship” for 2019.  All those “saying yes to the good portion of relationship” posts that I had studied for and blogged January through May of last year, were just what I needed as I walked through the pain of brokenness in my body and relationships.

Part four is about my relationship with myself.  Which it turns out is a lot more important than I ever thought it was.  For years I had beat myself up and listened to the lies Satan whispered about me.  How I was inadequate, unimportant, insignificant.  I didn’t love myself, or really even like myself, and believing in myself, that I was created for a purpose, was pretty much impossible.

You can read more of Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 4 HERE.

So, now you’re up to speed on all the excerpts from my journals that I have shared so far.  There are a few more left that I am going to be sharing with you and then…who knows what God will have for this year.

I know that at some point, hopefully soon, I’ll be sharing some news with you all.  And I have goals for this year, that include working on my book and other projects.

And also, this year of reNEWal!  God has already begun to work in my body and relationships.  And as he continues to work and renew my body, mind, and soul I know that He is healing me and making me new physically, mentally, and spiritually!

An Introverts Journal, Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

Excerpts From an Introvert’s Journal – Part 4

“God has used this messy health situation to help me focus on areas I have neglected.

Mainly ME.  I know that sounds selfish, but it’s true.  I learned that in order to be healthy; physically, spiritually, and mentally, I needed to be a little selfish and work on me.”

You may recognize the above quote from Excerpts From and Introvert’s Journal – Part 1”.  I’ve talked about how my health affected my relationship with God, my relationship with my kids, and husband, but I haven’t mentioned how my health affected my relationship with myself.  Which, it just so happens, is also a pretty important relationship.

. . .

Excerpt from Journal 8/29/19

“…lately with everything going, it’s tempting to give up.  To run away until all is well.  I’m sick of strained relationships.  I’m sick of being sick and the seemingly endless appointments. “

. . .

Excerpt from Journal 9/15/19

“With all my health issues over the years, and especially since March, I have really come to dislike my body…and myself. 

Not being able to enjoy food, to live life to its fullest, because I feel awful and exhausted all the time, is frustrating. And as things get worse, I wonder why I am so faulty.”

. . .

Faulty.  Inadequate.  Those are lies that I’ve struggled to silence my entire life.  I’ve always felt like something fundamental is missing in my makeup.  Being sick and having to be so dependent on others, just increased the lies, and I will admit I have believed them too often these past several months.

I have two main jobs that have made up the last nineteen years of my life.  Wife and mom.  And as all those relationships were hanging on by a thread, I felt like a failure.

My daddy, use to jokingly say as he snuggled me in his arms, “Kal, do you think you’ll ever amount to anything?”  He said it in a sweet, teasing way, and honestly, I never really thought about those words since those days snuggled in his arms.  But as I grew weaker, so weak that I had to depend on my husband and kids to sometimes walk me from point A to point B and all I wanted to do was sleep, those words my daddy never meant to be anything but playful banter between himself and his adoring daughter, suddenly popped back into my memory.  And as I heard that question, “Do you think you’ll ever amount to anything?” all I could think was, “No.  No, I will never amount to anything, because for some reason I can’t do anything.”

Thankfully, this spring God started bringing into a new light something I’d been interested in since my sister showed me it a few years ago.  The Enneagram.  When my sister first talked about Enneagram and had me take the test I came back as a six.  The Loyalist.  And its description made sense to me and I never questioned if that was really my number type or not.  So, I had spent the years since then believing I was a six and studying all things Enneagram six.

Until this spring.  As I was struggling in my relationships with myself and others and wanting to grow, I realized six didn’t make sense for me.  So, I bought a LOT of Enneagram books and began to study and dig deep into myself and all the Enneagram types.  I identified with most of the numbers, and I tried hard to work on growing towards the health in every number I identified with.  And every time I was in a place of pain and struggle I paid attention to what my heart struggle was and most of the time it boiled down to the words mentioned above.  Faulty.  Inadequate.  Feeling as though something fundamental was missing from my makeup. 

It’s of no importance to this post as to what Enneagram number I am.  Though, we’ll talk more about Enneagram in 2020. 

What does matter is that God used Enneagram to remind me that I am not faulty or inadequate.  That there is no important part missing from the Kalli puzzle.  He made me complete and full.  And He loves me completely and fully. 

And for every unhealthy, down in the dumps, self-doubting day that I had, there were even more days where He encouraged me through His word.  With verses like I mentioned in Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal – Part 2

. . .

“It’s okay to be weak.  In fact, it’s more than okay.  It’s a good thing. Because…

“My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9”

. . .

And many more in between.  Here are just a few of those sweet reminders from my Heavenly Father…

. . .

Excerpt from Journal 5/3/19

“I heard you whisper, “Choose life.”

…  Choosing life is hard at times.  Really, really hard…but it’s not out of reach.  Life is right here with us in our hearts…Jesus is within us and as we continue to choose life, and let life dwell in our hearts, it will grow and take over.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Proverbs 4:23””

. . .

Excerpt from Journal 6/27/19

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:5-6”

God, thank you, that I can trust you with everything that is going on.”

. . .

Most importantly he reminded me of what Jesus says is the second most important commandment alongside loving God.  It’s to love your neighbor as yourself.  Love your neighbor as yourself. But I didn’t really love myself. And this journal entry was my big turning point…

. . .

Excerpt from “100 Days to Brave” Journal

“How do you think you can love others if you don’t love yourself?”

I really struggle with loving myself.  Even at the age of 37, I feel so unimportant, insignificant, unvalued and useless…

“Loving someone requires belief in that person.”

I have never thought of love this way but it’s true.  Loving God requires belief in God…

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…

Acts 16:31”

What if believing in myself, will save me from myself?  Saves my soul from the hurt and pain that comes from self-doubt and believing the lies of Satan?

God, help me to love myself with your love, so that I can love others well.”

. . .

Since that day, I have started to write down things I love, about myself, my life, what God has created in me and for me.  It has really helped me to silence the lies of Satan that cause me to doubt all the goodness God created along with me.

I’m not going to lie; I still struggle with doubt.  I’m human and always will.  But I believe that the more I choose life giving statements about who God created me, Kalli Schroeder, to be, then life is what will grow in my heart.  And instead of Satan’s lies choking the life out of me, it will be the lifegiving truth of Jesus that chokes out the lies of Satan.

Can I get an AMEN to that?!

This year has been hard, but God has never left my side.  Never dropped my hand.  He’s held me.  Comforted me.  Sustained me.  And he’s spoken life into all the sickness, hurt, pain, and brokenness that has come my way.

Every test that we were afraid would be bad, has come back good.  I don’t have cancer or any other life-threatening disease.  Sure I’m not as healthy as I’d like to be and I’m going to be struggling with some lifelong diseases and disorders but I’ll continue to hold on to hope that Christ will heal those, and if He chooses not to, then I’ll trust Him in that too.

I’ve learned to work with my sickness and rest.  Yes, it’s true that I take at least two naps a day, but if that’s what I need to do to function and uphold my relationships then that’s what I need to do.  Plus, I kind of love naps so I need to learn to be grateful for them, even when they are forced upon me.

And the strained relationships, well, I now understand why God gave me the words “Choose Relationship” for 2019.  I now know why He had me digging deep into and writing about relationship this year.  It’s because I would need those reminders myself, to carry me through these hard months.  And as I listen to His comforting words and allow Him to carry myself and my family through this season, I’m seeing restoration and growth between my kids and me, as well as my husband and me. 

So, even though sickness and brokenness are not God’s will…

NOTE:  I’d like to make my readers aware that this will be my final blog post for “Excerpts from an Introvert’s Journal” until after Christmas.   I’ll still be blogging weekly but, I will be focusing on the Christmas and Advent season and I invite you along as we start celebrating the life of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

In addition to this, and in case you aren’t already aware, I’d like to invite you to join myself and others in the online Advent Bible study on Facebook.  We’ll be studying from the “Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope” study from She Reads Truth.  You do not have to have the book to join us, just the desire to learn more about Advent and Jesus coming.  Just go to Life Exquisite’s Facebook page, find the Advent group invite (I’ll try to keep it bumped to the top of our feed), and like AND comment on the invite post that you’d like to be invited to the Advent Bible study group.

An Introverts Journal, Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

Excerpts From an Introvert’s Journal – Part 1

Since my last blog post, almost six months ago, there’s been a lot going on and I’ve been a hot mess.  Well, if I’m being honest, mostly a mess.

I’ve typed this post at least a dozen times, each of those six months I’ve been absent.  See I believe with my entire heart that God has called me to share my story.  Why do I believe this?  One reason is because sharing my story and listening to others’ stories is one of my favorite things to do.  When a friend and I sit on the opposite side of my couch, or across the table from each other, sipping a warm beverage and having a good heart conversation…while it can be so hard, it’s so wonderful too.

Another reason I believe this is because years ago, when I read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,

2 Cor 1.3_5

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was telling me that there’s a reason why I so desired people to be real with me.  See I had this ache to be able to share my stories; the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the put together and the messy, the perfect, but mostly imperfect, chapters of my life.  He was telling me to be the change I wanted to see.  So again, and again I shared my story.  And so many times, I couldn’t get people, even my closest friends, to be open, and honest, and vulnerable with me in return.  And frequently, when I bared my heart, I felt judged and alone.

Now, before we go any further, and in case we are only friends by word of blog and you do not know me on a personal level, there’s an important fact that you need to know about me.  I am an introvert.  I need alone time as much as I need air in my lungs.

How odd is it that this introvert ached for people to bear her heart to?  Yet, it is the very thing I wanted.  I needed.  To be able to share my heart without feeling judged or like I was the only one who thought what I thought or felt what I felt, was becoming as important to me as my need for alone time and air.  And I knew I couldn’t be the only one who longed for this type of vulnerable friendship.

I began to pray that God would show me who to reach out to and invite out to coffee, or over for a chat.  It was amazing who God connected me with and how much my circle of friends changed.  And as these ladies and I began to share our hearts and our stories our conversations were full of much needed “me too” moments.  And tears.  Lots of tears.

I’ve tried through this blog, to invite you all to be my friend, because that’s what I want you to be, my friends.  I’m here, sharing my story, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the put together and the messy, the perfect…but mostly imperfect chapters of my life, because you are my friends.

And also because I believe Jesus wants me to.  I believe He wants me to share moments and chapters of my story with those who may need to have much needed conversations full of “me too” moments.  And cry.  Go ahead and cry.  I’m crying right now as I compose this post.

So, in keeping with my heart’s desire to do God’s will of sharing my story, here’s some truth.  Some ugly truth.  My hot mess…mostly messy story of the past several months from the pages of this introvert’s journal.

. . .

The first truth I am going to share with you, my friends, is that I have been sick since March of this year.  Long story short, I got the flu, that turned into one infection after another, that started wreaking havoc on my body, cause me to get a few different autoimmune diseases that have also taken their toll on my body in many different ways.

It’s been an extremely long and wearisome eight months, and it’s not over yet.  I have more doctors to see, more tests to run, and hopefully more answers to be found.  I am not telling you this because I want your pity.  In fact, that is one of the reasons I have not told you or many others.

I’m telling you this because it’s part of the mess that has been part of this chapter in my story.  I’m also telling you because through it, God has used this messy health situation to help me focus on areas I have neglected. 

Mainly ME.  I know that sounds selfish, but it’s true.  I learned that in order to be healthy; physically, spiritually, and mentally, I needed to be a little selfish and work on me.

. . .

~ Excerpt from journal, 5/31/19 ~

“It’s crazy how easy it is to get caught up in anxiety…or rather the distractions to keep you feeling anxious.

With my own body being attacked, it’s been easy to lose myself in the things that need to be done now that the weather is turning warm.  The garden and orchard, not to mention all the running I do with David out of the country the past few months, have served as the perfect distractions so as not to get lost in the “what if’s” of each new test result and prolonged sickness.

But these distractions have not only kept me from worrying about “what now” and “what’s next”.  They’ve kept me distracted from the kind of relationship I so crave and love to have with my Heavenly Father.”

. . .

You may recall that I’ve mentioned how much I love to sit in the mornings after everyone is gone for the day, with a cup of coffee or tea, and talk with God.  It’s one of my favorite times of day!

But I didn’t feel well, and it seemed all I talked to God about was what was wrong with my body, why it was failing me, and could He please help give us answers and heal me.  Having the same conversation over and over, is tiring.  Not to mention I didn’t really want to think about it because some scary things were going on.  So, these conversations, grew shorter and shorter.  And eventually, I kind of quit.

I didn’t quit praying, of course, and I didn’t stop talking to God.  But the tone of our relationship changed.  I didn’t want to think about my sickness.  So, I lost myself in doing, choosing to stop giving God my undivided attention.  Instead, we talked while I worked in the garden, orchard, or yard.  We talked while I did the everyday chores of a wife and mom.  But they were half-hearted conversations.  I couldn’t go deep any longer.  I couldn’t talk about what was on my heart.  And there was so much on my heart.  And more than just my sickness.

Until one day…

. . .

~ Excerpt from journal, 5/31/19 ~

Until this morning, I didn’t even realize I had allowed this to happen until I was working in my garden and I said, “I miss sitting with you, God.”

And his soft reply of, “Then let’s sit together,” reminded me that being busy didn’t make all the worry and sadness go away.  Busyness was just a drug to dull the senses.

The only one who can completely heal, take away, and support me through this mess was waiting for some quality time with me.

. . .

It was time to stop doing and just be.  Just be with Him.  Just be still and allow myself to think, to process, to talk, and to heal.

See it wasn’t just God telling me to stop doing so much.  Doctors were also telling me to rest.  But rest felt selfish, and lazy, and weak, and like a waste of time.  But if we truly want healing – and did I ever – whether it’s for our body, spirit, or mind, requires times of rest and just being.  And in just being God began to work on me in so many different ways.

I’ll share more of my story and journal entries with you over the next couple of weeks, but for now let me leave you with this quote.  It’s a quote many are given the credit of having said so I don’t know if I should give credit to Kurt Vonnegut, Rick Warren, the Dalai Lama, or my great uncle’s friend’s cousin’s nephew.  But no matter who said it, I believe it was God inspired…