Your Story: Cassandra Holmes

Bedtime Stories That Paved The Road to Redemption
shared by Cassandra Holmes

Every child knows what bedtime stories are. Sometimes parents read them from books, other parents make them up as they go. My favorite bedtime story was “The Man & The Woman Story”. Basic as far as stories go, but this one is special. This one is mine. Continue reading


Your Story

I am inspired and energized by hearing other people’s Stories. I especially love to hear how someone has overcome a particular fear or challenge or had a life-altering epiphany because it helps me realize – I am not alone in my journey.

Do you have a Story of personal triumph, growth or just straight-up perseverance you would like to share? E-mail me at: if you would like to guest post. I’d be honored to share your Story.

Running at My Fear (pt. 2)

Well, I’m quickly realizing it was no coincidence that I chose 2012 to be The Year of Facing my Fears. This has been a very real struggle for me and I am finally realizing many of the things I have missed out on because of my refusal to face these fears.

In Chapter 6 of the book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat the author John Ortberg shares the six things we lose out on if we do not face our fears. Among these are: Loss of Self-Esteem, Loss of Destiny, Loss of Joy, Loss of Authentic Intimacy, and Loss of Availability to God.

In the past four years I have watched my Self-Esteem TANK. Despite the encouragement I receive from others on how wonderful I am (and I truly am wonderful ;)) it does not seem to penetrate. Ortberg addresses this exact issue. Below are excerpts from chapter 6:

“Why are there so many people lacking self-esteem who have many reasons to have high self-esteem? They accomplish many things – they are gifted, attractive and well-liked – yet struggle with self-esteem. Even people who have accomplished a great deal and are apparently successful are often prone to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. Not only that, the many people who receive much affirmation and admiration from significant others tend to disbelieve it and wrestle with self-esteem all the same.

All research suggests that self-esteem largely boils down to one issue. When you face a difficult situation, do you approach it, take action, and face it head on, or do you avoid it, wimp out, and run and hide?

If you take action, you get a surge of delight, even if things do not turn out perfectly. I did a hard thing, I took on a challenge. You grow. When you avoid facing up to a threatening situation, even if things end up turning out all right, inside you say, But the truth is, I wimped out. I didn’t do the hard thing. I took the easy way out.

Avoidance kills an inner sense of confidence and esteem…
But there is something about embracing a challenge that is very important for inner well-being… When you are in a situation that creates fear, but you face it head-on, you will feel a rush of satisfaction in knowing you displayed courage.

Why don’t you conduct your own experiment of trust this week?
Sometime when you are tempted to avoid, hold your ground and press forward instead: Stand up to a bully who is mistreating others (or you) at work. Wade feet first into a task that you have been putting off because you have feared it would be difficult or unpleasant. Express your true opinion when you are talking to a person you would normally try to placate or impress.

When you do this, you will get a little stronger inside. But when you wimp out by refusing to take the difficult step or saying the hard word – you die a little inside. And if that becomes a pattern, over time you come to see yourself as someone who cannot cope with life’s greatest challenges. Where there ought to be an inner core of strength and resolve, you will experience fear and anxiety instead. You will learn to live in fear and avoidance.”

Ouch! This is absolutely what was happened to me over the past four years. Because I have chosen to run, hide and avoid certain fears, it has slowly eaten away at my confidence. I mentioned last week in Running at My Fear that I have a relationship that I have been avoiding because I’ve been too scared to face it. Well, this week I will be facing this fear. What you can’t see, is that I’m about to crap my pants right now. Ha! BUT, I’m SO TIRED of what I’ve missed out on because of it. I am no longer willing to give my confidence and energy away to this.

I know I keep harping on this “fear” topic, but I know I’m not the only one missing out by… avoiding. You already know what you have been running from. If you don’t, ask yourself right now, “What one thing am I avoiding because of fear?” The answer will come to you; if not today, it will soon. When it does, what will you do?

What Are You Missing Out On?

(Click image to enlarge and back arrow to return to post.)

My Mother loves me. I do not question this. She has always desired for me to be kept safe, unharmed from physical danger and emotional heartache. I would say most mothers desire this for their children. But what happens when this motherly-love, don’t-you-dare-hurt-my-child love is taken to the extreme?

In my case, it taught me how to fear … everything. Most things I encountered in life became a potential threat:

That man walking across the street.
That dangerous airport to live near.
The potential Hepatitis I could pick up while enjoying a pedicure at the salon.

Now, I am not saying these are not legitimate threats, because they very well may well be, and I absolutely love my Mom for her desire to keep me unharmed (thank you Mom for your hedge of protection). However, what I am saying is this: If I choose to believe – and live by – every warning, it will eventually have a detrimental affect on my life. Seriously! Assuming these threats will happen to me if I take part in any way could be just as harmful as the potential threat itself.

Why? I mean, I am keeping safe, right?

The detrimental affect is that I will not live my life. I will be too busy shielding myself from what could happen to me. I could get attacked by the man walking across the street, so I better not go for a stroll on a beautiful evening. My airplane may plunge into a ravine at that dangerous airport, so I better not move to that city. I could contract Hepatitis if I pamper myself at the salon, so I better just not go at all.

I’ve learned (and must emphasize – I am still learning) that life is for living. I believe God has given me the gift of life to live it. I wonder what He thinks when I sit inside, wishing I could go out and play, but instead politely decline any invite for fear of catastrophe? As I write this, I am overwhelmed with an incredible sense of obligation. When I do not partake in life and put myself out there, I am robbing not only myself from joy, or those around me, but I am also robbing my Creator from joy! It brings Him joy to see us dancing and laughing and to see us going for walks to experience His beautiful creation. I bet He laughs and claps with joy when He sees us step out in faith and overcome a fear that held us in bondage. So, when I instead choose to hold back because of what could happen, I am essentially saying, “God, I know you gave me this gift of life, but I’m going to take it and keep it safe… Here. Let me put it in this small velvet bag. Oh! This velvet bag should be protected too. So, I’m going to take it and put it in this wooden box. But so no one damages my wooden box, I will place that in a firesafe and lock it. There. Now nothing can harm it.”

If I continue to say “no” to experiences, I will end up sitting on my couch only reading about the life I wish I could live!

Let me ask you this:
In what areas of your life are you holding back in fear? What are you not doing
because you fear rejection? What adventure are you not living because you fear it won’t work out? Perhaps you fear it will end in heartbreak, poverty or pain.

Now let me ask you this:
Is the life you are living right now, your day-to-day experience, is it worth everything you have given up?

What would it look like if you actually said “Yes”?

I invite you to join me today. I invite you to step out and to risk.

I promise you, this new life will be like nothing you could have ever dreamed for yourself.

What is an area in your life that you have held back and are now going to step out? I invite you to take a *risk* and share your story in the comments. 🙂

If You Knew the Truth, Would You Still Like Me?

Do you have a secret that you would be mortified if others found out about you? Perhaps it is something you did in your past; maybe it was something that was done to you. Perhaps there is a flaw on your body that only you know about and it keeps you from getting close to others. All three of these were true for me.

Since beginning this blog, I’ve had a surprising amount of feedback – primarily from people who knew me as an adolescent – that were shocked to hear that I have (and do) deal with so many insecurities. As a teenager, I was liked and accepted by most groups, but still dealt with voices that told me I was not popular enough or worth knowing.

Last week, one of my childhood friends e-mailed me and told me that she couldn’t believe the things I thought about myself. This message caused me to wonder if I had hid these feelings from others. Then I began to wonder if I hid these feelings even from myself. How is this possible? I don’t even know. However, throughout the rest of the week I contemplated this notion and realized it is true! There are feelings I have mashed down inside of me. Memories of things I have done to others, said to others and things that were done to me. I push them deep inside because when I remember them, I feel gross. I feel heartless. I feel pain.

The Lie.
There is something about our culture – and quite possibly many other cultures – that lead us to believe that it is healthier to hold all these things inside. The voices tell us, “If you expose this about yourself, they will think you are a craaaazy fool.”

The Reality.
Often times when we show and experience our vulnerability, it brings others closer to us – especially for those who are viewed as having everything together. Yeah right. No one has everything all together.

If you do choose to be vulnerable, there will be people who reject you; but it is quite possible that it will be because you are willing to show your flaws and it scares them. If you show yours, then they feel pressure to unveil their own and they just might not be ready for that.

But I’m here to tell you today, my experience of exposing myself has brought an immensely higher reward than what I have felt by keeping my mouth shut.

The below video is a presentation Josh and I shared immediately prior to walking down the aisle on our wedding day. We admit, we are broken, but through faith in Christ Jesus we are healed.

What’s in it for me?

At age 14, wearing my favorite Above the Rim t-shirt and plaid flannel shirt. Awesome.

Hi peeps. This is my first post. Kinda scary. Actually a LOT scary. If you have not yet read the “About” page, let me give you a short synopsis of why I am here and why you are here.

I have lived for many years under the message cloud: “You are not good enough.” I really don’t know exactly at what age it started, but I can remember back to junior high when I was the awkward girl with B.O., braces and a literal “crater face” (after my bout of chicken pox). I wore thrift store clothing before it became cool. My best friend was the most popular girl in our class and when we went to the mall, I’d often get overlooked by the random boys who flocked to her side. If I did get their attention, it was usually a quizzical glance that seemed to ask “Why are you here?”

Despite how I sell my sob story, there were also a lot of people who liked me and as I developed into a high school student and then a college student, my friend base grew larger and larger. But I still could not shake that abusing voice, “Alana, you’re pudgy. Look at your butt, it barely fits in your jeans” and “You may have big dreams, but you are never going to reach them. You never finish anything you start.”

I have lived with these voices my entire adult life. I’m done with it. I’m stepping up, recognizing these words for what they are (lies) and proclaiming truth over my life.

Now we come to, why are you here? 1). Probably because I invited you to come check out my writings (thanks for stopping by). 2). This is my desire for you as you read through these pages: That you will find a renewed sense of hope. That you will realize for yourself, “I matter. My opinions matter. My decisions matter” and lastly, I wish for you to experience renewed energy and new perspectives.

If one person feels alive again because of the words I share, then this blog will have been a success.

However, I am still scared. What if no one comes to my site? What if they only come once, yawn, and never come back? Well, this is my way of fighting back against those voices. I’m just going to keep on talking.