Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Starting to see the sunlight . . .

You can usually tell when I'm drowning - because I don't take the time to write.  I had some rough emotional days - but I survived them.  And little by little, my attitude and my outlook are beginning to change.

A couple of weeks ago - I attended my first Celebrate Recovery meeting.  My whole life - I have been someone who is not a big fan of "group therapy" type settings.  I never wanted to go to Weight Watchers or any type of group setting "recovery" meeting.  I just didn't feel like sitting face to face with a bunch of strangers and pouring out my fears and my failures.  I'm still not a fan - but I'm getting better.  Celebrate Recovery - just felt right to me, from the first moment I read about it.  But it still took me over a month, and a push from my mother, to attend my first meeting.  And I survived.  And I knew it was going to be a good thing for me.  But last week, on the night of the meeting, a few things happened to derail my positive attitude and I didn't want to be around other people.  I didn't want to feel better.  I didn't want to recover.

But I didn't cover up my head and sleep like I wanted to.  Instead - I took my family out to eat.  And watched them laugh and enjoy their time together.  And then we went and bought ice cream and made super-duper high calorie sundaes.  Was that physically healthy?  No.  Did it pull me out of my dark hole?  Yep.  For that moment - it was what we needed to do.  And it wasn't the food - it was the time with my family and the smiles on my babies' faces that pulled me out of the darkness.  And this week, I will try my best to get back to that Recovery meeting and learn the things I need to learn to heal from all of the things that got me to this point in my life.

My husband signed the final divorce papers today.  I will probably sign them this afternoon.  And I can't help but feel so much sadness over the things that will not be.  Over the loss of so many dreams.  For years, I begged my husband to get help for his anger issues.  And for whatever reason - he just couldn't do it.  It wasn't until there was no other choice that he finally sought the help he needed.  And he seems to be healing.  And people talk about how much he has changed.  And all I feel is anger and hurt over the fact that he wasn't willing to do that for me.  And that he already has someone new to share his changed life with.  And I'm still here trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered family and three kids who don't understand why things have to be this way.

But you know what?  We're going to be okay.

I know that God has a plan for all of this.  And that some day - I won't hurt like I do right now.  The hurt is already lessening.  And thanks to a good friend - I am realizing that if I DIDN'T feel this hurt - that if I was able to just move on without hurting - then that would NOT be normal.  I have to go through the mourning process.  But guess what comes after mourning?  DANCING!!!

Psalm 30:11-12 says this:

You did it: you changed wild lament 
into whirling dance; 
You ripped off my black mourning band 
and decked me with wildflowers. 
I'm about to burst with song; 
I can't keep quiet about you. 
God, my God, 
I can't thank you enough.

There have been many times in my life where I was so lost.  I didn't know what was going to happen in my life.  I was so scared.  And in many of those times - I have remembered this song that I used to sing.  The first time I heard it was when I had just dropped out of college, I was 20 and I'd driven to Johnson City, Tennessee to see my good friend over Easter break.  It was the first time I'd been away from my family on a holiday.  It was the first time I'd driven that far by myself.  I had no idea what I was going to do next.  The night before I was supposed to leave (I had to work the next evening), I couldn't sleep and I was afraid if I fell asleep I wouldn't get up in time to make the drive and get to work.  So at around 2:30 a.m. I got up, got my stuff and started driving.  And as the sun was rising over the mountains just before I drove out of Tennessee into Kentucky - this song came on the radio.  It is by Christian group, Sierra.  I can't find a video of the song - but here are the lyrics.

Photo by John Starnes

I Know You Know

I can trust and choose Your will for me
Or I can choose to trust my own
But every time I do I end up on my knees
Longing for Your arms to lift me up

I can take the roads You lead me down
Or I can turn and go my way
But every time I do I end up on my knees
Longing for Your arms to lift me up

I know You know just what I need
I know You have a plan for me
So I'm gonna take Your lead
And I won't worry what the future holds
'Cause I know You know

I can hear just what You have to say
Or I can hear just what I want
But every time I do I end up on my knees
Longing for your arms to lift me up

Lord, You're faithful in everything, everything
You're the rock I'm leaning on

I know You know just what I need
I know You have a plan for me
So I'm gonna take Your lead
And I won't worry what the future holds
'Cause I know You know

I'm trusting.  So here's to the newest adventure.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What do you say when you have no words?

I've come to a lot of realizations about myself this week. And I made some hard decisions. And yet - it always seems like when I make a good decision for myself and my family - something happens to make everything that much harder. And it is easy to just give up on those great decisions I made, because it is too hard. Because I'm too tired. Because . . . because I have no words to understand how it feels to finally feel proud of something I've decided only to have it thrown back in my face to the point that I don't know if it really was that great of a decision.

What do you say when you no longer know how to feel? When you no longer want to cry because you're just so tired of crying (and you're probably dehydrated anyway.) When you realize that your normal go-to-comfort-mechanisms are all unhealthy for you but you haven't figured out the healthy things to replace them. So you just sit. And stare. At a blank screen. With nothing to say.

So once again - I'll share a song that spoke to me on my way to work this morning.

The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn't come from the explained
Jesus please don't let this go in vain
You're all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide 

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As Long As it Takes

I'm tired, do I have to keep proving myself
I'm weary and drawing from and empty well
I need You more than I ever have
So Jesus come and shatter my darkness somehow

I won't speak until You speak
I won't move until You move me
I won't sing, sing over me
I will wait as long as it takes

I'm restless for something significant
But I'm helpless cause I've done all I can
I want You more than I ever have
So Jesus come and hold me, I'm shaking right now

You are the Comforter so comfort me
You're the Sustainer so be enough for me
You are my Father and Your love for me
Is where I find my rest

(c) 2010 Word Music

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hurt people hurt people - but we don't have to take it . . .

This is one major thing that I am learning.  Everyone has their hangups.  Everyone has times when they act in a way that is out of their own character.  Usually - this happens when a person gets hurt.  When you are hurt worse than you've ever been hurt before - whether you mean to or not - you will most likely let some of that hurt spill over onto someone else close to you.  I know I have done this.  And when I realize it, I try my hardest to make it up to that person.  The people who do NOT realize what is happening when they let their own hurt, hurt others - or realize it and don't care . . . that is when it is not okay anymore - and when you have to choose to do something about it.

Several months ago, I saw the following picture - and it made me choke up and cry - because I FELT what was being represented in this picture.

Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?  Whoever made up that statement obviously had never dealt with emotional abuse.  Sometimes, emotional/verbal abuse can leave scars that last a lot longer than any bruise from physical abuse.  And those who live with emotional abuse for long periods of time often ended up abusing others the same way.  It is the only thing they know how to do.  HOWEVER, that does NOT excuse the behavior.

I'm one of those people who always roots for the underdog.  I look for the good in the people that others would simply write off as "evil" or "bad".  I refuse to believe that everyone doesn't have good in them somewhere.  Unfortunately - when you are someone who stands up for the underdog, who wants to reach out and love the hurting . . . you are going to end up getting hurt in the process.  And there comes a time in these situations when you have to decide what is best for you.  Do you continue to stay in the abusive situation because you know that the abuser was hurt terribly as a child?  Do you continue to pray that the abuser will finally change this time?  Do you take the chance that the longer you stay in the abusive situation that you are going to start abusing others in the same way because the hurt is going to start spilling out whether you want it to or not?

No one can make these decisions for you.  No one made them for me.  I just got to a point where I no longer knew who I really was anymore - because the hurt that was being spilled onto me was becoming the negative voice in my head as well.  I began to believe that I was worthless.  I began to hide from the world.  I was living a half life.  And my kids were suffering - and I was so far gone, I didn't even notice.

And if emotional/verbal abuse does that to an adult - imagine what it does to a child who is just trying to figure out who they are?  Here is another picture that brings the point home.

I am no expert on the effects of verbal and emotional abuse.  I can only tell you what I know and what I have witnessed.  All I know is that words DO hurt.  And there comes a time when you have to decide for yourself that you are WORTH getting away from a situation that only gets more painful every single day.

And that's what I did.  

Has the pain stopped?  No.  Do I still hurt every day?  Yes.  But not because of what is being said to me - now I'm fighting with my own voice.  I have to relearn about me.  I have to retrain myself.  I have to learn to love myself.  And that is so hard when you don't feel worthy of any kind of love.  My sister-in-law told me a long time ago that when you look in the mirror, you should try to imagine yourself the way that God sees you.  And He sees you as a beautiful, unique individual that He loves so much that He gave up His Son to death . . . for you . . . before you even existed.  So, I'm trying to focus on that.

I chose to stop letting hurt spill on to me - and now I have to continually focus on not letting my hurt spill onto others.  Every day I am trying to help my children do the same thing in their own lives.  I don't want any of them having to write something like this when they are 30+ years old.  

So I read a lot.  I try and understand.  And I am learning to forgive and move on.  (Which is a lot different than forgiving and FORGETTING in this case.  That is not always a good idea.)

I found this great blog by someone who has gone through emotional abuse - and she lists many things that can constitute emotional/verbal abuse.  As I read through the list - I was thinking "Ouch, even I've done that."  But she makes a very great point:  

"Emotional abuse is considered by many to be the most painful form of violence and the most detrimental to self-esteem. This may because it last so long without any intervention or acknowledgement. It can slowly eat away at the person’s self-confidence and sense of self. Now I don’t want everyone reading this to start thinking they are being emotionally abused or the abuser, because that’s not true. We’ve all done this things from time to time, we’re human and fallible so some of these things we’ve had or loved ones have done but emotional abuse has a clear and consistent pattern. Even if it’s unconsciously it has to have that clear and consistent pattern to be emotional abuse."  (read the full article here)

I was in a pattern.  I truly believe that I was almost to the point where I would never break free.  And only God knows what would have happened if I had not made the choice to break that pattern.  I owe a lot to my children for choosing to break the pattern in their own lives by finally telling me what I needed to know to wake up and make a change for all of us.  They were much braver than I could have ever been alone.

So every day - we work on our crazy messed up emotions.  We don't always get it right, but we do always apologize, forgive and move on.  Because we are worth it.  And yes - I'm going to use a lion image again . . . because this picture brings home the point that we are worthy because of God's love for us.


Some people don't have awesome kids like mine.  Some people are dealing with their hurts all alone.  And my hope is that blogs like this - and the ones I'm reading will help those people realize that they are not alone.  That there are others who've gone through it and survived (or are in process).  But no one is ever alone.

I hope you enjoy this song by Meredith Andrews, "You're Not Alone."  

Don't give up!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hanging in there today . . .

Remember when you start to feel inadequate because of what you are going through that it simply is not true!

Do not believe the Father of Lies when he tells you that you cannot do it, that you are not good enough and that you should just give up.  Do NOT give up.  You WILL get through this.  I WILL get through this.

Have a good Friday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Surviving the Mom Role

As stressful and strange as this week has been - writing has honestly helped me put a lot of things into perspective.  Years ago - when I didn't know what to do - I would let the confusion and fear overtake me and I would do . . . NOTHING.  I would hope someone would come along and rescue me.  I just wanted someone to tell me what to do next because I couldn't figure it out on my own.

I don't have that luxury now.  I have 3 kiddos who are expecting ME to tell THEM how to handle this.  And they have 3 different personalities.  And they are each dealing with this situation in completely different ways.  Honestly - I don't often have the answers for them.  So what do I do?  I have to show them that I am capable of dealing with my own grief, stress, anger in a positive way.  Have I been doing this very well?  No.  I haven't.  Am I getting better at it?  Slowly, but surely.

Thankfully, the one thing we have available to us now as parents is this wondrous thing called the Internet.  (What did I do before GOOGLE?)  Can't get the computer to work?  Google it and figure out how to fix it.  Can't fix it?  Google a computer repair specialist!  So yes, I admit it - I have been Google-ing a lot of things on how to handle my emotions and how to help the children, etc.

Yesterday, I found a really cool site called Parent Coach Plan.  There are a lot of free things you can print out to help organize your family and help all of you to know what expectations are and rewards/consequences for fulfilling/not fulfilling their expectations.  I really and truly believe that structure is a huge thing in getting through the rough times.  So that even when life throws you curve balls - you still have a system in place to handle things that come up.  It gives us all some degree of security.  I am usually a "fly by the seat of my pants" type of person - but I always do better when I follow a structured plan!

I encourage you to check out this site (and many others available) if you are struggling with your many roles as wife, ex-wife, parent, bread-winner, etc.  If anything, it proves to you that you are not alone in what you are dealing with.

The best thing I found on this site was not something to implement with your children - but something to use as a reminder as a parent.  It is called "Reminders from your Child" written in the child's voice to help us remember the important things that they need from us.  I printed copies of this and I plan to put it on my refrigerator.

(Italicized parts added by me)

  • Avoid spoiling me.  I know quite well that I don't need everything that I ask for, I am only testing you.
    Yes, in times of struggle - it is sometimes easy to feel bad for what the kids are going through and give them whatever they want.  I've already been guilty of this - and once you realize you need to stop, it is a HUGE struggle with the children.  Believe me . . . don't ever start spoiling . . . it is easier in the long run if you don't.
  • Let me be silly sometimes.  I know that it can be annoying, but I am having fun.
    You come home from work, you're exhausted and your kids are running around the house like someone put speed in their juice boxes.  Before you get frustrated - tell them you need a few minutes of Mommy time.  I usually retreat to my bedroom for about 10 minutes to transition from Employee to Mommy.  If you take the time to do this - you will be able to join in their fun and make new memories.
  • Catch me being good.  Just like you, I like to be told when I am doing good.
    I am a feedback junkie.  When in college online, I would turn in an assignment and then continually come back and check to see if it was graded yet.  People need feedback of all kinds to grow - but it is really important to encourage our children (and each other) when we are doing good!  The more encouragement kids get, the better they will feel about themselves and the more they will want to repeat that good behavior!
  • Be the parent.  There's no reason that I should have more control in this family than you.
    Ugh.  This one is a struggle for me.  Especially with my girls.  They both think they know what is best for everyone in the house.  They both get called "Bossy Flossy" quite often.  (Yes, they called me that as a child too - so how is it that I'm letting these kids tell me what to do??)  My advice on this one?  Don't argue.  Don't let them argue.  Teach them that in the moment, they need to do what you say without arguing.  If they want to come back and discuss it in a calmer moment - then they can - but in the moment where you are giving an instruction, don't give into justifications and arguments.
  • Encourage healthy habits.  It's difficult to become physically fit when I am constantly sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips and a soda.
    Again, another struggle for me.  I'm an emotional eater.  My kids and I have all discussed that pop and candy are no longer going to live in our house and it went over like a lead balloon.  Make sure you have fresh fruit and veggies available for snacks.  Encourage kids to drink water.  And take at least 20 minutes to do something active.  Play the Wii.  Turn on some music and dance around like crazy people.  Walk around the block.  Go to the park.  Healthy eating and exercise really do improve your mood!  (Note to self:   Izzy, Practice what you preach.)
  • Involve yourself in my education - because if you don't care about it, then neither do I.
    Check your kids' backpacks/folders every day.  Check with teachers to see what your kids are struggling with.  Find educational board games/computer games etc. to help supplement their education.  Turn simple things into learning experiences.  If your kids are struggling - don't reprimand - try to find the reason for the struggle and enlist outside help if needed.  If they're doing well - PRAISE THEM!!
  • Avoid bailing me out of trouble each time I make a mistake - sometimes I need to experience the pain of consequences.
    This can be really hard.  Especially in situations like mine where the kids are already struggling so much.  Realize that we all need to make mistakes to learn and grow.  Make sure you let kids know you've been there and you understand - but that they have to know their actions have consequences. Most importantly, make sure they know you love them no matter what.
  • Sometimes it's difficult for me to express my feelings.  Please try to understand my feelings instead of just reacting to them.
    Many adults have a difficult time remembering what it felt like to be 8, 11, 14.  Before you react to something that seems ridiculous in your eyes - try and think back to when you were your child's age:  you did dumb things, you overreacted, and you let your emotions rule a lot of the time.  (And if you say you didn't, you either don't remember or you're lying to yourself.)  Be as understanding as possible and encourage your child to talk to you about how they feel.
  • Be approachable when I need someone to talk to.  If you are not, then I will seek comfort in someone who is.
    And who knows what type of person that will be!  If every time your child comes to talk to you, you are too busy, too cranky, too tired - eventually they will find someone else who will talk to them - and the advice that person gives may be nothing like what you want your child to learn!  Your children should always feel safe and able to talk to you when they need to.  And if they tell you they aren't comfortable talking with you about something - find a trusted person that you both feel would be a good fit in the situation!
  • Encourage me to join a team, organization, club, or activity.  My self-esteem will improve and I will learn valuable life lessons.
    When I was in school, my mother was just as involved (sometimes MORE involved) in my activities (and there were many) as I was.  I never thought I would be the Mom who felt that Saturday morning games and activities were just something to pull me out of the nice warm cozy bed I'd like to stay in.  Some Moms are capable of going to every activity - and others aren't.  I don't think that either way is wrong.  If you work a lot and don't think you can fit in an activity for your child - enlist one of those crazy moms who goes to everything and see if they are willing to let your child ride along with them.  It takes a village, right?  HOWEVER - make an effort to see as many games, performances, etc. as you can because children KNOW when you aren't there to support them.  If you cannot be there - just make sure you talk to your child about it ahead of time and see if you can find a family member or good friend to go in your place.
  • Be the best role-model that you can be.  You may not be a sports hero or a rock star, but I look up to you and learn a lot from how you act and how you treat others.
    Children see EVERYTHING.  They hear more than you think.  And their memories are long.  (I know MINE is!)  They see how you treat your ex.  They see how you treat the waiter/waitress at the restaurant.  They witness your road rage.  They see how you handle your own stress.  And they take their cues from you.  Keep that in mind.  And if you happen to screw up in front of them - talk to them about it!  Don't ignore it and think they didn't notice.  Believe me, they did.
  • Love me.  I know it's difficult at times, but I love you.
    Saved the best for last.  Above all - make sure that no matter how frustrated, upset, disappointed you may be with your child that they know without a doubt that it will not change how much you love them. My Grandma and Mom always taught me not to go to bed angry.  If you have issues with your child - make sure you sit down and talk them out, hug, cry, and forgive before you fall asleep.  Everyone will sleep better.  No parent is perfect.  No child is perfect.  We are all going to mess up.  But as long as there is love . . . it will work out.
Nope, I'm not perfect.  And I'm not doing all of the things in this list the way that I should.  But I'm going to try my best every day to be the best Mom I can to my kiddos and make sure that they know how very much I love them.

In closing, I want to tell you something I have learned.  The way you start out your morning has a big effect on the way the rest of the day goes for you and for your family.  If you wake up and think UGH - DON'T WANNA GET UP and grumpily get ready - then your day is probably not going to be as pleasant as it could be.  Instead - quiet the grumpy voice in your head and find a way to make the morning fun.  Thankfully, the awesome American Idol Contestant/Christian Artist Mandisa has found a way to help our family with mornings.  Every morning, I get up, I turn on this song and put it on repeat.  How can you not have a good morning after listening to this??

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surviving the Storm: Joining the Dance

"They found grace out in the desert, these people who survived the killing.Israel, out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them!"
God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!  
And so now I'll start over with you
and build you up again, dear virgin Israel.
You'll resume your singing, grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You'll go back to your old work of planting vineyards on the Samaritan hillsides,And sit back and enjoy the fruit— oh, how you'll enjoy those harvests!The time's coming when watchmen will call out from the hilltops of Ephraim:'On your feet! Let's go to Zion, go to meet our God!'"

         -Jeremiah 3:2-6, The Message

Without going into any details, the last week has been extremely rough.  You've heard the phrase When it rains, it pours, right?  I feel like I'm in the midst of a tsunami some days.  I'm sure you've also heard this: The Lord will never give you more than you can handle, and I believe that.  But what I sometimes forget is that God will not give me more than I can handle WITH HIS HELP.  Alone - I cannot handle it.  And when I try - that is when I start to sink to the bottom and let the storm overtake me.

A very wise pastor and friend always reminds me of this nugget of wisdom:

Don't tell God how big your storm is,
Tell the storm how big your GOD is.

Lion Before The Storm II, Sitting Profile, Maasai Mara by Nick Brandt

So, during weeks like this, when I feel like I'm drowning - I am going to picture God as the great Lion.  I will bury my head in His mane and I will hold on tight as He gracefully walks me through the tempest.  Because I truly believe that something wonderful awaits on the other side of the storm.

Someday, probably not tomorrow, or next week, or even next month - but in HIS timing - I will be able to pick up my tambourine and I will join in the dance.  The promise of that day and the warmth of His love for me are what give me the strength to keep going when I don't think I have anything left.

If you are struggling too, do not give up, because the end will make all of this worth it.  He promised us and I choose to believe it.  So don't throw your tambourine away . . . you're going to need it.

Today's song is "Praise You in this Storm" by Casting Crowns.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I wish people knew . . .

In the craziness that is happening right now - there are a lot of people who just don't know how to deal with me. Some people are avoiding me.  Some people are choosing to believe things that are simply not true, as is always the situation with divorce.  Some people get angry with me because I'm not "bucking up" and dealing with my issues quickly enough.  And still others are just there - holding my hand and crying with me - admitting that they have no idea what to say.

I've been reading a lot and I came across this list called 10 Things I wish Christians Knew About a Divorced Woman.  I'm using this list as a baseline for what I would like people to know about me and what I'm going through right now.  If you look at the original list - there may be some things that I copy verbatim - because it just fits me too - but others, I have changed to fit my own situation.  (No copyright infringement intended.)
  1. It takes two people to make a marriage work.  Just because I'm getting divorced does not mean I didn't do everything in my power to save my marriage.
  2. My marriage is not ending because of some fatal flaw within me.  Don't look for one.  Don't think you know what is best for me.  Don't think you have all of the answers.  Divorce is a heavy enough burden to bear without adding SHAME to the load I already have.
  3. Just because I'm getting a divorce does not mean that all I want to do now is hang out with other single divorced women.  I need to witness HEALTHY marriages to heal.  I need my friends.  It hurts worse when I am excluded from groups, simply because I am getting divorced and people don't know what to do with me.  I'm still me.
  4. I am learning to define myself by more than just my marital status.  I am a mom of 3 awesome children, I love to read, I own an Acting/Arts company, I have dogs and cats and consider them part of my family, I de-stress by singing, playing the piano or dancing like a madwoman when no one is watching.  Please don't think the word DIVORCE is a disease or a stigma that is catching.  I'm a person who has found herself in an unavoidable circumstance.  I have a lot to offer as a friend.  Don't be afraid to approach me.
  5. I do not need you to recite Bible verses about marriage and divorce to me.  Believe me, I've read them.  I'm struggled with them.  I've screamed and cried with God over them.  What I need is love and acceptance - even if my current marital status or my unfinished healing process makes you uncomfortable.
  6. There is NO SET TIME when I will be "over it."  Healing needs to happen on many, many, many levels.  I have to double-back through my deepest wounds . . . often . . . sometimes daily . . . to learn new responses, to heal differently . . . but that does NOT mean that I am not making progress.
  7. Not everything about my soon-to-be ex is bad.  Please don't make a future positive relationship between him and my kids any harder for me by making derogatory remarks about him - ESPECIALLY in front of the children.  I have to believe that he loves his children in the best way he knows how.  And they love him.  He is the only Daddy they have ever known.
  8. This is a big one for me:  I need friends who will be sounding boards to help me think through decisions about my home, career, and parenting.  I do not need people to tell me what I "should" do or what they would do if they were in my shoes.  That only undermines my pretty much non-existent self-confidence.  Listen to me.  Let me talk.  Let me cry.  Many times - I will come to my own conclusions just by saying things out loud.
  9. If you really want to help me, encourage my children to honor their mother.  I take full responsibility for making sure that I am WORTHY of being honored . . . but on Mother's Day, my birthday, Christmas, etc. . . . my kids could use an extra push in the right direction.  They are being pulled in so many directions - but understanding how to honor their parents will help them sort out some of their confusion.
  10. I am still me.  I think parts of me have been hiding for several years - but I am still me.  And I need my friends.  I don't need people to choose sides.  I don't need anyone to fuel my anger (I've got that covered way too often).  I have been wounded beyond anything I've ever felt before.  But I am going to make it through this a better person.  Every day I learn something new about myself.  And I'm learning that I am worthy and that I do have a lot to offer people.
Here is my song for the day - "Overnight" by Amy Grant with her daughter Sarah Chapman.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where I am now . . .

I've been writing off and on in this blog:  http://izzybeth.blogspot.com/.  I talked about my husband, my kids, memories of family, my thoughts on things, etc.  But over the last couple of years - my writing slacked off.  Why?  Because I didn't have time.  Because I didn't have the energy.  Because I was sick.  Because it just felt like another thing to add to my to-do list that wasn't important.

The thing is . . . I love to write.  It helps me.  It is something that I do for me - not for those who read it.  But if someone happens to stumble across this blog and they relate to what I'm going through and it helps them feel a little bit less alone - well then that is why it is worth taking the time to write about what is going on in my life.

If you know me - you may have no idea what has been going on in my life.  If you know my family - some of you may not agree with what I may write in this blog - and that is fine.  But this blog is for ME.  It is also for those, like me, who struggle to find the words and the support when they're going through a rough time.  And honestly - my whole life I've worried about what "other people might think" (thanks for that one, Grandma).  I'm done being "politically correct" and worrying about offending others.  The main thing is to speak the truth in all things.  That is what I'm going to try to do.  And if you don't think I'm being honest - feel free to leave me a comment!  Life is a journey.  This healing is a process.

So here's the deal:

I am somewhere I never thought I would be.  Somewhere I did not want to be.  Somewhere I still wish I wasn't.  But I am.

I'm getting divorced.

If all goes as planned - it may be complete by the end of this month.

And I'm stuck in a maelstrom of emotions - and the only thing I can cling to is truth.

So here are my truths:

  • I still love my husband.
  • I am not perfect, and I have made mistakes.
  • I did everything I could to make the marriage work.
  • Some problems cannot be overcome, and for the safety of the family, sometimes things have to end.
  • Filing for divorce is the scariest and saddest thing I've ever done.
  • Filing for divorce is also one of the most courageous things I've ever done.
  • I don't feel courageous.
  • I feel abandoned, hurt, sad, scared, beat down, exhausted, and angry - all at once.  Almost all the time.
  • My kids are my heroes for opening my eyes to what I was unable and/or unwilling to see.
  • I will survive this.  One second, one minute, one day at a time.
  • God is still God and he will make something amazing out of this crazy mess.
So feel free to follow me on my journey . . . or not.  It's up to you.  If you're struggling, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  If you're an encourager - feel free to do that too!

One last thing - writing and music are two things I use to de-stress.  So I will try and share my song of the day with you.  Today it is "Everything Falls" by Fee.

Hanging in there,

Zephaniah 3:17

"The LORD your God is with you, 
   the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; 
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you, 
   but will rejoice over you with singing.”