Just Thinking…

Now that my summer break is here, I find myself thinking about some of the strange things that were a part of my divorce process.

The 1st thing was the result of pulling back, WAY BACK, in order to survive. I knew that people were concerned for me and wanted to care for me, but I was so overwhelmed. There was no possible way I could communicate with that many people during that season. As I’m coming into my new life, I realize by withdrawing, many of those people have moved on. Not because of anger or disagreement…it was simply the result of no communication. Some of them continue to be there on the sidelines and I know without a doubt that a phone call would immediately restore the distance between us. Some of them have disappeared from my life altogether. Although that hurts a bit, without a doubt I know that I could not have given more of myself to maintain those friendships (I was barely capable of caring for myself and my own children). I have to give myself grace about that season.

The 2nd thing that occurred was the decision to leave my church. This was extremely difficult to walk out. To give a bit of back story, 3 years ago, Code Red decided that he no longer wanted to attend our church. After listening to his frustrations with our church for years, I finally cut the tension and stopped going on Sunday mornings. However, I did remain involved in Bible studies and extra activities that kept me in contact with my friends and other believers…I just didn’t go on Sundays anymore. Months later, after finding out about Code Red’s behaviors, my desire to go back to church was deep, but it was going to take a lot of courage. Code Red’s actions would make running into certain people seriously awkward. But just as I was about to take the step and go, (before I say this, I want you to know that I TOTALLY understand this) the church leadership asked that my kids and I minimize our story so that it would not cause issues with others in the church. And while I understood/understand their request, I determined that under no circumstance would I ask my children to do that. Me, yes. My children, no. It felt as if they were asking us to carry guilt and shame for what Code Red did. And there is not one person in this family that is responsible for his actions. Period.

The 3rd thing on my mind today is the loneliness that goes along with divorce. For 26 years, I had a “person.” Even if I didn’t like him and he made me feel bad about myself, I still had someone. I knew that even though he would make me feel as if I was the most demanding person on earth, I could call him. Side Note: it’s strange to think that back then I thought it was better to have someone that wasn’t supportive than to be alone, right? How messed up is that? At this point, I am working on becoming at ease with myself. I figure that if I am healthy and happy, then I don’t need anyone to be my “person;” I can simply enjoy the people that are in my life for this moment. I don’t want to make the mistake of compromising myself to prevent being alone.

The 4th thing is the sense of freedom that I now feel. It feels like a contradiction to miss having a person and to also feel free. Now that Code Red has moved away, each week, maybe even each day, I feel a little bit more of “me” come back alive. I am embarking on an entirely new path that is completely and totally me…it has nothing to do with what someone else wants me to be or what is “best” for my family…it is strictly me following my instincts and natural abilities. Not being concerned about someone else’s approval is an amazing feeling. For the first time in my life (literally the first time), I am looking forward instead of to everyone else. I am not worried if everyone else is happy with my decisions. I.Am.Free. to decide what I want to do for the next 25 years of my life. I am happy about my decisions and I am proud that I am stepping out in faith and taking a chance for something new in my life. I am praying that my children see me step out of the shadows and into the light of what I have been designed for. I pray that I am modeling for them what it is like to walk away from something horrible and toward something wonderful. I pray they see that they, too, can do what they desire without the worry of disapproval.

Quite honestly, being divorced is the absolute best thing that I have experienced…with the exception of the births of my children. In the beginning, I was ashamed of being divorced; however, I now feel grateful for the second chance of life that I am getting. I still have a long way to go but I am steadily moving forward!

Forward Living is ultimately my goal.

The past is part of me, but I no longer live there. Why would I trap myself and stop learning and growing?

Summertime

Summertime blogging will be hit or miss…

As my schedule is slowing down, I think that I am going to take a break from blogging. You may hear from me every once in a while but I hope to spend my time simply “be-ing.”

The past 16 months have been a roller coaster of dramatic events and emotions and I hope to spend the next 2 months enjoying a schedule-free, technology-limited season. Lots of time outdoors, reading for pure pleasure, a few puzzles, and maybe even a vacation all by myself!

So-o. Happy Summer!

May you all have a time of refreshing!

End of Season 1

This past year, I unexpectedly found myself teaching preschool in a different part of town from me. I didn’t apply for this job…I just somehow ended up with it.

When I filed for divorce last summer, I had to figure out a way to support myself…being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t going to cut it…and becoming a teacher appeared to be the most logical thing for me to do. So I enrolled to get certified, I applied to become a substitute, and ended up teaching. Go figure.

I started teaching and in that classroom, all that I could see were little people who needed some time with “mama.” So that’s what I did…I have mama’d those babies like crazy. Thank goodness that it’s a private school because I have hugged and held and cuddled them all as much as I possibly could.

I am not a great teacher. Oh, I can teach, and they have learned quite a bit, but teaching is definitely not my calling! I like to do things well and let’s face it, I couldn’t even get my thoughts to connect consistently. Throughout the year, I was going back and forth to court, trying to sell my house, homeless for a month, and in the very beginning, I didn’t even know how to make it through a day, let alone teach!

But you know what’s crazy?! This school, my boss, my co-teacher, and these babies helped me make it through. Every single day someone outside of my family depended on me. I had a job to do and even if I didn’t perform my best, I showed up and taught (and gave a lot of hugs…I think that maybe I needed them as much as some of the kids did).

As the school year comes to a close, my last day will be bittersweet. Although I am not sure that I will ever teach again, I am positive that I will forever carry this year in my heart. It was exactly what I needed and the best gift that God could have possibly provided for me.

The Gift of Friendship

A few weeks ago, I invited 3 couples over for dinner…these 6 people carried me through this past year. They are the people who went above and beyond to accept me exactly where I was, giving me the space I needed to process and walk all of this mess out. There aren’t enough words in the world for me to be able to accurately express how much these people mean to me.

One couple helped me pack up, store my stuff, and then, provided my son, my dogs, my cat, my fish, and me with a loving home for 5 weeks. After moving into my new home, I realized that I had needed that restful, supportive transitional time. It provided me with a time of respite after the exhausting season of selling the house, beginning a new job, and going to court. Their acceptance, kindness, and love will forever be a part of me.

Another couple stood firmly beside me from the day after I found out the horrible hidden truths behind my marriage until this very moment. At the time all of this began, she was going through cancer treatments and she was STILL able to love and support me. Although our situations were world’s apart, I felt that with both of us going through terrible things, we were able to get away from our own situations for short periods of time while being present for each other. Standing by her side gave me a sense of reality that helped to keep me grounded. The steadiness that she and her husband modeled provided me with security during a time when I sometimes couldn’t figure out how to even get through a day.

And the last precious couple covered me in prayer, continuously filled me with love, and made certain that my soul was cared for. I received a phone call or message every single day. The 2 of them reached out to me time and time again, genuinely caring for my kids and me. She literally climbed into bed with me when, as my knowledge grew, I didn’t think that I could survive another day. She is the one that when I was lying on the floor saying I couldn’t take anymore, who told me step by step what to do in order to pull myself up. Their loving support carried me through my darkest hours.

Thank you is not enough for these couples.

My recommendation to everyone out there is that you find your people. Locate your group and build those relationships so that if you have things go awry in your life, you have the support you need to help carry you through. Don’t try to go it alone!

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
– Winnie the Pooh

Psalm 30:11-12

Before I begin my real post, I want to acknowledge Mother’s Day and say that I am the daughter of a woman whose love runs so deep that I honestly think that it sometimes hurts her. Her love for the Lord and her love for others fuel her to give beyond my comprehension…I truly don’t know how she does what she does. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama. I love you.

And now. Y’all. The weirdest thing has happened.

While talking to my dad the other day, he asked, “How are you, girl?” After stammering with the typical, “I’m fine” for a minute, I realized that I am happy. Really happy…who knew?! It is such a strange feeling. As an adult, I honestly cannot remember ever experiencing this much peace.

Oh, I have emotional issues that crop up off and on. A kid annoys me and I lose my mind. My memories go crazy and I can’t figure out the grief. I don’t trust people so I’m skeptical…but I am happy. Deep, deep in my soul, I am filled to the edge of overflowing.

It is the most incredible thing that I have ever felt. And yes, it is a feeling, but it is also what I would call a settling within my soul. It doesn’t feel as if I have a weight pulling me down or backwards. I am not afraid of what might come next…I honestly cannot imagine what could be worse than what I have already experienced. (Before you think anything snarky, remember, most of you do not know the whole story. It’s was baaaaaad.) Anyway, you know in movies when the girl is twirling around and around on a beach with her hair flowing and a smile on her face? That is me right now…corny as hell.

Psalm 30:11-12 says, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory might sing praise and not be silent. Oh Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”

I didn’t know if it would be possible to recover from the barrage of disgraceful actions that have surrounded my marriage. But recovery is is possible and continues to occur. I never thought that I could be free.

I honestly believe that I have weathered the worst of the storm. And I pray that this next season will be a time filled with simple joys. That I will be able to be fully present for whatever life brings my way. That my kids will continue to heal and find their path into independent adulthood. That they will see their mama lean on God, acknowledge the bad situation, and allow it to catapult her into something new and beautiful.

I have wrestled. I have fallen. I have gotten up. And now, I am moving forward.

My 26 year marriage will always be my story and I hope to be able to share it with others who need to hear it, but that marriage and the actions surrounding that marriage do not define me.

With God’s leading, I get to step out into something new and something beautiful…even if I have no earthly idea what that is yet!

How do I know who to trust?

Sometimes when I sit down to write my mind struggles as it keeps reaching for the exact words to describe whatever it is that is filling my thoughts. This past week has been that way.

This entire week my mind has had a multitude of screenshots flashing quickly through it. Nothing new has happened so there doesn’t seem to be a reason for this. My brain simply seems to be grasping for something but not quite getting it.

The only consistency that I can find is that each picture has to do with Code Red. They all seem to be photos of what I thought were good times but in the backgrounds are the bad things that were simultaneously going on. Things like family time on the boat…he was texting and sending water selfies to potential partners. Things like me preparing dinner for the family and him getting home an hour late because he stopped to meet up with someone on the way home. Things like him demanding a kiss when he walked through the door and yet his mouth had just kissed someone else. Things like his request that I purchase items for him that I learned later were for other people.  All of these actions occurring while pretending to be a somewhat happy family…

I no longer feel distressed by these thoughts; however, the ability to speak to anyone and fully trust their words is incredibly difficult. I find that when all is quiet, I consistently wonder what my friends and family are hiding and if they speak the truth while talking to me…it’s very odd to be so skeptical. Why would they lie? I find the whole thing to be outside of my ability to comprehend.

So what do I do with this? How do I learn to trust others again? How do I learn to determine who is trustworthy and who isn’t?

These are just my ponderings. I don’t feel overwhelmed or anxious about any of this…this is simply where my thoughts are this week.

Do I Dare to Hope?

Finally. I can speak freely. The legal action is settled.

I am weary from the emotional turmoil. I am not someone who feels fear very often but this time, I was afraid. Really afraid.

It was one year ago this past week when I began to realize that if I wanted to become healthy emotionally, I had to make a stand. And since making that stand, life has felt as if it has been ripping me apart.

I guess that is what divorce is. The ripping apart of a bond that was designed to last for life. I don’t recommend it except for in extreme cases…it is terrible.

As another hurdle has been overcome, do I dare to hope that it is the last one? Sometimes I think that I am the “eternal optimist,” the unrealistic person who always believes that deep down people are good and will do the right thing…and even though I’ve learned that isn’t always true, I continue to look for the good.

What is wrong with me?! Lol

Seriously though, I know that we are all born with a tendency to sin, but I also think that we all have to have something good in us! I don’t believe that God created us to be bad…He created us to commune with Him.

So I am going to continue to hope and look for the good. I know that I have to be realistic, but I really don’t want to dwell on the ugliness that hovers around life.

I want to live a life that holds fast to goodness, hope, and love.