Archive for ‘divorce’

June 21, 2011

Them

(Went to bed and woke up with this in my head, just a little piece of the story God’s given me. Maybe not the most insightful, profound thing I’ve ever written, but indulge me please.)

Every morning I woke early, with the sun, and sat at that big round kitchen table in front of that grand window. And I pulled out the books. I opened them all with such intention, Bible, dictionary, thesaurus, my then new but already well loved and much highlighted copy of Abbas Child, her well loved, faded and worn copy of Practicing the Presence. And I studied and I prayed and I wrote and I cried and I sat and I watched and I listened. All in an effort to fix… everything.

Through my separation and divorce I stayed with them. Oh them, how I treasure them. My Debby, so wise and so… full of more grace than she knows. And my Paul, the man I will forever and always credit with showing me more clearly than anyone else I have ever known- the strength, kindness and devotion that is fathering. They had some extra room and I didn’t want my children’s lives to be completely disrupted and so, instead of having the kids go elsewhere to spend time with their dad, I went to the Tedesco’s and they stayed home.

And my mission while I was there was to fix… me and my marriage, my husband and then eventually it became to save the whole entire world. But we’ll save that story for another time.  I sat every morning waiting for the self-timed coffee maker to brew enough for me to pour my cup. And I worked on understanding why my life was such a disaster. And sometimes I had very good epiphanies. And many times He spoke to me. And sometimes I rediscovered things I already knew, like John 3:16. And sometimes I just crawled deeper into the darkness that was trying to overtake me.

And this poor, wonderful couple did humor me through it all. Waking every morning to find me exuberant, placid, ready to talk, ready to cry, it was anybody’s guess really. But one morning, one very hard morning after very little sleep, (as happens when your marriage is falling apart and you are forced to leave your four children, including your six month old baby with a man you harbor much hatred for), I woke with what I thought was a very good idea. I thought it was a brilliant plan as a matter of fact. I thought it was perfect, maybe even from God. Debby woke up, came into the kitchen, poured herself a cup of coffee and sat across the table. As she took her first sip, before I said “Good morning” even, I said “I just won’t love people anymore.” And I was dead serious and stoic.

Do you know what I almost never am, never have been? Dead serious and stoic. I was twenty seven at the time and life had honestly just beaten me down. Not a little, a lot. Not over the past year, over the past twenty seven years. And not loving people anymore seemed like a wonderful remedy for all the pain I had. Not that I had worked out an elaborate plan or anything. It was just a conclusion I had come to. One that many people come to.

Debby is Debby though. Debby is the one who helped me perfect my debating skills. Boy did I get sharpened over the year or so that I stayed with them.  And she’s not even really a debater per se. She’s just always so right.  So I let her know what was going on. No more love. That’s it. I’m done. And she sat back, unflinching, crossed her arms and looked out the window, and then back at me and said “I don’t think you can do it.”

But I had studied all morning. I had read and written and thought and worked and calculated and it was the only logical conclusion I could come up with. “I’m not going to get hurt like this again. I can’t” She sipped her coffee and leaned forward, elbows on the table and steadied her gaze “There might be people who could do that; you’re not one of them. I know you.” I sat back, looked out at the enormous Bradford Pear across the fence in the neighbor’s yard, “Well then I’m just not going to love as much.” Like a ten year old, I tried to argue my way out of it. “You can’t not love big. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.” And without giving pause to the fact that I might have another argument, she got up and went to her room to get ready for her day.

And I went outside because on the other side of that window that I spent so many mornings looking out, there was fresh, cool green grass in the shade of that tree I adored. And I spent the rest of the morning, arguing with Him and railing against Him and begging Him and not speaking to Him. And then I spent the afternoon, quiet, listening to birds and breeze and airplanes and the children playing on the other side of the fence. And finally I sat with Him and I listened to Him. And I would not tell you now if I could the sweet, intimate things He spoke to my heart. And when Debby came home at the end of her day she opened the patio door and asked if I was ok. And I was- sprawled out in the grass, a little bit sunburned and totally high on Love.

I stayed that way for months it seems, like a school girl in love. I wrote poems and daydreamed and talked all high and giddy about Him. I’m guessing it was kind of sickening for everyone around me, but oh well. It was good for me. And I have at least a hundred other wonderful stories from my time with them and there were many days very similar to this one. So many times I wanted to give up or in and quit. And so many times they, my Debby and Paul wouldn’t let me.  And so many times He met me there and pursued me and loved me and showed me. And I don’t know where I’d be now if it weren’t for all of them.

So, thanks I guess is what I’m trying to say. And Love and love.

February 24, 2011

Giving Up

A good cry, an ugly cry was sneaking up on me. There was a little lump in my throat, small tear here and there, and deep sighs galore.  So I got my jammies on, got a glass of water and went to brush my teeth.  And then I turned towards my bed, saw the place where I wanted to land and fell into it. I lay there, toothbrush in hand, sobbing, choking on toothpaste and tears. 

Grace
Carrying around my whole entire world has kind of been my thing.  I’ve learned to set it down now, thank goodness.  It used to chase me around, the responsibility of it all, begging to be held.  And sometimes it seemed easier to pick it up, sling it on my hip, or throw it over my shoulders than to keep telling it to go.  The thing is, I knew it so well, if I did pick it up I’d forget I was toting it around until I noticed the pain in my back.  So learning to give it up, practicing giving it up, has been good.

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Responsibility is a good thing to carry sometimes I know, but it weighs me down when I let it.  If I’m not careful, every hard thing around me will climb onto my back.  Not a welcomed burden at all, familiar though. I recognize now more quickly than I did in the past when the heaviness sets in.  I’ve become accustomed to handing things over to Him.  I've learned to love the feel of walking a little lighter, a little taller.  I held onto this lie for so long though, believing that I was in charge of holding the world, my world at least together.    

Up until sometime last year, I thought that every bad thing that’s ever happened to me and people around me was my fault.  All the big and small things that have torn, cut and broken, only happened because I caused them to.  More precisely I thought that they happened because there was something awful in me that called out to evil.  Little-Me, Teenage-Me, Grown-up-Me too, we all thought we were covered in the shame of our wrongs and wrongs done to us.  I thought the visibility of it left me marked forever with depravity, a glowing target for Badness.  And let me tell you, that’s quite a cumbersome load to bear.  Also, it's quite a lie to denounce.

Oh and before I found all this Freedom, pain of all kinds from all different places felt like it was mine to carry.  If I found hurt sitting on a friend, I would take it.  If they resisted I would insist.  “Let me take that for you. It’s fine; I don’t mind at all.”  And it was true, I hardly knew the difference between my own grief and someone else’s; it was all the same to me.  Really I thought, “What’s the use in someone else feeling hurt if I can feel it for them and they can be free of it?”  Silly? Yes, but an honest glimpse into my silly self.  I am wiser now though, a little.  I’ve learned that all this shame and pain is not for me hold.  And I am glad to let it go, Free-er for having handed it to Him.

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There are these other Responsibilities though, four of them that I am carrying around.  There are Four Lives that I have been entrusted with.  And I am not looking to pawn them off on anyone at all.  But I think maybe I am supposed to grip them less tightly, not walk around white-knuckled with anxiety.  I think the worry lines in my face wouldn’t run quite so deep if I trusted Him more with them. 

It’s tricky though because I understand that I am their mother and so raising them is my job.  And I am honored to have that privilege.  But the thing is, I’ve spent so much of the past couple of years feeling like I have to be their Everything.  I feel like I have to be Mother and Father.  I’ve felt mostly… oh geez, fine, I will tell you what I told Him last night- I felt both incapable of being their Everything and unwilling to fully entrust them to Him all at the same time. 

Mostly I think I do an okay job.  But then sometimes I think, they deserve better than ok.  I think they deserve amazing, and some days I am just too tired to be amazing.  I think they deserve the best Mom in the whole world, and I try to be that but fall short on a regular basis.  And then well, I think they deserve the best Dad in the whole world.  And while on some level I get that I can’t be that for them, it hasn’t stopped me from trying.  And it certainly hasn’t stopped me from hating that I couldn’t be that.

You know what I mean?  Providing for, nurturing and protecting These Four outstanding human beings, physically, emotionally and spiritually, that’s kind of a lot sometimes.  It’s too much really, more than I can… more than I am supposed to bear.  I trust Jesus with me and my stuff.  I have given over the weight of all the messiness I’ve experienced.  I’ve stopped taking on other people’s pain.  But giving Him complete control means letting Him be in control of Our Life.  Last night I realized- I hang on to this fear that they won’t have Enough because I can’t be Enough.  It’s a lie born out of a lie and I’m done with it.    

I’ve worn myself out the last few weeks.  They’ve had to deal with some big things and in the midst of dealing with my own big things, I’ve tried to help them.  My attempts at being Mom and Dad of the Year have left me all kinds of exhausted.  I’ve beat myself up when I’ve fallen short and I’ve put off dealing with my own stuff in favor of distraction and self loathing.  And that’s wrong.  So I’m going to stop it. 

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I am not supposed to be their Everything.  He is supposed to be their Everything, just like He is mine.  And the best thing I can do for them is to teach them that.  And the best way to teach them that is by letting Him have more of me and in turn, letting Him have more of them.  I am supposed to be their mother.  And I think maybe I’ll be a much better mother if I let go of the other stuff.  Worrying, struggling and beating myself up are nothing but distractions from what I should be doing.  They are excuses really to blame myself and start the whole cycle over again. 

So last night, in my bed, curled up in tears, messy and tired, I gave up.  I confessed all this crap.  I asked Him for help with this load.  And that He would help me understand more and more, the difference between my job and His job.  I held out my hands, let go of the protection and control that I had been gripping so tightly.  I asked for forgiveness and received His Love.  And this morning, rainy though it was, seemed much more hopeful.  And now the sun is out, so that’s good.         

 

 

February 21, 2011

This Process

Divorce sucks; I know.  I think Elizabeth Gilbert put it best when she said “it’s like being in a really bad car accident every single day for about two years.”  It nearly killed me multiple times.  I have come through it though, by the Grace of God and with the help of my Amazing Friends.  (Holy cow it took so much for me to get here, and even more for me to have enough perspective to actually write about it), but I feel like I can safely say- Though I never wanted to be divorced, there is no part of me that wants that marriage.

To spare you all the gory details I will just say it was a long, horrid end to a sometimes super shallow, occasionally heartbreakingly beautiful relationship.  We were a dangerous mix of passionately devoted high school sweethearts and outrageously reckless enemies.  It was an all too addicting cycle of rage and immature love.  We became each others idols, and though I would never in a million years recommend divorce, breaking out of that cycle was the best thing I’ve ever done.    

You should know this guy was the first person I ever perceived to love me selflessly.  I’ve said before that my heart has known that Jesus loves me since I was itty bitty and this is true; God’s love and grace carried and covered little me through many terrible circumstances.  My crappy childhood though, left me believing that humans were incapable of loving me.   When this guy loved me, well I placed my entire world in his hands.  And he was only a sixteen year old boy at the time, and I a fifteen year old girl.  And so the most codependent relationship in the world was born.  And then it died.  (Which is for the best, trust me.  Also, the actual reason behind the divorce is really a small detail in the story; and I feel it totally unnecessary to justify this decision to the world, so I will leave it out.)

Having made it to the other side of this mess though, I thought I would share a little about how I got here, (hopefully you can follow along with my mostly neurotic explanation)- 

I’ve talked to you about my Inner Voice before.  She’s not the brightest Inner Voice, a little harsh, a little judgmental, but she’s what I got.  I’m working on softening her and have learned to take her to God, thank goodness.  But a lot of my conversations (with myself) in the first couple of months went like this:

Inner Voice: Well, I guess you will just have to give up on men. All they do is hurt you. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure that is all they are good for. 
Me: What?! No! I love men.
Inner Voice: Okay dummy. They do not love you; they just want to sleep with you and hurt you.
Me: Seriously?
Inner Voice: Yep, look (queue long memory reel of guys who have done their best to prove this point to me)
Me: Crap. You’re right. Now what?
Inner Voice: Stay away from them completely.
Me: Ugh. That does not sound awesome at all.
Inner Voice: What’s your other option?
Me: Get crushed again?
Inner Voice: Yep. Also, the father of your children? Everything he ever did or said was evil. 
Me: What?! What about the good stuff?
Inner Voice: It was all wrong.
Me: (deep sigh) Okay, I guess you’re right.

Maybe I am the only one who has had this sort of experience with divorce, but I think maybe not.  I will say this, I do love men, for many, many reasons.  And I do have a few good ones in my life.  So (with help from God, friends and counseling) I worked out a plan to convince myself not to totally shut down towards every male in the universe.  I spent time with Jesus on a regular basis, and I intentionally spent time with the great men that God put in my life.  It was extremely helpful to experience safety and love in a male context while going through separation and divorce. 

But I couldn’t shake the idea that the first person to ever selflessly love me was wrong and everything he ever did or said was wrong.  Honestly, it wrecked me daily.  It proved my twelve year old self right and took me back to thinking I was totally unlovable.  If the one person who made me feel loved had decided he hated me, then all hope was lost.  If everything he said and did was wrong then all the kindness and affirmation I got from him was wrong, and all the truths that he spoke about my heart, hands, mind, eyes, smile and everything else were wrong. 

Also, if everything was wrong, then because I had given him authority to shape and therefore destroy my identity, it was going to have to be rebuilt from scratch.  The hard thing about that was, it’s hard to see the truth about yourself when you are feeling awful all the time and your identity is twisted and misshapen.  If you hand somebody your whole world and they say in a loving embrace, “You are so breathtakingly gorgeous, and the way you mother is so tender and good it touches my soul”, and then in a frenzied blowup they say, “You are wretched and I hate everything about you from your body to your words, especially your words”, well, let’s just say it gets a little confusing.   

God was going to have to tell me about my value and worth; that was my only hope.  And I was going to have to let Him; it was the best option I could come up with.  So on a daily basis, sometimes mentally and sometimes on paper, God and I made a list.  He pointed things out and helped me separate facts from falsehoods.  Almost in spreadsheet form, He helped me discover truths.  “You are beautiful inside and out.”  “You are worthy of more than just sex.”  “Don’t shut down to everyone.  Don’t shut down to men.  Don’t shut down to intimacy.”  “Your body is my dwelling place, take care of it, but it’s not about being skinny.”  “Your mind and words are a gift, but they can be misused.”  “I gave you these children because you are the best mother for them, not perfect, but chosen.”  I meditated, journaled, prayed, grieved and rejoiced.  On and on He pursued me, spoke to me and answered question after question with Love. 

One truth at a time, through reading the Bible, spending time with Him, listening and agreeing, I came to understand who I was in Him.  Together we sorted things out.  Tricky business, and I am not professing to have it all figured out, but I am much clearer on Him and me than I was. 

Sure it would have been best if I hadn’t let that guy define me, I know.  I understand the importance of not letting people shape my identity now, hindsight is twenty twenty and all that jazz.  And certainly there were many other things that helped me work out this complicated mess.  Every helpful step that was made though was a step towards Him.  I’m not saying that I made all the right steps at all.  I fell a few times for sure, ran in the opposite direction more than once, but I always came back to Him because nothing else ever came close to His words.   It was all very “Redeeming Love” really. 

The whole process was so tough, exhausting sometimes, but so much more than worth it.  And now that I have made it through and have a little perspective, I am ever so grateful that He allowed me to come to Him and work all this out.  I’m glad for the opportunity to spend time with Him and learn from Him.  I understand that I am still in process, hope to forever be.  And I'm happy to have Him tell me who I am all the time.  Thankful that He is willing to sit with me, talk to me help, me heal and Love me. 

A man that I respect very much grabbed me by the arm a couple of weeks ago.  He looked me in the eyes and said affirming things to me.  It was a kind of revolutionary, just some more redemption I guess.  My experience has not been that being snatched up by a man generally leads to hearing kind things.  That is exactly what he did though.  And thankfully I was smart enough to stand there and let him, I even glanced up at him occasionally.  I don’t know that that would have been the case if God had not already been graciously, tenderly, mercifully sowing seeds in me.  It was a testament to the Freedom I have received for sure.  It was a confirmation of His Love at work in my life.    

Anyway I say all this to say- He is ready, willing, wanting to do the same thing with You.  And I highly recommend letting Him.     

February 13, 2011

LOVE

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This weekend has been… well rough is too kind a word… Friday was the two year anniversary of our divorce, which would have been fine except my ex got married on Saturday, which would have been fine except Sunday is the six month mark since that Terrible Thing happened, which would be fine except, Monday is Valentines Day.  It's just kind of a lot, almost too much. 

I've known this weekend was coming and have not even attempted to grieve any of this stuff.  It all seems too overwhelming to deal with.  I know Jesus is always with me, but sitting in an empty room crying into a pillow over all of these reminders of agonizing heartbreak just has not sounded appealing to me.  Somehow, well… in an effort to be quite honest, getting drunk sounded more appealing to me.  And so I went to a very safe friends house and drowned my sorrows in cheap whiskey.  This sounds ridiculous I know, but my back and neck have been sore for two days, I'm sure from holding all of this in.  And getting to sleep on a pillow that wasn't soaked in tears seemed impossible.  Stumbling into bed dazed and numbed seemed like my best option.  And that's what I did; not my finest decision. 

Sleep came easily, but then He woke me up at two thirty, almost three hours ago now.  I gave getting back to sleep all my best efforts.  And then I prayed a little "I'm sorry" prayer.  Something along the lines of "Please forgive me.  I am not going to slip into this pattern. Thank you for giving me a safe place to fall last night. I love you. I'm sorry."  An hour later I was still awake.  I grabbed my Blackberry, cruised Facebook and Twitter for a few minutes, and in a last ditch effort to get to sleep, opened up my Bible app.  It auto loaded today verse, Psalm 6:

LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
   or discipline me in your wrath.
 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
   heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
 My soul is in deep anguish.
   How long, LORD, how long?

  Turn, LORD, and deliver me;
   save me because of your unfailing love.
 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
   Who praises you from the grave?

 I am worn out from my groaning.

   All night long I flood my bed with weeping
   and drench my pillow with tears.
 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
   they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,
   for the LORD has heard my weeping.
 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
   the LORD accepts my prayer.

It kind of rocked my world, so fitting, so raw and real.  Almost like "Whoa, hey, get out of my head" kind of perfect.  And I am so humbled.  I know it may not sound like the most comforting verse, but there is not a verse that could have comforted me more.  These words are perfect.  My own personal perfectly fitting Psalm. 

I love when He just SHOWS UP, even if it is at 4a.m.  I love when I feel like there is for real, not pretend, not I hope, not even I know because the Bible says He is, but He just actually, literally, is here, seeing, hearing, feeling, loving, showing, giving moments they are almost eerie, almost spooky, but oh do I treasure them, oh did I need one. 

Yesterday when I talked to Nancy about this stuff, she gave me the "You are in the palm of His hand" line and I rolled my eyes.  "Ok, but right now I want something more real."  And now, it's like… if a real person were here with me, there's no way their words would come close to doing what His just did.  My circumstances have not changed, but- the Creator of the universe woke me up in the middle of the night to let me know that He is aware of what is going on.  It was very much like Jesus was right here in bed with me, threw His arm across me and pulled me in close. I mean, wow.  I'm in awe. 

Last week one of the most inspiring women I know sent me this message

"i just want to share this with you. i grew up in a very devout pentecostal family. i have since denounced christianity, then re-embraced it, in my own way, though not exclusively. anyway, i love to see your devotion, almost a mystic relationship with a Beloved Jesus. it makes me feel like you GET IT, on a deeper level, which is entirely the point. that's all… just wanted you to know that it is a beautiful thing for me to see."

It is maybe the best message anyone has ever sent me.  I don't know that I could describe my relationship with Jesus in better words.  It is almost mystic, except for the fact that it is the most real thing I know.  And He is most definitely Beloved, the Truest Love I have found.  I'm not sure about my devotion, it wavers more than I would like it too.  This GET IT thing though, that happens because He GIVES IT.  All I'm doing is receieving.  That is the beautiful part. 

When I am hurt and trying to numb the pain, lost, overwhelmed and begging for real, He shows me what REAL is.  Love, love, love.  ::sigh::  Love.

*edited to add, for those of you who might be wondering- No, I did not drive home; I spent the night at my friends house, that was the plan all along. And yes I know that this was a terrible solution for dealing with this grief.  I have been talking to Jesus about it for the past hour.  We are going to make sure it doesn't happen again 

January 20, 2011

Intimacy

(Because I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to title this "So in Love With: Sex"  but be warned, that is pretty much what this is. Also, sorry, no pictures 🙂

This post is for the single ladies, married friends feel free to proceed to here or here.  Also this is fully inspired by the book “Sex and the Soul of a Woman” which I very highly reccomend, and You Know Who, (who by the way is Nancy Houston, Christian Sex Therapist Extraordinaire), and the class she taught on Monday night wherein the girls in my group asked me a bunch of questions and then put my number in their phones as “Amber Sex Help” 🙂

Ah sex-  Is there a more taboo subject for a twenty-nine year old, single, divorced no less, Christian woman to talk about? Oh well, I kind of think it's the elephant in the room and I hate those, so I'm talking about it-  If you know me at all, you know it is one of my favorite subjects.  If you’ve talked to me more than once, we’ve probably discussed it.  It’s kind of a big deal to me.  It’s kind of a big deal period. 

I spent the first year or so after my divorce trying to figure out a way that I could love and follow Jesus and also have sex outside of marriage.  And I don’t mean that I casually thought it over in my head every once in a while.  I argued, whined, researched, questioned and complained pretty much relentlessly. 

When you are married at eighteen and divorced at twenty eight, and you live in this world at this time, not having sex seems like a non-option.  Also, lets say you think sex is like, the bees knees, the cats meow even, and you’re used to doing it oh lets say, whenever you want- having to stop doesn’t really seem very groovy, it seems damn near impossible and the opposite of appealing.  But you guys, I never figured out a way to make the concept of sex outside of marriage jive with loving Jesus. 

As a matter of fact, if I was being quite honest I would say, the only thing harder than not having sex outside of marriage is having sex outside of marriage.  If I were telling you about my own experience I would say it is beyond reckless and destructive.  If I were sharing about my own life, I would say that I found it to be extremely harmful.  Also, if I were divulging details of my own life this is where I would get unnecisarily defensive and say something dumb like "I'm a Christian so I didn't have like, a whole bunch of unmarried sex.  I just had like, a Christian amount of unmarried sex"  But let’s keep this hypothetical and say, it might have broken my heart, stole a piece of it and left me feeling empty.  And also, it separated me from Jesus. 

Lucky for me, Jesus is okay with broken and empty.  I took myself to Him, put everything on pause and asked Him to help me regroup.  I stopped asking Him how I was going to make it without sex and started asking Him why He wanted me to.  And He answered. He is pretty good about being Himself, I just needed to turn everything off for long enough to hear Him. 

And He is a big picture kind of God, so He showed me the Best Metaphor Ever. Sex is supposed to be a picture of intimacy with Him.  It’s not just a fun thing He gave us to pass the time with, it’s not even just a beautiful thing that happens between husband and wife.  It is an earthly, bodily representation of union with Him. 

Honestly, that is all the answer I need.  I mean, I really, really, really enjoy, think sex is the bee’s knees.  I might like it enough that the threats of it eventually breaking my heart and leaving me feeling empty wouldn’t keep me from trying it again.  Fear is a pretty terrible motivator.  Love though, it is a phenomenal motivator.  And He has revealed His Love more completely and intimately as I have given over this part of me.

Pausing and reevaluating sex and intimacy reset something in me, allowed God to do work in me that He couldn’t have done before.  He not only revealed lies that I believe about sex, He showed me what it is like to be in more intimate union with Him.  He has pointed out areas where I feared to let Him in and aspects of our relationship that I just completely misunderstood. 

Because one of the main lenses I see my union with Him through was so distorted by messy relationships and what the world has taught me about sex, it not only clouded and misrepresented sexuality, it misrepresented God and His infinite Love.  In doing my best to listen to His heart for me, I have been able to really experience a revelation of His Love and grace.  I realize I’m overstating this, but you guys, it’s just so wonderful.

So yes, not having sex at all outside of marriage, or doing any activity that is not honoring to God, as hokey and boring and prudish as that might sound, is where I have landed.  Because it is totally not worth messing up my relationship with Jesus.  I know abstinence is a foreign concept to some people.  I also know there are probably some of you who are shocked that it is not where I landed immediately.  Truthfully, I wasn’t actually looking to be stopped in my tracks or for a big spiritual lesson when I started asking Him why.  I was mostly hoping to stop getting myself wrecked by heartbreak and loss.

My plan was to stop all sexual activity in order to keep from doing anymore physical and emotional damage, maybe even figure out how to have a more whole view of sex.  His plan?  To restore wholeness and redeem my soul, to give me a more whole view of Him and His love.  So. Much. Better.  It is immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine

Also, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me.  Part two on this subject is in the works.  I would love to keep a dialogue going and if I can't help you, I'll pass your question along to an actual expert 🙂

Love, love.

 

December 1, 2010

Traditions

Growing up we had something like the opposite of traditions.  The only thing I really remember holidays having in common was that they were all sort of chaotic, but then a lot of my childhood was somewhat chaotic. 

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My parenting now, though filled with all the love and intention I have, is sort of only loosely based on What I Know Not To Do.  (Except for the many tips and tricks I have picked up from My Amazing Friends and the countless parenting books I have devoured.)  One thing I have learned is that traditions are important. 

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And this year, these Amazing Kids, they realized it too.  This year instead of racing back and forth to get all of the ornaments on as fast as possible, they slowly picked each one up and let it dangle by it’s hook.  And then they talked through each one- why they liked it, what year they got it, the kindergarten teacher they loved so much and the corner that was getting a little worn.  And I sat on the couch smiling and answering questions and yes, just as I am now, wiping the occasional tear. 

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When the tree was all done Emmy glanced down at her hands covered in glitter from all of the ornaments.  She squeaked a delighted squeak and then I’m not even kidding, Griffen put his arm around her and said, “That’s Christmas dust, the magic of Christmas is all over our house.”  And then he went to his room and pulled out his library book and told all the Little Ones to sit down because he had checked out a book just for them.  Good grief it was almost too sweet. 

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When they finished the book we made some Christmas Waffles together.  (Nothing amazing really, just waffles with red and green M&M’s, but the kiddos think they’re “like the best thing ever to have for dinner.” ) 

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It was a very normal, (if a little sappy), Christmastime evening I think. So maybe it was just the sugar rush, maybe it was a some holiday high I don’t know, but as we all piled on the couch to watch Rudolph that night, I felt Love oh so tangibly fill up and flow out of every empty space in the room and my grateful heart swelled with the amazing amount of warmth and joy that surrounded us. 

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Gosh, so blessed.  So, so blessed.  

November 16, 2010

Our New Place

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Shh~ don’t tell anyone, but the last house we moved into, that was supposed to be Our House.  As in, I was still married at the time and because I can be hopelessly optimistic sometimes, I sort of thought that even though the ex had not been willing to do anything to even try to get back together for a year it would probably all work out in the end. 

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And you know what? It did work out, just not how I thought it would.  Nevertheless, that house, the last one, it was never ours.  This house, well~ it feels like it is. 

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My little family, me and my Fab Four, we feel at home.  I don’t feel like we’re waiting on something or somebody to complete us.  I don’t feel like we’re disabled or disfigured by missing an adult male in our home, and I did, for longer than I care to admit. 

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Moving has been part of a really big transition for us, but oh so necessary for about a million reasons.  It represents so much metaphorically and literally for our maybe not-so-little family. Woohoo and hooray for new beginnings!

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The first time I walked in to this place the first thing I noticed was the light.  I need light to take photos, and oh do I need to take photos.  The light here is amazing.  The second thing I noticed was the carpet.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so much more than grateful for this house, but I was not super pumped to have carpet throughout. 

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In walking through the house for the first time I made a couple of calls and talked with friends about how awesome it was, minus the carpets.  The Pie was with me and she mostly just ran full speed back and forth from one end of the empty house to the other. 

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A few hours later we went to pick up The Other Three from school and as they got in the car, before I could say a word, The Pie said “YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT!!! WE HAVE A NEW HOUSE AND IT HAS CARPET!!!”  to which they all replied with shouts and squeals of delight “CARPET!!! WOOHOO!  Now it won’t hurt when we fall, and we can sit in the floor to watch Saturday morning cartoons!” and “YESSSSSS! Now I can do flips in the house and my feet won’t be cold when I get out of bed in the morning!!”   It was pretty fantastic, put an enormous smile on my face.  The excitement continued all the way to the new house, where I opened the door only to have them all run in ahead of me and start making “carpet angels”.  

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And so we are here in this great little house with this amazing light and pretty fabulous carpet.  Happy to be moved in and happy actually to have downsized a bit, simplified if you will.  I get (another) do over with the whole “A place for everything and everything in its place” concept.  And we’re loving it.  A lot.  God is so, so, so good, great really. 

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P.S. Shout out to the Grace Vineyard Moving Crew, Paul Jones, Susanna and Jeremy Thomas, Tom and Kay Thomas, Rick and Joan Blinn, Zeke and Zach Blinn, Sean and Tim Dockery, Michael Miller, The Thorstads and Rusty the Truck.  You guys all did an outstanding job and we are super duper incredibly blessed!  

 

 

July 30, 2010

Writing

“Spell that.”  He said. 
“C h a s e d” I replied.
He smirked, as he does, and looked at me with those knowing eyes.
I read them for a change, instead of demanding he use words.
“Oh. Ha!  Yeah, I don’t feel chaste. Though maybe the one would help the other.”

  -excerpt from a very lovely conversation with Mr. Phenomenal


024.1 

Most days it is possible for me to quiet these existential
discussions in my head

To calm all of this questioning of The World to a whisper

And mother my children with playful abandon

Today is not one of those days

Today I struggle to set down the Journal and the Book

To glance up from the pages of words I am devouring

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    There are certainly many days when the sight of my
Emmy is enough to stop whatever thinking I am doing and cause me to stare in
wonder at the miracle that is my daughter, when her walking up to me to ask for
a cup of water results in my hands cupping her sweet face and the two of us
sitting nose to nose admiring the sacred beauty placed within us.  There are days when Gabe walking up to give
me a nonchalant hug results in him curled up in my lap and me stroking his baby
soft hair, and a few moments of us comprehending to the best of our abilities our
belovedness together.  

    Most days, my children, my lovely life, this thing called
motherhood, pulls me out of my own head and heart.  Most days my journaling is kept to after
nightfall and the escape of reading is held off until bedtime.  Many, many days I am so utterly content to
observe with awe the loveliness of the messy curls on the back of Grace’s neck
as she bounces through the house singing out her own songs.   And certainly many days I am more than happy
to listen to Griffen’s brilliant, creative, intense and funny ramblings.  Oh and stare at his freckles, I am most
certainly more than happy to stare at his freckles, they are divine. 

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    Quite simply put, most days I am enamored with the beauty of
my everyday life.  And oh do I feel loved
when I contemplate the blessings I’ve been given.  But there is this thing, this knowledge that I
hold, this awareness that I was meant to do something.  I was placed here for a reason, called out
is what has been said to me.  And I feel
that, all too deeply some days.

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    Sometimes it sits on me like a warm familiar blanket and I
hug it close, this
called out feeling. All of the listening and praying
and reading and writing feel so full of life and meaning and importance.  And I embrace it, I love it, I know it,
always have.  I feel driven to be better,
to be good, to be perfect so that at last I can do this… whatever it is that I
am called out to do.  There are mornings
spent all the way in to afternoons of working away at being good enough and knowing enough
so that one day I will finally be ready to help myself and others be…  Loved. 
How wrong is that- to be working away at simply feeling loved? 

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    There are days though, or moments at least when I feel so
terribly chased, so hunted.  Times when
arrows are shot so precisely at me that I can only assume there is a target
somewhere on me and an archer not far off.  And
in those times, there are slivers of moments when I think
Just lay down,
just be quiet, just stop all the working all the striving all the noise of
preparing yourself for something greater. 
Shhh, be still.  Stop, stop, stop.
   Scary, yes, hearing voices is.  Sounds insane I’m sure, and trying to hone in
on those voices and decipher them sounds even more insane.  But it is alas what I am want to do some
days.  

 
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    Here I am then stuck in this strange conundrum.  Feeling more love on days when I don’t think
so hard about it and feeling guilty on those days for not thinking hard about
it.   So today, I am saying, or Somebody is-

Peace
child, peace, peace, peace.  And
love.   


 


 

July 26, 2010

*Surprise*

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As I sit in my waterless house this
morning I am reminded of a story from a while back.  Goes a little something like this…

 One kidless summer afternoon, I was
on my way out to the store only to discover my *surprise* newly mowed
lawn.  My friendly afro-sporting neighbor
and his buddy were standing in his driveway and as I strolled across my freshly
cut grass to inquire about my lovely surprise I overheard them discussing the
Mavericks game.  I asked how the Mavs
were doing; they both sipped their beer and shook their heads in disappointment.   “Man, they’re doin’ terrible as usual.  Just can’t get their shit together for the
playoffs.”  I nodded in agreement
and then asked if either of them knew anything about my newly mowed lawn.  My neighbor replied “Hey man, it was Mother’s
Day the other day, so I figured, what the hell.”  I smiled and shuffled my feet a little before
offering a big “Aww, you didn’t have to do that. Thankyousomuch.”  He assured me it was no big deal and then
said “Hey, don’t that asshole mow the grass for you?”  Not sure which asshole he was referring to
since there is a rather unfortunate abundance of them in my life, I said “Which
one?  My ex?”  He choked on his sip of beer and laughed. “Nah
man, the guy you rent from”.   “Oh” I said, “nope, he doesn’t”. 

A couple more laughs and a slight
pause later they offered me a beer.  I
declined and said my goodbye, “Hey, thanks again for mowing the grass.  It really means a lot.  And hey, sorry about the Mavericks.”  They both shrugged and smirked and then the
buddy said “Hey, sorry ‘bout the asshole’s.”   Just an offhanded comment maybe, but to me it
was brilliant, and sincere, and needed. 

Sometimes I still replay that
moment in my head, just for kicks, only the buddy is a white guy with long hair
and a beard wearing a white robe with a purple sash and sandals.  Sometimes in my head, my afro-sporting
neighbor is standing in his driveway with Jesus.  And Jesus, with a grin on his face waves to
me and says “Hey, sorry ‘bout the asshole’s.” 
And it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to think that Jesus is
indeed genuinely sorry about how crappy some people can be sometimes. 

           Is that weird?  Oh
well. 

          P.S.   This is not to
say at all that my life is full of jerks. 
My life is full of people who are full of Love and Life really.  Lucky for me, (or maybe, probably, it isn’t
luck at all), I have an abundance of extraordinary friends- a fantastic, amazing,
super wonderful circle of loving, caring, kind, helpful, supportive, clever,
witty, beautiful friends.   You know who
you are.  Thankyousomuch. 

July 17, 2010

This Reason

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    Sometimes something simply being the right thing to do is
not reason enough for me to not want to do it. 
Ya dig? 

    Sometimes I want things
that I am pretty aware are not the best for me. 
Sooo…  sometimes I have to find
other reasons to do the right thing.  Most
of the time those reasons are my kids.  This one Good Choice that I have a particularly hard time making is most
easily made when I think about my girls. 
And I’m not gonna lie, it is mostly Em that I think about when I am
trying to make this particular Right Choice. 
Partly because she is older and closer to having to make this decision herself,
but also because she possess a very sweet, naïve innocence and purity that to
be quite honest, blows me away.   I have no idea where she got it from, but I see
it in her and I treasure it.  I want her
to understand that it is a gift.  I want
her to understand the importance of herself, her heart, her purity.  I want her to hold it dear.  I want her to guard it.  I want to protect it in her.  And I want her to be honored.  I think these are probably things I am
supposed to want for myself as well, and I’m working on figuring that out.  But for now, This Beautiful Girl is all the Reason I need.

Pure

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