First Birthday, First Grade, First Holidays Alone

I’ve been silent here for a while.  A LONG while.  It’s been hard to not write, to not process through words on a screen.  But I wasn’t ready I guess.

Tonight I am more ready.

We are all looking back on 2013, reflecting on all we’ve done, seen, experienced these last 365 days before at new year starts.

2013 brought the first birthday of my baby girl!  It was quite a celebration considering all the difficulties of her first year!  In past centuries, and even in past decades, she wouldn’t have lived because of her heart defects.  But God gave us wonderful doctors, medicine and His healing and she was able to celebrate her first birthday healthy, happy, and full of energy!

Caleb started first grade!  It seems like we were just watching HIM smear birthday cake all over HIS one year old face.  But, he is now 6 and doing so well in first grade.  We have learned a lot about him and his Sensory Processing Disorder this year, as well as having some great tools in place to help him be successful at school.

We got our first snow blower this year!  After years of living on a long corner lot and shoveling…and shoveling….and shoveling, a friend was selling her snow blower and we grabbed it up!  How nice that has been this winter already!

But the most recent first has been spending my first holidays alone.  Without the man I’ve (literally) spend half my life with.

Tim and I separated the week before Thanksgiving.  Some things came up in our marriage that necessitated taking some time apart.  I don’t know how this separation will end at this point.  God hasn’t shown me that yet.  I really wish He would, but He knows this is a process and He can’t show me everything right now.  And I hate that.

This time of year has always been about family for me.  Celebrating together with all the family we can drag together as often as possible.  Eating too much food together.  Sharing gifts with one another.  As kids we could always count on seeing our cousins several times in these last months of the year.  We would play with our new Christmas presents together, or model our new clothes as we got older.  We had silly family traditions we enjoyed.  But family was always so central to this holiday season.

I still saw my family this season.  We still exchanged gifts.  We still ate too much together.

But it was so different for me.

Tim wasn’t there.  For the first time in 17 years, Tim wasn’t there.  We started dating in October and he came home with me for Thanksgiving that next month.  And we’ve been together for every holiday since.

But not this year.

And I’m really having to wrestle with God again.  I wanted so badly to FEEL His presence.  To keep Him the focus of Christmas.  To really concentrate on WHY we are celebrating this time of year.

But there were so many other emotions getting in the way.  So many other questions in my brain.  So much stress.  It seemed the more I wanted to feel close to God, the farther away He felt.

My heart and my head are in great conflict.  My head “KNOWS” the Truth.  My head chooses to believe that what the Bible says is true, that God loves me, that He has not left me, that He is with me and walking through this pain with me.

But my heart denies it.  My heart needs God to prove Himself in some way.  My heart doesn’t trust God right now.

I’ll be honest.  I’ll be vulnerable.

I am having a hard time trusting God right now.

I WANT to trust Him.  Because I feel so alone.  I want to FEEL His presence with me.  I want to let Him in.

But I’m scared.

Because as if all this wasn’t hard enough, Tim got in a car accident last night and his car was totaled.

HOW could a loving God add THAT to the stresses right now??  REALLY?!?!?

But, again, I know in my HEAD that God is not doing this TO me.  Because, really, Tim really could have been killed in that accident.  But instead walked away with aches and pains but no (to my knowledge) serious injuries.  God WAS protecting him.

But, still, REALLY?!?!?!?!?!

I’m taking a huge risk writing this and putting this all out there.  But, maybe, someone else out there is wrestling with God.  Wondering if there is a God.  Feeling far from Him during this time of year.  Maybe your head and heart don’t agree.  Maybe you feel lonely and alone.

I just want to say, you’re not alone.  Someone else out there feels like you do.

In the Jewish culture, after someone dies, family and friends gather around those who are left behind in mourning and they sit shiva.  They don’t offer advice.  They don’t try to make the grieving person “feel better” or tell them it will all be ok.  They just sit.  They are just there.  If the person wants to talk, they listen.  If they want to cry, they offer a tissue.  If they want silence, they sit in silence.

I don’t have all the answers.  I probably don’t have any answers you want because I KNOW I don’t have any answers I want!

But I will sit shiva with you.  As we grieve.  And wonder why.

If you’re willing, share along with me.  You don’t have to, and you don’t have to share more than you want.  But I would love to hear from you.

I’m hurting too.  A lot.  But I’m going to keep believing, at least in my head until it gets to my heart, that God is sitting shiva with us.

 

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Leah’s are Adorable too!

A few girlfriends and I meet every other Monday to chat, enjoy each other’s company, and have some “spiritual” conversation.  (Between us we have 7 kids age 1.5 – 8 years old running around too, so conversations are a bit fragmented!) We’ve been using the app YouVersion to read some of the Bible between the times we get together and then briefly discuss some of what we read.  We’ve done this just a few times but I always look forward to my “Girl Time”!

These past couple weeks we’ve been reading from one particular reading plan that includes a “devotional” with each section of verses we read.  We all have found we prefer that – it gives us a little focus of what to get out of the verses we read.

Anywhoo….

One that I read last night (I always do it in bed before I go to sleep…it’s quiet then!) hit my heart big time.  It was about Leah and Rachel.  Jacob fell in love with Rachel because she was so beautiful.  He worked for her father for 7 years to earn her hand in marriage.  But, at the last minute, her father switched her with her older sister Leah and he was married to her instead.  It was not custom for the younger sister to marry first, and apparently her father wasn’t sure he could “marry off” the older/uglier sister.  So, Jacob worked ANOTHER 7 years so he could actually marry his love, Rachel.

The verses talk about how hurt Leah was because she KNEW Jacob didn’t love her.  His love and adoration belonged to Rachel.  God saw her pain and blessed her with 6 sons which Rachel couldn’t give him children.  Leah thought for sure all these SONS would earn her favor in her husband’s eyes.  But that didn’t happen.

The gist of the devotional was that we all feel like a Leah at one time or another.  For some of us we may feel like her all the time.  Or at least often.

But God doesn’t see us that way.  He looks adoringly at us ALL THE TIME.

We are to look for that love, those glances of recognition and adoration from God and THAT should fill our love tank from the inside.

Speaking as one who has ALWAYS felt like a Leah, that hit me hard.

I’ve NEVER been “the pretty one”.  I’m pretty plain.  And as the years wear on it ain’t getting any better!  😉

As a teenager I remember several times I was passed over by guys I was interested in for close friends and my more beautiful and vibrant cousin.  Guys would talk to me simply because I was with those girls.  I’m totally serious!

My sister is drop dead gorgeous!  She is the younger “Rachel” and I’m the older “Leah” for sure!

And as someone who was cheated on, it’s hard to fight those “Leah feelings”.  It’s very hard to fight feeling like I’m not “good enough”.

But I shouldn’t be looking to what other people think of me.  I shouldn’t even look to Tim to fill that part of me.

I need to work on accepting love from my Abba again.  My Daddy’s love for me needs to be enough.  I need to LET him love me, hold me, heal me, fill me, guide me, even try to believe that He adores me.

The Bible says He does.

I need to make my heart believe it.

I have prayed that for Adara so many times!  I pray that for Caleb as well, but there is something different about that for a girl.  I don’t want her life to be spent needing approval, affection, or adoration from others….ESPECIALLY GUYS!  I want her to be so filled with love from GOD FIRST, and then from her family that she has a sense of security that others long for.

And I need to pray that for me too.

Maybe she and I can work on that together!  😉

So much weight

I’m in a “messy head space” kinda way these days.  My best defense is usually to write it out, so I hope you will excuse me while I “vomit” out on the keyboard for a moment.

One year ago this month we were in the hospital with Adara for her heart problems.  We were admitted April 7 and discharged May 7 with her surgery being April 25.  I’m thankful BEYOND WORDS for how God chose to heal her and how well she is doing now!  But this time still takes me back to those days in my memory and I feel the weight of those days.  Being torn between my two precious kids, living at the hospital watching Adara struggle to gain weight, missing Caleb and his hugs, hearing about his day, his sweet smiles.  I’m just so thankful for where this year has taken Adara and her health!

Three years ago I had to close Veritas.  I don’t know why, but this hit me really hard while I was sitting at church yesterday.  Nothing brought it up at all, it just fell on me like a ton of bricks.  I miss so much of “my old life” sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being able to be home with my kids.  It’s just that I feel like I’m not living out my calling.  I do believe I am called by God to be these kids’ mom and to take care of their (many) needs.  But I just have this nagging feeling that there’s more.

Caleb is going to (finally) go through all the evaluation at school to be able to get help at school for his SPD.  We’ve been waiting for this all school year.  Through their evaluations they should (hopefully) also be able to see if anything else is going on with him.  This will get everything set up for next year so he can get whatever he needs at school to be most successful.  He really is smart – he’s already been reading at a first grade level and doing so well with math!  He just has so many struggles with focusing, social issues, etc. due to his SPD.  While I am SO glad this is finally getting in order at school, it’s hard.  It’s like it makes it more real somehow.  I just so want him to be happy and successful at school, so I’m glad it’s happening.  I just wish there was no need for it.  It’s hard as a mom to see your child struggle.  It just breaks my heart sometimes.

I’ve really bee struggling off and on with the affair lately.  Again, nothing really triggers it, it just happens sometimes.  Tim’s work schedule is REALLY crazy right now.  They have a SUPER busy month so he literally isn’t home very much.  And when he is home he is so wiped out and preoccupied with work (his job requires that he be on call 24/7 so he gets lots of texts, emails and phone calls) that there isn’t really any time for “us”.  Things that we need to work on are just going to have to wait until next month.  And that’s not the end of the world, it’s just that I feel kinda lonely in the meantime.

There are times I just wish God would sit on the couch with me and chat.  I’d love a few good hugs too!  I wish I could just talk all this out with Him and hear His answers to why and what do I do now?  I’ll do it, just tell me what You want me to do.  I want that “big picture” He sees so clearly, not this tiny view I have.

At church yesterday the pastor was talking about a tough budget meeting they were going to have after church and explained that there are people with the gift of faith who just want to make more room for God to work….and there are those who are more into looking at the numbers and making everything balance properly.  And both are needed!

Well, I think I have that gift of faith.  At least most of the time.  I still have faith that God is going to work all this out and will be with me each moment of each day.  I’m thankful for that.  I just wish this could all be worked out.  Or to at least have the plan laid out in front of me!

But, I guess if I had the plan laid out in front of me, that wouldn’t require faith then, huh??

Three Years

Three years ago today my life changed forever.

I wish I could say it was the birth of one of my children, or a new job or something like that.

Three years ago today Tim confessed to me that he had an affair.

It’s still hard to type and read those words.  It still causes a knot in my stomach.  It still is hard to believe.  It’s still hard to swallow.

But it’s true.

I wish I could say that the pain is gone.  That our marriage is better than it ever has been.  That the healing is complete.  That I don’t think about it anymore.

But this is still hard.  I still think about it more than I would like to (well, I’d like to NEVER think about it!).  It still hurts sometimes.  Our marriage still needs work.

BUT….

Some things are better.  It hurts less.  I think about it, but less than I used to.  I am stronger.

God is changing me.  I am a slow, stubborn student, but He’s working on me.

I am working on seeing Tim (and myself) as God sees him in Colossians 1:22

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

I am working on being very intentional about choosing to leave my pain at Jesus’ feet and ask Him, in return, to heal my heart.  To take the pain away and replace it with His healing.

God has allowed me to talk about it publicly a few times and use this experience to speak in to others.  He has allowed me to babble on this blog about this journey and encourage others through this process.

We still have a long way to go.  But that’s ok.  As long as we keep moving forward.

Today is bittersweet.  It hurts.  And it heals.

Prostitutes, Strippers and Porn Stars

I’m a little nervous to write this post.  It’s been rolling around in my head for a few days, and I think I need to write it.  But it’s hard.  Partly for the feelings it brings up, and partly because it makes me hold myself accountable to change.

Sometimes thoughts, pain, memories, etc. pop up related to Tim’s affair.  It’s better than it used to be.  But things still surface at different times.

Tim made a comment a few days ago that brought a lot of it to the surface.  He never meant it to.  It was in no way related to the affair in any way.  But what he said quickly created links to the affair in my brain.  In an instant.

I tried really hard to just put it aside and not think about it.  But that doesn’t often work well.  We are trying to actively work on our relationship in some areas, so I figured it best to tell him how that comment hurt and why so he can understand how his words have weight.  I’m sure he never would have seen the link from what he said to the affair for me, so I needed to explain that to him.

(I hope this is making some sense.  I know I’m being vague, but the details aren’t really necessary.  Hang with me for just one more minute and I think it will make more sense!)

In my anger I referred to the women he looked at online for years as “whores”.

Later on I was praying and asking God to help me to forgive Tim, to help me get past my hurt feelings, to take that away and heal me once again.

And all of a sudden I was impressed with my use of that word.  That I called those girls whores.

No one should be called that.

Those girls are his precious, beautiful, beloved daughters.  They are not what they do.  They are unique and wonderfully made by a Father who loves them as unconditionally as He loves me.

We (society) I think often looks down on them.  We look down on anyone who sells their body or shares those sacred parts of themselves with anyone who wants to look.  We think of them as stupid, careless, worthless, or worth only the parts of their body they are willing to show.  They deserve no respect.  They can’t offer anything but making a man (or woman) feel good momentarily.

I have to fight anger.  I’m angry they were there for Tim to look at.  I’m much, much more angry that Tim looked at them.

But when I think about it for more than a minute, I’m sad.  Sad that those beautiful souls feel that they have to expose that to anyone who wants to look.  Sad that they have these momentary, meaningless “relationships”.  Sad that they feel that’s what they’re worth.  Sad that they don’t know that they are Princesses of King God.  Sad that they may not have anyone in their life showing them their worth, all that they have to offer beneath their skin.

And I’m not sad in a pity sort of way.  I’m sad that I can’t hug them all and give them all that they need.  The same way I’m sad that I still don’t totally “get it”!

This experience just made me remember that people are God’s children, no matter what they’ve done.  We can’t look at ANYONE as what they do, or what they’ve done.  That’s not the way God sees them, and if I’m working to become more like Him, then that’s what I have to do.

That includes the woman Tim had an affair with, the women he looked at, and it includes Tim.

And it includes you and me.