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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Holding on to the Joy ~ April

In this season of hard.  There are many blessings in the midst of the mess.
A kitty that plops on a lap top and snuggles.  Something about pets...they are just able to sense when we need that extra bit of affection.  Gifts from our Heavenly Father.  They are never too busy or consumed with life and this world.

Facebook posts that tickle the funny bone and speak to the craziness of this moment in life! 

Unexpected sites when turning a corner and heading home.  The joy this produced.  We literally turned around and took way too many pictures because it was just that awesome and cheerful and fun during an oh so difficult moment.  This bit of cheeriness wiped away heart wrenching and breaking tears.  

A gift from my youngest girl... reached down deep into my soul and heart.  When she told the story, I couldn't help but cry because the story made it all the more precious.  Simple joys that bring such love and joy that the darkness of the hard just gets chased away.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Change, Balance, Focus words that get talked about a lot...

He sat there on the couch during the therapy session in such misery.
He demanded.
"Why!?!  Why did you change??"

It wasn't the time or place to answer.

It wasn't even the question for the moment.

So many other issues were at hand.  And this was just another question to distract from the problem being addressed.

Yet, the question remains.

At some point, I started asking how do I answer the questions: Why did we get divorced?  How did it come to this?
I have learned the answer and details don't matter so much as what I choose to do each given day.
Yet, taking time to reflect on the journey and the how is important.  What worked and what didn't? What would I do over again and what would I never want to repeat again?

So what changed?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Taking time to relearn....

I am slowly taking time to relearn some things. Sometimes, I bite off more than I should.  I am recognizing I am careful to not say anything about plans just in case it doesn't go well.
Back around Christmas I decided to attempt cookie making and decorating with royal icing.  It did end up being quite the job.  I was so thankful my daughter was around and wanted to jump in help.  I just could not remember any memories beyond needing a thicker icing for borders and a thinner icing for flooding and it really wasn't very difficult.  I just didn't remember the bending over and fatigue or the muscle strength needed in hands and forearms... Both of which have declined substantially since the accident.
But hey! we did it.  And they were yummy.

So I worked up my courage and attempted these guys a couple of months later to suprise the kids with... Baby chicks around here are not an option, so I hoped they would enjoy these cuties.

Growing and blooming in the rocky and peaty places

Healing it is happening.
I am learning and growing.  Not surviving but thriving and blooming.

I took a short break while writing this and stepping away, allowed a memory to come to mind. In the early months of my marital separation I was doing a Bible Study.  It wasn't quite what I expected.  God has a way of doing that with me.  In the first lesson, we were challenged to look at the meaning our name(s).
For me, I have never been too impressed with the meaning of my names - purple flower  & bitterness.  But trying to respect the study, I pulled up the search engine and typed in my names.

Yep, there it was purple flower... but something a little bit more.  A purplish flower that blooms in the rocky, peaty places.  Was and am I ever in the rockiest of places.  As for peaty, I looked up that definition, partially decomposed vegetable matter, mostly mosses.  Yep, I was in a decomposing and dead place (my marriage).

My middle name- Yep, still there in the definition is bitter..but before that... Wished-for child.

Wished-for child, that was a first.  I have bought and looked through a lot of baby name books in my life time.  As choosing a name for my children was a significant thing for me... a name was not chosen until I knew the meaning.  Not only were my children named names I liked, but their names needed to have depth and purpose in their meaning.  I had been unimpressed with the meaning of my name since around the fourth grade when a teacher assigned us the task of learning the meaning our names. Then when I asked my mom why I was named my names, the answer was not at all what I expected.  The answer: name of a popular soap opera character, and for the middle was the only name that flowed with my first name.  But what I could do?  Nothing.  At least not till I was old enough to change things.  When I was old enough, it just wasn't worth the trouble.  It wasn't like anyone else cared about the meaning behind names, and changing things would just be difficult and expensive.

But that day staring at the screen, I was being given a gift, being renamed, redefined.  A flower that blooms in the rocky, peaty places and I was a wished-for child.

And now, many months later, God gently reminds me of that day, reminds me of the promise of my name as He renamed me.  Flowers bloom seasonally.  There has been a lot of beneath the surface work, deep down in the roots and this past week, He has let me experience some of the joy in blooming and showing the work He has done.

So what is it He and I have been working on?

I have been learning to stand my ground.  Learning to be strong and not give into self doubt, to stop the tapes in my head before they start playing... to affirm my decisions and not waver.  To question my motives and ask God to show me if my intent, my motives are wrong and do I need to shift my thoughts and attitudes?... To not immediately take more responsibility than is mine to shoulder. All of these have been works in progress.

These weaknesses didn't happen over night.  They have been present for a long time.  They have been strengthened as weaknesses and encouraged by those that love me.  Shocking isn't it?  True.  As shocking as it might or might not be.  Because the reality is we might love someone and we might want them to conquer and overcome some things for their own good, but...  Always the but... But when someone starts to become stronger it affects every relationship.  That isn't always comfortable for the cheerleader.  That cheerleader might be fine with you developing confidence and a voice so long as it doesn't inconvenience the relationship with them... When that happens, the cheerleader just might (and does in some cases) become the loudest and angriest dissenting voice.  The confusion and pain that is felt is profound.  I have walked that road many a time.  It always ended up with me reverting back to questioning myself and self doubt and I must have done something wrong. On and on the cycle would go.  It is extremely difficult when these loud voices and dissenters are family. The very people who are suppose to be for you.  So very difficult.  Others aren't suppose to walk all over me, just them.

Sigh... and so the cycle goes.  It is hard.  It is hard to admit the truth about the people closest to you.  It isn't that you don't love or like them. It is hard because it is hard.  Hard to admit the people closest aren't perfect.  Hard to look at them and say, I don't like this but I like you.  Even harder to say, I don't like this so very much that even though I like you, I can't spend anymore time with you because that is how much I don't like being treated this way.  For someone like me who has the tendency for self-doubt and taking on way more responsibility than is mine to carry, this is really hard.  It is hard because it means there is nothing I can do "more" to be treated better or to change their attitude/behavior towards me.  It isn't about me.  It is more about them and the way they think and perceive the world.  Part of loving others as we love ourselves is learning to say no.  Because letting them treat me poorly without consequence does not help them in the long run.  It is hard because as much as I want someone to get it, to understand, I can't make them.  It is hard to step back and watch them go down in a direction that will inevitably be filled with hardship as the result of choices being made.  Life is hard enough without making it worse as a result of the choices we make.

This past week I have encountered multiple opportunities to press repeat.  I didn't.  I managed to stand strong.  I didn't self-doubt. I didn't take on too much responsibility.  I did it.  I fist pumped and told myself way to go!  AND because it is hard I grieved. BUT I didn't grieve as I have in the past, I grieved because I knew the losses the other side was going to experience.  I grieved for them.  I prayed.  I put them in the hands of God and brushed my hands and knees off and did the next thing because there was nothing more that I could do.  God doesn't need my help.  He can handle it. One day, maybe things will be different.  For now, I am enjoying the freedom of being free from the cycle.  I am grateful for these moments of success.  Praying that when the next time comes around I will be able to press repeat for this pattern, not the old.

Some articles that have helped me tremendously over the past year or two.

This one is very current, oh how I wish it had been written sooner. But I rest in the affirmation and encouragement of what I have been learning.
This one, while I am not fully where she is at, maybe one day.  But acknowledging sometimes in spite of all efforts what is dead is dead.
This one, challenged my committment to marriage.  It is one thing to be commited.  It is another thing to be commited to the point of self-detriment. We are to love others as we love ourselves.

This one and pretty much a whole bunch of articles on this website have provided encouragement and affirmation regarding what forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation looks like.  In addition, to addressing individual's humanity, sin nature in light of Scripture and how it relates to relationships.

Some words of wisdom that have had a profound effect:

"God is a gentleman."  Period.  There are not enough words.  Just camp out on that one for a good long while.  Ask Him to teach the fullness of that sentence to you.  Ask Him daily to show and reveal that one to you.

I wish I could find the article I read, but in summary:  A commitment to marriage does not mean a person now gets to practice being their worst possible self.
Replace marriage with family.. and it applies to any relationship.

Are the choices I am making today going to help me be the person I want to be tomorrow?
What I do today is practice for who I will be tomorrow.

If God is perfect.  Then He communicates perfectly.  Satan is known (and so is man) for twisting and distorting the words of God.  Why then am I worried about or suprised by the twisting and distorting of my words?  If people/Satan are willing to do it to the All-Perfect God, then there is no reason to expect it not to happen to me.  (haters, going to hate... twisters are going to twist... ) I just do the best I can and leave the rest to God.  The twisting and distorting of my words is not a reflection of me but of the person who is doing it.  There are plenty of people who do understand my words and heart.

Truth will be revealed.  God doesn't need my help.  He will equip me in His own time in His strength and give me words if I need them.

It is that resting in Him, trusting in Him, waiting on Him that is so healing.  He is faithful.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Growing Stronger, Getting Bolder and finding humor in songs and lyrics...

The last 2 years have been a journey.

I have been challenged a lot by people.  by words.  by opinions. by Scripture.

I have challenged myself.

My beliefs, opinions, thoughts, attitudes, perspectives, choices have all been challenged.

I felt sifted and crushed and pressed and squeezed.

It has just been for the most part completely unpleasant to put it mildly.

I have also been afraid.
Afraid to say too much.
Afraid my words would be picked apart. Misunderstood. Twisted and taken out of context.

In the process of breaking free, song lyrics of all things pop into my head like as conversations.

It has been funny as the kids and I talk, something will get said and I respond with, someone wrote a song about that once...

In all honesty, there is nothing new under the sun.

I have to remind myself, haters are going to hate.  They just are.  It has nothing to do with me.
I can't make my words "perfect" because if a person is bent on being hateful, they will just find something to be hateful about.   As the kids and I work through some of this hatefulness we sometimes tend to break into song... I will let you guess which one that could be.

It has been a journey to say the least.  Fear has made itself all too comfortable in our lives.
We are learning to conquer it.  We are learning it is more important to be true to ourselves.  To speak truth to ourselves in spite of what those around us say.

The hardest part in this journey is when it is family that hurt us.  Family and friends have the capacity to hurt us more deeply.  They know us best.  They know right where to hit.  Sometimes they even know how to turn the tables so quickly it leaves us dizzy and confused. They do it, so everyone becomes distracted and focused on something else.  We are learning to keep our legs underneath us.  To right ourselves after being spun and not fall into the bait and switch confusing distraction.

We are learning that sometimes silence is the answer.  There is no point to speak because the truth will be found out.  Time always does reveal truth.  Time always reveals character.

AND then there are times, as we are learning, the silence needs to be broken.  When dealing with bullies it is always important to speak up and stand up for what is true.  Silence never stops a bully.

We are learning to say, nope, no way, no how and do it with friendly firmness.

We are learning to speak up and contradict the lies being said.

We are learning to contradict the taking truths out of context and putting them back into their proper place.

And we are learning to accept that while we may do it with friendly firmness. While we may love the individuals that are involved in the mess... they may, and probably will, reject our efforts to stand up for ourselves, and twist and contort and take out of context our words to create more drama, pain and hurt. But that is okay, because there was a song wrote about this... some people are just haters... and haters are going to hate.... so just.... Shake it off....shake it off.. shake it off..  And keep doing what we know is right and stand for what is right and true.  Learning what it really means to search our own hearts and be ready and okay with ourselves when it comes time to stand before God... cause even He knows.... Haters are going to hate, hate, hate...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Boundaries.... Just a little aha moment in the learning process

Epiphany moment.  
In light of recent events. 
I have come to experience these words used in a very ugly way. 
Sometimes people throw these words around because they are uncomfortable 
with the consequences of their own actions. 
They are trying to use these words to turn responsiblity and blame onto the other person. 

So on this particular day as boundaries are being worked out and implemented. 
A day when someone is angry and very upset. 
A day when the fingers are pointing back at me. 
A day when I am reminding myself, I have done nothing wrong.
A day when this quote popping up on my screen could have me in tears...
Second guessing myself 
Wondering if I am not being loving enough?
Wondering if I am not being Jesus-y enough?
Before the thoughts could start, a different set started rolling... 
Amen and Praise Jesus, because healing is happening!!! 

When and if this ever happens it is important to remember:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 1st ~ Mom strikes again

I don't always do something on April first.  Actually, over the years I have dreaded the day.  Specifically grateful for homeschooling and the lack of awareness on my kiddo's part most of the time.  The kitchen sink prank has been done so many times, that I fail to laugh and struggle to not be grumpy.  Rubber banding the spraying so someone gets wet just isn't funny the 4th, 5th, 6th year in a row.  I have already showered thank you very much and wet clothes are uncomfortable and I just have too much to do for all this mess... Yep, my sense of humor is really lacking on April Fool's Day.

That is until this year.  I stayed up late.  Way too late.  I have no idea what got into me.  Not one bit.  It started with potatoes because sometimes potatoes have eyes.  I just couldn't resist and kept thinking how much my mom would have thought it was funny.  Then as I started quietly laughing, I just couldn't stop.

So I did the cookie container...because someone is always watching.... and Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? and I am always telling the kids they will get caught...

What could be more crazy fun then opening the refrigerator for breakfast and finding this: