Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do not enter...


There have been many times in my life that for one reason or another, I have been told I could not go or enter a particular place. It has not been until recently that I realized how very hurtful and damaging those times were to my heart. 

It isn't even that I have always wanted to go to those places; in fact, most times I haven't, but to know that I was not allowed, that broke parts of me that were destined to live beyond. 

Seeing "do not enter" signs, followed by someone else's definition of you is tremendously painful and damaging. You find yourself standing outside watchiing others go in and wondering what it is about you that makes your simple presence unacceptable. 

I can tell you that it is a lie. All of it. 

You are enough. You are just as good as anyone else who is able to go. You simply have to see it, and surround yourself with others who hold your hand and walk through the door.

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Year Ago...


A year ago today I wrote the following...

"Oh stress and worry, my bitter enemy and closest companion. On days like today when monsters are real and heartache rumbles through my very bones I find myself longing for an end. My everything hurts and so much in me says give up, but something in me, something I don't quite understand, and yet, am so very drawn to, says hold on. Something in me says "don't let go, I have a plan, a purpose, a destiny for you." Very close to me, I have someone who says over and over again, "give up, it is hopeless, you are a liar and a crazy whore, God sold you out, you are nothing"...there are moments when those words suffocate me. And yet...I am still breathing. God why am I breathing??? I am so very tired. I am reminded of Jacob when he wrestled the Angel, even with a dislocated hip he said "I won't let go until you bless me". God, I don't know what you are doing. I don't even know that you care. I don't know if I will ever be more than this moment, but I hope. I hope that he is wrong. I hope that I am yours. I hope that someday I will be more than this. Until then...I won't let go."

Today, I woke up to my sweet Stephen kissing my shoulder. I looked up to see his beautiful face say "Good Morning Baby Girl". I heard my babies playing down the hallway. I checked my phone to see message after message from people who love me. I looked at facebook and rejoiced as grateful lists are spreading like wildfire. I made lunch for a man who took me for cheesecake at midnight simply because he loves me. I danced in a hallway as if no one else was around. I laughed. I made an 84 on a statistics test. I made collard greens, and pronounced it wrong, and smiled when my Stephen taught me otherwise. I comforted a friend. I laughed. I played. I simply was. 

There was NOTHING on this day last year that even had a hint of what my today was. There was nothing about that day that showed any hope that I would be anything but dead by this time. For all intents and purposes, I was finished. 

Ladies and Gentlefish, all is never lost. If you are breathing...there is hope. I am a walking talking example of that. Don't give up. Don't look at today. See tomorrow and know that anything is possible if you will only hang on. DON'T LET GO UNTIL HE BLESSES YOU! 

Out of The Abundance of The Heart, The Mouth Speaks



I wear the things I am grateful for proudly. Publicly and privately, from my Stephen, to my babies, from my friends, to my creatures, I take a moment and celebrate the things in my life that make my day just a little brighter and my burden less, EVERY SINGLE DAY and guess what? You should too. This isn't to say I don't have my moments, trust me, I do! I've said often, I am a faller not a flier.

However, I have learned to appreciate the good in life. I had a very precious friend and mentor teach me to seek out the good. You can always find a reason to be mad, depressed, disappointed, whatever...just remember that while you are busy complaining about your man, your job, your kids, there is a wife waiting on a husband who won't ever come home, there is a person losing the only means they have to feed their family, there is a mama saying goodbye to her baby as he gets his Angel wings...

Some people get it twisted, they have allowed themselves to get so sucked into darkness they assume that anyone who sees the sun must be a liar or crazy, and that's ok, what is that quote? Something about "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks".

Never the less, what I love is that something that started so small and so awkwardly is spreading like wildfire. I just hope that someday it spreads so much that it suffocates the ugliness some people choose to sit in. As I see each new friend of a friend post their list and celebrate their lives, their man, their children, their talent, their whatever, my heart is full of such complete and total satisfaction! I am thankful to each of you. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Grateful Lists

I have continued to make my grateful lists each day on my facebook page, and transfer them as well to the Grateful List facebook page. I am however finding that I do not remember to bring them over to this page, and so for now, I am going to discontinue that. I don't want to get so bogged down in repeat posting about what I am grateful for, that I do not have time to enjoy those things for which I am grateful. I hope that you understand and that each of you are taking a moment out of your day to remember the things which are good and lovely and make your burden less.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

To My Anna Grace

So many things I want to say, and none of them make sense. I love you. That is the easy part, except of course, the part about where my actions didn't show that. I wouldn't forgive me either. I see you talking to others from our world, and my heart aches so much I can't breathe. I honestly had no idea what to do with you. I did everything the professionals said, and you just kept getting sicker. We bounced from professional to professional. All seemed hopeless until you were assessed by the people at Evergreen. I begged them for help and they acted as if that is what they would do, and at the last minute they took you away. The man who made the final decision went home that day and killed himself. No kidding. And no one would go back on what he said. They spent months sending me to training and pretending you were coming home, all the while sending you to attachment therapy and making adoption arrangements with your "new" mom. Nope, I didn't respond well to that at all. I flipped quite the hell out. Crazy is an understatement. But what mama wouldn't when their child was taken? And I had NO support. The professionals looked at you as a "disrupted placement". My abusive ex husband looked at you as one more thing I brought home. Most of my friends and family were perplexed as to why a child that was not "mine" made me so heartbroken. I have no way to explain that. You were simply mine. I loved you as that. There was never any in between. You were never the "foster child" or anything like that. You were mine. I loved you with all of me, and when you left, you took so very much of my heart with you. I feel bad because I know that for a great long time, my heart was so broken by my love and loss of you, that I did not love anyone else very well. I want you to know that because of you, and my love for you, and the effort I put into being a mother when no one ever had any intention of letting me do that at all, two very amazing girls got help. I spent all this time learning about RAD and how and what to do, and it all made sense...and I wanted so very much to have you home. There was a day when I walked into the foster care agencies office and they said "you have to go, Angel just left attachment therapy" and I literally died on the spot. I knew what it meant. I knew then that you were never coming home to me. I knew that that I could never ever really be your mom. Please know that there has never ever been a day that you have not been on my mind. I love you so very much. I am so very sorry that I did not fight for you. I didn't know that I could. I am sorry that I let myself get so broken. You will always have a place in my life, regardless of the title, regardless of whether you ever choose to take that place. I love you more than I will ever ever be able to put into words. You were never ever forgotten or thought less of. I can't pump gas and not think of you, gosh you loved that! And every time I look at my Abby and her blue eyes, I think about how happy you were when she was born and had eyes like you and it just brings me to a place where things don't hurt so much. I hate that you never got to know Isaiah. He is fantastic. There hasn't been a time when he did not know you and how very much you mean to me. I love you. I am here. I am here even if you can never forgive me. I am here, and I love you, and you changed my world forever. Love, Me.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Be HIS

The fall weather brings up lots of memories for me, and tonight, or this morning, if you are not in vampire sleep mode like me, I am remembering two years ago when life crashed around me. I was overwhelmed. I was depressed. I was hopeless. Many considered me down for the count. The darkness so thick and so ugly consumed me. But guess what? In that darkness, I got to see the stars. 

Leah Sams, Jeniffer Carver, Angie Keeling, Abby Stalcup, Dawn Bynum, and Heidi Scott were my lifeline. They called or texted me, always at the time I needed it most. They answered when I would crumble and listened to my broken heart. They spoke God's word to me to combat satans lies. They were HIS voice.

 My community group, led by Stacey Griffith, rallied around me and the kids. They showed up here with everything from groceries and delicious meals to furniture and appliances, NOT because I asked, but because they saw a need and simply took care of it. They were HIS hands.

When I stumbled and fell, they reminded me that I was more than a moment, that I was loved, that my existence mattered. They were HIS heart.

I am here, and alive, and more aware of what love is and who God is because of the way those people lived God's love out. I could have died. I could have given up. I could have believed the lies the enemy told if those people chose not to act. So often we simply say "I'll pray for you" and yes, prayer is important, but sometimes people need to see and feel and hear.

I can tell you that is it almost impossible to comprehend the love of God when the people who claim to follow Him do not live out that love.

It is almost impossible to believe that you matter to the Creator of the universe when the people in your every day life do not notice you exist.

You are the only Jesus some people will ever see or know...what are you teaching them?

 I want to challenge each of you to look around you, pay attention, if you see a need, realize there is a reason you see it. Be God's voice, His hands, His eyes, HIS heart. Choose to be the difference.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Invisible Red Thread

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." -Ancient Chinese Proverb


Despite hilarious rumors about where and when my Stephen came from, there is a story behind it, a rather intriguing story which I cannot wait to tell our grandchildren...
In the entirity of our lives, there have been countless occasions where Stephen and I have been in the very same place at the same time, yet we never connected. It is facinating for me to think of all the times I came so very close to the man who would someday hold my heart without ever even saying hello.
So here is a list of sorts of the yesterday momements that brought us here...
We both spent our childhood in Bristol, and both attended the BEEP classes due to our genius mental status :0)
We partied around the same people thoughout middle and high school.
We both attended ETSU at the same time.
Our children were in the same class at ETSU Little Bucs, at the same time.
My best friend Dawn, is the wife of his close friend Jody.
We listened to Old Crow Medicine show together at the 2004 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival on Sept. 19, 2010
We both were at Stateline for a fundraiser after our friend Kenny McClanahan died in June of 2010.
We have countless facebook friends in common, one of which, Jody Bynum, led to our eventual first conversation on May 14, 2012. I have never been more thankful for my crass sense of humor and smart mouth!
Two years ago, I was certain my life was over, I was so deep in a sea of misery I was drowning. I had in many ways given up, but God did not let me, and many of you did not let me either. You encouraged me to change my focus, to trust God with my heart, and I did. What a wild ride it has been, but I'd do it ten times over if it meant I got to end up here! I love you Mr. Johnson.










Saturday, September 22, 2012

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you

Aside from IP addresses, and blogger reporting statistics, your general reactions tell on you and your many visits to my blog. Why I could care less, and am in fact, in many ways amused, I'm particularly disgusted by liars, especially liars
who lie to children or manipulate children in pursuit of their own selfish agenda, or defense of their pathetic pride.
You should read the "I love the way" one. It addresses this issue specifically. From the outside, you see simply and only what I allow you to see. You can infer or guess or imagine all you'd like, but it does not make it reality. You are left with only brief glimpses into the life you will never be a part of. So, read on, soak it up, maybe you'll learn something.
In the meantime, life goes on without you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

You can....

You can tell any story

all about a broken home

You can tell any story

so long as it's not our own


You can share any heartache

let the tears flow like rain

You can share any heartache

so long as you don't say my name


You can paint any picture

colors spread so painfully

You can paint any picture

so long as they can't see me

Firemen and Mamas

Firemen fight fires.

They show up, hose in hand, ready to save and protect.

Sometimes, they put out the fire, the family cheering in the background, thanking them for their bravery.

They are heroes.

But sometimes, sometimes, they show up and the fire is out of control and they must stay back and watch it burn, knowing there are people inside. Knowing they have all the right tools if they could only get close enough. Knowing if they don't everyone inside will die.

They are helpless.

And even worse, sometimes they show up, their only mission to check the scene so the coroner can recover the bodies.

They are tired, broken, nothing that they imagined when they began the journey to be a hero.

No matter the task, success or failure,  they are still firemen.

In parenting a child with mental illness, sometimes I come up with clever solutions to get us through the crisis.

Sometimes I must sit back and watch my child suffer, waiting for the moment I can intervene and help her, knowing this new burst of flames may be the one that consumes her.

And sometimes, I just have to step aside while others clean up the aftermath of the monsters that were bigger than me or any tool I had.

Either way, I am still a Mama. It's just that sometimes Mama's are not bigger than monsters.

Dream Robbers

Dream Robbers. You know them, we have all met them from time to time in our lives. They are those lovely individuals who are so miserable with their own lives that they spend their time robbing the dreams of others. They do it with a look, a word, or a “you can’t do that”, “that’s too much to handle”, “you won’t recover from this”, or “just let go”. I think for them to accept that dreams are real, is to come to admit their own shortcomings and failures. If they are incapable, then we must be as well….

I believe in dreaming. I believe in reaching farther than you think you can. I think that we are all endowed with the gifts, or have the ability to locate what it is we need to accomplish the desires of our heart. Who am I to say that you should not dream your dream? Who are you to say I can’t have mine?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I want to call you Mom


A few years ago I came home to find a five year old girl and a caseworker sitting on my porch. The caseworker asked if I could keep her. She was sitting there with her curls flying all over and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. Her clothes were too big... her shoes too small.   None were weather appropriate. She walked right up to me and asked if I was her mom. I told her that she could call me whatever she wanted. She said "I want to call you Mom!"

Over the next few weeks, the most horrible stories poured out of her little mouth. I grieved for all she had endured. I reported each allegation to Department of Children's Services, who only responded two years later after I contacted a State Representatives office myself. Even then, it was just to tell me that I did not understand the system.

I tried so hard to hold her close... hoping to somehow make the monsters inside go away. In my ignorance, I thought that my loving her would be enough.  It was not long before the tantrums began... some lasting up to 12 hours.  She would beat her head, peel off her skin, and pull out her own hair. She would talk in different voices, and scream her head off. I would hold her and cry.  I called her caseworkers, her therapist... but received no help. No one knew what to tell me.  

Over the next three years I got her in with countless professionals... looking for answers.  Again and again... Nothing! "Keep up with the treatment plan," was all that I was told. I knew that it wasn't working.  Sometimes I sat up all night... praying for God to please help me find the answer... to please let me help my little girl. From Him as well... I heard nothing.

As time passed on she became sicker, and I more tired.  She also continued to get sneakier.   Family pets were killed, my toilets were continually flooding, my home destroyed, my things stolen.  But, giving up was not an option for our family. I knew there had to be something we could do to help her heal.

In August, a therapist finally mentioned Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  She was evaluated and found to be a severe case. "OK... this is it," I remember thinking to myself. "Now we can finally get somewhere." Knowing what was wrong, we called a meeting to ask for help getting the treatment we needed.  For the first time I was hopeful.

On September 11 my baby was born.  On September 18 we had the meeting.  As I sat there, I no longer had any arguments for their concerns about my other children's safety.   Twice I had to get up to vomit. I asked if we could just get her treatment. "Not now, there's no money." I was told that the intensive cost around 10-15k. I got up one more time because the room started spinning and I didn't want to get hysterical in front of all of these people. Minute by minute I saw my little girl slipping away.  When I came back they were making "pick up" arrangements for that afternoon. What??? I was so lost that I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t believe what was happening.

I picked up my newborn son and went home to pack her a bag. I was told she could get the rest of her things later. I cried the entire afternoon.  The caseworker called to tell me not to tell her until she got there, meaning... I would not have time to tell her goodbye.   At around five o'clock, they came and told her that she had to go. We were only given a few minutes with her. I told her that I loved her very much, and that I would always love her.  She said, "But remember, you are my only mom".   As I cried, I told her, "When you lived with your birth mom, you thought that was the only kind of mom in the world.  Then, you came to me and saw that not all mommies hurt you. Now you will be going to a new mommy...an even better mommy that can help you get better until you can come home to me." I lied. 

A few minutes later, I walked my little girl to the car and hugged her goodbye. I stood there for what seemed like forever, wanting to pick her back up... to carry her inside... and pretend that none of this had happened.  I stood there as the car pulled out of the driveway. That was the last time I saw her.  It took me three weeks to finally pack all of her things, and to this day I continue to find little things of hers. I was dragged along by the foster care agency for months. While sending me to training for dealing with her disorder, and praising me for learning so much so fast, they were secretly making plans to have her adopted by the respite family. As in many times in my life, my ignorance and naivety cost us both greatly.

It's been years since I've seen her, though I picture her daily in my mind.  I've resigned myself to waiting until she's an adult. Then I can find her and tell her how very sorry I am.   How very badly I wanted to be her mommy. I write her a letter every year and put it away, so that one day, she will know that she was always in my heart, that I always wanted her. She was never disposable to me. She was in every way my child.

Me in the News...

News Report



I was asked recently to talk to WJHL by the Children's Advocacy Center. For those who know me well, you know I have used their amazing resource for many of the children who come into my home. I fully hold them responsible for my family being so together! Anyway, Here is the story. At first I was a bit embarrassed, I guess the old victim attitude surfaced. You know the "its my fault" sort of thing. Then I got to thinking about it more. I never abused a child, I never hurt or starved or neglected a child, why should I be the one to feel bad? So here it is. . . A little of my life, the motivation for what I do. . . the reason I try to encourage each of you to reach out to children. . .

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.and there are some disturbing statistics right here in our region. Last year in Tennessee, 15 hundred children died as a result of abuse and neglect. There were nine deaths in Northeast Tennessee, five of those in Sullivan County alone. News Channel 11's Lara Moore sits down with an abuse victim as she talks about her trauma for the first time. "I grew up in a very abusive environment because of my father." 26 year old Jessica Hacker's childhood memories are of watching her father abuse her mother. "My mother left my father, she tried to make a better life for us, but because of child support laws, he was able to find us and pursued custody. When I was eight years old, we were sent to live with him for a two year period." It was then that Hacker became the target of his abuse. Teacher's saw Hackers wounds and reported them to children's services. There was an emergency hearing and her mother regained custody despite the fact that Hacker refused to testify against him. Hacker says she was terrified to testify against her dad. She explains, "My dad actually said, if you tell what happened I will kill myself and your stepmom, which he actually did two days later." The tragedy has motivated her to protect other children. Today she has three children of her own and is a therapeutic foster parent, taking in children who have experienced her same nightmare. Hacker says when she was a child the court system was not concerned about the kids, but only about the abuse. Now she works closely with the Children's Advocacy Center , a program she says gives kids a hand to hold while they heal. "That is the difference I see most in a children's advocacy center is it's not, look at all these things that happened and look at all these pictures. It's how can we get this kid to where she can smile again."

What to do if a child discloses abuse -Believe the child, no matter how hard it is. -Temper your reaction. -Report the abuse -Be understanding -Never blame the child To report child abuse call 1-877-54A-BUSE

Lost, about my Daddy

On October 3, 1990 a man held his wife at gunpoint. It was not the first time she had stood frozen waiting on the drunken glaze to clear from his eyes, but four shots later it would be the last. The man was my father, the wife, my stepmother Lynn. I lost them both that morning, but as the years have passed I have been overwhelmed with the losses that followed their death.
Lost were my stepmother’s hugs and kisses, her macaroni and tomato dinners, the hours spent playing beauty shop with her, the relationships of siblings separated, having my parents at my high school graduation and other monumental events, my innocence, the ability to live unafraid, trusting, and in peace, the ability to feel normal, the ability to have him see that I have chosen a man who would never hurt me as he did, the chance to show him my new baby girls, and most of all, the ability to let him know that he was forgiven for all the bruising of my body and soul. The list goes on for days but these are the ones that seem the most intrusive in my thoughts.
While I have regained some of the losses, the wounds are deep, cutting into every part of me. With time I imagine they will heal and become scars, a permanent reminder of just how much damage love gone wrong can do.

Drowning

Um if you wouldn't mind

you're making too much noise.

So... your head is underwater

just breathe easy, it's a choice

Um could you please focus

Try not to kick so hard?

Damn, We're trying to save you.

Don't you see you've came this far?

We've been standing here for hours

putting our world on hold,

you've hardly said a thing

except "help the water's cold"

Help yourself! You know you can

Stop the tears from flowing and dry your little face

Yes, We see that you are drowing

We just wish you'd do it with more grace.

My Song

I've lost my song and can't find it.

There's none who can sing it to me

the lyrics blanketed by too much pain,

too much sadness,

to much forever trying to be more than how I am.

No one brave enough to dig through the shattered pieces and broken dreams

They might get cut. I'm already bleeding.

My fault of course, if only I could let go,

but how to you let go

when your body so vividly remembers every unkind touch?

I don't know the answer to that.

I can play,

pretend,

smile while dying inside,

die while no one notices,

but my body screams out in protest.

Sleep evades me.

Food will not go or stay down.

Hands shaking,

Head pounding,

Waking up at night screaming about things I don't remember.

Crying in the daytime about the things I do.

And then my tears begin to fall,

for all that I will never be,

for lyrics that will never be found,

tears cried only by me. . .

From Her to You

To his love....

It's me, the hot young miss that's got your mans attention

Just writing to apologize

So sorry dear that you have to pay for my sins.

That your love has strayed to me

So sorry dear that every time I kiss him,

he wonders who it is, you are kissing

Every time I lay down with him,

you get accused of doing the same

Everytime I call his name,

He wonders what name escapes your mouth

Over and over again,

you will pay for my time with him

without even knowing I exist.

His paranoia will drive him crazy when he's with you

realizing even the sweet ones are capapble of reaching out

Are you reaching out?

Probably not, but it doesn't matter.

either way you lose this game you don't even know you are playing,

I get the attention I want,

You get to pay for my sins

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weirdness About Me

I like the flavor of meat, but not meat. I will often cook meat, boil it or whatever with the veggies I want, then take it out and feed it to my dogs.

When I am sad, I disappear.

I appreciate when someone notices I did.

But if you don't, I will be back, in my own time, and will never hold it against you.

I love and am very passionate about a great many things.

I wish at times I wasn't.

I make the best pancakes in the whole world.

I prefer texting to talking because if I am texting you, don't have to hear me say, stop touching your sister, be quiet, don't lick the dog, etc...

My babies are my world.

I am the most kind and gracious person I know, UNTIL, it comes to my children. Then I forget Jesus and all my manners.

Hermit crabs fascinate me beyond measure.

I sometimes spell words wrong, or create words to combat my ridiculous spelling hangup.

If I could hide in the shadows all of my days, I would be quite happy.

If you need someone in your corner, I'm your girl....

Creativity is my forte'

Kristine has become a most excellent lifeline to me in this Radical world.

For those who don't know. RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, is often referred to as, a Radical life, and the children, a Radish. It's an attempt by overly tired mama's to make something very ugly a little better.

I worry too much.

I am a college graduate, stay at home mommy to six.

I organize my food and arrange it before I eat it.

I cannot eat a sandwich which isn't made correctly.

I'm incredibly all or nothing.

I LOVE words.

There is no situation you put me in, which I will not adapt to.

I am a resilient little focker.

I could watch elf five hundred times and still laugh all the way thru.

Havarti cheese is my favorite.

I often learn things just so I can say I know how to do them, and never do them again, like how to thread eyebrows or make cakes using fondant.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grateful Lists

grate·ful [greyt-fuhl] adjective 1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful

For far too many years of my life, perhaps all of them, I was definitly a glass half empty kind of girl. I found, noticed, and focused on things that were stressful, ugly, or harmful to me. From relationships to my very thoughts, I was in every way, simply ugly.

Depressed. Angry. Bitter. Yep, me in a nutshell!

I was so busy seeing, worrying about, crying over, being pissed off about everything that was wrong, that moment after moment the beautiful, precious, fun, wonderful things were missed.

It was about two years ago when I finally came to a place where I was simply exhausted of living that way. I sat in my car and asked God to please give me a new heart, to please help me get my mind right, to please help me be the woman He wants me to be.

It was by no means easy. There are still days when my fears, sadness, or anger try to come back in. However, they find a "no space available sign".

I have spent the last year being very specific about being thankful for what I have, or even the bad things that I do not have. It has truely changed my world.

Several months ago, I decided to make my grateful lists public. I decided to share the way I was choosing to see the world. Note, choosing. You have to choose to see different. You don't suddenly feel like the world is full of sunshine and loveliness. You choose to see the sun through the rain clouds.

I'll admit that when I first started it was painstaking for me. Most times I was posting what it was that I was thankful I DIDNT have. "I'm thankful I don't have herpes. or I'm thankful I wasn't eaten by wild dogs today."

In time though, I started getting to the end of my day and replaying those moments that made me feel good and peaceful and joyful. My list quickly moved to "Grace. My babies laughter. People who love me" and on and on.

Please know that during this time, I was getting divorced, I was struggling with something very awful that happened to me, I was grieving over things I may never be able to share with you. My circumstances were the same, if not worse. It wasn't that life got better and I got grateful. I was grateful and life kept coming.

You have the ability to set the pain standard in your life. You have the ability to decide how frustrated, angry, depressed, or whatever you are. There is no one saying "oh she got cut off in traffic, that's a 3" or "she lost her job, that's a 5" or "She was diagnosed with cancer, that's a 10". One of the most difficult things for me to accept is that I am in fact responsible for how I see the world and how I allow the bad things to affect me.

Now don't get it twisted, I am one crying woman. I am easily able to get sucked into ugly. BUT for the first time in my life, I quickly recognize it as ugly and run as far and as fast as I can away from it.

With those things gone, I am able to see the sun. I am able to live and laugh and play. I am able to have a grateful heart. A grateful heart is a happy one Ladies and Gentlefish and Mama is HAPPY!

Some Clarity on Grateful List Making

I think sometimes, especially because some of my most personal and painful blogs are restricted, people see my grateful lists and think that I am either completely insane, or lying. I need to clarify something. Between the lines of every list, there are moments of deep pain and hurt and frustration. My world has been a very difficult place to live in for the past few years. There are big monsters and even bigger scars they left behind. On days like today, when I am frustrated, heartbroken, sad, overwhelmed, the very last thing I wanted to do was make a grateful list. It is also precisely the reason why I did it first. Ladies and Gentlefish, it is easy to be grateful when life is smooth, it is easy to be joyful when you have a reason to laugh, it is easy to be brave when you are able to protect yourself...but what happens when all of those things are ripped away? Who are you then? I can tell you that I am one very tired, very hurt, very heartbroken, very frustrated woman, who chooses to see that God has kept her, who chooses to embrace those who God has placed in my life to fill in all that has been stolen, who will praise Him regardless. I encourage each of you to make your own list. If you are in a place of bitterness or depression, start by making a complaint list...my husband doesn't listen to me, I'm heartbroken, I'm broke...and then rethink it...I have a husband. I am not alone. I have a heart that is able to love enough to be broken. Broke in my life means I can still access the internet...its not about changing your circumstances, or pretending they don't exist, but finding what is good and hanging onto it when waves of ugliness flood in.

Their Names Are Stephen and Jessica



His name is Stephen
He is kind,
intelligent,
and
funny.
Curious and brave,
He draws her out of her hiding place.
His name is Stephen,
and it seems he has found keys
to doors and places
buried so deeply within her,
she had forgotten they even existed.
His name is Stephen
and he makes her smile,
and laugh,
and her eyes dance.
His name is Stephen
and
he makes yesterday irrelevant,
today lovely,
and tomorrow hopeful.

Her name is Jessica
and she has one foot stuck in the mire of society,
the failure of ambitions,
the tears of dreams lost.
But no worries my sweet friend,
because her other foot is holding fast in. . .
Hope...
Truth...
Tenacity...
and
Love...
and all that means

His name is Stephen,
and
her name is Jessica,
and together
they will conquor the atmosphere.
They have time.

Independance Day

July 4, 2007, I sat on a mountain top in Stone Mountain Georgia, feeling a million miles beneath it. It was exactly a month from the day which would forever shape my future. It was a day a day when a false king revealed himself as tyrant, and love became a dream never dreamed about.

I remember standing there and watching the fireworks, hearing the star spangled banner, and tears rolling down my face. Each tear stinging the places where gravel still held tight to my skin. I was standing in the middle of thousands of people and feeling more trapped and alone than ever in my life.

I remember realizing that day that I was no longer free, but a slave to someone who meant so much but hurt so big. I remember wishing that at that moment, I could be anywhere but there.

Five years later, after stories most of you will never hear, much less believe, I found myself standing on a mountain top. I found myself free. I was OVERWHELMED. My heart could not fathomtfat freedom it felt.

Instead of running my tongue across the place in my lip which still holds a piece of gravel, I took silly pictures with my daughter and neice. Instead of cringing in expectation of the next hurtful word, I reveled in the kindness of my Stephen. Instead of crying out of brokenness, I laughed in gratitude. I simply was.

July 4th is a day of freedom for me. It is a day most of you will never have the slightest clue about, but will always be one of the most important days of my life. Mama is free. No more fear, and swinging arms. No more "you made me's" or "if you had not's".

She is free. She is free to laugh and be silly. She is free to dance and twirl about. She is free to dream. She is free to simply be, and more than anything, she is free to tell her story. She is not bound by those secrets anymore. . .Independence day indeed!!!

Starvation

Starvation: a state of extreme hunger resulting from lack of essential nutrients over a prolonged period.

Extreme hunger?
For far more than food,
but for my very existence,
for peace,
for freedom from swinging arms
for love,
for being somebody's someone.

Lack of essential nutrients? You betcha.

Prolonged period?
Officially, I would say, at least since June 4, 2007,
though as I am growing and learning,
as I am realizing what good,
and kind,
and loving,
truly are..
I think I have most certainly always been starving.

And this means what?

When someone has been starving, when the very basics of human existence have been denied them, it is simply logical that when given those things, they would grab hold of them as if they may disappear at any moment.

It is a given that they may stuff their face a little.
They may not display good and proper etiquette.
But really, how could they?
The very thing so many of you take for granted was denied them. It was denied them so very long that they simply chose to believe food did not exist, and if it did, they most certainly couldn't have it.

If you have never been hungry, you simply see a plate of food. You can afford to make sure your napkin is in place, and you are using the right fork.

They only want to eat.

Mama is eating.

She is napkin in the floor, hands covered in food, lips smacking, EATING....

It may not be gracious.
It may seem abrupt.
It may seem that she has lost her mind and manners.
But all she knows is that the very thing she prayed for,
was handed to her,
specifically,
and right on time.

She's diggin in!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Impossible

You know, I have a house full of impossible.
Babies who couldn't be born.
Children who could never live in a home.
Creatures who would never make it.


Yet,

They were born.
They have a mama who adores them.
They survived.

It isn't that I don't see the impossiblity of situations, or that I don't understand the very long road ahead of me. It's that I know that the very same God who gave me my babies, the one who breathed life into me, the one who healed my broken heart far before any man came along, the one who gave me the patience and wisdom to be tenacious when other's gave up, that God, He says you're a liar.

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

People commonly say that you find out who your friends are when things get rough, and while that's true, I think you find out who your friends are just as much when things go well in your life.
When you have struggled and fought, when you are tired but have reached your destination, your friends will be happy for you.
Your friends will celebrate with you.
They will thank God for what He is doing in your life.
They will praise Him for bringing you out of the darkness.
People who are not your friends will try to drag you back down with them. With words so covertly spoken as to make Mark Anthony jealous, they will cut, or try to, your joy. These are people who need a crisis, they need something to be wrong with you so they feel right. Get away from these people. Far away. You do not need them.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where I am going...

I'm not precisely sure how to even start this one. There is so much back story I feel needs to be told, that will appear random until we get to the here and now, so please be patient.
In 1997, there was a multitude of revivals which occurred at the churches I attended. There are two which stick strongly in my mind.
Before I tell you the first, you must know that due to the abuse I suffered as a child, I was told I would be unable to have children. My uterus was also turned the wrong way, making it even more impossible. Babies were a solid no for my life.
Carrie Southie, a missionary from South Africa came to Glad Tidings for one of the revivals. At the end of the night, she pointed me out and asked me to come forward.
She, having never known me, begins to tell my story. She talked about the abuse I had suffered and my broken heart, she talked about how God could and would heal me. Then she placed her hand on my stomach and started praying. She says "I curse this barron womb" and began crying and laughing and says "oh thank you Lord for healing her". She looks at me and says "you are gonna have babies and babies in the Lord, and babies and babies of your own". She says that my story is one that will be told all over the world to bring healing to others. She says my broken heart will let others know they are not alone, and that God is able. She says, "my only regret is that I can't take you with me now, but it's not time."

I didn't understand, but her words have stuck in my mind. Only a few weeks later I became pregnant with my Rachel. Two more babies followed. Babies of my own. Then came the multitude of children I have had the blessing to mother. Babies in the Lord.

He is able.

A few weeks later, Mark Evans preached at a second revival. He also called me up front. He is rather comical in his preaching, and I wish I had the actual thing he said recorded, but he said that he saw me in an airport and asked me where I was going and I said China. Then he saw that my tickets said something else, and the departure gate listed another country, and he says "which place are you going", and I said "all of them". He then talked about how I was going to go all over the world telling my story and what God had done in my life.

Fast forward 15 years, which I have spent struggling, falling, and at times, literally fighting for my life.There are several moments I should have died, and many more that I wanted to, but I'm still here.

In the past couple of years I have began writing. I am blown away by people's response. I am humbled that they take the time to read, and honored to have said anything that brings healing to their own hearts. I know that isn't me. I know it's God. I literally dream the words of most I write.

I hate change. I hate different. I don't even eat small M&M's. But for the past couple of years, I have been sooooo restless. I know my house is no longer my home, a feeling I understood even prior to my divorce.

I don't know where I am going. I only know I am not supposed to be here. I don't know where my stories will end up, but I know I must keep telling them. I don't know how, but I know the one who does.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Hole, A story of healing

Names have been changed to protect those who were never protected Claira was a small baby, weighing only six pounds when she was born. She was born into a world most would never be caught dead in. As the nurse went to lay Claira into her mother's arms, the mother pushed her away. She hated this child. The child reminded her of the father who had finally beat Claira out of her. Claira's time in the hospital was spent with various nurses caring for her. Not one time did the mother hold her newborn baby. Not one time did she respond to Claira's cries. When Claira arrived home from the hospital she did not find a warm nursery to welcome her. She found a filthy room full of animal feces and dirty clothes. Claira searched desperately for the voice she had come to know over the past nine months. She was terrified. As each hour passed Claira became enraged, and literally afraid for her life. Yet no one came. One by one her most basic needs surfaced and were ignored. Because no one answered little Claira's cries for help and comfort, she began to comfort herself. This was the beginning of her digging a hole so very deep into herself that no one could ever find her heart. This was to be the beginning of Claira becoming a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Reactive Attachment Disorder occurs when a child fails to develop a bond with those around them due to a variety of trauma, most often abuse. Because their most basic needs were unmet, they do not believe adults are capable of caring for them. Children like Claira do not believe that they need anyone. In fact, they are quite hostile to anyone who attempts to care for them. They believe that they must be in control in order to survive. The disorder is marked by an inability to form normal relationships with others and impairment in social development, marked by sociopathic behaviors during childhood. As the battle waged on outside, her parents pummeling one another at every turn, Claira grasped her shovel tightly. She was certain that she had made the safe choice by beginning to dig. In her world, adults were not safe. Her hole became her refuge. Each time some new pain occurred, she dug a little deeper. She began to believe that if she ever came out of this hole she would die. The final blow came when Claira was about eighteen months old. Her mother left her father, leaving little Claira with him. This defenseless child had been left alone with a man whom the mother had gotten a restraining order against. During the next three years there were many times when Claira's needs were not met. When she cried for food, her father would kick her across the room. When she was scared at night, no one came to help her. She was often locked in a room for days, where she was forced to urinate on herself and eat the paint off the walls. She began to welcome the smell of urine, and it comforted her. She knew as long as things smelled like that, her father would not want to touch her. After a while she began to convince herself she was not really hungry, scared, or alone. She became the queen of her universe. She controlled everything. It was quite easy for her to believe because no one ever attempted to broach her hiding place. She no longer needed anyone or anything. In fact, she could no longer see those outside of her hole, and she could barely hear them. It was then that the lying began. Her lies helped her digging, and fueled the fury that beckoned her to dig further. They screamed at her to get away from the pain that her body was feeling. After some time, she could hardly tell what was real or what a fantasy. Her hole was complete. Nothing hurt her, nothing controlled her, and nothing could ever come close. In her heart, she was finally safe. Claira soon gained the attention of the Department of Children's Services after multiple reports by neighbors. It did not take much more than seeing Claira's squalid environment to get her taken away and placed in the foster care system. She sat many hours in an office while a caseworker called family after family seeing who could take in a "four year old little girl, an adorable child with brown hair and eyes". Finally, someone was found.On the first night she was sent to an older couple with no children. They made her a nice dinner and became very angry when Claira would not eat. They became irate when she peed in "their bed" and messed up "their toilet". Claira felt quite pleased because she had shown the adults around her that she did not need them, that they were insignificant to her. She had the hole, and it was her only need. This couple spent a couple of days screaming into her hole, demanding that she come out and appreciate all that they were sacrificing for her, yet Claira rested. When she was not resting she was busy sending out a barrage of missiles at anyone who dared come near. She hit and kicked, spit on them, peed on the floors, and killed their guinea pig. If they gave her a red crayon she would scream for a blue one. If they bought her a new shirt she ripped it to shreds. The family was deeply hurt by Claira's missiles; they finally gave up the fight to coax her out of her hole. After a few days Claira was sent to another family and then another, each yelling from above and being totally frustrated at her lack of concern for all the hard work they were doing to save her. Each one eventually threw up their hands and walked away. One day Claira went to a new home. The family had cared for many children like her so they did not become frustrated when Claira sent the usual missiles from her hole. Rather than run they walked closer to her. Each attempt to push them away was met with loving eyes and soft touch. Claira was confused and frustrated, her missiles became more dangerous, yet the family stepped closer. They were so close at this point that she could hear them clearly. She could hear the mom telling her softly that this was a safe house and that she no longer had to be afraid. Claira shut her ears to this. There were no safe houses. There were no safe adults in her world. Many months went by as Claira continued her futile assault on this family. She could hear strange noises from above but could not make out what they were. What Claira did not know was that outside her world something wonderful was happening. Each time she tested this family, they passed. Each time she tried to prove that they could not meet her needs, they did. As each need was met, a piece of a ladder was built. It was not long before the parents deemed the ladder big enough to reach down into Claira's hole. They carefully and methodically lowered the ladder and then themselves. For the first time they could actually see Claira. She was not the big and scary monster launching missiles that the other families had been so scared of. She was not an all-powerful ruler. She was a very small, sad little girl. The parents picked Claira up and held her close. They looked into her beautiful brown eyes and told her how much she was loved. They told her how very pleased they was that she was a part of their family. Then, as a family, they ascended the ladder up out of the hole. A small monument was built for the hole that had for a time saved Claira's life. Though she no longer needed it, it had been her resting place during a time when her world was chaotic. But for now, she will rest in the arms of the parents who helped her feel safe enough to climb out of her hole.

Flashlight Holders

What is a flashlight holder you might ask? In this most difficult time in my life, when all seemed dark, and scary, and overwhelming, when I could not see God, He sent people with flashlights to help me find my way home. He knew I had been in the dark so long that the sunshine would only scare me away. He knew that I was so lost that I had given up. He knew there would be no magical transformation, that the road would be long and painful. He knew I would trip and stumble. And I have. But over and over again, there each of you have been, arms extended, flashlights in hand. In your kindness, I, for the first time in my life, have been able to see God's love for me. I have been overwhelmed at the grace you have shown me. From a delicious meal, a hand to hold, late night phone calls when I have been afraid, to refusing to let me sit still for too long and constant reminders that I am not my circumstance, You have each been a living breathing example of God's love for me. I have tried and tried to write this so many times, and I know I'm not doing it justice. It is really too much for words. I love you. I would not be here without you, really.

You know you are Jessica when

You drive to the store at 8 pm for ridiculously priced goat cheese to eat with fig preserves and crackers. After hours of the kids driving you nuts you turn all the clocks ahead one hour so you can put them to bed. Shhhh... You spend as much on pet food as you do human food. You write sad stories, but are always hopeful. You have sizes 3-12 in your closet, and they all fit you from time to time, and sometimes within the same two week period. You avoid humans like the plague, but when they make their way in, you never ever let them go. There are people, who have saved your life, but you are unable to give them credit. You hate Idaho, and have turned all Idaho wear into bird toys.
You are slow to anger, fast to hurt, easy to break, impossible to destroy. Loves Ingrid Michaelson You panic at 3 am every single morning with your heart pounding and you can't breathe, and the world is overwhelmingly painful...and then you cry yourself awake So um yeah, you hate sleeping and most often only do it during the day. And so people sometimes accuse you of being lazy. And that's ok, because they don't know your nights. You love, but cannot currently have beer, GOOD BEER, high quality, perfectly brewed, 8 dollars a glass beer! You sleep with a pile of kids, cats, and dogs and love every second of it. You eat fig and goat cheese pizza. You are always cold in your toes, but hot everywhere else so you wear extra socks and no jacket. Will Ferrell can ALWAYS make you laugh. You can quote Elf and Stepbrothers like it ain't nobody's business. Anna Nalick always makes you cry. Cheese is your favorite Eminem is your favorite lyricist but you can't hardly share him because he is foul mouthed between excellent lyrics. You love your Northridge Community Church family and hope that you see in my bluntness, God's grace that they show to me every single day!!!!! I hope you don't hold it against them. I am definitly the absolute example of "she did _______________________ and she's a Christian...the answer, "yes I did, and yes I am". You have children of the heart, and children who made your hiney bigger. And you love them all the same. Regardless of where you carried them ;0)

Why you should ALWAYS check your phone before having it worked on!

I struggled a lot with whether or not to tell this story, but is is so freaking hilarious that I decided I would.

My phone went haywire on me today and I had to take it to the Sprint store to be worked on. I actually ended up making three trips before they decided it needed a hard reset. I left it with them for a couple of hours. I requested they save my pictures and contact info because I had just made a couple of bird videos and didn't want to lose them. Two hours and lots of stressing about stupid things on my part, I head back to the store.
SO I pick up the phone and head home. As I'm scrolling thru my phone, little kids around mind you, as in on the couch with me within eye shot....I go to my photo gallery to watch the last Harley video. It says I have 133 pictures and the beginning picture is of that lovely rainbow we had the other day....Ummmmm I didn't take pictures of the rainbow....so I open the folder. And what do I find????

Vagina. Lots and lots of pictures, 132 in fact, of some womans business in photo after photo. Different poses, same vagina. (I giggle everytime I say that) YES I'm Serious! So I freak, shoo kids away, and try to delete them. The only way I can figure out how is to do each one individually, and I swear I have no interest in looking at 132 pictures of up close vagina. Dear Lord bless the gynecologist I have no idea how they do it!

 I load up the kids and head back to Sprint. I go into the store and up to the counter. The sales clerk, who just saw me about an hour earlier, says,"Hey honey is your phone still not working?"
I said "Oh yes it working fine."
"Well good, can I help you with something?" she asks.
I hold up the phone, picture number two on the screen, and say," Um I think someone has lost their vagina"
She stammers and says "what?"
I said "well I dropped the phone off and just went to my picture album, and it's full of some woman's vagina"
The woman seriously looks at me and says, "Are you sure this isn't your vagina?"
"Nope," I reply, "I think I'd recognize it."  
"And it isn't anyone you knows vagina?"
I can hardly answer that one I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.
"Nope, no mam, I do not recognize this vagina, though I doubt I will ever forget it!" I dropped the phone off, there were some parrot videos and pictures on there, that's it. These aren't mine. I was trying to delete them at home but cant figure out how to do it other than one at a time and I don't want to look at each picture. I imagine someone is gonna be very disappointed later when the go hunting for goodness and find a parrot" Geez! Only me......

Why Abby says we need Jesus

Isaiah asked Jesus to come into his heart Sunday. I talked to him afterward making sure he understood why we did that as Christ followers. Abby says "We ask Jesus to be our savior and forgive us of our sins so we don't have to kill any guinea pigs" I said what? And she says "well you said before Jesus they sacrificed important animals to pay for sins and in my world that would be guinea pigs"

An Anchor

I once went sailing, ignorant of boats, but enticed by the beauty of the ocean. My boat was small, inadequate, but it will do. I started my journey with nothing, no one I knew had ever gone sailing, I had no idea what I would need. Too far from my starting point, and far away from home, I realized my inadequacy. I was going to die here. Survival mode took over. I found by offering small parts of myself, I could catch a fish or two, and though they made me sick, they kept me alive. Piece by piece I disappeared, my boat lighter but headed nowhere. In the midst of the tossing and turning, some people passed me by. They gave me a package, saying it contained everything I needed, but I sat it aside. I had survived this far depending on me, why risk anything different? It was not long before the calm water that was easily navigated by my inadequacy became rough. As the boat began to fill with water, I jumped off, certain I would have a better chance in the water than on a sinking boat. Out of nowhere, someone very kind came to my rescue, but I screamed and kicked and reached for anything but their hand. Sharks surrounded and my energy waned. In the distance I could see the boat, what I thought was sinking was still floating strong. I swam furiously toward it, and scratched, and clawed my way aboard. Inside, I found the package I'd been given so long before. The map, a repair kit for the holes, but most of all, an anchor. I busied myself repairing the holes, thankful as each one stopped pouring water. The map showed me where to go, but as I turned the wheel, I saw the person who tried to save me was still in the water. I'd hurt them so badly they couldn't swim out. I turned my boat toward them. As I approached, they panicked, remembering the pain I had caused. They would not let me help them. I cannot leave them there. They are in the water because they tried to save me. I did the only thing I knew to do. I dropped anchor. I said to them, I will not leave you here to drown, I promise. I know I hurt you, I know you are afraid, but I was drowning and didn't know you were there to help. I'll stay right here, reaching and showing you I'm not the same terrfied person who almost drowned you. I found the map, and the boat is fixed, its not pretty, but it will get us us home."

Kayaking

A few years ago, I went kayaking with some friends. I was nervous and excited. Towards the end of our trip, we hit some turbulent water and my kayak threw me right in. To say I panicked was an understatement! I had gotten ahead of the experienced kayakers. I remember screaming my head off, flailing about, certain I was going to drown.. And then I heard someone say, "Jess, you have a life vest on, calm down, it's ok." It took a minute to sink in, but I squeezed that life vest tightly. Within a couple of moments, I had gone from drowning, to standing on a rock. The walk to shore terrified me, it was slippery and the water fast, but, I knew I had my life vest, and I knew I wasn't alone. Only a few weeks later I was back on that river. Of course I was scared, but my accident, my falling out of that kayak, despite its bumps and bruises, and the water that stung my lungs, WAS NOT WORTH the chance of even one moment of being on that water. It wasn't worth missing the sun dance on the waves, or the icy water pulling my wandering brain into focus. It was worth the risk. The best things always are! If you are being tossed around in the water, even if you chose to dive in head first, remember your life vest. Look and listen for those experienced to help guide you to shore. But most of all, don't give up on the beauty of the water, there are so many more adventures waiting

Random Strangers

Yesterday while the kids and I were at Food City, a man came up to us. We were in the car, but not quite settled. He proceeded to ask for money. He said his girlfriend and baby were at the gas station, that they had ran out of gas, could we please help. I will tell you that as a family, we help. If we have it to give, we give. We do not ask why, we do not decide whether or not someone is "worthy" of helping. I don't carry cash usually but I offered to go to the gas station and put gas in the car. He was thankful, and told me where they were. Car full of groceries and grumpy tired kids in tow, we headed to the gas station. The kids chatted about it "our family likes to help people" and "if we didn't have gas we would want someone to help us" were some of the comments. We arrived at the gas station and there was no car. No girlfriend, no baby, no nothing. There are two similar gas stations so we actually drove to the other one, just in case. Nope. No one. Isaiah's response, which has many times regretfully been my own was loudly exclaiming "well what a waste of time for a liar". I pulled over to talk to the kids. I didn't want to brush it off or pretend this moment didn't matter a lot. I asked them, "why did we come here" "To help that guy but he lied" "Yes, but why did we do that?" "Because God says help people" "And did we come to help?" "Yes" "Then we have not wasted our time" Funny someone wise said almost the very same thing to me recently. We are kind and loving because God calls us to be kind and loving. Kindness is not weakness, nor is it ever a waste of time if you look at it that way.

Monsters

Aside from fairy tales and movies, the world tells us that monsters don't exist.

They tell us that God is bigger.

They tell us that they are imaginary nothings.

I wish that I lived in a world were monsters didn't exist, but they do. In each of our lives, we will from time to time encounter monsters.
Some big,
some little,
some familiar,
some you can't quite put your finger on,
and others,
That at times,
Seem to overtake you.
Some even come in the daytime.
Some leave quickly.
Others hang around, ever present and menacing.
Regardless of whether they stay or go,
they leave reminders behind,
a thought,
a scar,
a something that sometimes you can't even put into words.

Someone who knows me told me monsters didn't exist. They deemed me crazy, attention seeking, and emotional for talking about what the monsters did.

Someone who cared about me threatened to whip the monsters ass so I had nothing to worry about, forgetting about those inside wounds that stay after monsters leave.

Someone who loved me saw that I was afraid. Someone who loved me listened to my story. Someone who loved me sat up with me all night until the sunshine came and I wasn't afraid of monsters anymore.

He can move mountains, even when you don't know what the mountain really is

Feb. 13 came. My husband was granted his divorce. In the past few days I have realized something I could not see before. I was blinded by my hope for a reprieve, and deceived about what my "mountain" was. I thought that divorce was my mountain. It wasn't. More importantly though, without a divorce, people would have always been able to credit Brad for being merciful, or me for talking my way out of divorce. A human being, not God would have gotten glory. Over and over again, Brad and others said "oh wait till divorce, then she'll fall apart" or "this faith in God is only an attempt to save her marriage" or "she's just using God to keep her husband". I prayed dilligently for God to show people my heart and what He was doing. I cried and fussed, and even yelled and screamed at Him when they didnt. Over and over I said, "God this is so important, please open their eyes". You know what I know now? I needed my eyes opened. My marriage was not as important as my trust in God. It was not as important as my willingness to walk off the boat into the water, storm raging. Truth be told, my fears were made all the worse by the realization that I created the situation to drown. I deserved to drown. Trust was my mountain. Was I terrified? Yes. Did I beg and plead for mercy and intervention? Absolutely. And the tears, my goodness, I feel my cheeks may forever be streaked with them. But, I did not drown. He did not let me go. He did not leave. He was faithful. I was never alone. When I couldn't see Him, when I panicked, He sent each of you, at one point or another, to remind me. I will be forever grateful for that. In the end, on Feb. 13th, there was no rescue for my marriage. There was not a magical moment. There was no last minute miracle of a changed heart. He went in, he signed, he left. Done. By wordly standards I "lost". Oh, but I wish I could find some way to convey what I have gained. Miracle after miracle has occurred over the past few months, the biggest one, at 9 am on Feb. 13th. The miracle I have found, is that in that moment, when He said no, when everything I had hoped and prayed for, pleaded and begged for, was signed away as if it meant nothing, God was still God. He still loved me. He was still here. That lesson alone is worth every single tear.

Because I'm awesome!

Oh heavens, my son got chopsticks at lunch today. He came into the living room, grabs something out of the drawer, and starts to leave. I say "um Ozzy hand me the pencil sharpener" He says "how'd you know I had a pencil sharpener?" I said, "because you are Isaiah, and it's not chop sticks its some sort of ninja weapon and I know you'd try and sharpen them!" Mom skills!

I...Love...The...Way

I literally picked a quote at random. A touch screen and closed eyes led me to this quote:

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. Og Mandino

I then deleted most of the words on the quote, leaving only a few, in the same order as the original."I love the way" is all that I left. It was all you could see on my wall as a title before chosing whether or not to read further. It was a tiny glimpse, and an innacurate one, of what I am writing about. Some cheeseball country song is what comes to mind as I read those four words together that way. There is no telling all the different thoughts that came to the minds of those who saw that post. The words, taken out of context, can be used to create many things. If you google them, there are thousands upon thousands of results, but only a few that are the actual quote by Og Mandino.

This is one of many of the problems with social media. We see tiny glimpses of someone's life. We can take those pieces and parts and make them into anything, especially when we have decided beforehand what is and is not truth. What a very dangerous thing to do. I say, if you are gonna look, look all the way through.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Place

For longer than I would like to. admit, I have been on a journey. A journey through the very depths of brokenness, through valleys so low I could not see above them, through places so desperately painful that death, it seemed, would be a relief.
In those moments, there would always be something beckoning me onward. "Don't lay down sweetheart, not here, not yet" I would cry out in anger, "please just let me stop, please just let me lay down, I am so exhausted, I don't want to feel this way anymore".
Over and over again though, I never seemed to get to a place that I could stop. So kicking and screaming, I moved forward, sometimes alone, and sometimes carried by people who loved me.
I did not travel gracefully. I did not travel without complaint. But I kept going.
And now it seems, I have arrived to a new place. My mind and body exhausted, my heart overwhelmed, I am here.
And this place, it is a place I had become too afraid to dream of. There is a beautiful light I can see in the distance and a joy that is slowly sweeping away the darkness.
Dreams live here. Hope is not a question but the natural result of having seen how far I have come already.
I love this place.
As the light shines brighter I am finding the most handsome and exquisite gifts, always there, I much to blind to see before.
I may just sit here awhile and let the sun rise. 

You Want Her Whole

You want her whole. Trust me. For when she finds her muchness; when she gathers all the pieces of herself, all the pieces you have broke...