This is probably a silly question, but have you ever felt that God was calling you do to something completely absurd and a bit beyond challenging? I feel like God is very often asking me to do tough things – things that by the world's standards even seem a bit bizarre.
Lately most of the crazy things I feel God is asking me to do are with regard to my ex-husband. I have to be honest and say I struggle with him. As much as I want to have a congenial relationship and "everybody just get along"...there are times...
Times when I just wish he'd go far, far away...I mean really far away.
I've been trying to figure out how to do this divorce thing gracefully, but lately I haven't been doing as well as I'd like. It's been years...you'd think I'd be better at it by now...in fact, I think at times I'm getting worse at it.
I can recall a time recently in my driveway when he and I were discussing something rather emphatically and I thought, "Lord, if you wanna strike him with lightening, I'm okay if I get a bit singed." It was wrong to think like that...but there you have it.
Our children notice when we don't get along even slightly. And it bothers them. I'd like to take that stressor out of their lives. Being children of divorced parents is the pits all the way around anyway.
But doggonit, he just makes me so angry sometimes. I feel compelled to let him have it. I shouldn't though. I should refrain.
And that is where I believe God is asking me to do the unexpected.
There are many verses in the Bible that deal with this. Loving your enemies. Praying for those who make your life difficult. I'm trying. I just don't know if I can love this man. I used to...very much. In fact, in some ways I still love the man I married – but this guy? Not so much. I don't believe they are the same man. This guy...ugh. He's no fun at all.
I'm sure he'd have his own things to say about me. But because I'm a Christian, I'd like those things to be...godly, gracious, kind, compassionate, peaceful, self-controlled, and forgiving. I believe there have been times in the past four years, actually many times, when those were the adjectives that described me, but something changed recently. What has happened that has made me fussy?
I've been thinking about this a lot. I believe that as I continue to walk this divorced path, my children have begun to deal with it in different ways. And as I watch my children struggle, I get angry at my ex-husband for putting us in this difficult place.
I believe though that I must learn to accept my circumstances...to be content in them. To trust that God loves my children and has a wonderful plan for their lives even if that plan includes this awful situation.
And seriously, I'm working on fumes most of the time so why am I expending additional energy on being fussy and angry with someone I rarely see? It's kind of silly.
I believe God is asking me to trust Him even when I feel completely frustrated by this person and this situation. I believe He's asking me to be kind when I don't feel like it...to use gentle words...to be forgiving as a way of life.
It's gonna require a lot of strength...thankfully, I know that whatever God asks me to do He will also equip me to do. Unexpected or not.
So next time I'm standing in the driveway with my ex, I'm going to pray hard and ask God to give me an unexpected ability to offer grace and kindness.
Yesterday I was at a local bookstore looking for a book about love languages when I happened to glance to my left and there was MY BOOK!! On a real shelf!! In a real bookstore!!
I can't believe how exciting it is to see it. I feel like a little girl with my first art project up on the refrigerator. I didn't think it was in stores until March 1st!
My book is called When Happily Ever After Shatters. It's my journey of walking through adultery, divorce and single parenting. I tried to share my story with hope and humor, because that's how I dealt with it.
There is something profoundly gut-wrenching about finding out your spouse is having an affair. I'd had nightmares about it and woken up feeling as though I'd been weeping for days, but of course that was nothing compared to the anguish I felt upon the revelation. It was such a physical thing...so overwhelmingly awful. At first I wanted to curl up in a ball and weep for days - I didn't allow myself to go there...at least not for days. I couldn't allow myself to wallow, I decided to fight and fight hard for my marriage...for my family. I fought until I could think of nothing else to do.
Divorce is just the worst game ever invented – manipulation, bargaining, second-guessing, fighting over things that should never be fought over. I hated it. I felt like I was giving up on my marriage but, seriously, my husband was living with another woman...was I really the one giving up? I wanted to quit the whole divorce thing many, many times. I'm not prone to quitting things, but this...this was horrendous. I just wanted my marriage back. This new life was nothing to smile about. Although I have to be honest, I did find things to smile about and even laughed a little bit too.
I was blessed throughout the whole process by friends who were willing to jump into my life...both feet! They helped with anything and everything. They watched children, cleaned house, made meals, did laundry, sat and cried with me, wrote encouraging notes, made me laugh, plotted devious schemes to unleash on my cheating husband, and prayed for me.
The praying was the best thing. I can remember wanting to say, "Please don't just say you are going to pray, really pray." I knew that my strength was coming from the Lord - I was pretty sure I had none left of my own. I wasn't sleeping, wasn't eating. I had this huge lump in my chest that made it nearly impossible to feel like eating. I stayed up late and got up early. I prayed a lot. Read a lot of scripture. And tried to make life as normal as I could for my children. It was very difficult, but I was determined.
When the divorce was finalized and I was really and truly a single parent, I struggled. I didn't like this full-time working single mom to 5 children thing. Was this really God's plan for our lives? I had a lot of very honest conversations with God. I had some serious questions for Him and He had more than enough answers for me.
His answers always confirmed His love for me. He loved me most often through my friends and His care of my family. He provided a job at Lighthouse Academy – my kids were down the hall and I had hope of a career. Hope was a huge blessing. He provided an affordable car through Bill Britt Mazda. He filled my pantry and freezer through my friends at New City Fellowship and Classical Conversations. His loving words were constantly before me in the Bible, but also in the notes and cards from my sweet friends.
He showed me purpose and gave me a vision through my children. I knew that giving up on anything was absolutely not an option. I had 5 beautiful children to love on. And they needed a Momma who wasn't a broken woman but rather a healing woman
He showed His faithfulness. No matter how much I complained, argued, and fussed at Him, He still provided His peace and love. Sometimes I was shocked that He still loved me...but that's my God. His love is relentless. Even in the midst of great heartache, God was still working beautiful things in my life.
Oh my! I got carried away. I was just gonna share about my book and I got going on my whole life story.
So back to this book thing! I'm so blessed that God has taken my story and made it into something that I pray will bless and encourage others.
I hope if you read it you are blessed!
You can find it on the shelf at a bookstore!! Yippee!
The holidays have started! I’m excited and exhausted!
Unfortunately I’m starting them at a serious disadvantage…sick. Several weeks ago I was diagnosed with pneumonia. It just won’t completely leave. When I spoke with the doctor, she said that the most important thing I could do was get rest…lots and lots of rest.
A couple of years ago my response would have been to explain my life…I’m a single mom with 5 kids and rest is not an option. Now I just nod my head and smile. I usually say, “I’ll try.” Which I honestly do. I really do try to get rest…it just doesn’t happen.
It’s like a live a Murphy’s Law life. If I get to bed early, someone wakes up in the middle of the night. If I go to bed late, someone wakes up early. It’s really okay though. I don’t mind my life…I just don’t expect to be well-rested…EVER! So the coughing continues and the sneezing doesn’t cease!
Today as I walked around Costco, I felt like I should apologize to everyone within 10 miles of me. I just can’t stop coughing. I want to say, “I swear it’s not the plague! I’ve been on 3 rounds of antibiotics! I don’t think I’m contagious.”
I can’t begin to tell you how many people advise me to get rest and sleep. Believe me I’d love to, more than I can say. Single parenting is not good for the circles under the eyes or the ache in the joints!
This lingering illness has made me think a lot about how some things are so much more complicated when you’re a single parent. There isn’t anyone to step in and make life easier when you feel really cruddy. It’s pretty challenging to find a place and a time to rest.
I tease my children because every time – and I mean EVERY time – I go upstairs to lie down at least one and usually three children come up to join me. There isn’t any way to sleep with children giggling and moving around! It’s sweet but I sometimes I just really really want to nap!
I realized that I’m not very good about asking for help anymore. The first year of my single parenthood I think I was so overwhelmed that I asked for help more often…or maybe I just had that deer in the headlights look all the time and people felt sorry for me. Now I think I just need to ask for some help.
I believe that it is important that we ask for help. Everyone is busy this holiday season but friends love us and they want to help. So how about asking?
Even if you aren’t sick, there are still times when a friend watching a child or two would be really helpful. Maybe you could even trade babysitting services with another single parent. I don’t mind babysitting because my kids always have fun when friends are over! Everybody’s happy!
I think when I finish typing I might call a friend for some babysitting services. She’d probably be up for a few hours so I could get something done, take a nap, or grab some Christmas gifts! I’m actually excited at the prospect! I’m thinking a comfy blanket, a soft pillow, and a phone turned off, or maybe a mad dash to Target for some Christmas shopping, or maybe I’ll organize my papers…the options are endless!!!
Merry Christmas! May it be healthy, happy and blessed!
Sitting quite nonchalantly in my garage is a big ole box of puffiness. It has moved from leaning precariously next to the freezer to on top of some broken screens on top of a shelf in the corner of my garage. This once hallowed box…relegated to the most unsacred of places…the garage. It’s a mystery to me what I should do with that blasted box.
This rather large white box holds my wedding dress. A mass of satin and lace. I was married in the 90s so it’s big and poufy – beautiful, but big and poufy nonetheless. I doubt, unless fashion comes WAY back around that any of my daughters will ask to wear it. I don’t know if I’d want them to or not.
I’ve considered donating it, but something holds me back. My oldest daughter suggested we make pillows with it – those would be some gaudy pillows to be sure! I’ve thought about just keeping some of the fabric, but truly it’ll just end up in the basement tucked away in a box with all the other fabric I’m not going to do anything with for the next 20 years. (The number of projects I’m compiling for my empty-nest years is staggering!)
I assume there is some sort of interesting psychological issue for me keeping it in the garage haphazardly thrown between the freezer and the bikes. Keeping it is probably the bigger issue – not the throwing. Throwing it anywhere including away would be more understandable in some ways. What am I doing with this silly dress – or maybe I should ask, “What am I going to do with this silly dress?”
It’s not the only wedding paraphernalia I’ve kept. I have a box in the basement full of special things from my wedding and honeymoon. There are love notes and cards – even ones I received during the last weeks and months before my husband left. I keep them because I want my children to see that we really loved each other. I hope that’s a good idea. The dress doesn’t fit in the box – otherwise I’d have probably crammed it in there by now.
Really there are plenty of pictures of me in the dress. That should suffice. I guess I want that dress to mean something it can’t anymore. My dress is just a symbol of lost hopes and dreams…betrayal and lies. Wow, that would make a great Lifetime channel movie, “On at 9 pm. Watch “The Wedding Dress” where lace and satin turns to lies and scandal!”
I know that I’m blessed because I don’t look at it with regret. I’m thankful that I had 17+ lovely years of marriage. There’s something to be said for blissfully unaware. Marriage wasn’t always easy or fun, but I loved my husband and loved being married. Maybe that’s why I struggle with what to do with the dress. I don’t really have bad memories – well, not until the end. And those memories were about someone very different than the man I walked towards down that aisle. God is so gracious to give me good memories and a pretty okay perspective about the present. I’m so thankful because otherwise I’d have probably burned the dress in the middle of the cul-de-sac while I danced around it like a nut.
Sitting here pondering my wedding dress predicament has made me realize that my wedding dress symbolizes my marriage not my divorce. It’s a picture of happier times, and maybe I can appreciate it for that reason alone. Although that doesn’t mean I need to keep it indefinitely. It was a lovely dress to wear. Maybe there is some sweet young bride who would be blessed to wear it…or maybe someone would like some rather ornate white pillows for their sofa? Anybody??
Today is my birthday. So far it has been quite uneventful except for me saying, “Guys, it’s my birthday, could you please just do what I ask?!”
Being a single parent doesn’t provide you with much of a celebration unless you do it yourself. That’s kind of a bummer. My ex-husband and I used to plan celebrations for each other. I still help the kids get gifts for their father’s birthday – he doesn’t reciprocate. It’s okay truly. Sometimes I just get fussy.
My friends are wonderful though. They have called and sent lots of texts and Facebook messages. I think I’m just in a funky place this morning. A funky single mom place.
It isn’t like there have ever been wild days of abandon on my birthday, so I don’t know what my deal is. It isn’t even a milestone of a birthday. It’s just 44. No biggie. I guess it’s a bit of loneliness coupled with a desire to get away by myself. How silly is that?
And wishing there were some balloons, presents and streamers. Oh my gosh!!! Am I 5?!?!?!?
Ok, that was embarrassing. I sound like a petulant child.
What’s even sillier is that I had a lovely day with a friend a few days ago. I received a beautiful gift. My sweet 11 year old son made me pancakes this morning. He made quite a mess in the process, but it was so thoughtful of him I didn’t even mind. My little girls drew me pictures and used about 3 rolls of tape wrapping them up so that will probably be a full day’s activity just unwrapping them. My son who is away at college texted me to wish me happy birthday! I’m so blessed that he remembered! That is just awesome! I’m so thankful for my children.
And here I sit quietly typing in my favorite chair, drinking yummy coffee and listening to my three youngest children playing in the family room…and they aren’t even fighting! So maybe I should stop feeling sorry for myself today. I am warm and dry, my pantry is full, my children are safe and happy, and I’ve been blessed with another year.
Maybe I just need to get away for a bit today? Although I kind of want to hang out with my kids too – maybe we could do something this afternoon. Nap anyone?
I’m not sure the nap will happen, but I know that today will be a blessed day and not because it’s my birthday but because every day, no matter how difficult, is a blessing. Those 5 little (and kinda big) people who I love with abandon are the most wonderful presents ever. This house all warm and cozy and cluttered is the best place to be with or without balloons. My kitchen might not be filled with the smell of chocolate cake, but it’s full of food (and even some chocolate) and that is something to celebrate!
So forgive me for inviting you to my pity party…do you mind if we change it a bit? Let’s celebrate together that each day is a gift and that each child is a blessing. Let’s find those things that we can be thankful for even if they aren’t wrapped in pretty paper and decorated with bows!