When They Leave…

Have you been walked away from? Ghosted? Not committed to? Replaced? This is an article for you.

Even when our kids leave, there is a tremendous amount of pain. It’s a ripping. A tearing away at our heart.

I have had all of the above. I’ll bet you have too. If not yet, you may. I want to help you see the positive.

This is not a pity party post. After my divorce, I boldly asked God to remove anyone not meant for me. I meant it, but never thought it would take so many “tries”. It takes a lot of courage to try again with anyone after such a blow. Even more to stick your neck out with kids and in public. I had no desire to date in the dark or without intention, so I continued in prayer, worked on my weaknesses, gave them to God, and asked Him for help.

As the backs turned, friends too, I thought me being me was the problem. I was even told that, so I did a lot of inner work and crying out to God. Still, in my heartbreak and bewilderment, I trusted God’s heart in the pain and the questions. What was going on? Why? Even my truest friends didn’t understand why this was part of my story. I prayed, they prayed. I loved, they loved.

Rejection is one of the most excruciating things on this planet, but I can say now that I fully trust His heart in each one and would again. I trust He wants what’s best for me. And, because He is it, I trust that anyone He removes will ultimately distract me from my first love, Him, or I them.

My deepest desire is to grow closer and closer to Him together and show His love to others, not the other way around. And, if that scares anyone off, so be it. I hate to lose people, I love people, but He comes first.

I have not only been rejected, I have also done the rejecting. That’s hard too, but I knew and know it was best for me and my girls. I’ll just go ahead and assume the guys who rejected me felt the same. I wish them all the very best. Because of the hurt, I’ve learned from each one.

In the case any of them actually read this, I’d like to say “Thank you.” Thank you for pushing me closer to Him. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for your part in making me a fighter, a learner, a stronger person. You helped me dig deep for healing and my truest Lover and Corrector.

Now, I realize that the lessons learned have given me a ministry. I wouldn’t have the lessons without the story. I’ve always loved to write, but wouldn’t have the content without the story. It’s been in the confusion and rejection that I found my beloved Jesus and a way to use the gift He’s given me. He’s the One who never turns His back on me or leaves for college or draws a final breath. Rather, holds me closer than ever. Each time of loss this has been confirmed and deepened our relationship.

I pray that this helps me understand and sympathize with my daughters’ dating years better than before. That I help others heal from their childhoods, divorces, and to maybe even gain insights if they choose to date again. I pray this helps others not only stay married, but have a better marriage. I pray this helps others find their worth in Christ and not those who walk away or put them down. I pray this helps women find their beauty in their Creator and men to recognize that we both have the same Creator and Father. I pray this helps us all remember and recognize that we are accountable to Him. What has He asked you to do?

The enemy messes with me. He discourages me and tries to silence me. But, may my lips and fingers never stop praising my faithful God. The One who only lovingly turned His back to protect us from His Glory (Exodus 33:23). The One who will return and never have to do that again. The One who welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters home. The One who asks me to share my heart. The One who craves His time with me. The One who teaches me.

May each rejection, loss, season push you closer to His heart. That is His will for all of us.

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To Come…and to Stay.

It took me almost 40 years to get a dog AND a man that won’t run as fast as they can to get away from me first chance they get. For those of you who know my men and previous dog stories, you know what I mean! With men, this has usually been when I’ve stood up for myself. But, now I have BOTH and I thank the good Lord!

When I think and frankly expect either one of them to turn tail and run, they both look at me with those puppy dog eyes, as if to say “Where would I go?” “Why would I leave?” “I want to be right here….with you.”

This is new for me. On both accounts and it feels really nice. I’m used to feeling not good enough, too much, too little, and ultimately second choice. But, I have a very strong feeling, there’s nowhere else either one of them would rather be. And, I am so thankful!

I’ve been told I have a dark cloud that follows me. No matter the thunder, tears, lightning, or circumstances, these two would rather be with me in any weather than without. I’ve experienced rain that no umbrella can withstand. I have stood up where necessary, I have let my guard down, and I have been given the beautiful opportunity to love all over again. What a gift!

I thank God for the people (and puppy) He has sent me who love me enough to never let me or want me to get soaked alone again. Dark clouds or sunshine, they are with me.

 

How Can Pain Be a Blessing?

We learn from pain. Some more than others and some quicker than others, but we all do in some form. If not, we wouldn’t be careful around hot stoves or warn our kids not to touch them. We usually have to experience enough pain to change anything about ourselves or what we do. Physical pain brought on by ourselves makes us more careful. You’ll more than likely avoid that coffee table corner after stubbing your toe on it or that person after being hurt over and over.

Pain we witness from others makes us more careful too. “Wow, that could be me!” It can make us think twice. Hopefully, we learn this way too. Pain brought upon us by others makes us mad. We didn’t want this pain. We didn’t ask for it, we didn’t even make the mistake to cause it. Still, so much to learn from this anger and frustration. There’s always something to learn.

As unpleasant as pain is, imagine what life would be like without pain receptors. The only way to know if we were hurt would be to see bones or blood. So, thank God for pain receptors. How would we live day to day without them? Extremely timidly, constantly hurt, and continually supervised.

If we learn from pain, it makes sense that the wisest people we know have experienced the most of it. They haven’t just been through it, they’ve allowed themselves to feel it. They’ve gone there, they’ve grieved, they’ve felt and expressed the pain rather than avoiding or covering it up. They’ve taken it to God. They’ve owned their part and they’ve changed because of it.

The pain of divorce may lead some to fight for marriage while others blame marriage itself and refuse to even consider it again. The pain of co-parenting may lead some to surrender and embrace while others vengefully fight the rest of their lives. The pain of betrayal may lead some to a deeper intimacy with Jesus and others to deem it foolish to trust anyone again or become untrustworthy themselves. The pain of failed relationships may lead some to a deeper appreciation of the one who’s different or to write them off altogether. The pain of family disapproval may lead to a deeper reliance on God’s or a life lived to please others.

Are you being crushed? All of these are painful, but it is in the crushing that the sweet aroma is produced. Grapes and olives must be crushed to make wine and oil, as it is with us. The deeper the crushing, the more pure the outcome.

Have you seen the joy and laughter it brings people to stomp grapes with their bare feet? That’s how I imagine the devil looks while we are being trampled on, thinking he’s doing us in. But, it leads to something so beautiful in the transformation and only possible by the crushing. I don’t recommend looking for pain. But, I do recommend gleaning whatever wisdom you can from it, looking for the blessings during in it, and remaining thankful in spite of it. There is always something to be thankful for. He’s always there and He knows how you feel. He may have allowed it, but He hasn’t forsaken you because of it.

The Lord says, “It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life an offering to pay for sin. But he will see all his children after him. In fact, he will continue to live. My plan will be brought about through him. Isaiah 53:10 (NIRV)

Jesus wasn’t just crucified for us, He was physically, emotionally, and spiritually crushed before it for us. It’s in contemplating this pain that we come to tears and surrender over what He did for us. The suffering He endured for us is how His love was expressed and our ultimate gift provided.

I hate that Jesus experienced any pain because I love Him so much, but if He hadn’t, I couldn’t live with Him forever. He did it for me. It was because of God’s immense love for us that His worst pain turned into our biggest blessing.

Being crushed for His purposes hurts like no other in the process, but coming out the other side you recognize the honor that it is and the joy it ultimately brings. You’ll come out closer, forever changed, and with a sweet personal aroma (story) of who He is to you.

Nothing Compares…

When you’re living in your God given purpose. When He’s backed you up, picked you up, and broken chains. When it’s His approval you live for…Nothing compares!

I’m thrilled my girls have the opportunity to dance their hearts out. I’m thrilled my girls get to attend the church school I went to. I’m thrilled I was able to buy a house in my  hometown. I’m thrilled I get to serve at the church I grew up in….in a whole new way. And, excited for what’s next for us. Because, I know now. He’s there too!

I’m thrilled for the courage the Lord has provided for me to write and share my story. And, I’m thrilled and humbled by the people it’s reached. To God be the glory!!

I’m thrilled for the lessons I’ve learned about love…and that now I actually have it in return. Beyond thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way. They’ve prayed me through. They always will. They have been my backbone, my confidants, my encouragers to follow where the Lord is leading me. I pray for that honor in return. That’s exactly what it is. An honor. To love and to be loved in return…Nothing compares. It’s God’s design and will for us.

Life after divorce is hard. There are difficulties you’ve never even considered if you haven’t been through it. Some things will never be the same. But, some things will be so much better! God knew. God knows. And, joy DOES come in the morning. For all the sadness and heartbreak I’ve encountered, He fills and uses in His most precious and perfect time.

Thank you, Lord! For loving me before, loving me during, and loving me after. Loving me always. ❤

The One?

There is so much talk about finding “the one”. How do you know if he/she is the one? When you’ve thought you found the one before and it tanked, it can leave a person scratching their head. The whole “You’ll just know” theory is forever tainted.

Something I’ve learned and am still learning…always learning is that “The One” is the one you’re willing to fight with and for which means work through anything and everything. But, it must go both ways. If you were willing to do this for someone and they weren’t or vice versa, you weren’t the ones for each other either. No doubt, you’ll learn a lot from this experience and hearts will break, but making it to the end with each other will take mutual desire and commitment. This is what real love deserves.

The one you can be honest with. The one who loves you in your bad moods as much as your highs. The one you’re willing to trust again after your disappointments and betrayals. The one who is willing to deal with your stuff. And…will you deal with theirs? No one is perfect, including ourselves, so to find a person who you not only want to do life with, but are willing to, is the one. Because, life is hard. Cherish that person.

Love after divorce is different. Eyes are more open, deep hurts have left crevices, sometimes children, exes, and location limitations are involved. There has to be more than infatuation because you know the difficulties of marriage now. What do you need? What can you give?

In order to enjoy the vacations, we need to love well in between. The hard stuff. The mundane stuff. The painful stuff. The unknown stuff. If you’re both willing, congratulations are in order. Because, that’s the hard stuff to find!

The one you want to go through everything with is the one for you.

We don’t love perfectly. We have issues, baggage, fears, scars. But, when you find someone who decides to love you through them and you decide to do the same, enjoy your one. And love and appreciate them like crazy. I realize this more and more as my stuff continues to rise to the surface. To be loved anyway is a miracle in itself.

“All of Me” by John Legend is really just that. For someone to want and take all of you includes so much more than your body. It’s your past, present, future, collateral damage, and most importantly your heart.

What the What??

Today, I performed an echo on a woman with Situs Inversus. This is a very rare condition “in which ALL major organs are reversed and mirrored from their normal positions”. Basically, everything on our left is on her right side and vice versa.

I’ve done a couple echoes on patients with Dextrocardia (this is where the heart is on the right side instead of the left, but all other organs are in their “normal” places).  But, in my eighteen year career, this was the first complete Situs inversus that I have seen and can remember in the flesh, outside the textbooks I learned about them in.

She was my last patient of the day and arrived about fifteen minutes late, so I was already ready to go. Normally, I think I would have seen “Situs inversus” in her chart and groaned. This would take SO much longer than a normal study! But, this time, I didn’t. I thought, “Cool, let’s see what’s inside and how good of pictures I can get on her. I wanna see this.”

I had to turn her the opposite direction we normally do. My probe had to be turned completely opposite of how I normally hold it. It was truly a mirror image. A challenge. An anomaly. A needle in a haystack. An amazing sight to behold. A lesson.

I asked her how she found out about it and she told me that it wasn’t until a surgeon couldn’t find her gallbladder during an operation to remove it, that she knew she had this very rare condition. They eventually found her gallbladder…on the other side of her body. Her kids didn’t have it. Her parents didn’t have it.

I kept telling her how special she was as I scanned her. Her organs were perfectly functioning, but they were put together and placed in her body completely opposite from yours and mine. By her Creator. She was made that way. Perfectly, but differently.

She was a blatant and beautiful reminder to me that we are all created differently. Yet, still wonderfully and fearfully. Knit together in His own way. Divine fingerprints.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 14-16 (NIV)

I couldn’t wait to get home and write this. She excited me. I come across people every day with organs that are put in the “normal” way, but don’t work right. Hers are perfectly functioning, just switched. Made that way.

She was my first. I may never see another Situs Inversus person from the inside, but now I’m aware they are out there, looking just like me from the outside. I thank God for the lesson He poured into my heart while I was searching for and scanning hers.

As she left my lab, I reminded her that God made her super special. And, that goes for you too. Different and set apart for His purposes. To proclaim His name and share your story of who He has been to you, Who He is to you, and why you still cling to Him….after everything.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Unexpected Ease

We planned it months ago….Time got closer and closer. He got more and more excited, and I got more and more concerned. About the kids. About the money. About the feeding everyone. About the long road trip. What would happen? I feared the whining would make my ears bleed, or worse, his. When he asked me what I was most concerned about, it was that. The twelve hour road trip, just the six of us. For the first time…ever.

When I asked him what he was the most excited about, he had the same answer. The road trip!?!? He yearned for and was excited about the time together. Completely foreign concept. Even to me…

When we arrived at the condo, I watched him pull $1000 cash out of his wallet and lay it on the counter to pay the landlord. This was money I knew was hard to come by and that he needed. This was money he had set aside. This was money that could have easily been used elsewhere, but his priority was us and the memories we would make there. And, even though he paid for the place, he gave me the room with the queen size bed and separate bathroom. Meanwhile, he slept on the pull out couch in the living room and shared a bathroom with the kids.

With his aching back and all, I woke up to his warm smile, hugs, and coffee every morning. He was THANKFUL we were together and it showed. Different rooms, different beds, all the kids. But, together as much as possible in this season.

He showed love by playing games, cards, laughing, putting us all at ease. One of my daughters is super affectionate, the other one not so much. So, when I saw her take his hand walking through town, my heart melted. She must know. She must know he loves her back….

We enjoyed the clear water and white sands of Destin. It was my first time to see it. We enjoyed a condo by the beach, amazing food, quality time with our kids, and LOTS of laughs. All this considered, my favorite part was the unexpected ease. The kind of ease that makes me WANT him on every family vacation from now on…The kind, quite frankly, I’m not used to.

Traveling is one thing. Traveling with ease, laughter, joy, and love is quite another. Thank You, Lord!