My Prayer…

prayer

I found the following prayer in my documents folder at work today. I wrote it nine months after my divorce was final. That year was hellish. That year was a whirlwind of confusion and pain. Pain that would wake me up at night. Pain that would roll down my face at the most unexpected moments. Pain of betrayal, replacement, and loss. That year I surrendered. Rereading it, I thank God for the surrender and am warmed by my words in the midst of the painful events and changes taking place. May I continue to surrender every day of my life. Oh, how He loves…..and hears.

6/18/13

My God, My Father, My All……

I believe in YOU. I want to trust you with my future. You know my weaknesses and my struggles. Thank you for my strengths, they come from you. My weaknesses are where the enemy gets me. He knows my weaknesses but you know them better. Help me to know better. In my weakness, I turn to YOU. Sometimes I feel your presence and sometimes I don’t, but I pray that you strengthen my belief so that I am dependent on you even when I don’t “feel” your presence.

Use me for your purpose Lord. Refine me and mold me to desire your perfect will. Don’t let me get in the way of you one more day.

Please remove anyone from my life that would alter the purpose you put me on this earth to accomplish. Please add the people and opportunities in your timing that will further that purpose and ignite my love and openness to you.

Show me how to serve you. Show me how to share you. Show me how to please you. Speak clearly and I will try to obey. Give me the strength and desire above all other things to obey and to listen. Your direction is for my good, I believe that too.

I yearn to be transparent before you and others Lord. I know that may come with rejection and pain, but the suffering will be worth it in eternity knowing I was used, in any way, by you. As I grow and stumble every day, help me to look to You. You are why I grow and you are who I reach out to when I stumble in my humanness.

I love you. Thank you for loving me. I need you. Every day I need you.

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The Lost Ring

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After my divorce, I faced the age old question of what to do with my wedding ring. The ring I’d worn proudly on my left hand for 10 years was now a painful memory of vows unkept and a dream to let go of. It took awhile to take my ring off, but once I did, it haunted me. I knew in my spirit that I did all I could to keep our marriage alive and so in some ways I felt like I still deserved that ring. I loved that ring. I was proud of that ring and what it meant.

Did I have momentary thoughts of flushing it or throwing it out the car window? Yes. But, I just couldn’t do it. It meant too much to me personally. I gave that ring, my marriage, my all. I also didn’t like the idea of it sitting in my jewelry box for the rest of my days and glaring at me like a failure or betrayal every time I saw it. So, I came up with the bright idea to transform it into a mother’s ring.

There was no other way I could afford a platinum mother’s ring with real jewels any other way. Afterall, one of my daughter’s birth stones is diamond. That alone makes the piece way beyond my typical budget. A couple months after my divorce was final, I took it to a jeweler in town and did some refurbishing. I replaced the main diamond with a peridot (my birthstone) and one of the baguettes with an emerald for my youngest daughter. We left the other diamond baguette alone for my oldest daughter, resized it to fit my right hand, and an authentic and priceless mother’s ring was born. I wear it everyday and love it for so much more than how it looks. It’s personal and brings me peace. It reminds me that my 10 years married weren’t wasted. My daughters came from it and that would never change. I turned that sad memento into a beautiful gift for myself.

Yesterday, I was getting ready to leave the house and I couldn’t find my ring in my jewelry box. Frustratingly, I called out to the girls “Did either of you take my RING?” My youngest came in and told me she did to play dress-up. My heart sank. Of all the rings, earrings, necklaces, or bracelets she could have taken, she took the one I could never afford to replace and meant so much. I’ve told her so many times before to stay out of my jewelry for exactly this reason. And, here we are. Frantically, we all began to search.

My daughter is four, so her story changed multiple times as to what she did with it and where she left it. She said she took it off in the bathroom because it was too big and hasn’t seen it since. My oldest daughter and I searched both bathrooms and bedrooms high and low on our hands and knees for an hour. Me, crying uncontrollably which brought them both tears. They were so sorry, we all prayed, but I couldn’t compose myself. The ring was monumental to me. I was proud of the strength it took to transform it and continue to wear it. To me, it was a symbol of this strength through the whole ordeal and now it was gone.

I called my mom in tears and sobs. She promised to come over first thing in the morning and help us search. She said “Unless she flushed it or swallowed it, it has to be in the house! Don’t worry we’ll find it.” Still, I went to bed with little hope. Woke up to puffy swollen eyes, made breakfast for the girls, and waited. Mom came over as promised and sent me out for a coffee break while she searched with the girls. I needed that break more than ever.

I came home to heads shaking. They couldn’t find it either. So, I made peace with the fact that the ring may or may not ever turn up. I would let the search go and move on. I would know that my strength is not tied up in a band around my finger, that my story hadn’t changed, just the jewelry on my hand, and that the reason the ring was so special was because of the two girls staring back at me. And that we would be okay.

I started my shower for the day and as I was preparing to get in, what do I see on my bathroom floor, plain as day, the RING!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes, there it was between my sinks.  A place I know I’d looked before. A miraculous reminder that my strength was there all along and would show up when I least expected it to.

While my daughter was helping me search last night, she reminded me that “with God all things are possible”. And she just reminded me again. What a relief and a blessing to see my ring again. I will continue to wear it every day and even more proudly than before.

My Babies…

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Feeling overwhelmed with love for my girls tonight…My oldest is 9 and just started 4th grade. She is smart, strong willed, and so brave. My youngest is 4 and just started full time PreK. She is sensitive, thoughtful, and so thankful. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are happy girls. Watching them walk into school in their uniforms and backpacks gets me every time. Kissing them goodnight gets me every time. Seeing their sleepy bedheads in the morning gets me every time.

My babies:

  • Bring me deep joy
  • Make me want to be a better person
  • Hold my heart
  • Have pushed me to Jesus
  • Drive me crazy
  • Love me like crazy
  • Need me
  • Pulled strength out of me like I’ve never had
  • Induced love like I’ve never known
  • Will always be my babies

I Can’t Fix It!

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I work in a highly technical field. Between our computers, ultrasound machines, and treadmills, technology is in full force all day. When any of these break, it throws a wrench in our entire schedule. It affects our current patient and subsequent patients. And….we can’t fix it! We are at the mercy of our repair guy, and most the time, he is at the mercy of the broken part. He has to figure out what part is the problem, order it, wait on it, and get it installed, before we are back to normal working conditions.

I feel so bad for the patients when this happens because they are coming in for a stress test to check their hearts which is usually more stressful emotionally than physically. They want to know if they have a problem. And here I am, apologizing that I can’t test them because something is broken and I don’t know when it will be fixed. Usually, they are understanding. I always appreciate that, but I’m still frustrated that I can’t fix it.

Today, my treadmill broke. My patient was so kind even though she really needed it done considering she has plans to go out of town tomorrow (of course). I was even more frustrated because I had called the repair guy the week before with the same issue, but it wasn’t resolved. She was so sweet and kept saying to me “bless your heart”. She knew I was irritated with the fact that it was still not working properly. I said to her “I’m so sorry. I can’t fix the problem, only report it.”

That statement made me think of prayer. Most of our problems we can’t fix. We may have contributed to them, been born into them, or been completely sideswiped by them. But, we can’t fix them….only report them. Once we report the problem, we’ll need strength while He locates the problem, humility while He corrects it (us), and patience while we wait.

One thing’s for sure, with God as our repair guy, we will come out stronger, wiser, and more loving. Because that’s what He does. He transforms us through the problems we report. Let’s not be afraid to report to the One who created us. He knows us best and loves us most.

Truth in Tears

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“Crying doesn’t indicate you’re weak. Since birth, it’s been a sign that you’re ALIVE”. I ran across this quote yesterday and it got me thinking. There is immense joy in the delivery room when babies let out their first cries. Not only does it mean they are alive, but more than likely healthy. It’s such a relieving and beautiful moment!

My heart is heavy for those of us who have been taught that it’s best to stuff our emotions and just “get it together”. If you’re like me, there is a lot more pain in holding back the tears than just letting them flow. It’s in trying to suppress our feelings, that the real damage is done and the most pain is endured. Telling ourselves we don’t or shouldn’t hurt, when we clearly do, doesn’t help the healing process. While we may need to think twice before acting on emotion alone, feeling it is extremely healthy and the best way to process it. I believe that’s why we feel such relief after a good cry. Something about letting the tears come helps our hearts to heal.

For the men who were told that “real men don’t cry”, your naysayers must have missed the scripture that clearly says Jesus wept. John 11:35. Jesus cried even when He already knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He cried out of compassion for his friends. He cried because of overwhelming grief. He cried because He was human. I love that He wept and displayed this emotion. Jesus is the manliest of all men and He wept……for us. Then, He moved forward, overcame, and brought tears of pure joy by raising his friend back to life!

I believe I can safely speak for most women when I say that when we see a man cry with sincerity and for good reason (especially one we love), we view it as an enormous strength. Whatever you are allowing the tears to flow for means a great deal to you and allowing us to see them speaks volumes to those who love you. We want to know that you are capable of that much emotion and secure enough to let us witness it. If it matters to you, it matters to us. Our hearts naturally go out to sincere love, joy, and grief in the form of tears because we know they are real. We all long to be real.

On a personal note, I never saw my husband shed a tear as our marriage unravelled. I’m not saying he didn’t. I’m just saying I never saw it. I was surprised and greatly moved when he cried during our wedding vows, I saw tears when our first daughter was born, and at the loss of our dog. But, I never saw him cry over the loss of our marriage or me. He had shut down emotionally. Moved on already…..Matter of fact, as tears rolled down my face explaining to our daughter together on our back porch that the split was happening, he told me to “get it together or go inside.” This brought more tears.

I share that very personal information as a reminder to us all. Don’t shut down on what matters. Don’t shut down on what should matter. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come alive and active in our hearts. Ask Him to break our heart for what breaks His. Our families are worth shedding blood, sweat, and tears over. Our families are gifts from God. He pays close attention to how we treat each other as His children. We are all worth tears because we were worth His.

I cry when I feel overwhelmed with God’s love for me. I cried when I was rebaptized. I’ll catch myself crying at church when certain songs penetrate straight to my heart. I’ve cried tears of love just watching my children sleep, I’ve cried over loss of love, and I’ve cried tears of joy over new friendships. Each time it reminds me that I’m alive and I’m grateful to have loved so much that it overflows. I also believe that Godly sorrow, true repentance, the enormity of grace, feeling truly forgiven, and feeling the warmth of God’s true love can and will bring the toughest of us to tears. He alone is worthy. Jesus cried tears of blood in anguish and determination to do His Father’s will. Raw emotion. Raw love.

The next time your brain or upbringing tells you to “pull it together” or “be strong” by holding back tears of joy, love, or sadness remind yourself that Jesus also wept. He created us to produce tears for a reason and I believe it is to help us heal and deal. To cry is proof we are alive and that we love. Let the truth run down your cheeks and may He hold you close, comfort, and continue to bless you. You are loved!

Why Ya Gotta Be So Rude?

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“Why ya gotta be so rude? Don’t you know I’m human too?” This song is so catchy right now. I can’t help but turn it up and sing along…and it got me thinking (fancy that). We don’t know the story behind why the dad is not giving his blessing to marry his daughter. He may have a very good point. We also don’t know if she even wants to marry the guy or if Dad’s replying truly rudely or just being protective and direct….but I DO love the premise behind the song. Why do people have to be SO rude?

I’ve come to realize that blatant rudeness is just disrespect plain and simple. It shows lack of self control, lack of decency, lack of respect…just lack. I used to be attracted to rudeness, maybe because I thought it showed superiority in some way. I just assumed if the person was rude they had every right to be. Now, I see things very differently. I’m completely repelled by rudeness, it’s just not necessary. There are ways to do and confront hard things without being rude.

Turns out you can disagree with someone and not be rude. You can express your own personal opinion and not be rude. You can say “no” and not be rude. You can confront really hard issues and not be rude. People will respect you SO much more if you can express yourself, be yourself, stand up for yourself and NOT be rude. It may be extremely tempting to roll out the rudeness, but it’s just not necessary. It’s disrespectful.

If you disagree, express, decline, confront, or end something in a polite manner and the person is offended and angry, that’s their problem. You have every right to make decisions in your life and they do too. It’s HOW we navigate these situations that show respect for others and ourselves. Remember to respect yourself, we people pleasers have a very hard time with this one….

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Be you, be strong, but be POLITE! Thank you 🙂

Do the Hard Thing.

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When I got married, my dream was to stay married. I know that’s the shared dream for the majority of us when we marry, but my dream of a lasting marriage may have been for different reasons than some. I wanted to know that marriage really could last forever. I needed to prove it to myself. I was very much pro-marriage and still am. 

My parents divorced when I was in the 8th grade and it was hard. Divorce is hard on everyone. I’ve heard that research has shown that kids from divorce tend to divorce more often because they see it as an option. I was the opposite. I felt like my parents’ divorce fueled me to stay together come hell or high water……no matter what. I was in it for the long haul. The last thing on earth I wanted to go through or put my kids through was a divorce. I’d lived it and I knew the difficulties and pain involved.

I wanted a happy, healthy, and whole family for my husband, kids, and myself. Our marriage wasn’t happy, healthy, or whole because the people in it were not healthy or whole to begin with. I wanted so desperately to break the cycle of divorce that I displayed and permitted behavior that shouldn’t be accepted as normal in a healthy marriage. The example we were modeling for our children was neither healthy nor happy. It was quite the opposite. The marriage disintegrated while I prayed consistently for it to be restored. I poured my heart out to God over and over again pleading with Him to step in and save the marriage for the sake of our children and my dream to just stay together. Instead, the divorce happened. Looking back now, I know it needed to.

The reality of divorce has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through thus far in my life. Now, in the aftermath, it’s still hard. It’s hard because of too many reasons to list. It’s hard because the girls have another woman in their lives now. It’s hard because they go back and forth between homes. It’s hard because we don’t have the same rules at my house as he does at his house. It’s hard because our priorities are different. It’s just hard and I know as a child of divorce that it always will be.  It will take a daily surrender and annointing of grace, mercy, and forgiveness to prevent the devil’s stronghold of anger, bitterness, and resentment to fester. I know now more than ever that I need a daily dose of Jesus every single day for my children and myself.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve felt God tell me that He wants me to do the hard thing again. And that is to forgive and extend mercy to all involved. Forgive for the love of God and for the love of my children. When we have “every right” to be bitter and wish the worst, God asks us to do the hard thing. I know I can’t do it on my own, my flesh is entirely too weak. But, I’d rather forgive than suffer. I’d rather forgive than let the magnitude of what happened affect what will happen in mine or my children’s lives. I am willing to do the hard thing. But, I can’t do it on my own. He’s going to have to prop me up and do it with me.

I have no doubt God could have saved our marriage, but He chose not to. That wasn’t a part of His plan. I do know His plans for me are good. I do know He wants me to forgive and continue to love. I do know He wants me to live an abundant and joyful life.  To live the life He desires me to live, I believe I will have to once again do the hard thing. I believe that forgiveness equals freedom and I also believe He loves me enough to help me do it because He has forgiven me.