Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am woman, hear me roar (or cry...whatever)

Now that's a superwoman!
Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) - ...I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

"Moooooommmmmyyyyyyy, the toilet won't flush again!"  With a sigh of frustration, I made my way up the stairs and prepared for another plunging session.  First try, nothing.  Second try, nada. On the third try, the toilet finally cooperated.  I couldn't celebrate the victory, though. The tears were already welling up in my eyes and I began to once again murmur the lies I was beginning to believe..."I'm not made for this.  Men are supposed to unclog toilets.  I didn't sign up for this.  I don't want to be superwoman anymore."

I practically stomped back down the stairs and my blood began to boil thinking back to the reasons why I was in this situation.  "He needs to know what he's done...that'll teach him!" I thought foolishly.  I called my ex-husband at his job and began to unleash my anger on him.  I must've missed the memo on the whole "not keeping a record of wrongs" thing, because I had his listed in chronological order and reminded him of every.single.one.  The funny thing is that was when I was done, I felt worse. Now I was an angry, bitter, psycho non-superwoman with a punk toilet.

Situations like this have played out in my house countless times in the past two years.  This day in particular though, I was overwhelmingly overwhelmed.  Many single moms identify with that feeling.  I hate to admit it, but at times I do wish there was someone with me, someone to take care of those things, to take care of us.  And then there's that realization...wait, there IS someone. 
  • Isaiah 43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...
  • Matthew 28:20 - And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age...
  • Joshua 1:5 - As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you...
His promise is that whoever you are, whatever you face, He is with you.   You may be walking through a very dark place in your marriage, He is with you.  You may be walking through the grief of infidelity or the horrors of separation or divorce.  He is with you.  You may be at the end of the rope with your children, overwhelmed and feeling like a failure.  Yet still, He is with you.

I can't always count on my household running smoothly (as if!) or a man being there to save the day.  I can, however, walk this unknown path laid out before me with full confidence in knowing that God walks with me every step of the way.

Update: July 29
Heard this on the radio last night and it reminded me so much of this post :) Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words...

A mom and her midget wrestlers
...or so they say (whoever "they" is anyway).

What they didn't mention was just because a picture is worth a thousand words, doesn't mean those thousand words are worth anything.  Exhibit A: the picture at right. If you find it in your heart to get past the hideous glasses, what words come to your mind as you look at me?  Happy?  Fulfilled? Has it all? Perfectly beautiful little children?   (Oh wait, that's just me).

My sister posted this on Facebook a couple of years ago and I remember one of the comments reading "You look so happy!"  Yet, at the time this picture was taken, I was anything but happy.  I was still trying to get over my husband's first indiscretion, yet evidence of further indiscretions were starting to surface.  Sometimes, when I think back to that time, I can see this photo in my mind.  I know how sad I was on this day.  I know that almost every night after I crawled into bed, the floodgates of my heart opened and silently cried myself to sleep. The hopelessness of my situation was getting hard to bear.  The stress of hiding the truth from those I loved was eating away at my soul.

But this picture doesnt speak a thousand words about heartbreak or hopelessness or tears or broken dreams. So how about the pictures you see on a daily basis?  We're usually so fast to judge photos or be jealous of the seemingly perfect lives displayed in those photos.  Yet no one's life is perfect.  I saw this quote recently:   Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  That's what I think when I see this picture. I was fighting a hard battle.  Even now, I am fighting hard battles.  And believe you me, I am NOT the only one fighting battles! Mine pale in comparison to others'.  That's the funny thing about life.  No matter who you are, there are hard times.  So make an effort to be kind today, even to those who don't "deserve" your kindness.  You don't know what battles they are facing.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lasting love

Isaiah 54
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
   and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
   and then left," says your God.

 7-8Your Redeemer God says:

   "I left you, but only for a moment.
   Now, with enormous compassion, I'm bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
   but only for a moment.
It's with lasting love
   that I'm tenderly caring for you.


I'll never forget the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, the day I first realized I was a casualty of infidelity.  It was December 14, 2007. I dont know if I remember the date because it was my sister's birthday, or because the life I thought I created for myself was about to explode in my face.  I had noticed there was a difference in him, but I could chalk it up to lots of things. I had just given birth to my second child four weeks earlier, he had just started a new job, I was recovering from a c-section, we were still in culture shock after moving from our hometown of NYC to Charlotte, leaving most of our family back home. Still, I never saw it coming. I don't know if anyone ever does. 

I won't get into the details of what happened here because my intention isn't to bash him and his choices.  However, going by what little information I had at that time, I decided to stay with him.  I tried to get over it but never really could.  I sank into a pit of loneliness, confusion and insecurity. Most of my friends and family never even knew what was going on.  I put on quite a show. It hurts to look back at pictures of myself during that time.  I can see the broken heart behind the smile. 

I switched over to emotional survival mode and never checked out. I worked and took care of my 2 year old son and newborn daughter, becoming extremely protective over them, especially my new baby girl.  At that time he paid her very little positive attention, and mostly complained about her...she cried too much, pooped too much, woke up too much.  Of course, the day she had explosive diarrhea and shot it all over him was a vindication of sorts. "That's my girl!", I thought!  Looking back, he wasn't in his right mind.  You can't live two lives and live them normally.  He didn't hate her, he just didn't know how to love her in good conscience, knowing he had another life outside the home. 

That went on for 17 more months.  I can count on one hand the number of happy days there were in those 17 months.  Of course, my babies were like little rainbows that peeked through after the storms...but there were lots of storms.

To make a very long and soap opera-ish story short, hidden things began to come to light over those 17 months and he began to fall deeper and deeper into the pit (and it IS a pit) of infidelity.  Here was a man I met and married in church, yet he pushed God further and further away...you can't serve God and lust at the same time. Finally, on a Sunday afternoon in June 2009, I found out what was going on and asked him to leave.  In short, that was the beginning of the end.

I never really grasped the term "heartbroken" until then.  It literally felt like my heart had broken. I could feel the pain in my chest day in and day out.  My stomach was in knots for weeks and I lost over 10 lbs...which at 5' tall, makes a big difference!  For almost a month, I spent almost every day in tears. And when I wasn't crying, I wandered the house aimlessly.  The news spread and I suddenly had to tell close friends and family what I had been hiding for 18 months.  I looked at my children and hurt for them, because I never, ever wanted this life for them.   There was and is so much more involved that I won't get into here, but suffice it to say I wouldn't wish divorce on anyone.  Recently, I saw a commercial for a tv show entitled "Happily Divorced".  Thats an oxymoron.  Divorce rips your heart to shreds and doesn't only mark the breakup of a relationship, but the mourning of hopes, dreams and a million other things.  It has ripple effects on people you love and you are never, ever the same.

Isaiah 54 was a passage God had burned on my heart for years.  I highlighted it in my Bible as a teenager and had read and reread it so many times.  I didnt know why. I always had a burden for young, unwed mothers but I didnt know I'd soon be one myself.  A couple of days after he left, I reread that passage and it was like God wrote it just for me...

"like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief...a woman married young and then left...It's with lasting love that I'm tenderly caring for you."Lasting love.  LASTING love.  Many search the world over to find that kind of love.  Many chase it and look for it in all the wrong places.  Many still are blessed enough to find a spouse who can offer them the best love a human can offer...lasting for a lifetime.  But that's all. Humans are limited by time but God is not.  His love is perfect and more pure than any human can ever offer. His love stays and stands the test of time. His love doesn't know the limits of stress, sickness or death.  His love lasts.

There are many reasons I wanted to start this blog, but the most important reason is so that, whether you've been divorced one day or fifty years, whether you're happily married or hopelessly miserable, whether you're a single mom struggling to make it through the day or a mom who's amazingly content with her life...there is still hope in His lasting love that this world can never offer.  Chase after it and pursue it.  He waits for you.
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