Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mr. Right

Loneliness accepted becomes a gift leading one from a life dominated by tears to the discovery of one's true self and finally to the heart of longing and the love of God. 

"Don't worry, you'll find someone who will love and take care of you and those kids".  I've lost count of how many times I heard that statement, especially in the first few months following our separation.  It didn't make me mad.  I knew it was just people's way of trying to make me feel better.  I often just laughed it off thinking "do 'Mr.' and 'Right'" even belong in the same sentence?!  (Don't worry, I'm no longer a man hater).

I never understood how women jumped in and out of relationships, especially after ending marriages.    After being in this situation though, I understand it well.  Single parenting is a lonely job.  I think some are under the assumption that you have children, so you can't be lonely. The opposite is true, at least for me.  You are stuck in between two worlds; that of being a parent/ head of a family, and that of the single woman. Those two worlds have a difficult time coexisting, especially when (as is my case), one parent has full custody.

Don't get me wrong, there are MANY perks to being single!!  My children and I have traveled up and down the east coast countless times in the past two years, just because we can.  I can cook or I can not cook.  New shoes? Yes, please!  I control the remote control and I can blast my music at home, even if it is "chick" music.   I have learned so much about myself and have gotten to enjoy my own company.  There are days when I fully enjoy the single life, but then there are days when I'm over it.

There's nothing wrong with desiring a man in your life.  That's the way God created us! Though I've always considered myself pretty independent, woman are designed to want to be taken care of. It's VERY humbling for me to admit that I sometimes get sick of being alone, sick of driving us everywhere, sick of taking care of myself when I'm not well, sick of car maintenance, sick of handling my own money, sick of fixing things in the house, sick of not being taken out, sick of carrying sleeping children up the stairs, sick of breaking up midget fights...and the list goes on and on.  I can easily understand how it'd be much easier to just jump into a relationship and get all that temporarily resolved.  Temporary fixes are just that though, temporary.  And around here, my temporary fixes are usually never done right.

Just last week it was about 96 degrees outside.  I was sitting at Josiah's bus stop, hot.  Not hot looking, just hot.  Two days later, we woke up to 45 degrees and the daytime high wasn't much higher than that.  I broke out my boots and fall jacket, and enjoyed every sip of my hot cup of coffee...perfect on a chilly morning.  Facebook was full of status updates commenting on the changing season.  Everyone was seemingly over summer and ready for fall.  It made me think – without the scorching summer sun, we would never appreciate the cool winds of fall.  Without the dark winter days, we would never enjoy the spring's sunshine.  In my life, I am learning to appreciate and embrace whatever season I am in.  I value the days where I am happy and complete in my singleness.  Yet I also value the times where the pain of loneliness has been almost unbearable, because I have learned so much during those times. Walking through those valleys has taught me that it IS possible to be alone.  Somehow, I have survived without a man for over 2 1/2 years and I have lived to tell about it!  I wouldn't trade that time for the world.

Allow yourself to feel both the blessings and difficulties that singleness brings and you will never be desperate for a man to come "save" you.   Allow yourself to rely on God for the love that you need, because His love is perfect, fulfilling and stands the test of time.  Take time to figure out what you really want and need in a man, and what you really want and need to be for a man.

So, hold will be worth the wait.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Explaining the unexplainable

My "favorite" son

Proverbs 24:14
Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

My firstborn, Josiah, is the sweetest little guy.  He has such a soft heart and as a baby he'd often cry when my sister sang him lullabies.  Sometimes, when he laughs so hard that he cries, he often ends up actually's hilarious to watch.  Josiah was only 3 1/2 when his dad left, but he remembers him living here.  He doesn't remember much of the tension that was in the house at that time (or he doesn't mention it) but I know he felt it back then. 

After their dad left, I had no idea how to explain it to my children.  My daughter was only 18 months so I couldnt really tell her much, but I knew Josiah needed an age-appropriate explanation.  At the time, I just held him over with short answers and at times, changed the subject. I just didn't know what to say.  He was still seeing his dad regularly, but I knew one day I'd have to explain the situation in a little more detail.

One night when he was about 4, we were driving home and out of nowhere, Josiah burst into tears.  "I miss my daddy!"  Without knowing how to handle it, and without being able to comfort him while driving, I just kept saying "its okay, Josiah...its okay to miss daddy."  By the time we got home, he had already stopped crying but I knew his little heart was still aching.  For a second I considered putting on a cartoon, reading a book, playing a game; anything to take his mind off of it and to save me from having to explain the unexplainable.  However, I knew I had to confront the issue.  How do you explain divorce to a child? I could barely wrap my mind around the questions of "why?" so how was I to explain the unexplainable to a preschooler?

I went up to his room and sat him down. I quickly asked (begged) God for wisdom, hugged him and told him one thing:  "it's okay to be sad".  He looked at me as if to say "Really?!"

As moms (or dads), we want the best for our children.  Unfortunately, its impossible to go throughout this life and not experience pain.  The important lesson I'm trying to teach my children (and trying to learn myself) is to allow themselves to feel the pain and embrace the lessons they're going to learn from that time.  I feel bad for them often. I hate that they're hurting.  I hate not being able to protect them from that hurt. I hate that they don't get to experience a "normal" family (whatever that is these days).  I hate that they may one day experience the issues that having stepmom or stepdad may bring. I hate having to explain someone else's bad decisions to them.  I do know one thing, though...this will not define them.  I never want the term "divorce" to be a crutch to them throughout their lives. 

Yes, its unfair.  However, if handled wisely, hard times can often bring about stronger people.  Even if this never would have happened, difficult times would have still come knocking at their door at one time or another.  I hope that, through this situation, they will gain great wisdom.  I hope my son will learn to honor and treasure his future wife.  I hope my daughter learns to choose her mate wisely, and isn't led astray because she is looking for love in all the wrong places. I pray that they value marriage, even if they don't marry.  Most of all, I pray that they are confident in their future knowing God walks alongside of them, in the good times and the bad.

How do you deal with your child's hurt, whether divorce related or not? 
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