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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

I don’t know where to begin. How many times does a writer start with that sentence in her head? For me, it isn’t often, but today I am overflowing with so many thoughts, emotions, sensations, and a heart-stopping contentedness, that I actually can’t find a beginning.

Clearly, if you read this blog, you know my life has been very eventful, and frequently that has not been a good thing. So I think I can safely say “I know” in many, many situations. I’ve had the “I know” feeling repeatedly over the past several days, weeks, and months. The first was in response to two friends’ relationship that quickly smudged barriers, both personal and professional. Having been in a similar situation before, I knew immediately when these dear friends of mine crossed over into the all-or-nothing chaos of a clandestine relationship. In fact, I knew instantly the day “it” actually happened, and was just as instantly thrust back into my own dark, labyrinthin time, where the supposed hedges that encased us as we walked through this maze had actually turned to deceptively soft leaf piles covering sharp, painful thorns. As time went on for me, the leaves dwindled to almost nothing, and I saw all of the thorns, and I ripped through the walls anyway. The results, as you can imagine, were devastating — both physically and emotionally.

How refreshing, then, to find an instant connection with someone who isn’t afraid to speak his mind or hear me speak mine… and who is interested in a real relationship with me and me alone. From the time he first started calling me, I chose John Mayer’s “Say” ringtone for my eNV so I am reminded every time he calls that I can be myself without fear of reprisal. The labyrinthin path so shrouded with thorn and cover is now clearly lit and easily navigated.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

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In the last couple of days, I’ve learned a very important lesson. I’ve learned that God doesn’t have to be finished with you in order to use you.

For the longest time, I couldn’t bear to study the bible, get involved in fellowship groups, or even serve at my church because I was feeling so guilty about the sins in my life. How could I, a divorced woman, possibly open myself up to God and, even more, bring other people to God when I wasn’t “finished” yet. Isn’t that hypocritical?

The answer is a resounding NO! One of the wonderful things about being a Christian and being involved in a local house of worship is that EVERYONE is welcome to come and to serve and to lead. In fact, God wants you to come when you’re sinning because He can help you overcome those sins and lead a healthier, more productive life.

As I’ve mentioned before, I felt called by God to serve the homeless for many years, but I ignored that call because I was feeling so self-absorbed in my own depression. I knew in my head that it would help me feel better if I helped others, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. At one point, I thought about serving in the area of children’s Christian education. But I looked at the people around me, assumed they were perfect little robot Christians, and couldn’t bear the thought of being “found out” that I wasn’t perfect. So I didn’t serve. The result: I continued to feel depressed about my life and my marriage, and both of these things began to fall apart.

Soon after I was divorced, I spoke to someone at my church about wanting to get involved in a singles’ ministry. However, when my friend asked me to serve and help start that ministry, I freaked out completely. Again, the thoughts raced through my mind: How could I–who had so obviously let God down–possibly help other Christian singles? Likewise, I was asked to help out with the church newsletter, but I just ran away. In fact, I completely left the church, stating publicly–and believing it was true–that I was doing so because my daughter didn’t like the church we were attending. In my heart, I knew this wasn’t true, but I couldn’t face my own frailty.

Fortunately, I came to realize that God wants me the way I am today (and the way I was yesterday too), and He welcomes me with open arms to serve Him regardless of how I’ve sinned in the past. He’ll even want me when I sin again, which I most certainly will do. I am thankful for this newfound knowledge, because it frees me to be ME. It invites me to do what God calls me to do despite my imperfections. A few of my special friends have made this knowledge clear to me, even when I battled against them and ran away from them. They never let me go, and they forgave me. They also assured me that God forgives me too, if I will only ask Him.

And so I say to Him today, “Thank you for letting me serve You. Will you please forgive me?” And I pray that I will welcome and absorb His forgiveness to bring even greater healing.

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I feel a compelling need to say some things on here, and I am sure that what I say will come as a shock to some. But I have changed and grown in many ways since my recent hospitalization, and I feel I must say them. Bear with me.

First, let me explain something about myself. After much introspection over these last several weeks, I’ve realized the extent to which I did not form my own opinions about many things–even very important matters in my own life. This became painfully obvious in the past week when I listened to the strong–and varied–opinions of a few people who mean a lot to me. This was a difficult week for me, as was evident from my last post. But it turns out that I needed to hear these strong opinions in order to realize how I had failed to decide how I feel about things. (The social worker in the hospital referred to people like me as “lost children.” I’m sure you can check on Wikipedia for an apt description of this personality type.)

Here’s a little of what happened this past week: I got a very upsetting email from one of my best friends, and my family–in their efforts to protect me–began to express in earnest their poor opinion of this friend. I, too, became livid and wrote vociferously of all of the horrid things I wanted to do to this person to get my revenge. My anger was definitely justified, and I never intended to actually do any of the things about which I’d fantacized. Now, hold that thought for a minute.

Only a few of us celebrated Thanksgiving together, because, as I mentioned in my last post, my family has been in a feud since I was first admitted to the hospital because I asked that my sister not be told of my admission. The result has been that my family reached an impasse, and I wasn’t sure if we’d ever reconcile. At Thanksgiving, we all spoke bitterly about my friend and about my sister. I want to emphasize the WE: I was an active participant in these discussions.  And then I realized how entirely empty I felt… about my friend, about my sister, about all the broken relationships I’ve experienced or witnessed in my immediate family… and I just felt sad.

On Saturday, my daughter and I went to my church with a friend of mine. The minister preached a sermon entitled “Radical Change.” In it, he talked about how we as Christians need to stop fighting in order to get people to believe what we believe and instead begin loving each other unconditionally because of our faith. Sermons don’t always “speak” to me, but this one spoke directly to my heart. I realized I had to speak out.

Rewind to the lost child I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Here I am, this person who couldn’t form an opinion for the life of her, and now opinions were flowing out of me. One: I–and no one else in my family–know my friend, and I know he is a person of good character who has made mistakes just as the rest of us have. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t my friend, and it doesn’t mean that I have to blow him off completely. So I wrote to him and told him how the email affected me, and I told him that I disagree with the opinions of my family members and will continue to value our friendship.

Two: my sister lives out her faith very differently from how I do. She, too, has done things to hurt me very deeply. However, as a Christian, I am called to respond to her differently than I did. So I called her up, told her I was through fighting, and said I would do whatever it takes to keep our families together.

Three: Since my arrival in the hospital, I have felt this constant nagging to call my ex-husband and apologize to him for giving up. So tonight I did it. I told him that I know we had many seemingly insurmountable problems but that when he began to change, I told him he was too late and I continued to hold onto my anger. I had no agenda in telling him this, except to seek his forgiveness. I have witnessed the transformation of a horrible marriage of a friend of mine, so I know that God could have done miraculous things for my marriage too, if I had listened to God and lived out my faith appropriately. (Caution: I do not take full responsibility for my failed marriage… only full responsibility for my portion of the failure.)

Four: I had a heart-to-heart discussion with my daughter telling her that I’ve done her a disservice in the way I’ve fought with my sister and in my decision to give up on my relationship with her daddy, and I asked her to forgive me too. I told her I feel great remorse for having given up like I did. I told her that when she grows up and decides to get married, it is for life, regardless of how hard it is. I told her what I did was a mistake, and that as a Christian it is important to keep your promises.

I am sure what I’ve said is shocking, especially to my family. But I cannot stand the thought of losing one more person in my life because of stubbornness and unwillingness to sacrifice myself for the good of my family/relationships–I feel this way BECAUSE I am a Christian. No, forgiveness and sacrifice are not concepts that are exclusive to christianity, but in MY life, I learned these things through my Christian faith… a faith I saw demonstrated by some of my best friends.

Thank you, my family and best friends, for all of the support you’ve shown me since September 21. I am eternally grateful.

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My marriage is officially dead. No warm, fuzzy euphemisms.

No polite “oh, dear’s.”

It’s just over. Plain and simple.

Yippeeee!!!!

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Well, I went to the wedding I blogged about in August (“What Would You Do?”). Am I glad I did? Yes and no. It made my friend feel good that I showed up. There were only about 30 people there, so my presence was noticeable. Wendy looked beautiful and happy, the bridesmaids and flower girls were lovely, and the music was nice. Also, I saw an old friend who gave me some real estate advice, which I really appreciated. (Kind of goofy that I’m glad I went to a wedding because of getting advice on buying a condo, but what the heck!  🙂  )

Was it easy? No. I sat in the back of the church in case I wanted to bolt, but I didn’t do so. I listened as the minister reminded Wendy and Jim again and again how they needed to keep their vows no matter what, and my heart sank. I was happy for them, but, of course, I was thinking about my marriage not working out that way.

What else can I say?

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I have an opportunity to set my feelings aside for the sake of an acquaintance, and I just don’t know if I can do it. Wendy and her husband were on the verge of divorce only two years ago, but somehow–they would say “by the grace of God”–they made it through the turmoil and found love again. To celebrate that rekindling, they decided to have a full blown wedding-like re-commitment ceremony. Having never had a real wedding at the beginning, they thought it would be nice to have one now, nearly 20 years later.

(more…)

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I filed for divorce today, and I am feeling so many things… I feel

  •  sad about dashed hopes of having a happy family with my husband and daughter… but satisfaction in finding happiness in my new family of two,
  • disappointed in myself for stopping trying to make things right… but comfort in knowing God is with me and will help me forgive myself,
  • dismay that I was never satisfied with my husband… but hope that I will grow comfortable with me and, possibly, another someone,
  • remorse that I didn’t listen to my gut when I considered calling off the wedding in the first place… but forgiveness toward myself because I deserve to be forgiven,
  • frustrated that I waited so long to make this decision… but resolved that I tried and tried and tried to make it work,
  • angry that my husband was an unwilling participant in compromise… but relieved that in divorce we’re able to do so for the sake of our daughter and our own sanity,
  • embarrassed that I’m divorced… but proud that I am proving to be competent as a single mother, and
  • relieved that I have a God in whom I find solace when confronting these emotions.

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