A Battle

Yesterday was one of those days.  I had my ACLS re-certification to attend in the afternoon and I knew Doug would be there with one of his OB friends which was one of my friends.  I knew it would be hard emotionally.  I woke up with it on my mind and trying hard to focus on positives.

After a morning blogging and praying I headed in to the gym for a run.  It was the hardest run ever!!!  It was only four miles, which is my daily easy run.  But it was anything but easy.  It was almost as if there was a battle going on in my spirit between Satan and God.  Satan was telling me I was worthless and wouldn’t finish the run, I was breathing too hard, people were watching me, I needed to just stop and head home, I’m not really a runner and I need to give it up.  God was telling me to keep moving forward.  I wanted to stop at 2 miles so bad… I was seriously dying!!!!  But I wasn’t about to let Satan win.  So I kept at it and I kept pushing through watching a tenth of a mile tick off the treadmill at a time.  It was agonizing.. but I finished.  And I smiled, it may have been just a run yesterday morning, and later a wise food choice, or a calm demeanor toward my son while he was hysterical about spilling milk.  All small choices that really mean nothing, but together they become a positive spirit.  I may have rough days on runs, rough days with my son, rough days missing my husband.  Satan wants me to have rough days, he wants me to fail.  Rough days need to be taken as a positive challenge that I CAN DO THIS!!!  And I can find my joy while I am.

Once I finished that run and stepped into my speed walking I heard something… “write down your love story, and let it go.”  I had spent the morning blogging and delving through old emails.  Emails that spit hateful words back and forth between us.  An era where I couldn’t figure out what was going on and he wasn’t willing to tell me other than hateful words and accusations.  A time when some of my friends decided I wasn’t there friend, but they were his.  It was a rough rough time.  And I found myself sitting there wondering again, what happened and how did we get here.  Which is probably what ensued the battle in my heart during my run.  So maybe I will write down my love story.  Write it all and enjoy that happy time and then let it go.  No delving into where it went wrong, no questioning in my heart why he never tried, no begging God to please change his heart and bring him home… just let it go.  Be happy for what it was, and happy for where I am now.  It has been a rough 2.5 years, but looking around my room, and my life right now…. I am an overcomer!  I have enough of what is important to be blessed.  I need to enjoy this right now, and not let the ugly ending to my love story define who I am.

Rough Few Weeks

I haven’t written in a while.  It’s been a really rough few weeks with my youngest son.  My heart is just breaking for him and I don’t know what to do!  It’s so frustrating, overwhelming, saddening…  and it takes patience!  Last night was particularly rough and I had to stop and tell myself.  “It’s okay Gretchen, you are doing great.  You are staying calm and that is HUGE!”  There was once a day I flipped into panic mode quicker than anything else.  I don’t anymore and difficult times like this struggling with my son, reinforce to me how far I’ve come.  I also have to remember how far he has come.  Once upon a day he too yelled, screamed, slammed doors, and broke things… almost daily!  Now it is rare.  So a rough patch like this, is hard because it isn’t normal anymore.  And I’m guessing it is harder on him, because he can’t understand why life has gotten so hard for him again.

My sweet, funny, compassionate, loving son struggles with impulse disorder.  When his feelings are hurt, when he is sad, when he is missunderstood.. watch out!  Well the last several months, school has suddenly gotten easy for him.  What was once a challenge and took all day to complete, he now completes in just a few short hours.  So the remainder of the day is very boring to him, and he winds up getting into trouble.  Adding on more school work was not something he wanted or was willing to do.  He felt that he had finished his work…. why should he be punished!  While I understand his point of view, I also feel the school work may be too easy… and he should be challenged.  After several suspensions due to difficult afternoon behavior… we had a meeting.  Several meetings actually, but one that I feel may have finally moved Nicolas to realize… he should do more work, and be proud.  Anyone that knows Nic, knows he struggles with change.  He went to school the following day and his entire schedule had been changed to accommodate more block times and more school work.  He was beyond furious, came home in tears, and was PANICKED!!!!!  It took roughly three hours to get him to sit calmly with me, discuss his old schedule, go over the new schedule, and develop a better schedule for him that he liked which included less wandering and more work in the afternoon.  He ran off to his room 5 times to freak out!!!  5 times!!!!  He got so mad at times his face turned red and every muscle in his body was clenched.  It became very clear to me that he struggles with coping skills.  He goes straight to mad rather than taking a deep breath and telling his brain that it will be okay, it is always okay. We finally developed a plan that he was smiley about, and the remainder of our evening was giggles and snuggles.  As a matter of fact at 9pm when I went looking for him he was snuggled in his sisters bed with her watching a show.

We will get through this challenging phase… Nic will be better for it.  And, so will I.  Life is just a journey one step at a time.  It’s an endless list of choices… which choice do we want, which one will lead us to joy, and peace.

Lex

A few days ago at work I heard a song that always makes me think of my Lex… The climb by Miley Cyrus.  It’s amazing the little things that can pull you back to a different time.  This song used to always be her song.  She was one of those determined little girls that would never stop until succeeding at something she wanted.  If it was a difficult math page she would sit there for hours.  If it was finding all of her binky’s as a toddler and making sure they were all rounded up before bed, she would!  If it was pleasing her daddy and taking a bite of some strange new food, she did it.  The song always just fit so perfectly about her.  She just never gave up.

I miss her….  I miss her so much it makes me mad.  It doesn’t make sense why she’s not in my life.  At least, not to me.  I’m guessing there is some good reason somewhere for it, but right here, right now… it makes no sense, and it hurts.

It still is hard for me to wrap my head around the entire situation both then and now.  How an entire family, could walk away from half of there family… yet claim that family is everything to them.  What family??  The ones you pick and choose on a day to day basis.  I am fortunate to have my oldest son (step-son) come visit now and then.  Without that I would have struggled with any healing at all.  I have watched for the last two years four siblings become divided.  Grandparents separate (literally overnight) from grandchildren and a daughter in law, a father separate from two children he chose to take on as his own, and a mom lose complete sight of two children she raised and loved dearly.

I have tried everything I can to let those two kids know I still love them dearly.  I haven’t involved them in any discussions of their dad and my issues (except that I was waiting for him, or I was sorry for how things turned out but that we all loved them).  And yet one of them, is far far away.  Her entire dance season is over and she never invited me to one dance recital.  Her siblings didn’t get to see her dance.  To her it may be no big deal, but to us…. it is painful.  My youngest son has written her off, he won’t talk about her.  Sadly, this was his closest sibling growing up.  I worry that she, like her dad, and like his mom…. carry the same traits.  The entitlement, the lack of remorse for others feelings, the quiet calm outside demeanor while inside lack of compassion for others, and the complete lack of feeling guilt.  When you are in with these people, you are in.  You feel great.  But when you are out,  there is nothing….. you are completely out.  I want more for her.  She is a sweet, loving, kind, giving little girl… of course, that is what I remember when she was a little girl.  A lot can change in two years.

I miss her….

Clarity

It was only a few months into my marriage to my husband when I realized my anxiety was through the roof!  I had gone from one to two and then rapidly to four children and a husband.  I was being stretched in too many directions.  And my personality as a giver and pleaser was being stretched thin.  I went to the Doctor and got on Lexapro.  This helped for a few years, but I slowly gained weight on it, and my sex drive become non-existant.  Neither were good for a marriage, especially to him.  He was a very calm man.  He was always above me in social skills.  Or at least that is how I felt.  Everyone loved him and I was the lucky one that he married.

I look back on that time and wonder now, how much “damage” I was causing to me, and my two biological children in that marriage.  I gave so much to so many, I had very little left for them.  My response to difficult things (which with four young kids was ALWAYS) was to panic, to yell, to NOT COPE WELL.  As the years went by my anxiety increased and I felt like more and more a failure.  Rather than fix the initial problem, like realize that I was giving too much and putting too high a standards on myself.  We through bandaids at the problem, like a date night here and there, or a “treat” from my husband now and then showing me how much he loved me.  These didnt fix the problem, they only made it worse.  Date nights took time from the kids and I felt guilty.  If our youngest daughter was in town I felt even more guilty because she was here so little.  Treats only added to my weight issue.  The real problem, was I didn’t love myself.  I didn’t realize my own self worth.  And sadly, he didn’t help.  I think he loved me very much, but I think he loved what I wasn’t.  I think he had a vision that I would be and loved that and prayed for that.  I felt that I was never quite good enough, hense I was always quite anxious.  When I would have a rough day, be tired, panicked, and flip out…. oh the guilt that would ensue me to the core.  I felt awful, beaten down, worthless.  And this cycle went on for years and years.

I think he tried, I think he really did want to love me and wanted me happy.  I don’t want to belittle him that it was his fault I was depressed.  Absolutely not.  But I would be lying to say he didn’t play a part.  To love someone is to love them completely… he didn’t.  And the parts of me he didn’t love started to take over because of a viscous cycle I felt I had no control of.

His actions since the day he walked out are not that of a compassionate man.  And I am not talking about the walking out and wanting a divorce.  I am talking the actions toward his two children remaining with me.  The actions he chose to take with the two children that are biologically his.  The actions he took regarding friends and family.  The fact that he turned this into sides rather than two people that just needed to go separate ways yet still raise four children.  He wasn’t capable of that…..  Two and a half years since that dreadful day he walked away and the clarity is finally, yet slowly, coming.

He is not the honorable Christian man I thought he was.  Neither are his parents.  Good Christians, God’s Christians, Jesus’s Christians…..  are loving, concerned for others, help others, give to others less fortunate, caring, and kind to all.  That includes our enemy’s.  I may have been begging for my marriage back, he couldn’t give me that… but he could have given me understanding to how hard it was, he could have given friendship, he could have demonstrated love through his actions toward our four children.  His parents could have shown love, compassion, and kindness without feeling like they were “taking sides”.  All grandparents could and should still be involved in the lives of their four grandchildren.  But not one of those things is happening right now, or has happened.  It’s been since September since he has had any contact with his son… who does that?!?!  Not an honorable Christian man, that is clear.

A long week

It has been a long week.  A week filled with worry.  A week I have let my hurt get to me and carry out in my emotions.  A week I have stumbled… hard.. in my faith.  I let worry dictate my emotions rather than my faith I have relied so heavily on for the last few years.

I removed my blog from the public.  And then I felt immense guilt that it was ever even public.  I quit typing all together for a week.  Yesterday and today I have spent a lot of time in prayer.  A lot of time asking God where to lead me.  A friend sent me a link to a sermon I think I needed to hear.  “navigating the courts of heaven”  I received two very clear messages from this sermon.

One, I needed to repent and renounce any ill thought I have said, had, or wished upon my husband.  I needed to truly release him from any pain that I have received from him, and find more peace in the truth of it than pain in the hurt of it.  After spending some time asking God to show me all the areas I needed to repent in regards to my husband, The peace that overtook me was incredible.  I felt completely released from ALL of the hurt.  I also realized that I no longer need to wait for this man.  I love him dearly, I hopefully always will.  I will pray for him daily.  But for me as much as for him.  I want to choose love over him.  I am no longer worried about him.  God will not leave him.  He may have a tough road, he may not.  But that is his story not mine.  I feel my tough road has been a blessing for me, and if he has a hard road ahead, I pray it is a blessing for him as well.

Two, my son’s issues with his anger, temper, school, and anxiety are from a long line of sins in our family.  It is something Satan uses against us each, and will continue to until it is stopped.  Well it’s going to stop here… this is my prayer, this is where I am asking God to lead me.  As I am realizing this I am realizing that there is a line of bitterness, lack of remorse, and entitlement in Doug’s family line.  I do not have the power or authority to pray for this in him, but I do pray that he realizes it and stops it at him as well.  Satan uses these against us in such predictable ways.

I will continue to blog my feelings for me, but I will keep my blog private for my eyes only.  It is helpful for me to look back over my journey and see how far I have come.  Recording pivotal movements with God in my life are important to me.

Dream of intercession

It started Sunday.  I had this feeling something was up.  I didn’t know if something was wrong or something was really right.  But I knew I needed to pray for him.  I spent most of the day praying for my ex on Sunday.  That was one week ago.  And since that week, it feels like so much has happened in that one week.

Monday I went to work feeling refreshed after a long day in prayer and spending time with the Lord.  I hit the road that evening after work with Brenna for a nice run.

Tuesday I woke up feeling sick, but no idea why.  It was a really long day at work. When I left work it was too late to run.  I really needed to get home to my children.  I checked the schedule to see who was supervising on Thursday.  I saw my ex was wiped off the schedule for several weeks.  My heart sank.  I texted him to see if he was okay, no response.  I texted his ex wife to see if she knew what was going on, she told me it should come from him.  She was right.  So I spent the evening in prayer and worry for him.  That was the first sleepless night.  I woke up around 11pm from the most vivid dream.  My ex was in a hospital bed, sitting up bent over an emesis basin puking, sweating, and in immense pain.  I woke up with my heart racing.  After looking at my fitbit though, my heart rate was only 48.  I laid in bed and prayed for him for hours.  Finally around 230 or 3am I got up knelt beside my bed and really really prayed.  After that, I found some sleep.

Wednesday morning  woke up so convinced that my husband had an appendicitis attack I texted him first thing to get better soon and that I was thinking of him.  I thanked him for going to another hospital.  I headed off to work with a heavy heart with worry.  I hated knowing he was in pain and I felt so helpless.  As of yet, he still ignored all of my text messages.  I had nothing really to go on other than a gut feeling, a dream, and knowing he was off the schedule at work.  Wednesday afternoon I was told by a coworker that he was in fact in our hospital…. what?  How is he here, he didn’t have surgery here… or did he?  I texted him again, again no reply.

Thursday someone completely outside of our hospital contacted me letting me know what was going on.  Yes, he was in the hospital.  Yes, it is surgical but he isn’t having surgery here, he will go to Portland.  He had a ruptured diverticulum and he is needing a bowel resection after the inflammation settles down…..  Holy crap!  I don’t know if I am more astounded that he is really that sick, or that my dream was probably pretty real.

Friday I received a message from him that if I really cared I would not be blogging about him.  So I did research and figured out how to block my blog from the world.  Because I do really care about him.

Gaze at the Lord

“Don’t gaze at your problems while you only glance at the Lord”  Read that a few times and let it sink in.  Hand all those problems, big and small, over to the Lord.  And then focus on him.  Ask him what he wants.  Ask him where to go next.

God has woken me up the last two nights.  Both nights with very vivid dreams of my husband.  I won’t explain to you the dream of either night because I think some of it was maybe true in some odd way (although is God ever really odd?), and it’s not mine to share.  I will tell you the first night was so vivid of his pain I woke up sweating, like disgusting dripping sweat from a run, and heartache.  I actually woke up crying.  I looked at my fitbit thinking my heart was racing but my heart rate was only 48.  Both nights I have laid in bed and prayed for my husband.  Both nights I couldn’t fall asleep after hours of laying there trying to drift back to sleep and praying for both my husband and for some sleep for me!  Both nights I finally got out of bed, knealed beside my bed and just prayed my heart out for him, his family, his children, and me.  And I slept like a baby for the remaining few hours.

I’m not sure what is going on in my husband’s life.  Only that God really wants me to pray right now.  I actually laid in bed last night for two hours trying to sleep and arguing with God that I could pray just fine from the warmth of my covers… “please let me sleep!!!!”  finally around 3am, I did get out of my cozy bed and kneel beside my bed for probably just 10 minutes.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 315…. I slept.

Both nights, while kneeling there I have continued to hand God all of my hurt, all of my “problems” and asked his guidance.  This is his answer… pray.  I am choosing peace.  I am choosing love.  Anything else just feels wrong.  I am here if he needs me, he knows that.  Outside of that, there is nothing productive I can do for my husband.  So God, I am going to glance at this problem in my life, while I gaze at you for direction.

Healing Rain

healing rain

Where to begin….

I guess it all started with a message I woke up to today.  Although really, it was a few weeks ago that I felt this move that God is really wanting me to share my journey.  I struggle a lot with what people think of me though, it holds me back.  Honestly, the people that think the most ill of me and my journey, are those that already have found my blog and they already let me know what they think of it.

“Degrading, demoralizing, and slandering people is not Biblical or Christ-like, nor does it glorify God. God is love and grace not spite and hate.  Sadly, you spew judgement in one sentence and in the next praise God. I don’t believe he would agree  with your actions.  Thinking you are closer to God and more righteous then another is not of God; that is the way of another entity!  As God is my judge, so is He yours.

Stop slandering my name and denying it. You spin the friendship we had into a tabloid like you could spill so many secrets about my life but are taking the high road and being gracious.  That road goes both ways. You wouldn’t like me to post on social media or a public blog my memories or the things I saw and heard over those four years of friendship.

Right or wrong, your vendetta doesn’t stop at your intended targets; your words and actions are hurting so many others.  No matter what you say or imply, my friends and family love and support me just as God loves me, unconditionally, mortal and imperfect as I am.  I am not the one posting slander, spreading blaspheme, and blogging innuendoes .  God gives me loved ones who truly love me, imperfect as I am, mortal as God made me.  God sees me as I truly am. By God and only God am I judged.”

It can’t get much worse than that right?  Sadly, I never intended my blog to hurt others.  This whole message is just confusing to me, none of it makes sense for the purpose of my writing.  But I have to remember who this is from.  And if guilt is where there heart is and they refuse to feel remorse, accusation is another route to take.

“I love reading your posts….. you are one of my all time heroes 🙂 Thank you for being an amazing example of a survivor… it taught me how to get through”

This was the message I woke up to today from an old high school classmate.  No I am not calling us old!!!  Not even a close friend from high school.   Someone that I believe God connected to my story…. why, I don’t know.  Maybe for him, maybe for me.  How he found my blog is unbeknownst to me, although it doesn’t shock me since God is in control of this.  Nothing really shocks me anymore.  I do still get chills, butterflies in the stomach, and a complete light feeling in my feet though when I see his work making so much good and I know I get to be apart of it.   It amazes me sometimes how God orchestrates such a complicated web of events prepared to save everyone.  EVERYONE!  He doesn’t pick who…. he wants us all, and yes, that includes the followers I have that think ill of me.

I proceeded to wake up and get going with my morning.  Took the whining puppy outside, read my daily devotion, prayed, bible time, and my workout.  Before I picked up my devotion I asked God to open my heart to his plan for the day.  I know I’m supposed to share this blog.  I know I am supposed to step outside of my comfort zone.  But I am still looking for a way out.  I’m worried about me and what people will think regarding it.  I fear it will be perceived as an attack against my husband and his girlfriends.  I am not judging their actions.  I am concerned for them.  I pray for them.  I am choosing to continue to love them.  But yes, I am still grieving and working through my feelings in my journey. So “God, if this message to share my blog to the public isn’t from you, please let me know.  If it is from you…. please show me I am doing it for good.  I am not judging those that have sinned… I am praying.  I know my intent, I know I am not writing to hurt others, but I sway so easily when I think of that hurtful message above.  I question the truth, and I need your strength if this is your desire.”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:56

From Devotions for a Deeper Life, by Oswald Chambers February 21st pg. 39 The fundamental characteristic of a life of faith is a definite breaking away of everything that ruled our sinful past, and a determined and disciplined claiming of God’s Word.  The spiritual life of faith operates as unconsciously and naturally as our physical bodies, bringing us victory as a matter of course.  Sin rules our conscious lives apart from God.  Entire sanctification removes this “personality of sin,” upsetting the conscious life and all its human reasoning, and puts a new “saintly personality” in its place.  So to speak, the power of God begins the construction of a new consciousness.  

Ya,  I know… Wow.  When I stepped out of my norm into a life of faith, it was a breakaway of everything familiar to me.  God guided me, not my anxiety, my feelings, my wants.  God put me face to face with many sins in my life that I spent months delving into repenting and renouncing and turning completely away from.  Sins I hadn’t realized, sins I had let affect who I was.  He changed all of that for me.  Sin does rule our conscious lives, we have no time to focus on God and do right when we are so consumed with the world view.  I knew when I picked up my devotion it was going to be about sin…. I don’t know how I knew, but I did.  I’ve known for quite some time I needed to make my blog more public.  Not for me, but for others.  I have gained so much out of others stories of faith.  Its time I share mine.  But my story, involves more than my sin.  It involves sin of others… and sharing that, means I need to be prepared in every way to handle the backlash.  God has been hammering me with lessons in sin lately.  Lessons in supporting other Christians in sin.  One fear is being accused of judging so God has given me lessons in what judging really is and the difference between judging in condemnation and judging in concernment.

Okay, so if I was hoping that my morning devotion would move me past this silly idea of sharing my blog.. it didn’t.  I got my work out done, showered, and got ready for church.

I walked into church feeling pretty giddy… I felt like God was with me the entire drive in, whispering words of encouragement and peace over my car.  You know that feeling you get when you know something good is going to happen, but you have no idea what?  That funny, butterfly feeling in your stomach.  Like everything is just right.  I grabbed a bulletin and found my spot in the balcony.  I was early so I spent a few minutes praying silently, asking God for some guidance.  Some words to post if I announced my blog on facebook.  Although at this point, I am wondering… “who else is already reading it?”  I have one friend that I know reads it, and I often ask her for advice.  I never want to come across as attacking, judging, or belittling.  I want my writing to follow where my heart is which is seeking only love.  She picks up grammatical errors but that is about it.  She always says “beautiful”.  Me and my stupid worldly ways, we need some kind of acknowledgement that I am doing okay even though I have continued to get it from God… go figure!  That’s why it’s called a journey.

The topic of our pastors sermon “a corrupt mess”  1 Corinthians 5.  Are you kidding me!  A sermon on Sin, sexual sin in fact!  Something Dean said that I wrote in red on my paper  The purpose is to “restore” Christians to Christ, not punish them, reject them, or shun them!  But also not to ignore their sin, because their sin will lead them to death.  If we must, separate from them as to not fall into sin ourselves is acceptable… but pray!!!  Don’t ever stop praying for them!

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This is the same diagram used on a topic of sin a few months back.  It was used again today.  I look at this diagram and I see where I used to take my reaction to a lot of things in my life.  But I see where I take it now without even consciously thinking about it… that is faith.

Healing rain was always “our song”.  Not just my husband and my song, but our families song.  For years it was even my ring tone when my husband called.  It felt like our family… two broken families becoming one.  To this day my daughter and I can’t listen to it without a flash of tears seeping from our eyes.  It played at church today…. yes, very fitting.  Healing rain comes for all sinners.  We just have to find remorse, repent, seek forgiveness and forgive, and we will be restored in “Healing Rain.” I am proud to say that only one tear snuck out of my eye… just one.  But the song confirmed everything to me.  It’s time to let the healing rain fall after my storm.  It’s time to help others heal from their storm.

This is no longer just my journey.  This is my story, but it is my story in faith.  My story in believing when I can’t see.  This is truly God’s story, of one more miracle.  And if he wants it shared, he may have it shared.  So with tears in my eyes as I write this I am realizing that later tonight my blog will no longer be what I have felt as my safe getaway to work through emotions.  God has taken me so far in my faith walk, and I still have so far to go.  But it’s time to let others in on it and realize that my faith walk, might help others.

So while some may judge me, I hope others find peace and help through my journey and my writings.  While some may think that I need to “let it go,” I hope others see the struggles in letting it go, and that truly grabbing a hold of something much bigger might be better.  While this may be considered a way of reminding my husband of his past over and over, I hope it’s more realized as a way I am healing my broken heart and find faith while I survive sin.  I have been and will continue to pray for those of you that feel I am hurting others.  I pray you will see that this is not, nor has it ever been, my intent.  I am more than incredibly sorry there are others that are even part of this story.  I didn’t put them here.  And while they may want to call me names, belittle me, or trash my faith…  I will pray for their peace, their blessings, their conviction and repentance for a restored wonderful life.  I quite frankly, still like them.

This is not a story of a mom and her journey of how she was hurt. That has never been my intent in this blog.  This is my story of a mom, a wife, a child of God….. and how my journey unfolds.  But more importantly, of how my journey has saved me.  How hitting rock bottom in a storm of a lifetime broke me, and how god is putting me back together.   I continue to seek a path I had no knowledge of prior… and I was a Christian!  Truly, this journey has just begun. Learning to listen to God’s whispers is a slow disciplined act.  But one more and more rewarding as time passes.