Vacillation

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I’m sorry that I haven’t made a post in a while.  I have been experiencing the back and forth motion defined as vacillation.  According to Merriam-Webster, vacillation is the inability to make a decision.  In point-blank terms, that means that I just don’t know how to feel.  In one instance, I am strong, and I’m ready to move on.   The next moment, I’m close to tears again, and I can’t believe that I love someone who doesn’t love me back.  I started out my day feeling okay, and now?  Not so much.  I am close to tears, and I hate that I find myself in the position of looking at my husband’s back, and thinking to myself, “I still love him.  How can that be?  When will I get over this?  Will I love him forever?  Will this pain never end?”  For some strange reason, looking at his back is what brings those feelings on.  I guess, in my mind, that is what I see when he turns from me- his back.  It’s a symbol of him moving on, and feeling better, and I am stuck in this limbo…unable to move on at all.

I’ll be completely honest- even though I am a Christian, and I know that no matter what, God has my back, and he will never turn from me…there are days when I am quite disappointed that I have awakened at all.  Each night, I go to bed, and I am just so glad that the day is done.   I know that these won’t last forever, but in the moment, it sure feels like it will.

Today’s Bible reading brought up a great point for me to keep in mind while I am in this mode of vacillation- it comes from Job 6:10. “This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.”  Job had it a lot rougher than I ever thought possible- his entire family was gone, he had lost all possessions, was sickly…the list is endless.  Job felt like his world was ending, and even then, he managed to love God, and be thankful that he was still alive.  I aim to stop the vacillation, and be more like Job.  It’s important for me to remember, even through tears of pain, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  There is a place where I will be okay, and I will eventually feel loved again, and feel attractive, and feel like the world isn’t on the precipice of ending.  It’s just going to take some time.  In the meantime, please excuse me.  I need to take a moment to compose myself, because above it all, I am still a mom, and I need to give my sweetest, littlest boy a bath.

Once Upon A Time…

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Once upon a time, there was a couple who were so much in love, there seemed that nothing could part them.  This couple had been through a lot of bad things in their lives, but together, there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish.  The years quickly passed, and suddenly, one part of the couple felt that they no longer loved the other person.  Both were Christians, both had made grievous mistakes along the way, and both had forgiven the other.  However, there wasn’t enough there to hold them together anymore.  That’s my story.  I remember looking at him, and he would take my breath away.  So kind, so incredibly intelligent, so funny…he was everything that I could ever want in a man.  Now, he has taken my breath away in a new and different manner- he has told me that he doesn’t love me anymore, and wants a divorce.  This was kind of a surprise, but kind of not.  We knew several years ago that we were in trouble, and I THOUGHT we were working through our issues.  Trust seemed to be returning, right?  Sometimes, things fall apart, and sometimes there isn’t enough glue in all the world to patch things up.

I try to keep myself busy, and I am still praying every single day, all day.  I ask God continually to heal this marriage, and to see us through this dark period.  We have fifteen years together, and two beautiful, wonderful children.  Depending on that particular moment in the day, I am basically seconds away from tears.  The man that I thought was closer to me than anyone else on this planet is now distant, and marking his time with me.  That takes my breath away these days.  The thought that I will no longer be this man’s wife tears a piece of my heart out every time I happen to ponder that unfathomable thought.  When did I become such a failure?  I was married before this man.  I was young- too young.  Then my husband happened upon the scene.  It was a whirlwind romance, and one that I don’t regret for a second.  Two failed marriages and and a decade and a half later, I find myself in much the same situation.  I am once again rebuilding my life, and rediscovering who  I am.  He has changed me- both inside and out, some good and some bad.  But really, after being a couple for so long, who am I?  Truthfully, I really don’t know.  That’s what I need to figure out.

I have picked up my Bible quite a bit these days.  I use it like a lifeline, when I feel that I can’t possibly handle my feelings at that point in time.  I offer up a prayer to God, and I thank Him.  Thank him?!  Yes, I thank Him.  I am honored that He feels I am so incredibly strong, that I can go through this once again.  I ask Him to show me what He needs from me at this point- I need to find a place of my own, and a job.  I have been applying for jobs like crazy, but so far, it has been a fruitless search.  What do you have planned for me, God?  I have faith in You.  I know that You only want the best for me, and I know that Your plan trumps anything that I could plan for myself.  I mourn this marriage like I have lost a close family member.  It is, for all intents and purposes, a death. At one point in time, I feel optimistic- like I am about to conquer the world, and the next moment, I feel like I can’t even lift my head because of the unending sadness.  Matthew 5:4 tells me “Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Yes, I am in mourning.  I am mourning the love of a lifetime, lost to the pages of history.  2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Father, I am incredibly weak right now.   I know that you are there for me, holding me close, and growing my faith and love for you each and every second.   Teetering between grief and sadness is the anger and resentment that I feel.  How DARE this man do this to me, to our children, to all our LIVES?!  How DARE he put me through this, when I have supported HIM through everything?  I get so angry that I could tear my hair out, and rage up at the sky for hours (or at least until my neighbors would tire of it and finally call the police).  But…at that point in time, I try to keep Ephesians 4:31 in mind.  That verse says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  I feel all of those things- bitter at how my life is turning out, anger that would frighten the hardest of men…I feel it all.  But what do those emotions give me in the form of gains?  Nothing, really.  It stifles me.  It stifles my faith in God, and it stifles my husband, and my children.  These feelings do nothing for any of us.  I need to let them go, and let God do the work in this.  I know that He has a plan, and if you are going through the same thing, please know that I love you.  Please know that these feelings, this situation…it’s only temporary.  While it feels that this life is an eternity, we are only here for a short time.  Fill your days with optimism, forgiveness, and most of all, love.  Don’t shut yourself off from the rest of the world because you are in pain.  There are others out there who love you so much, and see all the beauty within.  Let that beauty shine, and I will do the same.  We can walk this dark path together, holding hands, and come through on the other side.  On the other side is light, and a new life that we will build for ourselves.

In closing, will you pray with me?  Here goes…”Heavenly Father, thank you so much for choosing us to be so strong in your perfect light.  Father, while things are so sad right now, we know that you truly have a plan for us.  We know that you love us more than anyone else, and that you are building better people through these trials and tribulations.  Father, please give us happiness, and please help us through these times.  You have a plan for each of us, and while we might not currently understand it, you are in charge, and you know what is best.  So in the meantime, we will listen quietly, and we will work on being good parents, and all around, just good people.  In your Heavenly Name, Amen.”

Dear friends, while it might not feel it right now, I will be happy again.  It will take time.  WE will be happy again.  All things happen for a reason, and it’s up to us to just LISTEN.  My Once Upon A Time might be ending, but not completely.  I am getting ready to write another exciting chapter in a life that has taken a vastly different turn than I ever expected.  If you are going through the same thing, then you are getting ready to do the same.  So, let’s sharpen those pencils and get ready to write!

The Ugliest Word In The English Language

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It has been a while since my last post.  I apologize…deeply.  I have been going through some deeply personal things, and at times have felt like my world was crashing down around me.  Things are still very much in the air for me, but I now realize that as long as I have faith in God, and allow Jesus to take my hand, and walk with me down this dark and scary road, everything will be just fine.

Today’s subject:  Divorce.  That’s an ugly word, isn’t it?  All around, it’s a completely ugly word.  My husband and I, after fifteen years together, are divorcing.  It’s not something that I want, but I can’t prevent it.  All I can do is hold my head up high, know that I have done everything I could to make things right, and accept the fact that sometimes God doesn’t have quite the same plans that I do.  God hates divorce.  To tell you the truth, so do I.  Going forward, I will renew my faith in my God, and be the best possible person that I can be.  My children need a mother that is strong, and can stand on her own two feet, and be the best possible mother to those babies that any kid could ask for.

I would give anything for this to not happen.  I have spent days, nights, hours, evenings…all of it…in constant prayer.  I begged God, telling him that I would literally do anything that He asked of me, so that I could have my marriage and my family intact.  What I didn’t bargain for was how my husband would feel.   I also didn’t add the fact that the world is basically built for marriages to fail.  It’s all in how you deal with the problems, and how you communicate with each other that makes a marriage work.  Sometimes, mistakes are made that a marriage just can’t move beyond.

There is one Bible verse that makes things a little clearer for me during this time- it’s Proverbs 3:3-5.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  While a divorce might not have been in MY plans, it appears that they were in HIS plans.  God has different things planned for me, and I just need to lean in close, cup my hand to my ear, and listen closely to what He desires of me in the coming months and years.  I am most definitely not a perfect person, and if I could take all my missteps back along the way, I most assuredly would.

Right now, I feel broken, bruised, and badly hurting.  But every single day, I put all of that on the Lord. I tell him every single thing.  I have raged at Him, I have cried, and lately, I have just curled up on His lap, clinging as closely to Him as I can possibly get.  I know that things will get better.  It all just takes time.  In the meantime, I will get a daytime job to support myself, a place to live, and will build a life that does NOT include my husband.  We will always be friends and parents together.  I don’t hate him, and he doesn’t hate me.  He just doesn’t want to be married to me anymore.  That hurts, but after a while, that will be just a scar on a life that has taken a different path than I planned.  A piece of me will always love that man, and that I cannot take back.  I just hope that I can get my children through this process, and make them understand that wasn’t their fault.   Divorce happens in a fallen world.

Another verse that puts things in perspective during this time is Proverbs 30:21-23.  “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up.  A servant who becomes a king, a fool who is full of food, an unloved woman who is married, and a maidservant who displaces her mistress.”  That one statement really stands out- “…an unloved woman who is married.”  God wants women to be loved, and if that isn’t happening in a marriage, there is a problem.  No matter how much women have tried over the years, we cannot make a man love us if he doesn’t want it.  When that time comes, it’s just a matter of letting go with grace and aplomb.

Portable Faith

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Since my last posting, my life has most assuredly changed.  My husband is now out of the military, and is literally months away from starting his Master’s Degree program in Social Work.  My degree work has progressed and changed as well.  I am in my junior year of a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources.  My children have settled into our new lives, and I can say, moving to this scenic little town on the Ohio River has changed us all, and it’s for the better.  

During this time, I have come to the realization that faith in God is the most portable thing I own.  I have also learned through this incredible change in my life that God is truly someone that I can rely on for everything.  There have been times when I seriously thought that we were down for the count, and yet He comes through, yet again.  He always does, and no matter where I am- whether I am working, or caring for my family, at the doctor…my faith comes with me like a close companion.  I find myself praying throughout the day- whether it be for my husband and the changes in his life, my teenage daughter, my son (who has Autism Spectrum Disorder) or my son who is enduring his second deployment.  Prayer comforts me, and I find myself feeling so relieved after spending time in prayer.  I have finally learned to leave all troubles at His feet, and allow Him to lead me down the path that He wants me to take.  

In the last year, my husband was home with our children while I worked.  I went through three different jobs, and at times I would leave work, literally in tears.  I discovered that no matter how I sliced it, I still care about people, and I am hurt when people are cruel. I know that this is something that I cannot change, and that cruel people have been around as long as…well, people.  Let’s face it, from the first story involving people, cruelty has been around.  But with my portable faith, even in those situations, I was able to take a moment and pray.  The first job that I took when we moved was with a telemarketing firm.  I encountered a lot of mean people in that job, but occasionally I would take incoming calls for religious products.  I had one woman who asked me to pray with her, as she had some family issues.  In that moment, sitting there, saying a prayer with a woman on the phone who was crying, I knew that I had been placed in that job for a reason.  She told me that I had touched her heart.  I knew that God wanted me to help this woman, and become stronger as a person in being in that job.  I learned that even though there are mean people that we encounter on a daily basis, it’s that “portable faith” that will allow us to get through just about any trial that life can throw our way.  I learn a lot from myself in dealing with these people.  I learned that you can’t take a “mean person” at face value.  Often times, there is something behind that meanness…something that makes them that way.  It takes a special talent to look behind the snarky comments, and realize that you can make a difference in someone’s life, just by not trading one nasty comment for another.  The Bible teaches us to “turn the other cheek.”  It’s not easy, but there is indeed a reward in it.  I’m far from perfect- I still catch myself being mean in return from time to time, but it’s most certainly a lot less these days.  In the end, I still have my “portable faith,” that that’s not going anywhere.  My love for my savior grows each and every day.

When You Let Him

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I am a person that worries.  I worry about the weather, about my kids, about my husband, about dinner…you name it, and I can and probably will worry about it.  Since we moved, I finally managed to succeed at not constantly worrying.  I let God have everything, and He did indeed provide.  After nearly a decade of staying at home with my kids, I have a job.  Amazing!  Our needs are met, and everyone is settling in and feeling so much better in this area.  I think this is easily the best decision that we have ever made.

Patience Is The Key

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I have never been accused of being patient.  I have always wanted everything RIGHT NOW.  It’s difficult fighting this urge, but I am learning.  I see the same thing in my son, and guess what?  I am embarrassed.  My son has an excuse- he is four years old.  I don’t have an excuse, other than selfishness.  I never categorized myself in quite that way before, but I see it clearly now…the writing is on the wall, and it’s in the most permanent of inks possible.  How do I combat this?  I need to start reminding myself that the good things are worth waiting for…that you can’t always get it your way.  In other words:  This isn’t Burger King, Sue.  It’s life.  Grow up!  Here are some verses that I have written in my devotional as gentle “reminders” to myself:

Psalms 37:7:9  Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

Proverbs 15:18  A hot tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

Colossians 3:12-13  Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

The last one is my favorite.  I have it highlighted, actually.  I am thinking of putting it on my fridge so that it’s in plain view whenever I get frustrated because I don’t have something right away.  It’s not always easy waiting, but it’s worth the wait.  I can’t act like my four year old son and expect to get away with it.

Are You A “Linus” Like Me?

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I recently made the jump from a Windows-based system to a Mac.  I have to say, I love my Mac.  Throughout the years, I have remained loyal to my Windows system, telling people that it was so much better than a Mac…but now I must eat my words.  My old system would take roughly 5 minutes to boot up (cold).  My Mac takes less than a minute.  

There is much to be said about this whole eating crow thing that I am experiencing, and it tends to spill over to other areas, as well.  I find that in my life, I will take a position, and stand by that position, no matter what proof might come to light to show me otherwise.  I feel loyal to that old stance, refusing to give it up.  It reminds me of a child with a security blanket.  That child will hold on to that tattered old thing, no matter what.  As the years tick by and the parent becomes frustrated, suddenly the child is ready to give up the security blanket, because the child realizes that there is life beyond it.  Much the same thing occurs with positions/stances that I take on various situations and subjects.  In recent years, I have discovered that my stances have moved a bit, and I should not hold on to old theories or ideas because they have become comforting for me.  

Sometimes God actually pushes us to explore beyond what we feel is comfortable, and to think things through a little more thoroughly- examine the evidence, if you will.  God has given us this miraculous brain, and He wants us to use it.  So…now that I have accepted this challenge, will you?  Will you throw off those old security blankets, and look at the evidence that He has given you?  Remember, God doesn’t always speak in a yell…sometimes He leans close and whispers softly in our ear.  Heavenly Father, your lessons are amazing, and I need to listen closer to what you are saying.  

Two Roads Diverged In A Wood…

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I found it ironic that this week in class, we covered my all time favorite poem.  It’s by Robert Frost, and it’s called “The Road Not Taken,”  written in 1920.  In the poem, Mr. Frost is traveling in the woods and comes across two roads.  One is well traveled, and looks safe.  The other is overgrown, and looks like not many people have walked that way.  In the end, Mr. Frost takes the “road less traveled.”   The symbolism in this poem is pretty plain to me- it’s about not always taking that well traveled road in life.  Sometimes you have to take the harder road, the road that actually looks a little less than satisfactory, to get where you want to go in life.  That being said, this is my last night here in North Carolina.  The home that I have taken care of for the last nine years of my life will be literally in the rear view mirror this evening, and I will be visiting “back home” for a bit.  My husband and my daughter will be here, taking care of the final touches before we all embark on a new life adventure…one away from the Army.  

I have gone through the gambit of emotions the last couple of days, and I am finally at the acceptance portion.  I know that this needs to be done, and the old adage certainly applies here…”when one door closes, another door opens.”  All I can do is hit the reset button, and enjoy my time at home.  Thanks for the memories, North Carolina.  Not all have been wonderful, but I can safely say that I learned many good lessons while living here.  You helped me grow up, and that’s something you can’t put a price tag on.

Ch-Ch-Changes!

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There are many changes on the horizon for my family and myself.  My husband will be leaving military service after nine years, and we still aren’t sure where we will be residing.  But, that’s okay.  We’ll eventually figure it out.  There’s one thing that I have learned after all this time dealing with the military- both as a member, and as a dependent, is that when it comes to the military, it is all a waiting game.  We’ll eventually figure it out.

I will say one thing…I am rather excited to find a church home.  I really do want to raise my children in the church, and show them what values are important to me.  I can only hope as they grow and mature that they find the same values important in their own lives.  Some of the best support that I have ever gotten in my life has been from a church family, and that is something that I want again.

On the moving front, I never realized how much “stuff” I owned until I actually started throwing away some of this “stuff.”  I found myself contemplating with each black plastic bag filled…how did I acquire all this junk?  Why did I let it get this way?  I guess, looking back, I was always under the assumption that I would need that stuff someday.  However, if I haven’t opened a bag or a box in nine years, chances are, I won’t need that stuff ever again.  So…off to the donation box it goes.   It made me wonder, though…when did I become so wrapped up in my “things” rather than who I am?  I am taking some time in between this move to spend time at home with my parents in upstate New York.  There is nothing better than fall in New York- all those brilliant colors, the crisp air, and the good comfort food.  Fall is by far my favorite time of year, and I can’t think of a better way for God to show me what I am missing out in my daily life than by reminding me of the beauty that He has placed in nature.  All the colors of the leaves this time of year at home are enough to take my breath away.  I am hoping to take just a little time to look around me, and appreciate all that I have in my life.  The people in my life, and the lessons that they have taught me along the way…those lessons are valuable, and have made me a better person.  I have a long way to go, and hopefully this time at home will help me in my journey.