Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's been a while.......

Since I really spoke my mind here about my life and my marriage. We've been busy here.

Happy and busy.

I was thinking today though, about our separation. Someone brought it up and some of the more uncomfortable details were rehashed, only briefly, and I revisited some emotions I hadn't felt in a while.



But mostly shame.

I feel ashamed that my marriage is so scarred in the eyes of others.

We're "that" couple. The couple that separated. The couple that almost got divorced.

My husband is the husband that left.

I'm the wife that was left.

Even though we've reconciled, sought and received wonderful Christian marriage counseling, and are doing so well in our rebuilding, it occurs to me every now and then that the world, our immediate little world might still see us broken.

Worse still, maybe they don't believe that there's any such thing as getting over what we have definitely gotten over. Maybe they think we're still broken. Maybe they're just waiting for it to all come crashing down again.

And I feel ashamed. I don't want my life and my marriage to be viewed that way. I have a good and loving marriage that overcame a huge obstacle. We hit a rough spot and came through it in tact, not broken, because if we were ever really broken would we be standing here together today? No, we'd be broken.

So, I was thinking about how God fits into all of this. Of course I believe that it was by the will and grace of God that Elvis and I managed to pull together when things were falling apart and that we healed what was dying in our marriage. God truly was that third strand in our rope, making us unbreakable. And he's using the ugly emotions, the anger, the sadness, the fear, and the shame, for good. He's making it speak to the power of His mercy and his grace and his love. He is so great that he can take the ugliest parts of our life and make it useful and good. He took our marriage issues, our separation, our fears and also our trust, our faith and our courage and gave us a new start, as well as a testimony. We can now testify that even the nastiest and ugliest marital issues can be overcome, and that God is ever present for love and support during your hard times.

God grows flowers from dirt.

I'm so thankful that God has taken such an interest in me and my marriage.

I'm so grateful that He gave us a wonderful church and caring Christian friends.

I'm so thankful for the Christian blogs he's led me to online when I'm searching for like minded women.

God has been taking such good care of me, even when my life has gotten ugly and hard, He's been there walking me through it, and it's been a while since I acknowledged how He is working in my life.

He is.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Falling behind......

On my summer marriage challenge! I didn't mean to miss last week, time just got away from me!

Last weeks challenge was to share some wedding photo's and review how scared that day was, so here they are:

I think on this day, we had no idea how sacred it really was. We had no concept of how big the covenant we were making was, and how deeply God valued it and expected us to value it as well. We knew we loved each other and wanted a life together, but aside from that, we were so naive. If we knew then what we know now, we would recognize the sacredness of it in a much bigger way.

And now, we're onto part four of Courtney's Completing Him summer marriage challenge. This week is about praying daily for your husband and I am fortunate enough to already own the book "The Power of a Praying Wife", so I'm all set. The hard part of this challenge will be getting Elvis to tell me what he wants me to pray about, but I'll do my best!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Completing Him Challenge One! Our Dating Story

The first challenge in the "Completing Him Challenge" at Women Living Well is this: June 14 – Post Pictures from your dating days (or tell us all about it!). Think about one thing you used to do or have as a couple that you have lost in the shuffle of life. How can you regain it?

So here we go!

Elvis and I met in our first year of nursing school. Since there aren't many men in the nursing program, I'd say maybe 5 or 6 in our class, it was pretty easy for Elvis to stand out. I remember seeing him for the first time in the cafeteria, I had heard his name mentioned before, but never actually saw him, until we passed through and saw him sitting with some girls we knew. I remember clear as day asking my friends Nathalie and Angela "Who IS that?!" I think they knew immediately that I was interested. Thankfully Elvis and I were about to have a lot of opportunities to get to know each other, including a nursing placement at the same nursing home where all my fellow students, and even my nursing instructor would play a role in helping us come together! I was a nervous and giddy wreck every day at school trying to find ways to talk to him. He was shy, very shy, and didn't do much talking himself.

For our first date, I got up the nerve to ask him to a group movie date, and wouldn't you know it, the rest of the group suddenly couldn't make it, and it was just us. We saw The Rookie, and held hands. I remember feeling dizzy when his hand touched mine for the first time. I was 21 and ready for a serious romance, and though it was just our first date, I knew he'd be something special.

We snowballed from there, quite fabulously. Before we knew it we were a pretty serious item and I couldn't have been happier. I loved meeting him for our dates, sometimes we met in an in between location since he lived about 45 minutes away, and sometimes he came to my front door. Each and every time I was elated to see him walking toward me, when he came to our house, I met him at the door, sometimes I was so excited I'd meet him in the drive way.

We traveled together, which has always been an exciting part of my relationship with Elvis. His desire to get out and go places has been infectious, and traveling with him was the first time I went anywhere save for school field trips. We went to Niagara Falls, and Florida, and most memorably, St. Augustine, right after we were engaged. We always find new adventures to go on, I love that about us!

Here we are while dating in Niagara Falls:

Here we are at my best friends wedding, a year before our own:

Here's our time line. We started dating on April 21st 2002 (we were 21 at the time)
We were engaged on June 23rd 2003 (we were 22 at the time)
We were married August 7th 2004 (we were 23 at the time)
And the rest is history!

I'm saving the wedding pictures/story for a future post, but part of the challenge is to think about something we had while dating that we lost in the shuffle of life. I think it's the excitement. That sounds sad, but it was entirely unintentional. We used to be thrilled at the sight of each other, we used to get excited to see one another, it was the best part of our days, the days we saw each other that is, and the days we didn't see each other will overflowing with anticipation. I have been trying to recreate that excitement, and make Elvis feel that, by meeting him at the door like I used to. I'm still working at it, but I can feel the pay off already!

I'm loving this challenge, and I can't wait to see what God can do in my marriage!

Now I'm off to read some of the dating stories by other bloggers!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Who does this kid think he is?

My baby son has gone from this:

To this:

And I swear to you, it feels like he did it in a matter of days! I realize that he'll be 3 years old on his next birthday, but I feel like just yesterday he was 5 pounds 11 ounces and I was bringing him home from the hospital!

I swear just yesterday he looked like this:

But in actuality, he looks like this:

It doesn't seem possible! My baby boy, he's now a kid, a kid boy!

He talks, he talks back!

He runs, everywhere.

He's loud, he yells, he squeals, he protests!

He fights with his sister, but wants to do what she does and be where she is, he secretly is her biggest fan.

He has tantrums, big tantrums, but loves Mama cuddles to get over them.

He's a lover, loves to kiss, loves to hug, can't bear to think anyone is upset with him.

He's amazing. He's overcome so much. He's stunning. And though he's growing much too fast for my liking, he grows more beautiful and amazing each day.

And don't even get me started on this one.....

Who does she think she is!?

Bottom line, I have amazing kids. Stunning, lovely, wonderful, blessings from God, and on days like today when they tried my patience and frazzled my nerves, I haven't forgotten, not for one second, that I am so lucky to have them in my life. They're pure joy, and I think I'll be in awe of them forever!


Forgive and Forget

I'm struggling with this. You probably are too. I think it's a pretty common phenomenon, to not know how to let go of the hurt and the desire for repayment when someone sins against you.

A very lovely someone asked me how she should go about releasing someone their sin against her. She said she had forgiven them but she wasn't sure she could forget it. That's the thing about forgiveness though, you're supposed to forgive and then really forgive, and leave it in the past. It's not forgiveness if you're just tucking the pain or anger away in your memory and pulling it back up when you're wronged the next time, using it as a weapon, or to build your case against that person. It's only forgiveness if you can leave it completely in the past, and wipe clean the slate of the person who wronged you. I gave advice, the best I could, but then I started to think about how this concept applies to me and my life.

Are there debts I've claimed to forgive but haven't forgotten?

Are there people out there I haven't forgiven at all?

Am I carrying around bitterness and grudges?

You betcha!

Ephesians 4:32 states: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Once again we're called to emulate Christ. He forgave, you forgive. That's the command.

This sentiment is repeated in Colossians 3:13:
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15 also states:
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Lord's prayer asks "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"

It's commonly understood among Christ followers, that in order to be forgiven by God, you must be willing to forgive everyone, and everything. It's a hefty calling.

Some people are easy to forgive. Some sins are easier to forgive. But we're not supposed to pick and choose.

What about forgiving those who've sinned against you, but don't think they have, what if they refuse to give you the satisfaction of admitted they did you wrong? That in my view, makes them all the more difficult to forgive, because my hurt feelings and my indignation have not been first validated and appeased. They're not asking for my forgiveness, so why should I give it? Because He says so, that's why.

There's this person I haven't forgiven. I'm not certain they know I the depths of which I feel they hurt me, and my family. I doubt they lay awake at night praying for me to forgive them. If they're aware of my indignation, they're unconcerned by it. Many times a day I plan out how I'd like to tell them how they've sinned against me. I'd like to tell them how they continue to negatively impact my life. I'd like to make them feel bad for what they've done and how they've changed my world. But then I think I'd be in the wrong. What purpose is served by bringing this person face to face with their sin and my pain? Selfish purposes. That's all. Sure, I'd have the temporary satisfaction of knowing that they knew all that they had done, maybe they'd even feel bad. But then what?

So, in light of the advice I gave today, I'm trying to apply it to this situation. And it's HARD! The conclusion I've come to, is that forgiveness doesn't just happen once, but over and over. Each time that hurt and anger tries to resurface, you have to remind yourself that you've forgiven it, and that you've moved on, and then do it. Forgive and mean it, then move on.

What's done is done, it's in the past. It's not right, but it's done. God's will was done none the less, and though things were changed and battered, nothing was truly broken. The sin against me was used in God's bigger plan to facilitate a change I wouldn't have made on my own. God worked it for our greater good, even though it may have been intended to bring us down. And though I struggle to do it, and I feel like I could choke on the words. I forgive them. And tomorrow I'll have to forgive them again, and the next day, until my mind can truly forget.

After all, Hebrews 8:12 implies that God himself forgives and then forgets:
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Who do you need to forgive?

What sins against you cause you to hold on to unforgiveness?

What sins can you forgive right now? What sins do you need to work towards forgiveness?

All the best to you in your attempts, I know it's not easy!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Linking up with the "Completing Him Challenge"

My favorite Christian Blogger, Courtney from Women Living Well has started a summer challenge for Christian women looking to become the wife their husband needs. So, I'm joining up because I love the challenge and I'd love to be the wife that my husband needs!

I haven't got a clue how to link a button to her challenge, I'm working on it! When Landon naps this after noon I'll try and figure it out!

I'm so excited to get this challenge rolling!


Sunday, June 6, 2010


Try as I might to be healed and renewed, past hurts and trials behind me, it is undeniable that I have come through to the other side of heart break incredibly, terribly scarred.

I've got scars, big scars, painful and tender scars, all over my heart and mind, even my soul.

And I want to be normal, because don't we all just want to be normal, and I want to pretend I never hurt at all and that life has always been good to me, but I can't because sometimes the first thing you'll see when you look at me are my scars.

I'm trying to heal my life. I'm trying to push forward leaving the tragedies and heart aches and battles I fought behind me, I'm pursing emotional and spiritual health because it feels good, but I can't pretend the scars aren't there. And just like physical scars, they're permanent. My pursuits to overcome might lessen the severity of the scar, it might even ease the pain, and make them more palatable, but they will still be there.

The thing about scars that makes them more then an unsightly reminder of your falls in life, is that they tell a story. They tell your story. They testify on your behalf that you have lived. Really lived. You've battled and fallen and been assaulted by life. They demonstrate the complexities and the intricacies of you, and they prompt onlookers to question their thoughts on you. Scars make the world wonder how you got them. They're intriguing. We're interested in each others pain, and the stories behind them, and we're comforted in knowing that everyone has them. Everyone.

As much as I wish I never fell, my scars show the world I got back up (and in some cases fell right back down). It's as though every stage of life has left it's mark. My freshest and most painful scars are recent, and still throbbing on a daily basis, they're the hardest to ignore and even more impossible to conceal from the world.

Sometimes I want the people in my life to see me, and think "Isn't she lucky, she's got it all together, great marriage, a bunch of healthy thriving kids, she's really got it good!" But, in truth, they don't. People in our family and our social circle look at me and they immediately see those giant, red, throbbing horrible scars of recent years. They see the pain on my face and the effect that loss has had on my body. They see the tired and the worn out look on my face and they know I've been through a battle or two. They know I'm scarred. They know my life isn't perfect, and worst still, they know my efforts to pretend otherwise are just a show. I might fool strangers, but only for a while, but once we get talking those scars just unveil themselves without my consent, it happens all the time.

But lately, I'm more concerned with the scars that only I can see. They bother me the most, the ones that no one knows are there. They remind me of the significance of what I went through in my marriage. They remind me of exactly how bad it was, of how badly broken we were and of how close we came to losing it all. They show me how it changed me, to have my marriage come so close to raveling completely, they show me how I'm not the same woman I was before, and I hate them. These are scars that I wish I never had. Because I never wanted to change like this. I hate that I am so pained by these scars. I hate that I don't trust like I used to. I hate that I can't stand the band Pearl Jam anymore, or anything that represents my husbands independence from our marriage, and from me. I hate being reminded that we were over. These scars are the very worst thing that ever happened to me, because they made me question me, and my value, in a way that losing Everett never did. My baby didn't leave me, he was taken, he had no say in the matter, and neither did I, it had nothing to do with my value, and though it hurts to have him gone, and he left a scar as well, it doesn't hurt in the same way my marriage scars do.

But like I said, scars tell your story. They show the world you fell and got up. My scars, all my scars, show what I've endured and survived. They give me dimension. They make me interesting to the world. My baby died, I fell, and I got up, the scar remains. My marriage crumbled, I crumbled too, and God picked us up and put us back together, we're healing, but the scar remains. I went through hell on earth, twice, and lived to tell about it. My scars can testify to the strength and courage God has given me, they testify to the hardships He carried me through. They're ugly but they're true, and they are a part of me now, unchangeable and undeniable. Scars are a fact of life, and when you try and conceal them from yourself and the world, they become secrets, obvious something's you're trying to hide, you never fool anyone, not even yourself.

It's natural I think, once scarred, to try your best to never fall like that again, to avoid at all costs, another painful scar. But this just gives power to the scars, to the fear, and certainly empowers you no further. Living life afraid of scars isn't living, but cowering in a safe place watching life pass you by, you won't get any scars that way, but you'll wither away in the process.

I'm trying to heal, my heart and my mind and my soul. I'm trying to live my life with vibrancy in spite of all the times I've fallen and all the hurts I've felt. I'm trying to rebuild everything life broke on me, and I'm trying to be fearless in love. I've come up against the same obstacle again and again, the fear of another scar, another ugly mark on my life, and it's slowed me down, or in some cases, completely stopped me from living and loving freely. But now that I've realized the scars ARE life, I can throw myself back into it, with trust and faith and incredibly energy and love and know that falling down, and getting up, and the resulting scars, are the point of it all, not a negative side effect or a worst case scenario. The scars ARE life. They show I've lived and I'm living, they show that life knocked me down and beat me up, and instead of laying their and giving up, giving in, I got back up.

Bring on life, bring on the scars, no matter the fall, I intend to get back up.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

An instant change in perspective.....

Lately, I've found myself feeling lost. Uncertain of who I am, where I'm going, what I'm good at, what I want, what I need, what I'm passionate about. In general, I've been floundering, looking for meaning and value in myself.

And in an instant, God snaps me out of it.

An instant change in perspective.

When I look into the eyes of my kids and I realize that to them, I am everything. I'm their whole world.

I'm wonderful.

I'm beautiful.

I'm special.

I'm smart.

I'm capable.

I'm trustworthy.

I'm dependable.

I'm warm.

I'm soft.

I'm loving.

I'm safe.

I am perfect, to them.

Knowing this erases so much of my self doubt and my wonder.

I'm important. Terribly important. I'm the world to these precious little kids. I'm shaping their hearts and their minds, I'm their warm, safe place.

Who am I? Wife, mother, giver of love and security.

What am I good at? Loving my family.

Where am I going? Into the future with a goal of being a better and more focused wife and mother, so I can keeping being what they need from me.

What do I want? To love my family for many, many, many years to come and to create a home that's safe and comforting, a safe haven, for all of us.

What do I need? God, and them. That's it.

What am I passionate about? Same as above!

God's really opening my eyes today, and clearing up a lot of the issues I was struggling with! I'm so uplifted with these understandings, I have so much, and I love what I have, and I to my family, I am very, very important, what else matters?


How Can I Possibly Want...........

When this is what I have:

And her

And don't forget him
And our homeNot to mention our families, our friends, our health, our jobs, our church, our Faith and our Lord.

How can I possibly justify mourning over what I do not have when my life is brimming with gifts from God, when it is so full of love and beauty, and where opportunities for joy are abundant.

I have a life of abundance. How can I want for more?

I have been convicted on this matter today. This may be the first time I have actually ever felt convicted, and it's good. I let myself want, and be ungrateful for a while there, and now I'm back on track, attitude adjusted and feeling incredibly blessed, grateful, joyful and motivated!

Wanting what you do not have robs you of the joy of enjoying all that you already have.

And when I took inventory, I have so much to be joyful for!

This summer's project is to enjoy the people and situations God has placed in my life.

I want to revel in my husband.

Bask in the wonderfulness of my children.

Find joy and comfort in my home.

Create beauty in my home and yard.

Cultivate better relationships with our family and friends.

And deepen my relationship with God, and a major spring board for this will be my baptism, fast approaching on July 25th! Eeep! Exciting!

Anyway, this is me, standing convicted, I was coveting and pining over what is not mine and what I do not have, and shamefully neglected to appreciate what is mine and what I do have, the most amazing little family anyone could ever ask for (and they're all mine!!)