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Friday, October 30, 2015

Before & After

On the day of my divorce, I burned personal
letters and cards that no longer had value because I deemed
the words insincere and irrelevant to my future.  
I was driving through the mountains on a road I hadn't traveled on in about three years.  Prior to that, I was there often.  It was a short ten minutes from my previous home, and yet now there is a more direct route to the mountains that I take.  Being back on this road, once so familiar and routine, now felt uncertain and I lost my bearings.  I missed a turn.  I couldn't remember the way to a landmark.  I was disoriented.  I felt unsure of myself in a place where once I was the expert.

That is often how I feel about the circumstances in my life.  Once, I felt so sure, so certain that each next step was the right one.  I professed faith, and yet every decision was made with my own calculation and prediction.  I could not have imagined how completely life has shifted from that time "before" the divorce that was final five years ago this week.  I remember how completely disoriented and unsure I felt about my future.  Filing for divorce was the greatest act of faith I had taken up to that point in my life.  I well-remember the sense that God was asking me to choose Him and let go of trying to gain security in a man who struggled with his own issues.

Even years later, I still grieve that ideal family that I spent my early life imagining.  I never considered that it might not remain intact.  My younger-woman-self could not believe that the man I chose might not always choose me.  I didn't realize how significantly that choice would affect the children, even under the best of circumstances.

Naively, I thought that the removal of my ex-husband from our home would remove his influence from my life.  I had been told that I was trading one kind of problems for another kind of problems, but now I understand what that means as it plays out in daily life:

  • I don't wonder about who my husband is with, I worry about who is sharing time with my children.
  • I don't stress about impressing my family at holidays, I stress about holidays without some of my favorite people.
  • I don't argue over how to spend our income, I worry over whether child support will always be paid.

Anger doesn't end after divorce.  Hurt doesn't disappear.  My experience as a parent is radically transformed, as is the experience of childhood by the little ones exposed to two homes.  Divorce is the doorway that ends one kind of family, but opens into another kind.  The new life provides much more control over my personal life, and much less control over the lives of my children.  That was explained to me, but I didn't understand it until I lived it firsthand.  It is a humbling and difficult challenge.

And yet, the life during and after divorce has been my most rich living thus far.  I looked around and discovered a whole different tribe of people who were there for me.  I saw with my own eyes how the Lord provides and comforts.  I experience the peace of living in truth at home and elsewhere.  I am more confident in Him than I could have been without the painful journey of divorce.

Mr. Wonderful and I snuck up to the mountains last weekend.
We are headed back tomorrow.
Sometimes I feel disconnected from the person I was before.  I miss the sense of history to share with my spouse.  At the same time, I feel so much more free to be my true self that I can hardly remember the sense of uncertainty, fear and bondage in which I lived for so many years.  I am loved more wholly and more sacrificially by a man who demonstrates with his life, not just his words, that he is committed to me.

The exact season which I feared may destroy me, is the very moment when I witnessed the greatest of miracles.  Surely, five years ago I could not predict where life has brought me.  How I wonder what the next five years might hold?  As I was then, I am confident that God goes before me and my children,.  He will work His way for good and I rest in His security.

I am not the person I was before.  I am not only this life that is after.

 I am before and after. 

Have you experienced any before & after events in life?

Other times I written about my divorce experience:

It's Good, But It's Not The Same (and that's okay)
One Year Later
Is Divorce Wrong?
The "Christian Divorce Advocate"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mom Selfies

When is the last time you were so joyful that you burst into uninhibited laughter or a smile?

Everyday, I fight for a little bit of time for just me.  Sometimes I use that time to go to bed early or read.  Often I get outdoors alone and run or walk in our gorgeous natural landscape.  Rarely, I indulge in a movie or Netflix.  But I've learned to fight for it because for years I lost me in the survival mode of motherhood and wifedom.  

Motherhood is a high and noble calling - I think there may be none greater.  Yet it is only one role in our lives and in order to serve well, we must nourish ourselves, too.  It's easy to overlook self and sacrifice all for others, but that is not healthy nor required.  We aren't doing any favors when we neglect our people's most valuable resource - Mom!
A dose of nature always brings me joy!
In light of this, I would like to see a movement for more Mom Selfies.  Just you - no children, no friends or partners - just mom.  It can be a moment when you feel great or when you feel defeated.  Maybe the only self care you get is your time brushing your teeth, but even that can be embraced.  Let's do better.  Let's work to find what kindles the spark in our eyes...we recognize it in our children, and you are just as worthy of that kind of joy.  

On Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or wherever you like to share, tag #MomSelfie or #MomCare so we can celebrate with you.  Just do it for fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Life Lately

We've been busy with extended family for the past couple of weeks.  We're grateful for lot of people who love us well.


If it looks like all this blended-family-ness is bliss, let me assure you that it is not.  This week has included frustrating schedules, difficult sleeping arrangements (house with 9 people and three dogs is not conducive to relaxation), tight deadlines, a toddler-like tantrum and quite a bit of sass.  Middle school is still creating anxiety, budgets are still tight and there are many things that pull us in different directions.  So, yes, we truly are "Far From Flawless!" But we are still appreciating all the good and trusting that the difficult will be used to grow and mature us.  And I love the special relationships witnessed in these photos!

How do you take a moment to remember the blessings in the middle of the challenges?