The Greatest Commandment

Love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Monday, December 29, 2008


It's hard enough that my own husband has rejected me, but when my 7 year old looked up at me with tears covering her face and asked, "Why doesn't Daddy want to live with me anymore?" I was speechless. As much as we have explained that they have nothing to do with him leaving, it is incredibly hard for them to comprehend. They take it personally, as they should. They feel rejected, too.

I want to say that I don't understand, either. I want to tell them how I don't understand how he doesn't want this life anymore. He doesn't want to be a family with us. He will always be their father and will always love them, see them, and always be there for them (though not always physically... or in the middle of the night for illness or bad dreams or for snuggle time when they are cold)... but he doesn't want to be a part of this family anymore. I want to explain that he feels that his life will be better without me being his wife, hence the separation... but they are a part of me so he must sacrifice living with them as well. I understand how they feel rejected.

I suppose that he is happier now. Free from daily family responsibilities, free from commitments, free from caring for an infant on a daily basis, free from us, free from me. Free from working on a marriage. I wish I could explain to them that his need to be away from me are greater than his need to be with his children or to provide them with a stable 2-parent family while they grow up, and that his happiness depends on meeting this need; that the grass is greener in the other fields out there, and he is going grazing. He loves them and wants to be with them, but he needs to give it all up to do what is right for him. What is right for him may not be what is right for the whole family, but evidently he has been miserable for so long that his needs now come before the needs of the family.

What about God? What does God want? Well, God is pro-marriage. God is forgiving and loves us no matter what, but God is pro-marriage. Marriage vows are important. They are promises. Broken promises change lives. Clearly.

I wish I could tell them all of these things. But I can't. Not only can they not understand it (well- nor can I really...), they don't need to hear these things. They just need to be held while they cry. And I will do just that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis the Season...

Bah Humbug.

Haha... Kinda a family saying in my mom's house, as she was known years ago for "canceling Christmas." But tonight- perhaps I understand it a bit more as to why she would even want to call it (Christmas) off.

As I was attempting to do some Christmas shopping this evening (which, BTW, was a complete disaster...and I now have 5 days to complete it all???), I realized and had to admit to myself that if I did not have children- that this year- for the first time ever... I would indeed "cancel Christmas." It is so hard to get into the spirit of things when deep in the middle of grief. Especially when the spirit includes wonderful FAMILY traditions that are having to be carried out despite the situation. We really do try to make things majestic for our kids, don't we?

This leads me to this: Last week (or maybe the week before- I don't remember) I posted something about loss. I guess it was my small effort to actually address to my self- and the world- the loss I have experienced recently. For a few weeks now I have felt the need to shout something about it from a mountain top- though I know most people would not even hear or acknowledge the fact that a divorce- especially when one party is having it thrust upon them- is indeed a grandiose loss. No- he didn't die and his children can talk to him still when they need to... I KNOW it's different... but it's not, either. And I have not known how to express this without sounding ridiculously self-centered... that is until tonight. In a book I am reading I found this: (This is Judith Viorst, in her book Necessary Losses, describing lost love, separation and possible divorce as bring similar in many ways to death.)

Although my focus here is on mourning the death of those we love, I should mention that the other marital death is called divorce. For the breakup of a marriage is like the death of a spouse, and will often be mourned in closely parallel ways. There are some important distinctions: Divorce evokes more anger than death, and it is, of course, considerably more optional. But, the sorrow and pining and yearning can be as intense. The denial and despair can be intense. The guilt and self-reproach can be as intense. And the feeling abandonment can be even more intense- He didn't have to leave me; he CHOSE to leave me.

Wow... talk about hitting the nail on the head. There is one other thing I would like to add to that, though- and that is the element of support. Though I could go on for awhile here about the differences, I think the biggest one is this: When someone dies- the whole world surfaces to show support and love. When your husband walks out on you- the world whispers and avoids the topic- and at times, even you. Should I own that? When MY husband walked out on me, the world whispered and avoided the topic... and at times... even me. I even have friends (and family) that are so uncomfortable with the whole situation, they simply don't even acknowledge that there is one.

The stages of grief are real, and as I walk through them slowly and unpredictably, I am glad that the one true constant in my life has not changed. Jesus Christ. Happy birthday, Jesus... and I'll try to be less of a bah humbugger this year...

For now you know in part, but one day you will understand it all... (
1 Cor 13:9)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So... this year... Christmas is going to be rough. For several weeks I have played games in my head pretending that by pulling off our usual traditions (for the kids), I will be just fine. The anxiety that grows inside me each time I think about it proves otherwise.

Has anyone ever hurt you so much that you cannot even look him or her in the eyes? I mean- get -past the anger and the stare-down phase... go right to that hurt. Can you do it? Can you look them in the eyes?

I am at that place. And to think- that for the sake of my children (and a good "sake" at that) I will be spending a significant amount of time with the person that has ripped me in two... and I can't even begin to look that person in the eyes... because I know I'll cry... and I've done enough of that... well......... geeze.

Back to Christmas. I know that if I set myself up for upset,sadness, misery- that is just what I'll get. So in turn I am trying my best to be positive about all of this. What happens, though, is that I am reminded that I have spent the last 19 years celebrating Christ's birthday with the same person. While it still seems that we still still be celebrating the holiday together (again- for our children), this year will also hold a prodigious element of rejection.

Sometimes it is just plain hard being positive. It is my choice... I can either make the best out of it, or wallow in misery. I am choosing to be positive! Some days it doesn't work so well, but it is getting easier and easier to recognize negative thoughts and replace them with better, more uplifting ones.

I have a lot of people in my life that are very supportive, but also think they know what I am feeling by their own personal experiences, or just trying to put themselves in my shoes. I am told frequently what I must be feeling or thinking- and a lot of the times it's not quite right. I think that sometimes people can get an idea of what I am thinking or truly feeling if they will just listen to me and stop projecting their own stuff onto me. Sure, I have my sad days and my angry days- but I am a mentally healthy individual who can recognize these times... and knows when it is time to retreat into personal space for a while.

I am ok, and will be ok. I am moving forward and making plans for the future. My biggest problem is exhaustion... but probably a lot of folks with 3 kids are exhausted. Bedtime is the hardest, because my girls like cuddle time and the baby likes cuddle time... and sometimes it's 11:30 or 12 before everyone is in bed, stuff is ready for the next day, things are cleaned up, etc... The times that I just wait until morning to do- well... I regret it in the morning. It's much better to start the day off fresh without dishes that need to be done, bags packed, yada yada yada. So you see, doing these things until midnight leaves little to no down (or "me") time... Hence the exhaustion. These are the times I fight anger the most. But... as I said... it's getting easier.

God has given me some awesome tools and amazing strength. He is wonderful!! Thank God for God- right? And thank God for 3 wonderful kids and a great supportive family and awesome friends and... the list could go on forever. Every night when the girls say prayers we have a thankful time... we say what we are thankful for. Last night we were thankful for game night. It's so much fun to sit around playing games with each other. I will cherish these times forever. I know they will, too...

Sunday, December 7, 2008


It is loss. That is what this is all about. It's a loss. Whether you lose a spouse by death or by divorce, it is a loss. I have prayed and prayed... and tried pinpointing what it is that is so hard for me to deal with. Without awareness of the issue, I cannot work.

It came to me today. It's a loss. I can handle the responsibilities of being a single parent. I can handle the stress of hearing the gossip that continues to fly. I can handle it all... it is a growing experience- but it's ok. God has and will grant me any tool I need to make it survive... All things work together for good for those who believe...

The loss... it is monumental and that is the issue I have now realized I must work through. It's a broken heart that must mend. Grief is grief, no matter how one looks at it.

A time for mourning is allowed... and it's necessary.

Taking the high road...

... is not always easy. I am at a place of peacefulness in knowing that I tried everything to save my marriage, and I upheld the vows I made. However, the peace that comes with knowing that in time, God will provide something wonderful because I trust in Him, is not there with everything. I am still very, very angry. Most of my recent days I have been too angry to even look him in the face. How can someone I love (loved?) so much be ready, willing and able to cause so much harm? I don't think any of it has been intentional... I just feel that he is simply in a place in which he cannot think of anyone but himself.

So... even though I know I will be fine, and I know God is in control, I just can't help but wonder how to get past the anger part. How do I stop thinking vindictive thoughts? Even if I would never act on them, I want to be in a place where I don't even think about causing him/HER hurt. Prayer, I know. But is that all? Do I just keep waiting for prayer to work? It's a constant battle...

It's my choice. It's my choice to be positive. It's my choice to find the good things. It's my job to take the bad and find good. I want to, too. It's just not always easy. Taking the high road is not always easy. But Jesus did and he would still today. He's in my heart telling me what to do... I just feel like a 2 yr old wanting to disobey.

My little man was baptized on Sunday. We made a public profession of faith and promised to teach him about Christ. What an aweome day it was!! Pictures will be up later of the special day...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings

It was a rough day. So rough that I have no pictures of the day because quite frankly I don't want to remember it.

That said- I'm counting my blessings. I took some time to hang out with the girls tonight and watch a movie. (The Incredibles) We enjoyed being all snuggled up together on my big king size bed- and giggled our way through the movie. I love hearing them laugh. It's the best medicine around.

Here are some things I am thankful for:
  • wonderful children who make me smile and remember why my life is so good
  • smelly dogs who greet me at the door- wagging their tails- even though I forgot to feed them before I left
  • a good friend who helped me clean my kitchen today
  • a bed big enough to let 3 children snuggle together with mom in
  • a family who doesn't understand what I am going through- yet special and wonderful none-the-less
  • leftovers
Blessings are wonderful, and even when sadness is overwhelming- I'm thankful to have things to be thankful for...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A time for everything

People die.

People die every day. We know this and we expect this... but we don't expect it, either. So when a young father... 42 years old... dies and leaves his wife and 3 young boys behind- we're all shocked. We all are sad beyond belief for the loss of a father... for the widow, and the children... for the parents and the friends... for the students.

What do we do? We remember... he was a wonderful husband, daddy, teacher, coach, believer. We grieve. He is gone. We pray. God be with his family- his widow/children/parents who lost their other son only 5 years ago... We hug our own families a little closer. We forgive those around us who we should have forgiven a long time ago.

And then... after a few days... we go back to our own normal lives. We go back to taking things for granted and acting immortal. Why do we do this?

What I have questioned since Brian died on Sunday is this: What- if I were to die today- would I be remembered for? I know I am going to spend eternity with Jesus- so the thought of dying actually doesn't scare me. It bothers me that my children would grow up without a "mother" - but I know they would survive and God would give them the tools to thrive. But what would I be remembered for?

I hope and pray that from here on out- no matter what life throws in my path- that I can set an example of grace. I may be a nobody, a regular mom who does nothing other than ordinary... but I want to live through God's eyes and show the grace that only He can give. I don't know how He will make that work in my life, but I know He is trying every day. I am living "day-by-day" right now, and despite the fact that my soon-to-be ex-husband has me madder than a hornet right now- I hope to set an example of grace. I hope to set an example of wisdom. I hope to show the love of Christ- no matter what. I hope that my children would remember how much I love them.

If you were to die tonight- what would you want to be remembered for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I always wished I was from the north so I could say Gads and it not sound weird. Oh well!!

I am in a mood tonight. I had to listen to the sounds of one child grieving the "loss" of her father, another child worry about whether or not her father would be coming to Thanksgiving at school (despite me saying he would), and another child- who barely knows his father and probably won't ever know him any better than a grandparent- cry for the same hour as the 1st child mentioned.

Battlefield of the Mind is the bible study I have been working on. It's wonderful and could not have come at a better time... but I still struggle. Not just on a daily basis... not just on an hourly basis... sometimes on a minute by minute basis. I don't know if it is Satan or just my situation, but I am having a moment of incredible difficulty being positive and finding positive in all.

Damn it. I don't understand. If I don't understand- I can't even begin to put myself in my kids' shoes. It is simply awful to watch your child struggle- and yet not really be able to help. It's not fair, either.

Daddy has become the "fun" one. He takes them to dinner, he takes them to ballgames, he takes them to movies... and every now and then he helps with homework. Mommy is the one who makes them clean their rooms, bedrooms, play areas, dishes, toilets and anything else they come into contact with. Ok- I'm the bad guy. I admit it. But someone has to teach them about life.

But I'm also the one who has to soothe the tears, guide the anger and help them understand why the person they used to trust the most in this world walked out on them. They don't hear it when he says "I'm here for you- you can come to me anytime." What they hear is what they see... Daddy left us. I am also the only one who has to cook, clean, bathe, wipe, etc.... It is very very tiring. Having a baby in the house is hard enough- but doing it as a single parent is exhausting.

Tonight I am negative. I don't want to be- but I am so I must just accept it, pray about it, and move on. I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow and feel better, assuming the kids sleep some. I'm trying to remember that no matter what I will be a better person in the long run. I already am...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wonderful friends and a refreshing afternoon

The kids and I were able to spend this morning (through lunch!) with some wonderful friends that we have not been able to spend "quality" time with in awhile. Don't you just love those times? While we missed services (and a huge stewardship lunch!) at our home church- it was just just so uplifting to be able to take a Sunday and do this. See- I sing in a praise band at our church, and any time I have to be gone I feel like I'm letting the band down. When an opportunity comes up like it did today- one in which we only had one combined service- and I didn't have to sing- I took my rare chance and went visiting! So fun and I'm looking forward to getting another Sunday to visit with other folks!

The afternoon was spent building fires (in both of our fireplaces... nice!) and playing board games. We had the best time, and although the girls did not let me win a single game (not even UNO!), we had an awesome time hanging out without any place to be.

In getting to spend the afternoon playing games in front of the fire with my kids I realized how many things I have taken for granted over the years. I never realized how important these times we have together as "family time" are. I mean- I knew it... but I didn't take it seriously. It's the total "cliche" you don't love what you've got until it's gone.

But then it made me think about my husband (is it weird that I can't call him my ex?). How on earth can he be willing to give up these precious times as a family. Can you really and truly grow to dislike being with one person so much that you are willing to sacrifice your time with your children? Is this a mom thing? Do dads not feel this way? I simply cannot fathom not being with my children a majority of the time. The times in my life I have been so busy that I have not been with them- well... I regret a lot of that time missed. Some of it was ok... some of it was self-care. Some of it was to help generate a better income for our family... regardless- I wish I had that time back.

So this makes me ask myself several questions...
  1. What makes a good parent?
  2. What makes a good spouse?
  3. What makes a good friend?
  4. What makes a good Christian?
Today I am thankful for the fun things I enjoyed with my kids. Even if we are not a whole family anymore- I am glad that I have my precious children. I miss my husband- but I can't imagine life without those babies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is it. This is living!

My world has been rocked. It's the only way to describe what has happened to my family. My husband of 12 years, and partner of 19, decided that he was not happy anymore. He has done some things I never would have thought possible... and said some things I never thought I would hear... and has left me with more responsibilities than I ever could have imagined. But you know... I'm ok. I'm choosing to be ok. I am CHOOSING to be happy. I AM AT PEACE.

I am learning a new way of life and I am learning how to be happy- even when life isn't fair. God is almighty and I praise Him... for HE IS GOOD. He has good things in store for me- even if I've gotta go through a fire to get 'em. I LOVE him. I TRUST him. I SURRENDER to him. He is teaching me how to live again.

I've never done an online journal... and certainly never let anyone READ my journals... but this is cool. I'm learning to live again! Why not?

The girls struggle on a daily basis with their daddy leaving. He is so important to them, as they are to him. This does not make any sense at all to them (well- to anybody really...), but they dare not rock his boat and ask him. He has taught them, just as he learned as a child, to not question what he says. Authoritarian... sometimes it's easier that way, huh? He really is a good father. A good husband, too. Aside from physical abuse, is anything really ever worth divorcing over? I promised him and I promised God... till death do us part. I meant it, too. Even when I didn't like him (which is now!) and even when I wondered what else might be out there... I never broke that promise. This sweet baby boy will never know his daddy like he could. Who could give that up? Someone who is thinking of their own needs, I suppose.

God is pro-marriage. Will he forgive us if we divorce? Certainly. Does he want us to work this out? Even more certainly. Does he want me to wait patiently while he does his work in all of this? Umm... yeah. And that is the hard part. I don't know what the outcome will be, but I am certain of this; God is IN CHARGE. Something good is in store. While I hope it's a better marriage... to my current husband... I know whatever it is will be great. All things work together for Good for THOSE WHO BELIEVE. I believe...

So the question in bible study yesterday was this; What is the difference between grief and self-pity. So far this is all I can come up with: For me- I know I am in the middle of a pity party when the sadness turns into vindictive thoughts. It's ok to be sad... but it ain't ok to want to get even. Can you imagine if Jesus had gotten even for all the times he was wronged?? He had the power, too...

As I passed the funeral home visitation line of a high school friend tonight I got to thinking... if tomorrow I were the one diagnosed with cancer- what would I change? You know what I would change? I would begin to LIVE. I choose to be happy. I choose to love freely. I choose to give. I choose to be positive. I choose to be ME. I choose to live for God.

Thank you, Father, for the wonderful work you are doing in my life... and thank you for giving your son- who never ever would have gotten even. Thank you.