Hey, it's me…. you know… your mom? I just wanted to write you a note and tell you how incredibly proud I am of the young lady you are growing up to be. You are well on your way to becoming the strong young woman you will be one day. You've had a rough start and I know it hasn't been a picnic. Believe it or not… I was little once too and know plenty about rough starts. And yet I know with those rough starts there is victory waiting for you.
I know you didn't realize you were going to be introduced at such a young age to allergies and epi-pens and yet you have persevered. I know you weren't prepared for ADHD testing and not getting a sister like you wanted so badly. I know you didn't anticipate your family home being divided into two separate homes one day… and yet you have kept pushing forward. I know it's hard for you to vocalize how you feel and yet I'm proud of how you occasionally take the chance of letting those walls down and sharing your thoughts. I love it when you speak up on behalf of others like when someone in the school cafeteria at lunch begins talking about how different another student is… and you reply "Yep, he's different. God made us all different and that's okay." Sometimes we have to speak up... and it's better to speak with a voice that cracks than to keep silent. It's awesome to me that even though at times you may struggle, you come to me and ask what I think (you'll never be too old for that)… and although I tell you "I'm happy to give you my thoughts" I want you to share yours too… because it's important that you are able to think for yourself.
Whenever a boy is being mean to you I begin my round of twenty questions and look up his parents in the school phone directory like a mobster… Who is this kid? Who are his parents? What's his issue? Why's he bothering my little girl? Because I will protect you to no end and any little boy messing with my little girl is not doing it because he likes you as society's backward mentality wants to believe… he's doing it because his father is likely disrespectful toward women and is not setting the correct role model in the home. I won't have you growing up believing that when a boy gives you attention in a negative manner he likes you... reality is he's being a bully. Yes, he needs grace but he needs correction too and his father needs help… this seems to be a common issue today that needs serious attention.
When you look in the mirror I hope you see what I see… a beautiful little girl who has beach wavy hair, flushed cheeks and pretty eyes… I hope you don't see flaws or specks because in my eyes you don't have any… you are perfectly you in every way possible. I hope you know that you are fully capable of your goals and dreams and you can do whatever you set your mind to. I know you get your independent fiery streak from me because I see glimpses of it here and there trying to peek out from beneath your reserved surface. It can undeniably have pros and cons. It's a fine balance being a female… it's a constant battle to embrace some spiritedness and not end up becoming the anti-proverbs 31 woman... there will be days you miss the mark, you push the limits, cringing and hindsight will be 20/20... don't beat yourself up; press on and learn your lessons. I wish success for you and yet not in the form of fancy cars, maids and mansions… but a kind spirit that wants to help others, someone who if they earn more than they could ever need will use it all to help people in need. My wish is for you to always see your great worth in a humble manner and remember God's love for you… I love you but no one will ever love you more than God… no other human can fill that hole within like He can. I know you are adamant you will never ever get married and I could be incredibly selfish and say "Oh, sure you will, I want grandbabies one day"… but I won't. Because it's important that you be yourself and march to your own drum… not some guy's drum only to then wake up one day and realize you forfeited your drum for him to have his… and then to have him say "Sucker" and walk off. What you choose… marriage or not… kids or not… I support you.
I can tell you one of the most important things to be in life is genuine. People love genuine people… who give genuine smiles and emanate warmth from their heart and eyes… and even if by some chance they don't care for you… at least you are being you. The girls who are remembered as being genuine and kind in school were the ones who were nice to everyone. Everyone appreciates people like that… who include others... girl's that don't ensconce themselves into just their click but will reach out to the girl alone in the corner or the boy who dropped his books in the hall… if you're remembered in any way… be remembered as kind… which you are… I see it when you let a classmate borrow a pencil… when you buy your friend popcorn after school on fridays… when you help someone to the nurse to get an ice pack for their knee. The world needs more of that and I value what you do to contribute your part… as the little things are truly the big things.
You always have the right to say no. Saying "No" is not to be seen as mean. Practice it every day because it will be needed all through your life. Every time I watch the Bachelor and I see these wacky stunts they pull where the girls are expected to jump from the top of a building or take their clothes off for some anti-fur charity…. I want to scream at my television set. Because any "Bachelor" with any decency wouldn't let you take your clothes off, number one. He'd have more respect for you than that… I don't believe it's necessary to undress for a cause… you can volunteer your time or open your wallet just as easily. If you ever feel like you need to jump from the top of a building to "trust a guy" and get a rose, then you're in a mess and you need to phone me immediately and I will come pick your butt up… because that is pure insanity. You shouldn't have to "prove" anything to get a rose, a date, a meal or anything else. And the fantasy suite? You have zero business being alone in anything called a "fantasy" with a guy before marriage. Keep your eye on Jesus and if any man is Godly enough for your hand (and you actually want him) he will show up.
Just remember… always be you… always be content with who you are… jealousy does nothing but breed a never ending cycle of discontentment… be happy with your body, your hair, your smile and personality that God gave you… He doesn't make mistakes. If you want something someone else has… a goal, a career… that has nothing to do with them, so don't resent them for it… that's all you, your issue. So go after what you want, send those prayers up, put in the hard work and extra effort… and always remember this…
I love you with all my might… forever and ever…
and the one who loves you even more is your Daddy Almighty God.
Love you sweet pea,
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
some names have been omitted from this post
It was a bleary, gray, rainy day… the windshield wipers dragged across the glass before me and swiped away at the minuscule drops of rain falling from the sky. I drove past the University at a snails pace… students began crossing in front of my vehicle and I slowed to a stop so they could safely reach the other side. I glimpsed long blonde ponytails, backpacks and umbrellas... youth in a blur beyond the wipers that dragged… I heard faint laughter amongst the crowds of students and cracked my driver's side window to get some fresh air… cool wind came sailing in and the path was cleared so I could begin my way down that wet street… small burger joints and ice cream shops were soon in my past and before long I approached the curving lanes that led to the higher end district of shopping. Pressing buttons for something on one of the Christian radio stations… yet finding nothing but babble, I select a contemporary station. Switching to the middle lane… I take the curves… the tall trees passing me in a sweep of majestic evergreen… and then my ears pick up an oddly, subtly familiar tune…
Weep for yourself, my man,
You'll never be what is in your heart
Weep, little lion man,
You're not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself
Take all the courage you have left
And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really messed it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
Didn't I, my...
Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble, little lion man,
You'll never settle any of your scores
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck
Now learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really messed it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
Didn't I my...
~ Mumford & Sons , Little Lion Man (some lyrics changed due to language)
….. the wipers swipe back and forth…
seeing a red light ahead I press the brake and come to a slow stop.
"I really messed it up this time, didn't I my dear?… "
…. the words continue like a loop in my head and
as I listen to the lyrics a memory comes flooding back…
a moment I had forgotten…
Walking into the bright master bath I saw him at his vanity combing his dark wet hair before the mirror... that song playing on his iPhone laying on the speckled granite countertop beside the sink. It jangled loud, permeating throughout the bathroom bouncing off the cream walls and bank of windows near the high ceiling creating almost obnoxious noise. I walk past him and say amidst the deafening tune... "What is that? Why do you keep playing that song? I feel like I'm in a pub." I tell him… not really waiting for answer, I grab what I need from my drawer and leave.
"I really messed it up this time, didn't I my dear?… didn't I my dear?"
I never really listened to the lyrics of that song.
I never took the time.
Now I hear the words loud and clear.
I hear you in there… I hear it all.
Yes, you messed up. You did.
Little things like that still
pop up quite some time later
in the aftermath of the finalization
and all of a sudden you're transported back in time…
wishing these interruptions would come to a stop because
they resemble disruptive little gnats that won't go away.
No one tells you that…
One night you may be medicating with Ben and Jerry's and the next relishing seeing a movie with your friend because you're hitched to no one now… and yes, it's absolutely wonderful.
That last night while picking up some essentials at the drugstore you saw the cutest little boy toddling along with his mother and joyfully beamed back at him when your eyes met but tonight when you saw a little girl and her mother choosing a craft to do on the craft aisle at Target you watched from a distance with wistfulness… wishing that was your night too because suddenly you really, really wish you could hug your own daughter right now… but you can't because she's at her dad's. The emptiness you suddenly feel is overwhelming and you just want to bawl between the scarves and handbags.
You get angry that your daughter has zero good male role models in her life… you get tired of hearing her continual hurt and crying when she's telling you: "Daddy ignores me at his house… he only talks to my brother. Girls are invisible"… and yet you still hold out hope that maybe, just maybe one day someone will fill that role of a father… because you value that huge responsibility and know it's importance… and yet it's better to have no one than another negative one. Her dad doesn't attend her school meetings, he doesn't go to her psychology testing appointments and thinks just throwing a bag of chocolate at her suffices as attention. She watches across the cafeteria with sadness while her father continually has lunch with her brother and never with her.
The past will try to sneak up on you and fill your mind with doubts and whispers of "if you hadn't done this or that, if you had held your tongue, if you had been more patient, if you'd said this or that…" etc and you have to shut those little torpedoes down before they destroy you… you know rationally like anyone you could have done better here or there, that's without a doubt, we all could have… but at the end of the day if someone is not healthy, if someone becomes emotionally abusive… it was a sinking ship regardless of all the admitted coulda, shoulda, woulda's.
One minute you are undeniably enjoying your freedom… the next you are longing for someone to share it with. There may be feelings that contradict one another. Don't act on any of them; their fickle as the wind. Just stay focused on your kids, your career and re-building your life... everything will fall in place.
It seems the people who are married often want to be single and the singles often want to be with someone. No one needs a man… for sure. No man needs a woman. Yet we are created for…. we are meant for companionship in this life… we are meant for connection and love and mutual care for one another. We are meant for sharing ideas, for intimacy and for communication. We are meant for all these lovely things and someone special to share them with till the end of time.
You may think when you divorce someone they will go away… I mean, divorce is a dividing, not a joining of people… and yet just because you've flung off your ex doesn't mean he will go away quietly or stop infiltrating himself into your life. Suddenly he's friend requesting your Facebook friends, he's having dinner with your father and you're offended. Yes, you have every right to be irritated. It's confusing why some people continue to wreck havoc in your life when they have no place in it… like an attention seeking little boy he must continue to do things even if in a negative light just to gain notice. Some people will continue to do whatever they can to "punish" you and stir the pot… it's really ironic because if they'd put that much energy into the marriage that they've put into irritating the heck out of you in its aftermath maybe it wouldn't have gone to pot… but at the end of the day its a reflection of them not you… move on and ignore them.
Your ex may put only his name, address and phone number in the school directory… he got the form and didn't tell you, leaving you out in the cold. Birthday party invites, etc all now go to his address and you're left wondering why on earth the fellow mothers don't reach out and send them to you. It's moments like this you once again are reminded of his manipulativeness how he does everything possible to keep you out of the circle and himself ingratiated within. This does nothing but create issues and only further cements why you divorced him to begin with.
Fridays, or "exchange days" are always bad. Always. That day… whatever day you exchange your children on is a day of him calling, texting, etc that you "didn't do this or that"… or "you didn't put this or that" in the bag, etc… stuff that doesn't even matter or have significance… just so he can cause stress and tell you that you don't have it "together".
They will mess with your mail. This can be beyond aggravating and putting in a change of address for an entire family versus just an individual is what they love to do to create more chaos. I'd recommend a P.O. Box in the days/weeks leading up to filing for divorce and alert your mail carrier of your situation and change your mail as an individual so it's forwarded to your box. The ex messing with your mail creates all sorts of havoc because then your bills, attorneys statements and copies of documents don't reach you in a timely manner.
You will have to decide whether to keep your married name or not. People are often shocked if you keep your married name if your spouse cheated but the truth is if you have even less than wonderful feelings about your maiden name then you may reluctantly keep your married one. Some people understandably feel its best to keep the same last name as their children… others are more than ready to dump their married name and move… others I'm sure wish there was a third option. Take some time and decide what's best for you.
You've asked him numerous times to please drop off and pick up the kids at the street or end of the driveway. But no, the inept ex who continually has to push the limits, pulls all the way up in the driveway and is on your porch ringing your doorbell, his face in yours. It's best if all exchanges are done at a neutral location like McDonald's.
There may be times you feel alone but you are never ever really alone. God is watching over you as well as family and friends… those who are supporting you are cheering you on.
Just because you are signed up to communicate on the site Our Family Wizard doesn't mean they will communicate with you. They may "view" your messages but ignore 90% of them and not reply.
One day you may feel pity toward your ex… another day anger and the next just sadness… these feelings may occur all within the same day or same hour…. going through a divorce is a process… and it's a process of emotions too… that continue even in the aftermath of the finalization. Sitting in front of my attorney one day he asked me what I wanted, what my expectations were in my case… that's a good question to ask yourself, too. He told me with a laugh… "I'm an attorney, okay? I'm not an assassin"… going into divorce it's important to have some idea of what exactly you are wanting… you may get a "fair settlement"… but remember, no one ever truly "wins"… least of all the kids.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
Have you shared your story?
Have you spoken about your journey?
Have you shared your testimony?
Each of us have a story to tell… with many chapters… a story that God has guided us through… with perhaps dark beginnings that have led to later pages filled with light reflecting off them… maybe your chapters intensify with song, with beauty, with triumph, with God's love for you as you leaf through them, prisms of glorious color streaming from them as more of your story is written each day…
What a beautiful thing to be able to share those glorious pages with someone you know and care about… maybe someone to inspire… maybe someone to encourage and lift up… maybe someone you love. When we share our story not for our own glory but take a backseat and let the light of Jesus shine front and center… to show people only by God's teaching, His grace, we have grown... we have changed from walking in the dark fumbling, tripping over ourselves, searching for that much sought after light switch… and now have found the light and owe everything to Christ… to let people know that only because of Him we walk in the light due to seeing a light cast on our sin and realizing that we stand in dangerous chaos, in murky darkness… and that only by following Christ can we be saved.
When were driving down a dark, unfamiliar road the first thing we think of needing is… light. We desperately need light to find our way, to see ahead, to know where we are headed. But left without light that is impossible… left to our own devices to muddle our way along, we are on treacherous roads… we may skid out, we may hit a bump and go off the road completely… but with light we can see… and we know where we are headed… the gospel itself is light and light always gives…
No matter how good you are, how skilled at driving in the dark, you won't make it alone. But light… the word of God… Jesus Christ, our Savior who came to cast light on our sin, make us aware, convict us of wrong doings and then ask us to repent… for us to receive His forgiveness and give us much needed comfort…
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.
God promises good things
for us and one includes comfort.
It was in the aftermath of losing my sister to a drunk driver that brought me face to face with the realization that I desperately not just needed God because I was hurting... because I was crying out in despair and pain… and NEEDED HIS COMFORT… but that for once in my life… for the very first time, I WANTED to have a RELATIONSHIP with Him.
It was small moments here and there… like bright spots of sunlight that peek through a wood fence on a sunny day, spots of light shining in and you're so incredibly happy and relieved to feel that sunshine on your skin… on your face. Because those beams of light represent something called hope.
Sometimes the people in our life are like light… like sparkly fireflies they happily offer help and are like bright spots of light through the darkness... to the eternal beacon of hope, healing, and comfort... our Savior. In the weeks, months following my sister's death I was enveloped in darkness; comparable to a black duvet, I was curled up in a cocoon of pain, of loss and hurt… crying out to God "Why??!!" and yet clinging to Him… because I realized just needing wasn't enough anymore… but wanting to be near Him.
A friend I've known forever suggested we go to Mardel, a Christian store and look around. I'd never been to Mardel and didn't really know what to expect. As she led the way through the books and gifts, we finally came upon the music section. As she selected a couple of cd's she was going to purchase I browsed the music… my curiosity was there but I had never listened to Christian music in my life. My life had been an ongoing playlist of AC/DC, Metallica, Gun's N' Roses, Pantera, Audioslave, Ozzy Osbourne, Rage Against The Machine, Sneaker Pimps, Kidd Rock, Limp Bizkit, Alice In Chains, NIN, Dr. Dre, Notorious BIG, 50 Cent and more… a playlist that was less than soothing but instead reflected the angry, the boxed in and the sinful flesh. Feeling completely out of my comfort zone… not certain what to choose I finally asked her for some recommendations. Narrowing it down to MercyMe I would soon find it was the perfect choice. Playing "My Heart Will Fly" until I nearly wore out the cd was soothing and before I knew it I was channel surfing and stumbled upon Joyce Meyer late one night… soon followed reading Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo… these tiny steps in the aftermath of losing my sister brought me along a path that was begun by my friend suggesting Mardel one day. Just one moment led to a series of moments. A few years later when I had her on the phone one afternoon I said:
"I just want to thank you." I told her… " For what?" she asked. "For taking me to Mardel that day. For suggesting it. Because of you, of that cd I bought... it led me to other things… to watching Joyce Meyer, to reading books to finally picking up the bible and having a relationship with God. "
There was shocked silence on the other end… and I seriously thought she'd fainted. Finally she spoke "I'm so glad, Jennifer. I've been praying for this for a long time… for years. I kept wanting this! I kept hoping… but you were so stubborn!" she laughed and I laughed too. Oh, yes, she was so, so, so right. And God knew this too. And I was so, so, so incredibly blessed by God. Thank God for her and all my friends.
Never, never, never give up that your friends will never know Jesus. You may step back from time to time in admitted frustration… you might question if your persistence (and loving patience) will really make a difference... but always pray, still reach out and know that there is still that chance, that hope that yes, the light will penetrate their black cocoon they are in… that it will cast into that dark inky hallway they are pacing like a caged animal, like a slave to their sins…. know that each and every one of us are capable of being a light to others too.
Ephesians 5:8 ESV
For at one time you were darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light.
What a gift we are given by God… to be a light to others in this life and share the good news of the Gospel… to share our own story and let others know the only reason we made it through those trials, through those dark times and emerged from that cocoon bathed in glorious light...
Is because of His unconditional love for us…
And sometimes we find friends who love us like that too.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014