Monday, July 25, 2011

Guide To Leaving Domestic Violence

Someone should write a guide specifically on coming out of domestic violence. The thing, though, is that I'm convinced that a woman who leaves a situation like that must:

1) come to her own conclusion to do so, and

2) decide to be healed of whatever is within herself that attracted her to a relationship like that to begin with.

Most women don't do that. Most people have broken parts inside that will never get fixed because they either don't realize that something is broken, don't know how to fix it, or are so comfortable being broken that they don't want to change. As you read this, maybe you will reflect on your own brokenness; maybe you are at a place in your life, too, where you are ready to get healed. It's a blessed journey to travel, my friend, and so worth it in the end.

For the women who are ready to step away from that relationship (for most of us, it's simply because we can't do it any more. It isn't really a "choice"), though, a guide would be helpful. It would include things like this:

1) A list of free or affordable babysitters who are reliable, good influences, responsible, and trained in CPR.

2) Instructions on how to: install a deadbolt, mow your lawn while your toddlers are awake, motivate yourself to do something after the kids are in bed (other than sit on the couch and listen to the silence), change the oil in your car (because who has done that in the last seven years?!), even know how many cylinders your car is so if you have someone else change the oil you can correctly answer this question, and how to remove a huge wasp nest from your back garage.

3) A pass that you can cut out which says "I am allowed to have a bad day and be grumpy." Because...really, this isn't allowed, but it sure would be nice. :)

4) Workout instructions. When you're starting a new chapter in your life, it feels really darn good to be in charge of your body and accomplish something that's so good for your health!

5) Organization and cleaning tips and tricks to make things happen Mary Poppins' style. Who wants to take all of her free time up by cleaning a house?

And then the more serious things, like what to do when you're lonely and 9pm hits. Night time is the roughest. How to maintain your integrity and not make mistakes out of your loneliness. How to know when you're ready for a relationship, and how to not sabotage the next one you have because you are overly sensitive to certain things. How to retrain your brain to have correct thinking about what is normal and healthy in a relationship. How to rebuild your identity, because if you have truly been in an unhealthy relationship, you probably lost hold of who you were along the way. How to not care what other people think about you (as long as you know you're doing what you should be doing, of course). And...

How to have healthy boundaries with the person you were in that relationship with. How to still show that person respect so your kids can see you model how they should act. How to stop reacting to that person out of fear. How to help that person, have his back, and support him while not giving him the wrong impression.

It's interesting, this journey. A lot of unanswered questions and dilemmas, but it's ok, and the journey is good. Behind every rainbow, there is a little rain...and I sure do like rainbows and the promise of God's love that they hold.

Friday, July 22, 2011

You Are Beautiful

Dear Single Mom,

You are beautiful. You may go days without anyone commenting on your physical appearance, and you may think that no one notices or cares, but you need to know that you are beautiful. It's difficult to feel attractive when you get blinded by the grocery list of "why I am not _____", when you notice and compare yourself to every other seemingly beautiful woman you see, and when your ears are hypersensitive to the people around you commenting on how hot that girl is who just walked by. But...

You are beautiful. The wisdom and love that bounds within your soul is worn on your face, and that's not something that all women have. Your smile does brighten the day of the person honored enough to receive it. You do have curves that compliment your figure and resound the woman that you are.

You are beautiful. You are not as fat as you think you are. The circles under your eyes are outweighed by the strong arms of yours that stay up late to rock your babies. Your hair does scream out for someone to run their fingers through it, your lips for someone to kiss. No one notices your blemishes and wrinkles like you do, and if someone does, honestly, they don't really care because...

You are beautiful. You have value. You are worth the wait. You do get noticed, even if you aren't aware of it. So next time you are feeling unattractive or you can't believe your child when she whispers to you that you are pretty, and even if no one has told you in a week...

Know that you are beautiful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Working it out by writing.

It's getting to me. Normally, I just pick myself up every morning and begin the new day. I feel positive regardless of what happened in the hours prior. Lately, though, not so much. It's a combination of things, I think: the mountains of paperwork that need filling out (divorce stuff, loan stuff, kids' health insurance, etc.) which never gets worked on, the continual cycles of keeping a house running (thank God Amara is in underpants during the days now!), the desire to do so many things but the inability to actually make them happen...

Oh, and then the other stuff lately. Like picking up body parts, being covered in other peoples' blood, running call after call after call for hours and hours and hours on end, and then not saying anything when a man asks if his wife is dead while he himself has tubes and wires and other things going into and coming out of his own body after a horrific car accident. Or maybe talking to a wife while her husband lies there, completely unresponsive. Or maybe knowing enough to not look at the remaining members of a family after a suicide. Yeah. Maybe that stuff is getting to me. I have had more than my share lately. :-\

People, there are bigger things in my life than a failed marriage. I had years to grieve the loss that I knew was coming. I left back at the end of January, was it? I am in a much, much better place now than I was then (which still grieves me to realize--it should definitely be the other way around and I still hate that I had a marriage full of garbage. Marriage should be something beautiful, but that's another post altogether). When you see me stressed out now, it's not because I don't have a husband. It's not because I am any more of a single mom than I was before, because in reality, I was even more so of a single mom up until the beginning of January when John started really picking up the whole "dad" thing (and I am very thankful that he does a pretty decent job now!).

If I look like a I need a hug, it's not because I am missing John or am having second thoughts about not being married. It's because I am human, like you. I get frustrated when I can't EVER get everything done that I need to. I get drained when my two beautiful toddlers need my constant attention for what seems to be all day and all night. I get needy when I feel like there is no space that is just mine--just like every other mom who can't even go to the bathroom or get a shower alone. :) I feel upset when I have dealt with more people who either are dead or who are going to be dead because of tragic circumstances than a person should have to encounter in a month. I am lonely when I have barely had any adult interactions for a while...and I am sure that these things I feel are not so far from what you feel sometimes, too.

Thank God for the friends who pray for me. The friends who send me encouraging, beautiful, inspired by God messages online even as they walk through their own difficult circumstances. The friends who talk my ear off about their own lives so I can just listen to something different for a while. The friends who randomly show up at my house at 1am with frozen pizza, strawberries, and movies. And then stay until 4am...because even if I am tired the next day, I can't tell you how awesome it is to feel so refreshed mentally and emotionally! The ones who come and help me clean even if it is kinda stressful while it's happening (thanks, Grammie).

In case I haven't told you lately, I covet your hugs. And your smiles. And your laughter. And your talking. And your listening. And the just-being-with-you.

It is a wonderful world, and we must not let the weariness or difficulty of it get us down, because truly, lives change instantaneously and it's just not worth it to take life for granted.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hole Called "Lonely"

I'm so darn lonely tonight. Ya know, you fill your time with healthy things to try and ignore the pains of being alone, doesn't really work. :) You can't talk about it because then people judge you and you may hear a lecture on how you shouldn't be looking for a relationship yet. But really, is that the only conclusion one can find when they think about loneliness?

I was designed to be loved by a man. It is part of my DNA to be a relational person. God did create me that way, you know. This is the first time in my life that I have lived with no other person near to my maturity level.'s lonely. Sure, I could calls someone, but I don't because then I feel like I am just using that person or I know that it really isn't going to fill the "empty" box that sits in my heart. So I don't call. In fact, sometimes I even move away from anything that involves contacting another human being because I just don't know how to deal with it. I don't know what to say. Maybe I don't really want to say anything. I don't know what I want to hear. Maybe I don't really want to hear anything. Maybe I just want to be held and have someone there...but how do you ask for and explain that?

You can't be mad at me for this. It's like looking in a mirror but seeing no reflection. You are there, but something that is supposed to react to you is not. It's strange. And a little empty. And so lonely. People who haven't been here suggest all sorts of things: prayer, reading the Bible more, hanging out with girlfriends. But...those things don't work because those things fill the holes shaped for those things, not for the hole called "lonely."

Everything inside of my relationship box is still raw. I can't even pray about a future relationship yet because I am so convinced no one will ever find me worth it, or I would have to just settle for someone which I tell myself I cannot do. Then I think to myself, how selfish is that? If I do have a future husband out there, can he really wait another day to be covered in prayer? Doesn't he need it now? So for the moment, I pray for myself and I quickly hurry through a sentence that shoves the whole relationship box into God's court for him to work on without me having to look at it or think about it. It hurts too much if I have to look at that box. Whatever man (if) gets into that box is going to have to be my best friend in all the world, because he is going to end up carrying me through that journey and will have to be so patient as I become willing to even look at it. But maybe that's part of God's plan, because if someone would do that for me, I would know that he thought I am worth it.

I have hope, though, even though I am not sure I should dare to. There is one area left that I need healing in; a retraining of the mind, an understanding of what is healthy. That, I can pray about. And I did. And God laid it on the heart of a friend to send me the link to a sermon series on exactly that topic. I gather two things from that: 1) God cares and notices about even the smallest things I need and ask for--and he responded IMMEDIATELY! 2) If God thinks this particular subject is important enough to fix within me, then I think the potential for a future relationship is very likely. Who knows what his timing is, but I am ok with whatever He has planned for me because I know my Abba Father, and I know that His ideas surpass anything I could think of or desire within my heart.

So God, could you just put a lid on the Lonely Hole within me for now? I realize it's just part of being human, but I could certainly do without it right now. Close it off, why don't ya, and only allow it to be opened when it's ready to be filled. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Love Exuberantly

This is what I think...

You should hold your babies more, and never stop kissing them and telling them that you love them. You shouldn't be afraid to rock them to sleep, to let them get messy, or to let them snuggle you in the morning before you get out of bed. It doesn't matter if your floor isn't always spotless or the clean laundry always folded. It does matter that your children know they are loved unconditionally with an agape love. It does matter that you touch them and hold them and giggle with them and smile at them. Remember that the purest form of you is who you are when you're with your children. Let them know that they are the best thing in the whole wide world. Love those children, and make sure they know it. Don't ever hold back; love exuberantly.

This is what I think...

You should spend more time with that person who you are bound to. Whether it's a best friend, a girl friend, or a husband, be with them. You don't know when an accident will happen, cancer will strike, or something unforeseen takes them from you. Cherish your time. Love them. Stay up late talking, watching funny movies, and listening to the rain. Don't be afraid to experience everything possible that life offers with that person. Take every opportunity to love on that person, to fix every problem that hinders your relationship, and to serve that person with bounding joy. Learn to love better, and practice it. Do not take them for granted or take lightly the memories you have the opportunity to create together. Hold on to that person, the one that you can't live without, or at least that you don't ever, ever, ever want to live without. Love that person, and make sure they know it. Don't hold back; love exuberantly.

This is what I think...

I don't know what you felt when you got that phone call, and I won't pretend that I felt your fear. I do know, though, that I will hold your unconscious baby, sing to him, and love him for you when you can't do it yourself. I will do everything that is absolutely possible to give life to your baby, no matter what it costs me in the process. I will always be sure that I know what I'm doing, that everything is ready, and that your child comes first when my scanner goes off and I step into that ambulance. You don't need to fear, because when I get there, he becomes my baby too, and there is nothing stronger than a mama's heart. Know that if anything ever happens; if I can't get our baby to the place where he should be, or if things go wrong and something happens, I will be sobbing too. You may not see it, but I am breaking inside, too.

I won't pretend that I understand what it must be like to see your  unresponsive husband lying on a backboard with blood pooling everywhere. I do know though, that I feel part of your pain when I want him to wake up and he doesn't. When I know that he may never open his eyes again. When I know that you are standing there watching him die while I try to give him life. It's not easy as I gently tell you to hold his hand and kiss him, to talk to him and reassure him. What I am really saying is that you need to tell him goodbye and hold on to him for these minutes that he is still here for. Know that I am doing everything I can, though. Part of a team, I am still watching everyone and everything. I will speak up on his behalf, and I will make sure he is treated correctly. I will talk to him by name as I push oxygen into his lungs, and I will be ready to do everything possible to get him home. But if that doesn't happen, know that I am standing behind you, and that I wanted him to live, too.

This is what I think.
Seize every opportunity possible to love exuberantly. Don't wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow may never come.


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