Friday, December 31, 2010

the wonderful world of triggers

Well today sucks.

I learned first hand the meaning of "trigger" for a partner of a sex addict. I heard about it before, heard it was possible. I have been grateful there were some steps to dealing with all this that apparently I got to skip. Guess I thought I was either that lucky or just that cool. Nah turns out I'm just a late bloomer.

So whats is a trigger you ask? -- Behaviors and environmental cues that can trigger, and cause "flashbacks," which can temporarily re-traumatize. Examples of environmental cues include driving past a location where the addict acted out, billboards, images or media.

Today started fine. DH has the day off. We were hanging with the kids, having fun, played some just dance and did puzzles. Then off to the store we all go. Nothing exciting, no bad thoughts in my head. We shop. We all pile back into the car to bring grocery's home. Talk is consisting of what we will be doing to bring in the new year. We stop at a red light, I'm watching DH sing along with the radio and make the kids laugh. I glance around. Notice we are at THE intersection. The one I avoid when I drive. 

One of the girls lives right around that corner. This is the light he would sit at when driving home from her house. Driving home from spending time with some slutty nineteen year old. Sitting right here before coming into our home. Our home where he would say he loved me, and tuck my children into bed. I can see his truck on the other side of the intersection like its really there. He is singing along with the radio. Look at that smile, he looks satisfied. Probably still thinking about how great a nineteen year old looks naked.

The light turns green. I feel vomit in my throat. We get to the house, park in the driveway. DH asks if there is something wrong. Nope everything's great, you sleep around and you still get the perfect family. But what I really say is I will get the baby out of the car you get the food. 

Nothing has gone good since getting the baby out of the car. Day has gotten worse. It felt like that first week after D-day all over again. I could SEE everything again. So I spent most my day and early evening a mess in my room. You know the ugly cry kind. There was snot and hiccup noises. Not pretty. DH braved going up to the room to check on me a few times. He got screamed at.

And so ends the tale of how I learned about triggers. And how I squished all the fun out of New Years. 
Dear God, please, please, please, take these images I see when I close my eyes away. Please help me to not shut down due to silly things like an intersection. Or if you so see fit God please destroy that intersection, and replace it with something cool like ice cream shop. Thanks and Amen, Love me

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

hello my name is Irish Bastard, and I'm a sugarcoater

I learned a name for myself last week. Sugarcoater. OK so it doesn't sound bad, kinda sounds yummy, but that's what  makes it so dangerous.  Who doesn't like sugar right?

How to spot a sugarcoated person:
       person in question ~
  • is always smiling.
  • laughs through any problem and wants others to do the same.
  • will bend over backwards to make others happy.
  • will drop fights to keep peace.
  • looks like they have it all together (perfect life, house, kids, etc.).
  • gets annoyed with what they believe are whiners.
  • never lets others see them cry.
  • is very social and usually has lots of friends.
  • makes excuses for past wounding (admitting someone was able to hurt them is not a "sugary" feeling).

Are you a sugarcoated person?
You read the above bullets and thought~
  • the above list was great
  • whats wrong with always being happy?  
  • nobody wants to see others cry.
  • of course I have a ton of friends.
  • whinny people DO bother me, everyone has problems, they need to learn to deal with theirs.
  • lets not dwell on the past.
If you agreed with the above list your totally covered in sugar.
My natural response would be, that's cool me too. We would probably get along great. I bet your a fun person to be around. Sugary people usually are. But now for the sucky part, you may or not be aware of it yet. I want to get the warning out to any other super happy candy people before its too late.

The downfall of people who wear protective sugar coats:

1.   They don't know how to let others help them if they are hurt.
  • don't want to upset others by being sad/mad/etc.
  • sometimes scary to even admit to others something is wrong.   
2.   If they are parents, they teach their children to act the same way.
  • They even probably think that's a good thing.
3.   Often think they must be perfect before they can follow Christ.
  • for the record this a HUGE lie of the enemy.
4.   Due to wanting to have it all together, they want to be helpful, so others can have it all together too.
  • has a hard time telling others no.
  • can easily become a doormat, might result in getting used.
5.   Often attracts (and is attracted to) certain types of other broken people.
  • narcissist ~ best type of person for the "all about me show" is a sugarcoater. Sugar - always fun to be around, never upset, and best of all, they do everything they can to make them happy.
  • emotional dependent person ~ this person can become addicted to how a sugarcoater makes them feel special.  
  • other sugarcoater's ~ of course! Two permanently happy people what could be better right?
6.    Usually will try anything to stay happy (or stay looking happy).
  • relationships, helping others - Making them happy, is gonna make me happy.
  • drugs, drinking - 'Cause if you numb the pain, that's the same as happy right?
 7.    Can become very depressed to the point of suicide.
  • Things that normally make me happy are no longer working.
  • If I cant get over this problem, somethings wrong with me.
  • I cant tell others, they don't even know I have problems.
  • Having problems makes my husband, children, etc look bad.
  • Nothing can fix it. 
I am not the only sugarcoater I have ever come across. My family is packed full of them. I think there was a pride in it. We pull ourselves up when we get knocked down, and the best part is we do it with a smile. I am the baby of the whole family, so I had the privilege of watching and learning and perfecting. I laugh and joke with the best of them. And I was modeling that attitude for my children. 

But now I'm a follower of Christ. I'm learning that its OK to smile, buts its also OK to cry.  Jesus lets me look back at past events and see them through His eyes. My cousins death is my biggest warning. He was also my biggest role model. He was happy on the outside and not on the inside. I don't want that to happen to me, or the people that call me their role models, my kids. The first step is admitting you have a problem right? So....
Hello, my name is Irish Bastard and I am a Sugarcoater. 
Oh wait that's not right, lets try this...
Hello, my name is Kings Daughter, and I was a sugarcoater. My Daddy is helping me to change things.

Friday, December 17, 2010

crafting is a fabulous band-aid

Two nights ago we went to a friends for a small Christmas party. The kids each got to shop and pick out a present, they wrapped them and made their own cards. I looked up a small craft online that the kids got to help with. It was the first art we have done together in months. It made me happy and sad at the same time, to see how excited they were that I busted out the glue gun. When shopping for googly eyes and pipe cleaners all three discussed extensively and decided together what size eyes and what bag of pompoms would be just perfect. It felt like they were grasping at how things used to be.

My six year old in particular was holding on with all her might to every fun little thing that was happening. It was hard to listen to what I could hear in her heart while she talked throughout the afternoon. "Mommy are we still going to make art?"  "Yes."  "Do you promise."  "Yes I do."  "Are we going to glue, and wrap and make food together?"  "Yes all of us."  "Oh good! I want us to all the time again!"  She had her little heart so ready for this special day, that it broke mine. Like she was worried this was her one and only day to have her home and mommy back to the way they should be.

She was smiles all day, and into the evening when we got to our friends. Towards the end of the party she started to cry. She cried on and off till it was time to tuck her into bed. I wanted to believe she was just tired and a little partied out. I wanted to believe so badly that at least my younger two were not being affected much. Thinking that would just be lying to myself again. Her tears told me the truth. Her special day was ending and she was scared it wasn't coming back. As I laid awake that night, all I could think about was her little face all streaky with tears when I told her goodnight. "I had fun tonight mommy, but I don't know why I'm sad."

I felt guilty that I have been holding back on this small thing that brings them so much joy. I felt selfish. Art is my release, always has been. When my heart was broken, it was the last thing on my mind. After awhile I started to feel my pain, and I started to draw again. The pictures were scary, dark and ugly. The pain jumped off the pages, so much so that I decided I was done. So I stopped ALL types of art. Sadly I had forgotten how much it can heal and help, them as well as me. Just because drawing is out right now, doesn't mean everything needs to be.

So I woke with a plan yesterday. 10 days till Christmas, and it will be fun for the kids.  I told the children we will be having a craft day. They were out of school for a snow day, so it worked out well. When I announced my plans, they ran around picking up, working together, chattering about what they would make.
When I tucked my youngest daughter into bed last night she made me smile. "Today was fun mommy, I'm happy."  This year has been different in many ways, and I found out this small difference has been huge to them. Yesterday we relaxed, crafted, watched movies, made cards and necklaces. Art in this house is like breathing, we need it. I promised myself  I won't be so self contained anymore not to notice.                  

some artwork from craft day

Thursday, December 9, 2010

adultery = train wreck

I'm having an anxious day.  I don't know what the problem is, but all day I have felt off.
I suppose the same thing that causes the really bad days, is the same thing that causes the slightly wrong for no good reason days. Adultery is a train wreck. Having a husband with a sexual addiction.... well that's like a train full of puppies, crashing into a train full of orphans. Yeah its that bad. 
Some days no matter how good everything is rolling, you let stray thoughts invade. Its not even thoughts of the other women. Its the smaller day to day things that have been sneaking up on me.

Do you know any stereotypical gossips? I do, she lives on my street. The day I found out my husband was having an affair, she also found out. Swell. Didn't want her to know, but there it is. I will post about that day and the days that followed, but not today. Don't want that panic attack that has been hovering around my edges all day to turn full blown. Anyhoo... this lovely gossip I have the pleasure of knowing, has been spreading the word on my life to others in passing conversation. People I know and people that I don't. I feel like I no longer have "safe" friends or acquaintances to chat with, to relax with, everyone knows some version of the truth.  Most days I think whatever, I wont let it bother me. But other days, days like today... I want to hide. I want to stay indoors so I don't have to guess at who knows, what they know, what they're thinking, or saying. Why does she stay with him? Once a cheater always a cheater. She is so weak, probably doesn't think she can cut it without a man. No wonder he cheats shes so bitchy/bossy/stuck up/lazy/stupid/ugly/boring. Bet she lets it happen. Thoughts like that can turn me immobile and keep me in sweats all day. Sad part is I will even try to lie to myself. I have a lot around the house to do today, I don't need to go anywhere. The saddest part is when I catch myself in the lie. The result is usually a crazy little self fight in my head.~~ Yeah you might not have some huge errand that should get done, but your son needs to get out, fresh air, the park, maybe a play date? Nah he is totally content watching cartoons. No he isn't, and neither are you. You love to be out and about. Oh shut up, to much to do at home today I'm not going anywhere.

I am sincerely trying to get outta these little funks when they pop up. I pray, I read scripture, I do homework, I have decided to catch up on classic movies I have never seen, classic novels I have never read, new recipes, do my nails, do the girls nails.... seriously its not for lack of trying.  But the funks they come. I wish I knew someone who has been through this, so I could ask for a time line. If I could just know how long till I was going to be better. Sigh, I know the answer, God knows. And He aint telling.

I have noticed that the holidays seem to make the funks sorta cluster. Once October hits its non stop till middle of January. Other than the obvious holidays, there are two of my childrens birthdays, my birthday, and our wedding anniversary. I'm a holiday person at heart. I love to decorate and do a ton of fun activity's leading up to whatever fun day is coming. Normally arts and crafts cover our walls since its a favorite pastime with the kids. But not so much this year. I do try to rally myself, and sometimes there is success. Total hit or miss.

Halloween was iffy. There was one trip to the farm with only the baby, and took pics of costumes with a phone. It was lacking. My daughters birthday was a hit. Big slumber party, house festive, lots of giggles, crafts, games into the late night. I pulled it off, just like old mommy would have done.  Other things have been a total fail, like our tenth wedding anniversary. I had always wanted to renew our vows on our tenth.  When the day did come around though all I wanted was to stay busy so I couldn't dwell on what day it was.  DH ended up working late, my six year old came home from kindergarten with lice. Well got my wish. I was busy. De-licing the kid, and cleaning the house in fear of more freaky little bugs. It was so far from what I always dreamed that day would be like, it was  funny.... in a twisted sorta way. Thanksgiving I woke in total funk mode. Told DH he would be taking the kids on his own to our friends for dinner. I just wasn't up for faking a smile, and I sure as heck didn't want to spend it cooking. But when those plans fell through, I ended up cooking a small Thanksgiving dinner. It was the most awful dinner ever. On any given night we sit around the table laughing and joking, but not that night. It was depressing, almost completely quiet. DH looked like he would break into tears at any minute, the kids were fidgety and excused themselves as soon as they could.  Even now just weeks away from Christmas I feel like I'm failing. I love to involve the kids in all the fun things of getting ready for Christmas. But we haven't made one craft, one ornament , one card.

I see my kids look at me, they ask if we will be having a marshmallow fight. Or maybe play some hide and seek tonight? We haven't had family camp-out in months. They miss the fun, the carefree. I feel like that sparkle that once ran through this house is gone. I look at my childrens faces and wonder if they worry its gone too.

Adultery is such a ugly train wreak. The carnage is huge, and far reaching. It sinks into the smallest cracks of your life.  Every time you think you see where it all hurts, you discover something you missed. It affects every part of your life. Your marriage. Your self-esteem. Your innocence and trust of others. Your children. Your holidays. Your memories, even they are all distorted now.

But it does not effect my God. He does not have anxious days, or off days. Although my flesh is effected in every way, my spirit is not. He has that time line and I will wait on Him. Even when I don't want to.

Psalm 27:13-14

 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
      while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
      Be brave and courageous.
      Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.




Sunday, November 28, 2010

He might even use a cat to show love.

When I look back on the life of my precious pet I start to see the lessons I didn't know I was learning at the time. God knew I wasn't yet ready to follow Jesus completely, but that didn't stop Him from teaching me how. He loves us so much He will even send a kitten to help.

Roughly three and a half years ago while pregnant with my youngest I discovered I was sick. Really sick. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Although I was grateful I knew what was going on, it was very overwhelming. I was so busy with two small children and a husband who was gone often for the military, there wasn't much time to be scared. Right around that time my DH (dear husband) brought home two adorable little kittens. They were presents for our daughters, we all loved them. I especially fell in love with the little fat brownish one.

Lesson #1 ~ It always starts with falling in love.

Close to six months later my mother in law passed away very suddenly. It was horrific on my husband, they were very close. I held him while he sobbed and lost control. I helped him pack for the plane, he needed to leave right away. I told my children. The three year old didn't understand, my seven year old on the other hand did. Unfortunately she is too much like me, she wouldn't cry, she stayed busy. I tried to hold her, but I understood her need to help. She helped me prepare for our trip. She helped me keep her sister entertained on the plane. She even held my hand when she was worried I looked sick while on our layover. My sweet baby girl, please just be a child and let me comfort you. Too much like me, ugh. I prayed that she would mourn and release her pain. My prayers were answered at the funeral. She finally unloaded her broken heart, she cried and talked with her older cousin. Totally oblivious I didn't realize I should pray to be more like her, and learn to let my pain out. Few busy days later we flew home without DH. That night when the girls were finally in bed, I sat in a living room full of suitcases and it hit me. I missed her too. She was such a good friend. We talked daily on the phone, sometimes two or three times. She would fly out to help with the kids while DH was away. Her sense of humor was awesome, this little old lady could make me laugh till I thought I might pee my pants. I sat crying... and then a little fat brownish kitten came and sat on my lap, she slept with me there all night. And I felt better.

Lesson #2 ~ He wants to hear your hurts. You can hold on to them forever, or start to hand them over to Him. You will feel better if you hand them over.

DH was back home within a week of us. Before the death he was already slipping into deep alcoholism. But this sent him over the edge. If possible he got worse, he got abusive, verbal and occasionally physical. He would spend entire paychecks at casinos and bars. And I stayed busy. I had decided before that I would help DH, and felt I was failing. Keep it up, keep it up, was the motto going through my head most of the time. I had my daughters, and was preparing for our son to be born. They would never know their daddy had issues. Our neighbors wouldn't either. We will be the perfect family. He will get better, he goes to church once in awhile with us. It takes time. Keep it up, keep it up, keep it up...  Instead of getting better, I was getting sicker. DH wasn't worried, and I didn't want to worry the girls so I kept it mostly to myself. But my little brownish cat knew the truth. She sat with me when it hurt to bad to sleep. She was patient with me when my hands would cramp so bad I couldn't pet her. By then I was sure she knew I needed her more than she needed me.

Lesson #3 ~ You can keep it up for awhile on your own... but eventually on your own is not enough. He doesn't need you, He wants you and loves you. You need Him.

About three months after MIL death, I went into labor. I was very sick. Before I got pregnant I was a healthy 120 pounds. I delivered at 126. I don't remember the whole day my son was born, only snapshots of the day in my mind really. I do remember waiting in the bathroom while DH ran outside to find someone to help. All consuming panic was setting in. All the blood, thinking the baby was dying, thinking I was dying. Then a little fat cat came into the bathroom. I focused on her. She sat on the floor near the blood, then jumped onto the counter and I watched. I no longer saw the mess only her.

Lesson #4 ~ There will be messes. He will get right there in the middle of your mess, and He will show you how to focus only on Him and not your mess, no matter how awful and scary.

Few days later we came home from the hospital, with a beautiful baby boy. I still wasn't well and was put on two weeks bed rest. So not my style. So much that needed to be done! DH was still a drunk mess, I still had two older kids that needed me, and my mom wouldn't be arriving to help for more than a week. That little cat sat with me day in and day out. When the kids were down for the night,  DH was out drinking and I was still stuck on the couch on bed rest, she would sit with me. I would cry and fall asleep with her. In the middle of the night the baby would wake, all I could do was sit with him when I wanted to stand and rock him. I would be so close to tears, then she would do some silly kitten antic and get me laughing. I would relax and so would the baby. And we got through the weeks of bed rest.

Lesson #5 ~ There will be times when your stuck, and there is nothing you can do about it. He will sit with you, and wait with you. He can even make the waiting fun.

Approximately three months pass. Its time for a new duty station. DH moves before the children and I.   We stay behind to let my daughter finish second grade with her class. Those three months my faithful cat was there through all the craziness. When the multiple tornado warnings came, she sat with us in the closet while we sang songs and ate Cheetos. She saw me through a gas leak, a toddler in a leg cast, friends moving, two kids with the flu and giant spiders. She was there for slumber parties, family camp-out movie nights, baby learning to roll over and food fights. Such a faithful little animal watching out for her family.

Lesson #6 ~ He is there in the day to day grind. He is there enjoying your children and silliness of your house with you.

The baby is now six months old, and the boxes have already been sent to the new house. We move. Our little fat brownish cat is now a huge fat cat. Very concerned about her new place, she started to patrol. I joke you not, this silly cat would sit on the front porch and hiss at people until told it was OK to let them pass. Doing her best to watch out for us, protect us. Wonder if she felt the danger? That's around the time a friend called from the duty station we just left. Just a phone call from a friend no biggie. But irrational fear caused me to pray right then, please God sit with me. With no more than a hello my friend told me she had slept with my husband. She gave me details, she gave me the words he said to her. I heard enough and hung up. I felt Jesus for the first time in my life. I felt his arms around my shoulders, more real than any hug I have ever had. There was no panic, I was calm. I looked down and in my lap there was my huge fat cat.... hmmm I didn't realize she was with me during the phone call. I sat awhile with Jesus and my cat, then I went to sleep. It was a very restful sleep, deep and long, no dreams. That sleep was Gods love and mercy.

Lesson #7 ~ He is with you watching out for you. He sees the danger way before you do. He will be there to comfort and hold you. And sometimes He will even send a cat as a physical reminder to sit with you, to show you your never alone.

In the aftermath of the phone call I felt like it would all work out, at the same time knowing it would be a hard ride to get there. I tell my SIL what has happened. Start getting christian advice for the first time. I tell DH drinking is out of the question if he wants to keep his family. He swears he wont drink, it will be better. I believe him. Start telling myself it was only the alcohol, that could be the only possible reason anything could have happened. We are in a new place, in a new house, its a whole new start.  Life is pretty good. When DH is home he is all about the family. Everything I had always prayed for. The suspicions I had were fading. He is proving himself daily. He goes to church nearly weekly now. The kids are loving all the attention. I forgive. He still isn't into reading his bible, but then some people are not big readers. I push thoughts like that aside, lets not be picky, he stopped drinking. He works odd hours, not surprising in the military. When he comes home the house is asleep. Crawls into bed gives me a kiss before zonking out. I sit up, do I smell beer? My fat brownish cat wakes at my feet. She walks along his side and takes a big whiff near his mouth, looks at me then strolls back to her spot to fall back asleep. And I wonder...

Lesson #8 ~ You might get away with lying to people, but don't think you can hide anything from Him.

Six more months pass. Mom calls, probably wondering how our New Years went. I'm all ready to tell her how awesome it was. Why is she crying? Its bad. My cousin has killed himself. My mind goes blank, shes lying I know it. For all purposes my cousin was my brother. I was raised with him. Our childhoods were not the easiest, but he was there, we faced stuff together, a team. Friends as adults, he lived with us when DH and I still only had one kid. My children called him uncle. They loved him. Everyone loved him, he was that type of guy. I loved him.
I. Cant. Breath.
DH hugs me, tries to find the right words. Gives up, hands me my cat and leaves the room. Can't stop crying, and my cat doesn't leave me. Finally I calm down, clean up my face a bit to head downstairs. Its hard to walk when nearly ten pounds of fur is determined to stay underfoot the whole way.

Lesson #9 ~ Sometimes the pain is so great that other people cannot help. You can clean yourself up a little so others can't tell how bad you hurt, but He knows and wants to be so close you can't take a step without Him.

Nearly six more months go by.  I'm not as happy as I was. Permanently stressed inside, trying to smile on the outside. He died, its done, I cant undo it. Get over it. Life goes on. DH is stressing me out. Somethings off, but can't put finger on it. What can I complain about? According to everyone I know, he is a rock star. Perfect dad, loving husband. It must be me. We start to fight more again, mostly money. I budget but there are always holes in balancing. Lame excuses for all the money he spends. I don't trust him, whats my problem? Isn't he the one my friends tell their husbands to be more like? Phone bill covered in a number I don't know. I send the number a text hoping I'm being paranoid. Some women writes back. She sends a steady stream of angry texts chewing me out for being an awful wife. The pain was intense. I call DH. Hes defensive, says I snooped. Shes a friend, how dare I get upset. He needs a friend to unload, someone to talk with.
You can talk to me.
No I cant, you don't get me.
He might as well have just slapped me in the face. I scream at him, accuse him of having an affair. He hangs up. I sit on the phone with my SIL, the whole time the phone bill still up on the computer screen. I watch as the number of texts continued to go up. It is her number. He hung up on me to talk to her. Ever want to claw your own brain out? SIL try's to calm me down, go find somewhere quiet she says. Where?? I cant get away from my own thoughts, and they are LOUD. Maybe I should go to sit in the house in the quiet with my kitty. But I had forgotten all about her right then. I no longer knew quiet existed. 

Lesson #10 ~ He is waiting to comfort, but you have to go to Him to receive it. It is very easy to get so caught up in your problems to remember you have a quiet spot to rest in Him.

So started my next crazy six months.  We had a new church. All I wanted was to really be that family we pretended to be when we were there. I was busy as usual, but kicked it into high gear. Keep it up keep it up keep it up...... I started homeschooling. I got more involved in church. If every spare minute was cram packed there wasn't time to think. Your husband isn't happy.... Your husband doesn't love you... He doesn't want kids and wife...  He wants to be single.... Then my son started to get sick. Oh no. He was losing weight. Doctors, testing and vomit were the norm around here. The day before his first birthday he was officially diagnosed, he had the same disease as me. That same month my oldest starts to get sick. God where are you? Please stop all this madness. She is tested. Fine for now, but most likely will show to have same disorder later in life. Seriously? Keep it up keep it up keepitupkeepitupkeepitup..... Your husband finds others to talk to, because who wants to be in a family full of special needs?..... He wants to leave, you all are too much trouble..... And then I dropped the ball. I just couldn't hang anymore. I freaked out on DH. The kids were in bed, but I didn't keep my voice down. My mind was in a million different places. I grabbed the car keys. A big brownish fur ball chased me to the door, I tripped over her. I got so mad I kicked her out of my way before I slammed the door.

Lesson # 11 ~ He will always run after you. You have the choice to kick Him aside, or stop running and sit with Him.

I jumped in the car and took off in my pjs and no shoes. Doubt I had any intention of coming home. I wanted to be gone. I wanted to get wasted and pick a fight with somebody. Anybody. Would have felt great to punch something and to have it fight back. I flung my wedding ring out the window going 30mph over the speed limit. Had a fleeting thought of driving straight into the oncoming traffic. Not gonna lie, sounded like a excellent fix. But I couldn't do that to the kids, they deserve so much better.  After awhile I noticed the radio was playing. It was left on a local christian station from earlier in the day running errands with kids. I listened to song after song. I cried till I was a little worried my eyes would swell shut. I fought with God in the car that night.  I didn't know where to put my pain, there was so much it was scary. Song after song seemed to be just for me. After a few hours I gave up. God take it all, I don't want it. I drove home. DH was on the couch. He told me I had scared him, and the girls. Damn the girls had heard, I felt like the worst mom. I told him right then I forgave everything. I couldn't go on if I didn't. I did it for me not him, I was worn out. When I headed upstairs there was my sweet fat cat. I had kicked her! I was so awful. I curled up next to her and said sorry. She purred and loved me like I hadn't done anything wrong.

Lesson #12 ~ He forgives although we do not deserve it. And loves us completely.

Now its February. We were doing great. DH and I are getting along, I am seriously in love. When I gave it all over to God, He was faithful to take it. My son is starting to get better and gain weight. My daughters are healthy. Homeschool is running smooth.  DH and I are in bible studies together. We become members of our church. I study the bible almost daily. My grandfather dies. Even though it was expected, it was sad.  Unlike the last funeral, DH was there for support, he flies home with me. I'm blessed with trusted christian friends who watch my children for a week. I had given God my pain and now life would be easier. Even sad things seem less painful now. My big worry wart cat is still doing her patrolling. She is getting to the point where she will follow me up the street on walks.

Lesson #13 ~ Dont buy the lie that when God takes your baggage your life will always be easy. You usually don't know this, but He still walks with you and keeps watch for the next thing life will throw at you.

Its march. I haven't seen my cat all day and I'm worried. I find her in my back yard. As soon as she sees me she tries to stand, but slumps back down. I yell for DH. He comes outside, picks her up and tells me not to look. I was hysterical. Later at the vet I get a call, a neighbors daughter saw my cat get attacked by a great dane. Apparently she never once backed down, no surprise there. Shots for the pain, x-rays, a full exam and 3 hours later, I bring her home. I'm optimistic, shes a fighter. Vet said she needs rest in a quiet room over the weekend, continue medicines, then on Monday we will decide if surgery is necessary. Downstairs bathroom gets all set up. I check on her. She used the floor instead of her box. She has never done that. I check after the kids are down for the night. Shes laying on the cold floor. She couldn't get back into the little bed. I spread towels over ever inch of the floor for her. She hasn't touched her food. I sit and pet her for what seems like a very long time. She purrs and rests her head on my leg. I stay till she falls asleep. The next morning its a rush to get out to church on time, its  my day to work in nursery. DH will meet me later for second service, and bring the kids. I don't have a chance to check on my cat on way out. Shift in nursery is over, now just waiting for DH. He calls my phone. Shes gone. I walk into service and sit with friends. I sing along with the worship. The big racking sobs start. My friends are worried, they have never seen me cry. Whats wrong? They hug me. Sorry your cat died. They try to say nice things, but how can they understand, she was my best friend. I have never cried so hard in my life. My beautiful cat died.

Lesson #14 ~ God will send things to help you in your journey.  I didn't know it at the time, but my pets whole little life pointed to Jesus. His forgiveness, protectiveness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness and love. When I remember my cat, I remember Gods love.

Lesson #15 ~ Sometimes God wants you to remember all these lessons and keep them close to your heart.... because maybe all those lessons were there to prepare you, if and when your world gets rocked again. I'm glad I recognize and remember lessons #1-14, I'm gonna need to if I'm going to make it through lesson #15.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sucky island

I have been told this time in my life my emotions will hit me like waves.
The people warn, since they probably think the waves would be the scarier emotions like anger, fear and panic. There are waves, but they are calm, happy, and relaxed. Unfortunately the beach I'm standing on is all the left over awful feelings. When I'm lucky, I get slapped full on by a huge wave, and get covered up. That's a good day, even a great day. I feel the sand under my feet but its not bothering me, I feel calm. I'm having a nice day with my family, and dare I even say it even with my husband. But like any wave the water comes up and slowly goes back to where it came from. The waves have been lasting a few days at best before they are completely gone. When the wave of happy is gone, I'm stranded sitting on my little island of suck.

So there I was hanging out on my sucky beach last week when it was time to go group. This week it was about confession. I did my homework but really wasn't getting the point. How was confessing to God, Jesus and all the ladies in my class going to help? My plan going in was sorta like OK so I tell them all how I used to be awful. So what I'm gonna find out me being a sinner is the reason all this happened? The past is full of drugs, selling them, doing them, stolen cars, running money, fighting, the works. Then I'll probably hear how trying to fix it on my own, with the good mommy, good wife didn't work. I will learn my cover up didn't work, sin is like a stain that wont go away. So into the class I go, with my mind pretty much set on how its gonna go. And... once again I was mistaken.

I sat in the large group and listened to the speaker talk. By the time it was time to split into small groups I had no idea what I would even talk about. I sat back and listened to the other women talk. I watched them open up and talk about things like guilt that they had, stuff that hurt their hearts. I watched in amazement them be released from the strong hold of their guilt. They all talked about different things, no two had the same problems, but they all hit a spot in me. I could see their real pain see how deep their cuts were. I felt like I had no big heart confessions, so I shouldn't share this week. But just in case I sent up a prayer, I asked if there was anything I needed to say out loud and own. Anything God that you don't want me carrying? Something I don't even notice I have? Nope still notin. So I sat feeling OK with the fact I had nothing to really confess. Sweet I'm off the hook! When the last lady was done talking, the leaders turned to me, and wham! My heart was beating like crazy and I was nervous.(My honest first thought was, what the hell is this??)  I needed to talk, and needed to talk now!

Stuff that never crossed my mind came popping out. I confessed that I had anger towards God. I was mad that He has been slowly taking away all my security. First God sat back and let my brother kill himself. That was my family, where I would run when I was scared. (Whoa where did that come from? wasn't on my mind before) He took my husband away, the center of my world, the kids and I revolved around him. He took my best friend, He let her betray me. She was who I ran to when I needed to unload.  The guilt I felt when confessing was huge. In my head I KNOW God didn't do this to me, but in my heart I held on to it. I know people have free will, people will choose what they want to do.  I wanted someone to be at fault I wanted God to be to blame.  I could see everything I was confessing lined up in front of me. When my dark thoughts were brought into the light, I saw the bigger picture. I saw what God really wanted me to look at, what He really wanted me to confess. I was relying on others for what only God can give. He didn't want me to run to my brother when scared, he wanted me to run to Him. He doesn't want my life to revolve around my husband, and He doesn't want me to teach this to my children. He wants me to revolve around Him, and set an example for my children. And he doesn't want me to only unload to my friend, He wants that job first.

So I confessed.  I was released from the pain of blaming God. It felt great! I have felt lighter ever since. My own little miracle that I didn't know I needed, and that I hadn't understood  I could ask for. I learned, by relying on people before God, I was setting myself up for a big fall. He wants to be the place I stand, He will hold me up and keep me on my feet. My sin was hoping other people would keep me from falling. But how could they? They are in the same position I am, they need somewhere safe to stand. If your not standing on a rock your going to eventually get stuck and then sink in the quicksand.  My brother, my husband and my friend were all sinking. Don't get me wrong, God wants us to be there for each other, and help each other. But how can we help each other stand if we are sideways in the sand ourselves? You need to be able to stand strong, if you want to help pull someone else up.

Psalm 40:1-3 

  I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
      and he turned to me and heard my cry.
  He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
      out of the mud and the mire.
   He set my feet on solid ground
      and steadied me as I walked along.
  He has given me a new song to sing,
      a hymn of praise to our God.
   Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
      They will put their trust in the Lord.

I get this now! Its my life at the moment. How did I get through life before understanding I needed to have my feet planted?? Oh don't get me wrong I rather not be going through any of this! But now I realize why my waves are not scary. Jesus is in the water, He is the water. I can see Him out there in the ocean on my good days. My goal is to get drenched and swim out to that His rock, and stay there forever. And leave this sucky little island for good.

John 4:14-16

 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again."

John 7:37-38

Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

hot mess

Right now I'm a hot mess. I alternate between screaming, crying, denial... but not every minute of the day, only the minutes when I think about everything. And those minutes mostly happen when I am alone. The worse part of this hot mess is the rest of the time, when I have my mask on. Normally people describe me as either always happy or cheerful, I have even been accused of being perky. I'm that person that lets stuff roll off her back. People come to me when they want help finding the silver lining in something. I don't mind, I have always enjoyed my mask. But all the sudden it feels like its suffocating me. I'm not sure how to take off my mask, but I also don't know how to wear it correctly anymore either. It feels like when I'm smiling and getting through my day people are looking at me funny. Hmm is my smile crooked? Did I forget to let the smile reach my eyes? Oops better  fix that... make the eyes crinkle... ah that's better it looks like a real smile.

The only relief is when I pull away from myself and focus clearly on Jesus. That's not always easy. In fact this past week its been a fight. I get a glimpse of Him and try to hold on. Even though I'm using all my strength I still somehow slip away from Him. Its scary.

 I went to a class at church last night for relational brokenness.  Uuugh, part of me wants to stay home and stuff my face with cheettos, and still part of me likes to go. In some ways its nice to go there, where they didn't know me before. They don't expect anything. I can relax none of them have seen the mask.  Part of me dreads going, I dont always know how to act without my mask on. Its an intense class. It makes you look at stuff, and I don't look if it can be avoided. Looking sucks, it hurts. Plus this dang class looks at everything, all the way back. Oh yay fun lets sit in a circle and feel like crap together. Where do I sign up?

We had a speaker. Hearing him speak about laying stuff at the cross was motivating, seeing the spirit work throughout the room also very cool, to say the least. Frustrating that it seemed to move around me and not in me that night. Also frustrating to know that I WANT to lay stuff at the cross, but I cant seem too. I have before so I know its possible. But at the moment it feels like I'm flinging all my issues as hard as I can, but they are super glued to my hands, so nothing happens. So instead I just sit. Hands full of crap and watch other people start to break free. Its annoying. I don't like crap. 

The thing is a year ago I found out my husband had been talking to another woman. He insisted they were friends and nothing more, just someone to vent to. Well I considered it emotional adultery and my heart hurt. There was a ton of pain. I worked and worked for the better half of a year. I figured I wasn't emotionally "there" enough for him. I kicked trying to be super wife self into high gear. I dropped everything off at the cross and I felt awesome. My God pulled me through and I totally forgave my husband.

It was probably the hardest thing I ever did, and now looking back it wasn't much. That was a speed bump to the mountain I was gonna be climbing this year. In truth I don't feel like I'm climbing most days, more like sitting back watching the more experienced hikers. All that work I did, was all for a lie. They didn't just talk, she was more than that. He let me struggle with forgiveness, let me think he was trying, but in the end he was just working on perfecting his lying skills. And  man he got good. What happens when you lay things at the cross, to find out the stuff you put there were all lies or partial truths at best?

While listening to the speaker I felt panic rising up. All I could think about was two months ago, when I found everything out. I felt panic then, intense panic. I had hit my knees, (slammed may be a better description) and prayed and begged with everything I had in me. I prayed that this wasn't really happening, that it was a huge mistake. I begged that I wouldn't have to walk this path again. I begged if it was true, could I please just die right then? Felt like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling back at me. That was the beginning of a month of utter numbness. I'm not sure if it was God having mercy on me and letting the shock protect me for awhile, or if it was just me in full detached mode, but whatever, I miss the numb. Numb sounds way better than the mess I have become.

Then  Mr. speaker warned if we had wanted to get out of the class, we should have done it at least a few weeks ago. (What? How did this guy know I wanted to book it right out the front door??)  He said we have all started to pull off scabs to wounds, (um ew) and if left the way they are now (apparently gaping and nasty) they would get infected and make everything worse. So it would be best to press through the rest of the classes and get these wounds cleaned up, and healed through God. Or at the very least on the road to healing. I'm not a patient person, staying anywhere for roughly another 5 months doesn't sound appealing to me. But the infection threat got to me, I dont want to know what worse looks like. So crap, I guess I'm sticking it out. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

got punked

The thing about holding on to Jesus is you have to be actively holding. I just found out, or you could say fell flat on my face. Let me explain.

I already learned that I need to hold His hand. But I guess I thought after you grab once your golden. So I woke up yesterday and went about my business.  Hmmmm maybe sit, read some scripture, pray, perhaps talk to your new BFF? Nah. I now see that maybe suiting up for a battle first would have made more sense. I"m in a battle, but act as if I'm not. I ended up "that guy" in a huge fight in cute flip flops and a nice hand bag, instead of a shield and armor. My flip flops did not stand a chance, I totally got punked.

My thoughts wouldn't stop, they were getting worse and worse every hour. If you have been in a similar situation maybe you know what I'm talking about. The thoughts were getting morbid and obsessive. What did the girls talk about? What color hair did they have? Why were they so interesting that he wanted to spend time with them? Did they know about me? Did they know about my children? Were they prettier, smarter, taller, shorter, nicer, meaner, older, younger? Was the sex better? Did he wish he was holding them when he was spending time with us? Oh yeah they were flying around in my head. Getting louder and louder.

With hindsight its so obvious what was happening.... but in the moment it wasn't so clear.  I had been ACTIVELY holding on to His hand the few days before. But when I woke up I didn't talk with Him. I IGNORED Jesus. I still had His hand, yes, but my grip was weak. The thing about the enemy is, he pays attention. He saw the weak grip, he knew I could be distracted. And once distracted, I could be pulled away. And once pulled away I could be tortured. 

My grip was weak. The enemy whispered. I turned to listen, because I barely noticed Jesus had my hand. Unfortunately the enemy loves to fight low, and he knows where to throw those punches. And he will always go for the kill. The enemy's whispers got louder, and I let go of Jesus hand so I could turn and fight.  Warning lame move! Well hindsight and all that right? The thoughts were swirling faster and getting louder.

I felt I HAD to see where one of the women lived. (Yes in my head at the time it sounded like an excellent idea, and thought it would help.) I made my husband drive me there. We go down the street she lived, where my husband had spent so much of his time, and I realized it was also a street I knew well. My daughter plays there often, we have friends that live there. I was starting to panic, the thoughts were screaming and pounding inside me. Then like I said before the enemy goes for the gut. As we drove by the house that I had been so sure I needed to see, her roommates were outside.
They recognized us as we drove by, I got pointed at, sneered at, and laughed at.
Then if possible my mind went to darker places.

Ephesians 6:12
 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 I let the enemy take me on a trip and it sucked to say the least. My husband drove me home while the whole time I flipped out screaming and cussing, I was in a complete panic. I don't remember all what came out my mouth. I barely remember getting home. I landed on my bed and turned to mush. Took hours to calm down and make my brain slow down. Turns out once again when I thought I was all alone, Jesus was there. I thought I had gone so far I lost Him. Nope. When I had let go of His hand to turn and fight, I didn't get to far. As soon as I had let go there was NO light. I had tripped and fell on my face right in front of Him, and He was just waiting for me to take His hand again. See the thing is, He is always a gentleman, and so very patient. He didn't say wow that was dumb, you really thought you were going to be able to fight all that on your own!?  He didnt even think that. He waited and cried as his daughter got confused and tortured. He waited till I asked for His help. He would never force me to take His hand. But I was smart enough to grab it as soon as I remembered it was there. Yesterday I made the dark and scary place worse. But I have my Jesus. And when we walk out together on the other side, it will make it that much sweeter.

I pray I learned this lesson, and I don't think I can fight on my own again. Maybe I should put a sticky note next to my bed that I will see when I get up? Hey don't forget your armor today it will look awesome with your outfit <3 me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

just hold his hand

I have heard people say if you follow Jesus you will also share in His sufferings. I could never fully grasp what they were talking about.  I have heard people that were seemingly drowning in grief  , whisper their thanks to Jesus. This also totally baffled me. Why, I would wonder do they sound thankful? Heartbreak is NOT a time to say thank you to anyone, much less God.

These were my thoughts before my world started to unravel around me.

A few short weeks ago I received a phone bill covered in a number I didn't recognize. Ah you might be thinking, the same old same old. Husband cheats, wife believes in God, she forgives. Preach preach preach, blah blah blah. I don't want to preach, I want to punch, and scream, and cry. I'm on a ride I didn't sign up for. I am a christian but I didn't reach for God. He seemed (and still seems at times) too far away. Somewhere up in the clouds, not to be bothered. I numbed out, kept busy, yadda yadda yadda.

So I realized that wasn't working when I started to melt down at unhelpful times (eagle exhibit at zoo) I started looking for help. Luckily God has placed a few mature christian women in my life knowing I was going to need their knowledge now. It started to dawn on me I wasn't totally alone. They kept pointing at Jesus. I soooo didn't want to hear it. Where was He when my husband lied to my kids and I?

Then things got worse again. Hubby decided it was time to confess some more to me. Ugh, really could it get worse? Umm yeah, way worse. Almost 10 years marriage, there were at least eight women he slept with, one who was a  friend, and another who was my very best friend. That did it. I went running to Him. Almost without thinking I ran to Jesus. As I have heard a brilliant lady once say "He has to be real, the bible has to be real, or I have nothing. It was all of my hope". I understood.

He is here sitting holding my hand. He is my best friend. When I forget my big girl manners and my mouth pops off, He is patient. With all my rage and anger, He listens. When I have no words and lots of snot, He understands without me trying to struggle to get my thoughts straight. I have no idea where this roller coaster is headed. I don't know if my husband is at the end of it or not. I don't know if it will get worse. I don't know how long I will be in this awful dark scary place, but I do know I do not travel alone. My best friend holds my hand the whole way. He suffers with me. But he has the flash light and he sees the exit even though I cannot. He will lead the way, and be there when I get out. He is my hope and I thank him for it.