A little Grace for Mother’s Day

My heart feels heavy as it does every time this year. Mother’s Day — a day in which regrets suddenly surface and guilt can weigh heavy on a mother’s heart and soul — and expectations bring a little ache to the heart.

I love my sons and am so proud they are mine. I did my best raising them or at least the best I knew how or could manage given the circumstances. And still, I made mistakes and failed them in many ways. I have regrets — but what parent doesn’t?

Regrets of not doing more or being better in some way. But with God’s Grace I managed on through in those tough years and continue to lean on that Grace these days too.

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People will say to me, as if to soften the ache, how much my boys love me. I believe that, I truly do.

And I hope and pray that they know how much I love them too. Perhaps that’s what causes my heart to ache every so slightly — did I do enough for my boys so that they know just how much I love them?

Thank goodness for God’s grace in my life — and I pray that my boys can grant me just a little bit of grace too for all my mess-ups and not-doing-enough. 

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My sons and me, what a happy day that was!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful women out there, who have loved unconditionally, without asking for anything in return. And who have and still are walking through trials and storms, and may be wondering if they are good enough as a mother. May God grant His Grace to you, and may we all learn to offer ourselves a little grace too.

Blessings!

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What is my blog all about?

My blog is all about me. And that isn’t meant to sound egotistical, it’s just the truth. My blog is not a job nor are the words written here necessarily for anyone else. They are my words formed from my thoughts and prayers, yet I realize these words do end up being written for someone who needs to read them because that’s just how God works.

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Last night, I ran across a podcast featuring a woman who blogs about abuse and who has taken off with her ministry making it a full time job. And that’s wonderful, it is certainly a great ministry and is helping countless women become free from abuse. But honestly, something she said, or perhaps the way it was said, struck a wrong chord in me and I felt something rise up — Defensiveness? Anger? Jealously, perhaps?

What she said was not directed at me, per se, because she doesn’t even know me — well, I believe she knows of me and my blog because I have often shared some of her Facebook posts on my Facebook wall and she has on occasion liked those posts. Her comment though, was basically directed at bloggers who have become stagnant or repetitive in their writing or lack thereof. She basically said, it is out of those lifeless blogs which led her to build her business and become something different — keeping her content fresh, new and always growing. Fair enough.

But her words took aim straight at my heart. And I suddenly found myself criticizing myself for becoming one of those stagnant, never changing bloggers, and admittedly, even shamefully — I became jealous. For the rest of the evening, I found myself dwelling on what she had said and almost getting angry at the fact that she, who has not been in the blogging world as long as I have, is suddenly very well known and growing a huge community.

Sigh…

Yet, what she has done and continues to work towards, came because she stepped out in faith, and just did it. She followed her passion of helping other women in abusive relationships, which has been grown out of her past experience of living in an abusive marriage. God is using her through all she walked through so she can be a source of encouragement and hope to other women in similar circumstances. And it’s awesome how quickly her ministry has taken off and continues to grow, it really is.

 

Me? Well, I began my first blog in 2009 after my abusive ex walked out and it served as a journal of sorts for me, and me alone. My words on that blog were written through a very painful time in my life and came from the very depths of my soul. They were a way for me to get the hurt out and find healing, and along the way, others found my blog and read those words. And once in a great while, a woman would contact me and share her story of abuse, reaching out to me like grasping a lifeline during a terrible storm. To this day, I have stayed in contact with several women from all those years ago, and while I never started writing online as a ministry, I believe that God has used my words, no matter how few and repetitive, to reach those in need of them.

And this blog begins where my old one left off in 2013, after the storm had passed and I began a new beautiful life the Lord blessed me with. The words written here often share those things I learned from my past, the healing I still work on achieving, and the goodness of the Lord in my life. Just like my first blog, this one was never truly meant to serve as a ministry or become a business. My words reach some, not many, certainly not as many as the woman I listened to yesterday, but what I write, even though sporadically these days, is still important to me and not stagnant or repetitive at all.

And I guess that’s why comparison is so dangerous — because it can keep us from doing what we do for fear it isn’t enough and someone else is far better.

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I may never have 600 shares on Facebook, I may be lucky to have one or two every once in a blue moon, and maybe that is because I don’t have anything worth saying or it’s all just too repetitive and stale. But my writing comes from my heart and is about my journey, and not letting all that I walked through be forgotten.

This blog is not a ministry or a business, nor do I intend it to be. Although, I suppose, our testimony of things we’ve lived through does become a ministry when it helps others have hope and encouragement walking a similar path. If even one woman receives a little glimmer of hope from my few and far between words, then my blog has served a purpose far greater than I thought would happen nine years ago as I hit the publish button for my first post.

Blessings!

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A little love for today…

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Valentine’s Day isn’t always full of roses and candy, or love. I know it’s a difficult day for many and it was for me too, many years ago.

My days were often filled with thorns and very little love. I hated Valentine’s Day. I hated my life.

Today is different. Today I walk in love every day. Today I am grateful for how God has redeemed my life.

I’m also grateful to be able to share hope and encouragement for those still struggling. Without having walked the road I have, I would not be able to offer those things to others. It’s out of our hardships that we can be a witness to others of God’s grace, love, and redemption.

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May today be filled with love, His love most of all!

Blessings!

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Time to live…

June 11, 2009, excerpt from my journal:

“I told [him] tonight I filed for divorce…it is ending, finally. So many years that I can never have back in my life.

Life is too short…it’s time to live.

It’s what you wanted, wasn’t it Dad*? Only to live a little longer, to spend more time with Mom. How I wish you were here Daddy, you’d be proud of me.

As I was reading through my journals from years gone by, this entry stood out. My Dad hated how my boys and I were treated. My Mom has often said he wanted nothing more than to turn their motor home around as they headed home from a trip to see us. He wanted so much to go back for us. My father passed away in 2007 and he never got the chance to see where life would take me. And the thought of him wanting to rescue me and my boys, made me smile.

But there were few smiles, oh so many years ago. My old journal entries paint a picture of a young woman trying hard to believe she had the power to keep together a fractured marriage and praying fervently for her husband’s heart to be changed, while desperately trying to cling to hope or at least pretend there was any. Today, I look in the mirror and wonder where that young woman went, but am so grateful to see her older self smiling. .

I wish my Dad were here to know the wonderful man I call my husband today, he would have really liked him. And not just because they have a lot in common, but because of how this man loves me completely and selfishly — and puts a smile on my face.

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May 14, 2009:

“Lord, my prayers have been the same for so many years, now Lord I pray that you help me to focus on you and you alone. Help me to…take one step at a time, each day, moving towards that which you would have me do. Keep me free of fear and worry as you lead me. I ask you to free me from all heartache and abuse that has been in my life for too many years. Give me peace, bring joy into my heart, allow me to love again and be love completely. Love me Lord.”

(This was written 3 months after my ex had walked out)

 

Yes, my Dad would be proud of me if he were here today. Oh, I know, he already was as we parents are of our children, but I believe he would have been extra proud that somewhere along the way I found the courage to say “no more!” and become free of what had been. He hadn’t had to come back for me, I had found my way out.

May 22, 2009:

“Lord, this is so hard. I feel so confused. The tears come so easily one moment, then there is anger the next. I am so angry, so very angry. I hate him for so many years of things, I hate myself for just being so stupid. I hate being alone, I hate that this is my decision. Lord, I don’t want to be so angry. I’m so tired, I’m so confused, I feel so crazy. I want to go away by myself, I want the confusion, hate and anger to end.”

Leaving an abusive marriage didn’t happen over night, it took two years to be exact, and through the waiting I struggled with emotions so overpowering at times it frightened me. I think after my ex left everything which had been bottled up for so long, never allowed to be felt, came rushing out, and I felt emotions with such intensity it was often surprising to me. Anger one minute, hot streaming tears the next, and then exhaustion. It was a roller coaster of emotions and to be honest, it was refreshing to feel again! At first I tried to stuff them down, but then realized that part of my healing, part of grieving, was to process the various emotions which need to be are a part of it. So I learned to embrace those feelings, process them and ask God for help walking through it.

 

March 11, 2010

“Yesterday was my 45th birthday. I’ve started seeing my counselor again…to [work] through my feelings and try to heal. And I made a discovery tonight…I finally came to see that it’s okay to not stay in this marriage. I finally allowed myself to believe that I will survive, I will be loved and I don’t have to live this way any longer. I truly see that now.”

(This was written one year after my ex walked out and it would still be another year before the divorce was final.)

It was time to live again or perhaps time to finally start living and stop being afraid. It took time, but I was slowly finding my way out of abuse and into abundant life.

 

May 24, 2010, excerpt from my first blog, Daily Wanderings:

“…I know in my heart it is time, and God is gently tugging at me, to trust. Trust Him with finishing the end of my story and allow Him to make my paths straight so that I may live life again, live it to the fullest, embracing each day as the gift that it is.”

And it was time to finally start living the life that God wanted for me.

life is short

Blessings!

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One step at a time…

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Perhaps the better question is — who hasn’t ever felt overwhelmed?

This morning, it took everything to open my eyelids to the new day as the alarm clock blared it’s too-loud wake-up call through the still-dark bedroom. Yet my mind was already going full steam with too many thoughts to make sense of before my first cup of coffee.

Last fall I decided to take a step towards becoming a health coach and after spending the last several months studying, I was thrilled to receive my certificate in the mail yesterday! It’s so exciting after so many years to be pursuing not only an old passion, but a new one as well and obtaining my health coach certification was just the beginning, and perhaps the easiest part. Now it’s time to put together a plan, but figuring out how and where to begin feels overwhelming, especially with ten million ideas swirling around in my mind with some doubts periodically creeping in there too. Where to begin…

One thing I’ve learned along my journey is this:  the only way to get somewhere is by placing one foot in front of the other.

 

“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.

~Psalm 145:18

 

These overwhelming thoughts of not knowing how to get started, is a lot like how it was nine years when I knew it was time to step out and away from an abusive marriage. Oh, how hard that was. There were so many thoughts filling my mind, along with doubts, fear, and advice from those around me — it all left me so confused as to the right thing to do. And because of that, I stood frozen for too many years living with complacency and perhaps lies too, because it’s often easier to sweep the truth under the rug and pretend things aren’t so bad then to take a step out and begin to make a change. When I finally did decide to let go of that marriage it took all the strength I could muster to follow through and keep going. Yet I discovered that while the first step may truly be the hardest, and sometimes the second and third too, the more you keep moving, the easier it becomes to keep going. And it’s when we step out in faith that God comes alongside us to lead us where He wants us.

My devotion this morning reminded me that healing or growth begins when we take a step, just one step in some direction. And God’s help is always near and available to those who seek it, to those whose faith is radical and risk-taking — to those who step out in faith.

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So, today I will take one prayer-full step or maybe even two or three towards where I want to be and have faith that God will come alongside of me, directing my way, just as He has always done when I put my trust in Him.

“When arks are built, lives are saved. When soldiers march, Jerichos tumble. When staffs are raised, seas still open. When a lunch is shared, thousands are fed. And when a garment is touched — whether by the hand of an anemic woman in Galilee or by the prayers of a beggar in Bangladesh — Jesus stops. He stops and responds.”

~He Still Moves Stones devotion

Blessings!

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