Coming home…

As I breathlessly walked through God’s beautiful creation this morning, inhaling the sweet smells of spring and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, I was reminded of many years ago when God set me free — a time where I felt alive for the first time in so many years.

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During those days, I took early morning walks, savoring the beauty around me — perhaps, even seeing it for the first time. My eyes were opened to all I had to be grateful for as Grace filled my heart.

I remembered how awakened my senses became in those days so long ago. Springtime filled my nostrils with intoxicating smells, sounds of birds singing to each other was music to my ears, and the trees and flowers brought beauty to my eyes. And today was a similar day — today took me back to those days of yesteryear when life begin to come alive once again in my little corner of the world as I inhaled God’s presence.

God had removed evil from my home — and began to make something beautiful from the ashes of my life — but it would still be years before new life would be begin to emerge.

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Over nine years ago, my life changed, and it was not in a way I had envisioned 20 years earlier while walking down a church aisle, full of youth and naivety, towards a man who would come to feel more like an enemy than a husband.

When my then-husband walked out, my identity as I had known it for years suddenly shifted, and the hardest part, was losing my oldest son to the lies and manipulation of his father. Those days brought me to my knees, which is truly the only stable place when you think about it, and prayer was my constant companion — on my lips at the beginning of each day before my feet hit the floor running, peppered throughout the day to keep me breathing, and said as a sweet release at night before my eyes closed. Those prayers were my lifeline — they kept me afloat and also, most importantly, kept me connected to the only constant in my life — the Lord.

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One of my prayers was for the relationship with my oldest son to be restored — for us to become mother and son again, speaking truthfully, freely, and trustingly.

Just like the prodigal son, some of us may have had a child leave us whether due to discord in the home, our choice of leaving an abusive spouse, the hurtfulness of divorce, or just their own wanderlust. It is so hard to see a child walk away, to feel as if you have lost them, and the pain of not knowing when or if they will return creates a heaviness in your heart that you carry with you each day. I’m not talking about the normal letting go we do with our children when it’s time for them to fly, but them tearing away from us — taking their love from our hearts.

 

And this past weekend, God answered those prayers — my prayers — I had cried out for the past nine years when suddenly, the wall between my son and I crashed down! My son made the choice to trust me again and share his struggles, his anger, his loss — and his love. My son has come home — he has chosen to return his heart to mine.

I praise the Lord for working in my son’s heart and bringing him back to me,  but he still needs prayers to find his way back to Jesus during a still-dark time in his life.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s patience.”

~2 Thessalonians 3:5

For the first time in nine years, my son admits to his father’s destructiveness in our family. He feels crushed from the destruction his father left behind as he, like the coward he is, left the country and his sons. He feels betrayed and burned by how his father treated him, his brother and me. He says he has become his father, a man he despises and blames, and because of that has lost friends. And he feels helpless to a disease which has afflicted him for more than twelve years of his life.

And because of all of that, my son’s faith has been crushed and he does not know if he believes in God anymore.  Yet, despite the hopelessness my son feels in his life these days — he has come back — he has come home. And while he wrestles with confusion, doubt and anger, one thing is for certain — God has never left him nor will He forsake my son — He will, like me, wait patiently for my son to find his way back.

24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.” ~Luke 15:24

This mother’s heart is overjoyed, yet admittedly, still a little wary. My son is home! But I will continue to pray for direction in how to help my son through his battle with Lyme disease. And one day, these prayers too will answered in God’s timing.

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Blessings!

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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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