My story (in a nutshell)

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I made it and so can you. The Lord carried me through, even on days I didn’t feel His presence and even wondered aloud if He was still with me. You know how those doubts can creep in, especially when people remind you on a too-often basis how you are going the wrong direction and God is ashamed of you.

But the truth is, God never left me, I survived, I made it — the end.

Actually though, my story continues on, as does all of ours. And perhaps in a way, it is just beginning. The ending of another time of my life led to the beginning of this time in my life.

I survived. And it’s only the beginning!

“The Lord is close to everyone who prays to him, to all who truly pray to him.” ~Psalm 145:18

Blessings!

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Broken roads…

Wow, what a crazy, busy start to the new year! While it’s all been good, there has been no time for writing like I’ve wanted to, so a quick post for today just to let you all know I’m still alive and kicking, as my Mom would say.

Back before Thanksgiving I started on a new venture in my life — health coaching, well training as a health coach with the intent to offer health coaching in this new year. I just finished my final exam last week and am taking a week to rejuvenate my brain cells, do some much needed deep cleaning around my neglected house, and do a little not-required reading just for fun. Then I’ll start making a plan for how to use my health coaching certificate and get back into my real passion of working with pregnant moms.

 

So for today, already four weeks into the new year, I’ll share a few thoughts which came to mind the past couple days.

The other day I shared this on Facebook:

Nine years ago when everything seemed to be falling apart, little did I know it was really all coming together.

The reason for this thought was because of something my husband shared with me that evening. A mutual friend of ours had said to him that there was no doubt God had brought him and I together, and he shared this while we were out with some friends, who both nodded in agreement.

When we got home that night, I kept thinking about what he had said our friend had shared with him, and it made me think that while things seemed to falling apart in my life all those years ago, and yes, it was falling apart all around me, little did I realize at the time it was really all coming together. God was doing an amazing work in restoring so many lost years to my life and making something beautiful out of the mess that lay at my feet.

Where I am today, this very day, is all because of what happened all those years ago.

I truly am not sorry for having walked the journey I did because it has brought me to the place I’m at today. And maybe it’s easy to say that now, nine years later, but I believe that everything we walk through in this life leads us to where we need to be and without some struggles and trials we may never get the chance to experience the beauty and blessings God has put in front of us.

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I would never wish for anyone to walk the road I have nor wish hardships upon anyone, but what I have found in my life is it’s often through those difficult journeys down broken roads that one day we find ourselves glancing in the rear view mirror only to realize how far away those problems are and see a beautiful future stretched out in front of us.

And my broken road, well it led me straight to the dear man who is my husband today. A man who has shown me what real love is all about and what a healthy marriage looks like. When I glance in the rear view mirror of my life, I see but a distance memory of hard times, heartache and abuse, and I can clearly see just how far I’ve come.

 

Ours is not a perfect life, but it’s our life. A life full of love and laughter, and a desire to want the best for each other and to do life together. I thank God daily for bringing me through those years to this very time, for just when I thought my life was falling apart — He was bringing everything together in His own way.

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Blessings!

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Speak the truth

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I know all to well about lies. How people will use them to gain control and power. And how some will believe those lies even when the truth is right in front of them.

Speaking the truth and sticking to the truth even as lies come from every angle, is not always easy.

But speaking the truth, whether anyone else believes it or not, is important. Even when those around you question your words, question your truth, never give in to a lie, because the truth is the truth whether others believe it — you — or not.

 

An honest witness tells the truth,
    but a false witness tells lies.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

~Proverbs 12:17-19

 

It’s been almost nine years since my then-abusive-husband walked out on me and our two boys. His leaving was a huge fanfare, on his part — no doubt a plan he had put into motion months before. And I came to see quite clearly a month after he left that this plan of his was mainly devised as a way to show others what a bad person I was. It’s truly sad to think that this man who exchanged sacred vows with me 20 years before would resort to such hate.

When that marriage ended I was sad — not sad to be out of an abusive marriage — but sorrowful over the loss of what should have been. Marriage vows should be taken seriously, not something to flippantly toss aside for selfish reasons, and what should have been in my first marriage was never able to be. There was never a healthy relationship to begin with nor a sacredness to those marriage vows, my ex made sure to break them from the start. Yet it’s interesting that people believed it was me who had discarded the marriage like a used napkin being tossed in the garbage. Why did they believe that? Because of the lies perpetuated by my ex. Lies whispered to those willing to lend an ear to not just hear those lies, but believe them. Lies that I’m still hearing to this very day, almost nine years since he left. Lies born out of hatefulness and deceit all brought about by selfishness and a desire to win at any cost. That marriage had been a battlefield and my ex was at war — with me — with only one objective, to win at all costs.

A lie can never become truth no matter how many times it is repeated or how many people choose to believe it — a lie is a lie.

I used to hate running into people from my former church or those that were once mutual friends of my ex and I, because I wondered if they were hearing and believing those lies about me which seemed to be permeating the church and our little town. I cared about what others thought of me, I didn’t want people thinking badly of me, none of us do. When people turned away in the store or unfriended me on Facebook I admit — it hurt!

A couple years after my ex had walked out, someone said to me how no one really knew the truth about what had happened in my former marriage, because my ex was the only one talking and I remained silent about what was going on — only one side was heard. But I wasn’t going to walk around doing the whole “he said/she said” narrative because one, our sons attended the youth group at our former church and I didn’t feel they needed to be subjected to that, and two, I felt that if people really knew me, they wouldn’t need to hear me say anything, and those that didn’t know me really didn’t matter in the whole scheme of things.

A lie is a lie no matter how twisted it becomes, but the truth is always the truth and stands the test of time.

Some used to say to me, “Well, I don’t want to take sides” or “There are two sides to every story”, and to that I say, you should always take sides, the side of truth while turning away from that which is evil. And in the case of abuse, there is only one side — the side of truth.

If we are so afraid to side with the truth then we will always fall prey to lies and evil.

There’s a saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know”.  Nowadays I’ve let go of the hurt and resentment I admittedly felt towards some who chose to chase the lies and turn away from the truth — turn away, literally, from me. I’d see them in the grocery store and notice how they would hurriedly scurry down the closest aisle so as not to run into me or I’d catch this glimpse of dislike if we did happen to make eye contact. And while at the time it hurt and felt like one more millstone, or rather letter “D”, placed around my neck, I’ve learned to let it go. I smile now when I see those people and purposely make eye contact when they allow it, because the real truth is this — a lie is a lie no matter how many different ways it is told, but some people really just don’t know what they don’t know — or perhaps what they don’t want to know. Either way, I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter what those people think of me or have chosen to believe, because in the end I know the truth and I know my worth is in my Savior alone.

Truth always prevails over lies.

One of my first jobs I got after my ex walked out was at a chiropractic clinic working for a husband and wife team. I’d known the wife for several years and my youngest son had gone to her for adjustments, so I was thrilled to get this job working as a chiropractic assistant for her and her husband, especially since it was the first job I’d been able to land almost nine months after my ex had left. It was a relief to finally have a steady income and in the beginning the job was going well, so I thought. But apparently this couple decided one day they didn’t like me working there for reasons which are still unclear to this day, so one evening after a long day at work they called me back into the clinic just as I had slipped into my pj’s and was settling in at home. After quickly changing out of my pj’s I excitedly drove back to the clinic because in my mind I thought perhaps I was getting a raise. But that was far from what I walked into. The husband began verbally attacking me from the moment I walked in, while the wife stood off to the side and just quietly watched. This man started getting in my face and asking me in a this snide tone of voice if I knew why they had called me in and after him asking me this twice, my stomach lurched and I felt sick as I realized something wasn’t right. The third time he asked he was literally nose to nose with me and there was this conniving look in his eyes — one I had seen many times over from my ex. As I stammered that I didn’t understand why I was there, he moved in closer and said in a low, accusing voice, “You know why“. As the wife stood off to the side, this woman I’d been friends with, I tried to hold it together but was becoming scared and ready to cry. The husband then drops a bombshell as he accuses me of having stolen money from their cash drawer that evening when I closed. A wide range of emotions swept through me suddenly making me sick to my stomach, but mostly I was scared and stupefied as to what was going on. I felt like I was watching all of this unfold from above, like I was out of body, because it was all so surreal. Yet I knew the truth — I had not stolen any money and would never dream of doing that. As he continued to badger me, even asking me to swear to God I hadn’t done it, to which I responded that yes, I swear to God I hadn’t nor ever would steal anything from them, he angrily said, “Don’t you ever take the Lord’s name in vain! Don’t you even talk about God for you are no Christian!” It was a nightmare, and the only thing the wife did was to hand me a kleenex. As he continued to accuse me of stealing $40 — yep, a whole $40 dollars — he told me in this seemingly proud tone how they had purposely had me close that night (another employee normally closed but that night they sent her home and had me do it) and set me up by having a deputy sheriff pose as a patient and pay in cash when he checked out. The chiropractor threatened me with jail if I didn’t admit to it and getting in my face again, cruelly said how they would make sure I never worked in this valley again, and then said the words which really hit me hard, “You have children at home don’t you? Do you want to spend the night in jail and have them know their mother is a thief?” Finally getting my legs to move, I left there as quickly as I could and made my way back home not sure what was going to happen. A lot transpired from this incident, but thankfully for the deputy sheriff who visited my home to take my statement, I was never given a citation so I didn’t have to go to court. This deputy sheriff did something that many never did when my ex walked out on me — he listened and scrutinized the situation — he heard the truth and believed it. The truth prevailed in that case, the truth which I had to repeat over and over to other deputy sheriffs, to the Labor Board and the unemployment office, among a few. I just kept telling the truth and in the end it won out over their lies. In fact, the last deputy sheriff I spoke with said to me that while my story remained the same, the chiropractor’s story constantly changed along with the fact the person they used to set me up that night had been fired from the sheriff’s department for — wait for it — stealing. The truth had continued to be the truth but their lies eventually broke down.

Clinging to the truth while others spread malicious lies about you isn’t always easy, and not because your truth isn’t real, but because of the damage lies of others can have on you and your life.

The reality is — people will always let us down and even try to harm us — but God is forever constant and never changing so while people will let us down, God never does. God knows my heart and knows my life like no one else ever could. Not even my own children. I used to always wonder how they could believe the lies their father said about me because I truly believed that they knew the truth of what I’d been through. But ya know what? My children never walked in my shoes, they had their own shoes to wear and stumble along in, and while we lived under the same roof, they do not know what I went through. While we walked the same path we each wore different shoes which made us feel things differently and ultimately walk a different way along the same path. My journey through abuse was mine and theirs were each their own.

Lies can grow and grow and appear to be truth in a twisted sort of way, but a lie can never be the truth. And it doesn’t matter who believes the lies because I know the truth of what I lived and that truth will always be reality know matter how many lies try to distort it or how many choose to believe it.

Never stop speaking the truth and always keep clinging to the real Truth, because in the end, truth always continues to stand the test of time.

Blessings!

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Leading through brokenness…

Walking around my neighborhood park one morning, I pulled out my ear buds so I could listen to the world around me without music playing in my ears. I wanted to hear the sounds of a new day beginning — and listen for God. Not even halfway around my usual route tears began trickling down my cheeks, which is not unusual these days — tears dripping with memories which replay often lately. Suddenly a voice breaks the silence — a voice I realize is my own — as I question out loud:  “Why won’t these memories stop? What am I suppose to do with all these memories of another time of my life, of an abusive marriage?” And then I heard it — Write!

Back from my walk and still thinking on what I’d heard, I slip off my walking shoes, grab my coffee and open up Facebook, only to see this:

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But like on my walk, when I heardwriteand questioned out loud, “Who would care about my story” and “What exactly am I suppose to write about”, so it was when this meme popped up in my Facebook feed — I questioned whether my story is really something that matters.

Yet don’t all of our stories matter? They shape us into who we are. Our stories tell of the journey we take in this life. Some roads are easy and pot-hole free, while others take us around bends and over bumps which shake us up. But every road we take in this life, easy or difficult, leads us to where we are today,

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And while I’m grateful that the rough road I walked for years is behind me, I’m also honored that God felt me brave enough to travel that road with Him by my side.

There are days though when I wonder if I’m dwelling too much on the past and perhaps haven’t truly let go or completely healed. I’m often bewildered as to why these long ago, heart-wrenching memories continue invading my mind when I would like nothing more than to lay them to rest. But as much as I try to shake them they often won’t let go of me.

And so, I write.

I type heart-wrenching memories here on my blog and share a little of my wounded heart, But is that what it’s about? To remember so it can all be written down — so my story is not forgotten? Or are my words meant to help others trying to navigate the same roads I once did? You see, I don’t believe it’s primarily about my journey through an abusive marriage that makes my story worth remembering and passing on, I believe the most important part of my story, is that of God’s redemption in my life of all those lost years, as I hung on for the ride and followed Him despite the bumps and pot holes along my life’s journey.
I think that is the purpose of everybody’s story, to help others find their way along a similar path and give them hope that God does work all things for His Glory.

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I know my story is important and has value, as it’s been through that story — my life — I have helped minister to other women walking a similar road. I’m grateful for the opportunity of having stumbled along that journey so I can offer hope and encouragement to help make the journey for others perhaps a little less daunting — to shine a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

So perhaps it is time to write my story. A story of brokenness and redemption. A story of a life turned to ashes in which something beautiful was made. A story of God’s faithfulness and love never-ending, even in the messiness and brokenness of this woman’s life.

No matter what our story is — no matter where the journey takes us or how we arrive at our destination — the most important part of our life’s story is Who we allow in the driver’s seat. Life is full of ups and downs. There will be storms shaking us awake questioning why God left us and trials making us wonder “why me?”, but in the midst of it all, in the very depths of our heartaches and the darkness of the pit we may find ourselves in — it is right there that God reaches out to us and offers His hope and grace.

So let’s tell our stories, let’s share our heartaches, battles, and all the messiness this life brings. Let’s be real and broken together. Let’s share about how lost we once were but how we found our way. Let our life story be a road map for someone else as they struggle to navigate a similar journey. 

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I pray that my story of brokenness brings hope and encouragement to others struggling to find their way through an often confusing, scary and seemingly endless road. There is life on the other side, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten through to the other side. With God as the navigator there are no wrong turns, there is only freedom.

May you dear reader find hope and encouragement today as you navigate the sometime dark roads in your life, with the knowledge that others have gone before you and found light at the end of the tunnel.

Blessings!

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Time to let go?

I’ve shared this meme on my Facebook page a couple times because one, I love Fall and am so excited it’s finally here after an extremely hot summer; and two, something about this quote really spoke to me.

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Just as the trees go through a season of losing their leaves in preparation for new growth, we too may have to let something go in order for God to bring new growth into our lives.

If you are still trying to hang on to a toxic relationship maybe you need to seek God’s guidance in whether it’s time to let go. Letting go doesn’t automatically mean divorce if you are married – letting go can simply mean a season of separation and individual counseling until you feel certain there is true repentance and lasting change. Some times though, letting go means separating permanently to keep yourself and your children safe and free from abuse.

Letting go can be hard — actually it’s very hard, especially if you’ve invested years into a relationship. Doubts, fears, and uncertainties can keep you hanging on, even when you know deep down it’s time to let go.

Dear readers, I hung on for 20 years even when in the end there was nothing to hold on to. But the fear of making it on my own after all those years as a stay-at-home mom; the worry of my boys not having a two-parent home; the condemnation thrown at me that “God hates divorce” and will therefore hate me too; and the doubts of whether I’d really tried hard enough — all of those things and more kept me hanging on to something which had died a long time before.

The day God set me free, the day my then-husband walked out, was the most liberating day in my life, but it wouldn’t be for another year when I finally let that true freedom began. The day my ex waltzed out the front door of the home we’d made in all this weird fanfare like he was actually excited to be leaving, left me dazed and confused, but more importantly, it set me free. I was finally free from something which had been destroying me and my children. It was like being released from a prison, the door finally swung open after decades of holding me prisoner. I fell to my knees on that sunny afternoon as the front door closed behind him and sobbed.

Although I didn’t see it in that moment, it was on that day when God was beginning a new work in my life — preparing a way for new growth in me.

Life was not easy for a long time after that day, yet the reality was — life had never been easy for the 20 years prior. But this time was different. I clung to the Lord allowing Him to lead me and although it took over a year from the day my ex walked out, and nonstop praying for the Lord to open my eyes and give me clarity, the day came when I knew without a doubt the time had come to release that marriage — so it let go of what had died so I could move into living again.

And believe me, letting go wasn’t easy especially with people condemning, judging and turning away from me, but you know what I came to realize in all those times on my knees talking to God and trying to make sense of all that had been, and asking for direction — in this life people will always let you down, but the one true constant I had then and have to this day, is God.

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It took me over a year from the day my abusive ex walked out of our home to finally let go of that marriage. It wasn’t something I did flippantly or with little to care about the affects to my children — it was still a difficult, frightening decision — but much less difficult and frightening than going back to abuse.

Is it time to let go? Perhaps it’s time to cling to life instead of trying to hang on to something which is dying or already dead. New growth cannot begin until we let go of the old.

Blessings!

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