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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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 my husband had shared 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 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 in retrospect, 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, and 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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