Thursday, November 26, 2015

In Thanks

I cannot seem to fall asleep, for my mind is reeling. I have prayed, and yet feel compelled to write. 

As it is past midnight, it is now Thanksgiving Day. 

I have had conflicting emotions leading up to today for quite some time now. It's the first major holiday where the kids and I are without their dad. Earlier today, I was having flashbacks to last year, and how wretched it started, and suddenly, for a while, I didn't miss him anymore. I prayed that my children don't remember times like those, and was thankful that this year we will not experience a beginning of the day like that. 

But, still, I go back and forth.  

Last Sunday, in church, our pastor spoke on being intentionally thankful. 

We were challenged under the call of this verse (pictured above) to be thankful in all circumstances, for even in the worst, there's something to give thanks for. We were challenged to make a list of 100 things we are thankful for (this is my evening project later today), but to also practice intentional thankfulness for 40 days (up to the new year).

As I wrote a few days ago, I have been walking through a valley. Knowing that, I gladly accepted this challenge. I am now four days in, and I already feel a shift. I am not on a peak yet, but I am getting there.

This year, through the sadness and heartache and the lingering fear that I may burst into tears at a friends house over dinner, I know I have much to be thankful for in this valley. 

I am thankful for the valley, for I know that in the valleys, we draw nearer to God. We are humbled and broken and rebuilt in strength, hope, and faith. We grow in patience. We become resilient. 

I am thankful for our neediness. Yes, it is a struggle to live paycheck to paycheck, with sick children keeping me from work many days, but in our neediness, I find true friendships, humility again, and the boundless grace of God's provision.

I am thankful for sadness, as it reminds me that my heart has not become calloused, and I can still love and care deeply.

I am thankful for exhaustion, because it's a reminder that I have three children who love and need me enough at all hours of the day, and that I have a job to provide for these children.  Consequently, I am thankful for sleep, even if it's only a couple hours at a time. 

I am thankful for struggles. They are showing me my strength, and showing me God's never-failing love and companionship, and He keeps reminding me of these things, often through the words of others, because sometimes I just can't hear His voice on my own.

I am thankful for this continued and recently increased wrist pain, as it reminds me to take it easy on myself sometimes, and that it is okay to relax. It also has taught me resourcefulness and ingenuity.

I am thankful for this lingering fever, because it's a sign my body is still doing its job to fight off the many illnesses I come in contact with throughout the week, and that I am fortunate that nothing has taken me down.

I am thankful for the huge mess the children have strewn throughout the apartment, as it is evidence that they have enough clothing to keep them warm, and a vast collection of treasured items they are excited to play with day after day.

I am excited for a slippery wet, flooded bathroom floor. It shows me that I have taken control of utilities myself and we have warm, running water every day for the kids to splash around in.

I am thankful for stubborn children and mischief, because they keep me growing, learning, and they are mine, even though I was told I may never have them.

I am thankful for more "typical" things too, of course.

But this year, I feel like they hear more weight than years before. I'm thankful for a home, knowing now what it was like to be without one. I am thankful for food and the ability to feed my children. I am thankful for a job, even though it meant giving up my life of staying home raising my children. I am thankful for friendships, while some have faded away, others have strengthened, and new, beautiful blessed ones have formed.

I am thankful for family, both blood family and "adopted" family. Family has anyways bean important to me and this past year has been rough on some levels. There have been family I  thought would always be there regardless who have faded off to the distance, but the majority, especially my mom(s), sisters, and brothers, have poured out their love in countless ways. 

I could go on and on, I know.

I am thankful. I am blessed.

I hope you all can see the same is true for your own lives.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2015


I hate to admit this, but I miss him. I miss the man he was or pretended to be for quite some time.

I miss his smile. It's what first drew me close.

I miss his hugs. He gave me some of the best hugs of my life, with his long, strong arms that wrapped me so tight.

I miss laying my head on his lap as we watched movies on the couch.

I miss his laughter, and how he thought I was probably the funniest person alive.

I miss how much he loved my cooking and would clean up every plate. 

I miss eating meals with him, having an adult around to talk to over dinner, someone that I didn't have to urge urge to use utensils or not throw food on the floor.

I miss his voice, listening to him babble on about stuff I didn't understand, or listening to him sing.

I miss him playing guitar and writing songs for me and the kids. Oh how the kids loved to dance.

I miss having someone to reach stuff up high.

I miss how he could help me fix almost anything.

I miss his texts, his calls, his emails, his letters. 

I miss our adventures.

I miss the hope for all the plans we made together.

I miss my friend. He promised me we would still be friends no matter if our marriage ended or not.

I miss...

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Valley

There's a song that I love that came to my head just moments ago as I opened up my note pad to type up this blog. It's a song I've refused to listen to for many months, because it is a song I loved to sing and play with my husband, and my kids loved it too. While I wont listen to it tonight either, let me share the words that came to my mind.

"Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above
Oh I will pray, pray, pray till I see your smiling face
I will pray, pray, pray to the one that I love
Oh the caged bird dreams of a strong wind
That will flow beneath her wings
Like a voice longs for a melody
Oh Jesus, carry me."

This song is called "From this Valley" and it's by the Civil Wars. I recommend it. In former days I would belt it out at the top of my lungs. Soon, I will again. I mustn't let someone steal the joy from familiar melodies after all.


These words resonate strongly with me.
Life is full of peaks and valleys. Whether you're living your life alongside Christ or not, you will find this to be true. Right now, for some reason, I'm finding myself in a valley. I hate to admit this publicly, but it's true. Fortunately, I've got Jesus walking with me, but it's still a valley, and it's a struggle.
As is evident, my journey has been trying. I have, by the grace of God, made it through in fairly good spirits most of the time over the course of the past year, I think. Overall, anyway, I would say I have been more optimistic or hopeful than I could often see, or that one might imagine was normal for the circumstances. But, there have been valleys along the way, some deeper than others of course. I can pinpoint exact starting points for these valleys each time, except this time.
Honestly, this time, I'm surprised. I was doing well, quite well, actually, up until the past couple weeks. Then, the tears started coming more, the stress more, the exhaustion more. I can speculate the causes, and I feel they may be a combination of various things, from a wrist injury inhibiting my ability to do many hobbies I enjoy (although I am no longer wearing a brace as of last week, thankfully), or the cold weather, or the parenting class I had to take, the attempts to move forward and contact my husband to get things situated legally, or the influx of fall and winter illnesses around my home, the kids one after another and a lingering one myself... Any and all of it likely attributes to what I've deemed this funk I've found myself in.
Why tell this? 
I don't know. Really. But a part of me hopes that admitting it is a step closer to the end of this valley. Experience and faith has taught me the valleys end. I'm walking this one out until the peak is in view.
I haven't read my Bible much recently, mostly due to not feeling well and not wanting to sit up and read at night. But tonight I read a short amount, landing on these verses, perfectly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sharing is Caring

Dear Jacob,

A week ago, I had to take a class on sharing your children with the other parent when your marriage ends.  It was an informative night, I suppose, but as you can imagine, it was pretty emotionally charged for me, and I had to dampen my emotions with every ounce of my being so I didn't start sobbing like a fool in a court room filled with people.

I listened for nearly two hours to why it's so important for children to have both parents in their lives, from holidays to extracurricular activities to vacations to weekends and so forth and so on. Over and over I listened to kids on a video talk about how their parents management of a divorce or separation affected them negatively, and why it's of the utmost importance for the parents to share the kids, be civil, be fair, and be loving.

There was one statement in the entire two hours that covered the fact that if you just don't have two, one good parent is good.

I sat there, shelled up inside myself, my mind raced with memories of us and our kids, and of our relationship the last year or so.

It reminded me how blindsided I felt when you wanted a break from us. Sure, we had struggles, but we didn't fight and name call and bicker and beat each other, especially in front of the kids. If we did have a fight, it was generally over texts anyway since you wouldn't answer the phone and you were always "at work." Yeah, I can picture a couple we would have in our room while the kids were all sleeping, but for the most part, our time together was civil even if it should have been heated.

So I listened to these children and their stories of how the parents fought in front of them or about them and how wretched it was. And, I felt out of place. And I also felt a bit thankful our kids didn't have that experience.

But more than anything, I sat there wondering why... Why you don't want to share these children with me.

 Why don't you want to have a part of our children's lives?! Why don't you want to call them?! Why don't you want their hugs?! Why don't you want to hear their laughter?! Why don't you miss them?!  

I would give so much to share them with you. I want to share them with you! I want you to pull your head out of your dark place, get some air, and start showing up. I want you to care about their birthdays, their Christmases, their hospitalizations. I want you to want them. And I want to know why it appears that you don't.

What did we do to you? What did the world do to you that makes you run and hide? You do know that we wanted you in their lives. I wanted you in mine. I just wanted you to be accountable and responsible. I wanted to meet your boyfriend instead of you sneaking the kids around him and his family and lying to me about dating him. That was a responsible, adult request.

Instead, you disappeared. You seemingly vanished. It makes no sense to me.

I have always wanted things to be civil and friendly for the kids. I was so furious with you the last day we saw you, July 1, 2015, because you didn't so much as check in when our one-year-old was hospitalized. But I set it aside for the kids. I was smiley and had fun and made memories with you all. Because I am an adult and I know it's important for the kids. I don't need some class to tell me that and beat me down.

I pray you come back. Clearly, something inside of you is broken or ill. I pray for your healing. I want to share these children. That was the plan for LIFE. You're not dead.

Also, I miss you. Even when we were separating you promised me friendship. You were my best friend, for FOURTEEN YEARS. That's almost half our lives. And in those years, we hardly went days without contact. It's been months. I try to be strong always and to move on and let you go and not feel this gaping hole in my life where you used to be, and I try to fill it up with Jesus and surrender it all to Him so He can fill me up, but sometimes, like today, I just miss you with unbridled ache. You were supposed to care about me, too. I miss the man you were when you did, or when you pretended to, or when you loved me. 

Always praying for you,

Saturday, October 31, 2015

On the eve of five

Dearest Spencer,

Tonight, I kiss your forehead and wish you sweet dreams, and you close your eyes as a four-year-old. 

When you awake in the morning, we will celebrate the beginning of your fifth year of life. The thought fills my eyes to the brim with tears.

This past year has brought such tremendous growth in your life, both with age, but also with maturity, social skills, empathy, and compassion. You have blossomed from a toddler into a preschooler, and my heart just swells with pride as I realize how incredible a young boy you have become. 

Your brother and sister both adore you, and it overwhelms me with gladness to know that they do, and that you feel the same about them. You are a wonderful big brother, even through your fights.

I know this past year has worn on your beautiful little heart. I have seen such sorrow in your eyes, but I have also witnessed immense joy.  Your laughter resonates like a song when you are in the brightest of moods.

You have begun to identify your emotions and the way in which you can explain yourself shows such depth that it amazes me. You express yourself quite articulatly for a boy of such a young age. I love that you already have a way with words.  That's not to say there aren't struggles at times, but you've grown so much from the young boy who just could not handle expressing himself just a year ago.

The intensity of your love for me, your family, and your friends has magnified over the year, and it is obvious to me that you have a caring heart. I adore that about you. I have always prayed that my children would be filled with compassion and regard for others, and I see that in you more than I ever have before.

You are so intelligent, dear boy. I pray that you never are made to believe otherwise. And even though your intelligence sometimes gets the best of me when you prove you can accomplish more than I know of you, I am proud to call you my son.

Your interest in God and the journey you are starting with your own faith shows me that we are going to always make it through.  I am thrilled that you know Jesus loves you and that you are willing to bring him into your life. I pray it is always that way, and one day you will be a confidant man of God.

I am so grateful that as we journeyed through your fourth year together, you and I, figuring out how to move forward in life, we have become even closer than before. You, the miracle that made me mommy, make my heart burst with joy when you call me your best friend. I am so blessed that I am not only your mother, but someone you appreciate as a companion in your life.

Spencer, thank you for another year of learning how to be a mom, for the love and kindness you show me, and for the laughter and hugs you bless me with. I know things get intense and sometimes I might not seem like the best mom for you, I know God brought us together for a reason.

I love you, beautiful boy. You're the best thing that ever happened to me (as well as your brother and sister). Thank you for letting me believe the same for you.

Always in love,