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Archive for the ‘my history’ Category

As a little girl, I longed for a daddy to pick me up, swing me around, and tell me that I was special. That I was beautiful. That I was treasured. And most of all, that I was loved. But my daddy never swung me around with great delight, and he never said the words my heart desperately longed to hear. This rejection became adult emptiness and brokenness that made me doubt I was lovable.”

“Insecurities cut deep. Shame ran rampant. Desperation for acceptance drove me to seek out all kinds of misguided remedies . . . My primary remedy was finding someone or something that would make me feel secure and significant . . . I struggled with self-doubt and insecurity paralyzed me with thoughts such as:

‘I can’t do this’
‘Things will never change’
‘My life isn’t going to get better’

In my never-ending quest to find solutions for this difficult season, I’ve started reading a new book. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

I shared last week with my therapist that my current goals are to deal with the insecurities I feel about:

1) my appearance
2) my worth
3) my identity

None of which are new issues, but all are at the root of the areas of weakness that the devil tries to use (and often succeeds) in pre-occupying my thoughts and paralyzing me from positive action in my relationship with my husband.

I often hear the life stories of others and the difficulties they are enduring. That is when I realize just how busy the devil is in propagating lies and twisting the truth to cause us pain. But I also consider how although I am actively pursuing God, I am still so FAR from a life of victory and blessing. Instead, I am hanging on to my faith for dear life, grasping the hem of His garment with all my might, and hoping, He is holding on to me just as tightly.

The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be . . . And fears it.” – John Eldridge

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The house was quiet, clean and I still had another hour before it was time to pick up the kids from school. I sat myself in front of the computer to browse Amazon for an author whose words would help me heal and gain insight. With each click of the mouse, the website would suggest more authors and titles for me to peruse. Beth Moore, click, Rob Bell, click, T.D. Jakes, click. After a few more clicks, my attention was captured and I found myself unable to turn my eyes away – like one who is passing a tragic accident on the road . . .

” . . . We’ve had many blowouts about his behavior. I thought I had unreasonable expectations, perhaps I was too needy . . . I have years of pent up frustration over his behavior. He can be amazingly inconsiderate . . . But yet, if I express that frustration, I am accused of disrespecting him. If he has let me down by another broken promise or more bad behavior, he says I am over reacting and looking for a reason to start a fight . . . ”       Lynn

” . . . I dream of a home with stability, a spouse who exercises mature decision making skills and takes responsibility for his own actions . . . Where calmness resides and there is some sort of structure . . . Where I am not blamed for things because now there is a man in the household who will be responsible for his own behavior instead of turning it around on me or the kids . . .” – Sheila

” . . . It wasn’t that I didn’t want there to be genuine warmth and affection in our relationship, but because I was angry there was no room even for respect . . . “ – Amber

” . . . The chronic communication issues have left me feeling hopeless. My husband has decided that I had problems long before he ever met me . . . “ Kimberly

” . . . Because of my husband’s irresponsibility, I am often stuck with so much responsibility . . . It’s always something and I am so sick and tired of the excuses whether they’re valid or not . . . I’ve pretty much become numb to his endless tales of woe . . . I have lost nearly all respect for him . . . I resent what he has put me through . . . “ – Lauren

. . . Over the years, we have gone to marriage counseling with no change. I am extremely hurt by it all and I still feel very alone. He will not change. He can not change. In his never ending – last minute emergency – drop everything – never available for me life, I can hardly catch his attention unless, I too, am in crisis mode. I am tired of repeatedly having my hopes dashed. To sum it up, if it all depends on me, then I guess I am not a big enough person to do it. I can do a lot, but I can’t do everything, and at this point, I feel like doing nothing . . . ” – Ann

What did these stories have in common? Stories that could have been my own. These women were all married to men with ADD.

(Excerpts taken from “Is It You Me or ADD” by Gina Pera and “The ADD Effect On Marriage” by Melissa Orlov)

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At 19 years old, I came to a crossroad in my life where the direction taken was completely in my control. Up to that point, my life had been about responding to circumstances and trying not to live as a victim of fate. With each life altering event that had occurred, I believed God had a reason for it all.

But now, here I was, with the power to determine my destiny by accepting or rejecting a marriage proposal from the one I had once thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Yes, 6 months earlier, marrying this man would have been a dream come true for me, but now, having had time away from our unhealthy relationship, I had gained perspective and lost my virginity. Both making my decision so much more difficult.

Perspective allowed me to realize how degrading our relationship had been. And by the time it ended 6 months earlier, I had not an ounce of self-esteem left. I felt unworthy without ever understanding why. At the time he proposed, I knew that I wanted a relationship with someone who treated me with respect. Was he going to be able to change & provide that for me, or would our future be more of the same?

Promiscuity & no longer being a virgin would have definitely been a deal breaker, had he known. Would I be able to keep it from him? How unfortunate for me, that by giving away my virtue, I experienced for the first time, the power of my sexuality. I felt wanted & worthy of love. The devil’s way of twisting the truth . . .

The next few months became very complicated – correction – I made the next few months very complicated. I accepted the marriage proposal while inwardly challenging him to prove he’d changed, Outwardly and secretly I continued my licentious affairs. My new “fiance” was in name only. There was no ring, no announcement, no date set. He had not changed – but it really didn’t matter much in the end because he eventually found me out. We broke up for the final time and within weeks I discovered I was pregnant from a man I had been with a few times but barely knew.

Such a scandal ensued . . . This is what love did to me . . . This is what lust did to me . . . This is what he did to me . . . This is what I did to me.

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To tell people I grew up in a “strict environment” does not justly describe my upbringing. Not only were there the church rules to comply with, such as no make-up allowed, girls not wearing pants, no jewelry or cutting our hair; there were also the rules my family implemented in order to adhere to the socially expected behavior of the community within which we lived. Basically the “what would people think” rules. That meant, we didn’t go to the movies, we didn’t dance or drink alcohol, I was only allowed to go on dates with a chaperone in attendance & these dates could only be with boys from “good” families.

As I grew to be a teenager, I understood the importance of appearances . . . which means I learned to break the rules as long as it “appeared” I was keeping them. The make-up was put on after I left the house, skirts rolled up several inches as soon as I got to the mall, & chaperones dropped off at the location of their choosing, to be picked up before heading back home after the date. I never considered myself rebellious, I just rationalized that these rules made no sense and my protected bubble was suffocating.

This is where I was at 19 1/2 years old. Then, while I was in college, the ONE I had been dating for the last 18 months broke my heart & everything I thought I knew, up to that point, changed.

I thought I would be spending the rest of my life with this man. The death of that dream left me vulnerable to begin believing things that took the sting from that pain. I told myself, “He never really loved me.” Since we had agreed to “wait until we were married”, I began to believe that my virginity no longer had any value if it wasn’t going to be given to him. And it didn’t take very long before my plummeting self-esteem led me to many beds. It’s an interesting thing when shame, sensuality & approval seeking combine. So many years later, I see it’s actually very sad.

For six months, I led a double life – going to church & still “keeping up appearances” as I had learned do so well. Then there was the secret promiscuity I became involved in . . . me, the girl who had never even dated anyone outside of church . . . without even realizing it, my life was spiraling downward – until the call came.

It was him – the one. Acting as if we had just spoken yesterday. He offered no explanation, excuses or apologies – just an invitation to dinner. I accepted, not knowing what to think or expect – definitely not a marriage proposal . . . but that’s what I got. The offer I would have jumped at six months earlier. But I was a different person now with a different perspective on life & the man I once thought to be my Prince Charming. What happens to a dream once it dies? Can it be resurrected? I so didn’t want to make a mistake, but I also knew I wasn’t the girl he thought me to be anymore – if he knew, would he still want me?

(to be continued)

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I don’t quite remember the first time we met, but had I known the impact he would have on the rest of my life, I would have run far & fast in the opposite direction at first sight.

I think I was about 16 years old when he moved to town. His family had been long time friends of my family, so he was welcomed warmly. My secret crush started soon after we met. But since he was nearly 10 years older than me, I never imagined my crush turning into anything more . . .

I was nearly 18 years old when he asked me out. To say I was on Cloud 9 is an understatment. Even my family approved. He came from a “good” family, worked as the music pastor at a “good” church and was considered quite the “most-eligible bachelor” around at the time.

Wasn’t I a lucky girl? – (heavy sigh) – I thought I was.

I had dated other boys, but no one compared to him. This man became my first love. Even if I spent the rest of my life with him, it wasn’t going to be long enough. This was the one I was going to marry. I saw no flaws and when others pointed at them, my feelings for him filtered out any behavior that could pose potential problems.

We had dated for about 18 months when even I could no longer deny that our relationship was unhealthy. He would break up with me, then want to get back together within a few days. He didn’t want any of his friends to know we were dating and complained I was “immature.” He never showed any public display of affection to me, but once we were alone, he became passionate & expressive of his “love”.

As a young girl, I was so confused by this man I adored with all my heart. His frequent breakups would crush me. Was he embarrassed by me, since he would not acknowledge our relationship to friends or family? Was I not good enough, pretty enough, old enough? – and instead of questioning the amorous attention he only gave me in private, I concluded it confirmed the mutual feelings of devotion we had toward each other.

The day came when I timidly broached the subject of needing changes in our relationship and that’s when he said the words I can still hear so clearly more than 20 years after they were spoken: “I need some time to get myself together. If I don’t call you in a month then don’t ever expect to hear from me again.”

Initially, I fell apart. Then I rationalized. This was my future husband. Of course he would call. Of course we would get back together. Spending my life with this man was meant to be. It was my heart’s desire. It was my Plan A and there was no Plan B. Needless to say, I spent the month praying, pleading really, telling God all these things and more.

One month passed and no phone call came. This is when my world really began to fall from beneath me . . .

(to be continued)

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I write for me. I write to put words to my feelings. I write to gain perspective on reality & Truth.

I have been blogging anonymously now for several months. Neither my family nor friends have any knowledge of this place where I publicly share my thoughts, my life, my heart. I could tell myself several reasons why I blog “in secret”, but what is the truth? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? I don’t think anyone will believe that the husband that they see is not the husband I know? I do not want to feel judged?

When I write, I am forced to take all the thoughts that are swirling in my head and the emotions that are swimming in my heart and see reality for what it is, not what I wish it was. It is so validating to write about the situations of my life and receive a comment from someone who can “relate”.

But what is it – shame? self-condemnation? protection? pride? – that causes me to keep secrets? I am vague when people ask how many years I’ve been married so no one can “do the math” & realize it is 5 years less than my oldest child. I have had the same co-workers for 10 years and none of them know that my children do not share the same father. Nor that I got pregnant (four times) before being married. I blog when no one is home and write about the credit card debts I carry that not even my husband knows of. I’ve been more authentic in this blog that can be read by strangers than I am to those in my day-to-day world to whom I should be closest.

I’ve wondered what would happen if my friends or family did stumble across my blog and, after reading a few posts, immediately realize they know it’s author. As for my friends, they would most definitely be surprised. Some would understand why I kept secrets . . . others would not. My embarrassment at what they would now know about me, would be certain. My children would gain insight to the inner thoughts of the person they think of only as “mom”. Would they be able to understand my perspective? Probably not as children. And my husband? – of anyone in my life, I’ve wondered most about what his reaction would be. What would he think/feel as he read my exposed diary? Would he hear my heart speaking, would his defenses rise, would he judge & sentence me and our marriage?

“The most radical treatment for the fear of man is the fear of the Lord. God must be bigger to you than people are…. Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God). The task God sets for us is to need them less and love them more.” (Edward Welch – When People are Big & God is Small)

Proverbs 29:25 He that feareth man, shall quickly fall: he that trusteth in the Lord, shall be set on high.

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“I often wonder, if given the space to be a different person, who would I reinvent myself to be?” . . . (mindspace by t.c.)

Over the course of my life, I have felt very little freedom to be anyone other than the me I was expected by others to be. Growing up, those “others” included my parents, extended family, schoolmates, teachers, & (even) God. My family was very involved in church ministry, so living in a fish bowl with the eyes of the congregation watching, was my norm. Going to a small Christian school and conservative (legalistic) church meant my world was controlled by definite rules of conduct. All judgements were made by appearances. So as long as I looked & acted the “right” way, no one really questioned the condition of my heart. Not even me . . .

In college, living away from home, I had the opportunity to experience an unaccountability that I had never known. I began to question,”What did I believe, who was I, and who did I want to become?” At the age of 20, before I had an opportunity to answer those questions fully & with confidence, my identity became “mother”. I embraced the responsibilty that came with the title and loved my role. So much so, that after getting married and adding “wife” to my resume, along with many others, years had passed before I realized that these labels had become more of a description of what I did – not who I was.

Taking away the titles, responsibilites, and expectaions others have of me, who would I re-invent myself to be? Ahh – now that is a question to think about. I have such a wide spectrum of the “me” I would like to be – some very far from the woman people now see. How to reconcile them all into one “me”? Not quite sure . . . is it even possible? Can the “me” that wants to feel sexy still be respectable enough to teach Sunday school? How about the “me” whose heart’s desire is to be a stay at home mom and yet also wants to have a career that is fulfilling and pays well. Then there’s the “me” who would lay down my life for my children but who secretly wishes I could be that woman who is able to spend all her time, money & energy on herself. Oh and can’t forget the “me” that is pleasure seeking, yet who also truly desires to put God first.

Balance and boundaries – something God is still trying to teach me.

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