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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
Girl (!). Just last week I blogged about hitting the "fast balls." I must say, when I read over this "pearl of wisdom" (read with sarcastic tone) before officially posting, I was pleased--in that I genuinely attempt to identify something positive about my "fast ball" experiences, or at the very least find humor in them. More often than not, God uses humor to talk me off life's edges BEFORE He engages me in spiritual growth. It's just how we roll.
So last week I took a few hits:
1. Hit #1: The electricity stopped working in my son's room.
Um, okay. Since Mr. Electrician is not in the budget, he was quickly moved to the bottom of my "hit list."
Solution: "Hey Z (my beloved son), you'll have to sleep in the guest room for now."
2. Hit #2: A pipe in my sprinkler system burst, so I can no longer water my lawn like most of the mid to upper-class Americans who cannot fathom the worry associated with whether or not their child will develop a life threatening disease from their ONLY source of water.
Solution: Home Depot. Circa 1950 sprinkler. Yes, I must set my oven timer (another luxury) to remind me to turn the water off. Yes, it's a spoiled-American-pain-in-the-butt. BUT, it works. All I need now is a yellow Slip-and-Slide and to freshen up on my cart wheels. It's all good.
3. Hit #3: On a more personal note. It was time. Time to make the dreaded call to my gynecologist.
Me: Yes, I need to schedule an exam.
Front-Desk-Appointment-Maker: A well woman exam?
Me: I wish. I have reasons to believe my ex-husband was unfaithful and I need to be screened for every STD known to man-kind.
Awkward moment of silence. (Possibly imagined.)
Front-Desk-Appointment-Maker: Okay. Hold, please, while I take a moment to judge you see what we have available.
Solution: God. Add appointment to Iphone calendar. Beer (Don't judge me, I'm fragile). Cry. Battle a steady stream of sustained rage and humiliation. Cry. Cry again and again. (Not necessarily in this order.) And then I washed my face and invited my older son to join me and Z for dinner and meet up with old friend, Amanda, to watch fireworks.
Cut to park: Here, I sit in my camp chair drinking bottled water amongst sweet families. I try hard to forget that I once believed I ever truly had what I see . . . Husbands who love their wives. Dads swinging their toddler boys over their shoulders. Little girls dancing to the 70's disco band without a care in the world, and young boys wrestling one another to the grassy ground. You get the quintessential "family" picture.
Right about the time I question why I would torture myself so, the band plays Boogie Shoes by K.C. and The Sunshine Band, and Amanda says to me, "Don't look now, but Drunk Mom is about to get down!"
"Drunk Mom" and her BFF were seated in front of us (when they weren't shakin' their booties), with designated-driver husbands happy to see them have a good time.
Mind you, I'm not talkin' fall-down-traumatize-your-kid via public- intoxication-drunk. I'm referring to Psalm 104:15, where the Bible refers to wine as something that "makes glad the heart of man." Or in this case, two sweet moms whose 2-(3?) wine coolers kicked in and reminded me how innocent and fun life can be. Trust me, there was no shuttin' this dancethon down!
I suppose it's an odd thing to blog about, but I'm not sure I could've made it through the night without them. I truly believe in my heart, God knew I needed something to laugh about until I could fall into my bed and under His wing. And let the rage, the unfairness, and the humiliation of making that appointment, pour from my heart and spill through my eyes in the privacy of my bedroom with my two Labs and their loyal efforts to offer me a sense of safety.
No matter what happens now . . . no matter what: God is God. And God is good. He loves me. He loves you. He wants to honor His daughters and cleanse us of shame. And I, for one, am willing to share honestly, if it helps ONE woman who's shell-shocked by the careless sin of another. I have nothing to lose. I'm beginning to understand what the Apostle Paul meant in Philippians 1:21, when he said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
I will not worry about my reputation when other women just like me, must--through no fault of their own, schedule an appointment for an STD screening because someone they loved was too broken to treat them with higher regard.
If this message clicks with you and you're having trouble sleeping. Know that when I wake in the night, I pray for us.
You are not alone,
Published on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 @ 1:34 PM CDT
Good news, everyone. I survived the past year without doing anything to land myself in a prison jump suit. And can I just tell you, there were days when it didn't come easily. Yesterday wrapped the dreaded year of "firsts" a girl must endure when her husband moves out and on. (You know. First holiday apart, first birthday apart, etc.)
The last "first" to which I refer is Sky Ranch. A week-long faith based camp. This time last year (we) dropped our son off--all smiles, like a good little Christian couple. Three hours later, when we'd returned home, he loaded up his truck and drove away without so much as a glance back. And I watched him disappear in the distance along with 18 years of history.
All this remembering reminds me, I should pay homage to my friend, Jeane, who ignored me when I insisted that I was fine and didn't need her company and showed up anyway with dinner and home-made beer. Like Jesus, Jeane has a way of responding to what you're feeling on the inside vs. what you're saying to the world on the outside. Here's what I mean (and this almost always includes homemade beer):
Me (crying), on the phone with Jeane: Jeane, I'm sorry for the short notice, but can you come over?
Jeane: I'm on my way! Do I need to bring my bat?
Me: No. But I can't tell you how much it means to me that you would ask.
Seriously, every girl who's been betrayed needs a Jeane (and Jesus) in her life.
All things considered, I've been in a pretty good place for months. True, I experience ups and downs, but nothing that would keep me from taking our son to church camp this year (in separate cars, of course) with an authentic smile and the resolve to cry all the way home if necessary.
Rewind--two weeks prior to the aforementioned camp-drop-off day. (The one I can totally handle--authentic smile to boot!)
I'm minding my own business, checking my emails . . . when what to my wondering eyes should appear, is an email confirming my greatest fear. I won't type it word for word because that, to me, has a gossipy vibe, and that's not what I'm about. The email was from a man, asking me to confirm my ex-husband's identity, because his wife (who's no longer living with him and has just filed for divorce) has been having an affair with (him) for some time. And bonus! They recently got tattoos together. He'd confirmed it with the owner of the shop. Um, wow.
Just Breathe. Who can know for sure, but if you ask me, the Genesis of: Just breathe, was birthed from an email exactly like the one I found myself reading. Why write about this? Because God didn't ask me to write for the girl least likely to receive an email in regards to her husband's caliber. He asked me to write to the girl who loved and lost. The girl with a terrible story to get over, willing to believe God has something wonderful in mind for her--if she'll just yield to the story HE is writing instead of insisting on inserting her own (flawed) idea of the right man, into that story and expecting God to publish it for mass readership. (Okay, that last part was for me.)
Enter camp grounds.
I arrive. On my own. I can see my ex and my son just three cars ahead. Imagine a long line of cars on a long road with a gazillion counselors along the way, shouting, "Welcome to Sky Ranch! Would you like a homemade cookie?" It's similar to one of those wilderness tours, except the animals are fascinated with the peeps instead of the other way around.
Beautiful scenery. Just beautiful. My window is rolled down. I feel the wind on my face as I softly repeat to myself, You can do this. You can do this. And then, BAM! A cheery counselor approaches my open window and shouts, "Woo hoo! Welcome to Sky Ranch! Ya'll made it! Who wants homemade cookies?!"
"Thanks. I'm good. It's just me. My son is three cars ahead with my ex-husband."
"Oh. I'm so sorry."
I inch up the road in my car and it sinks in . . . I don't totally have this. Not now, Tears. I already told you, there's a time and a place to fall and this isn't it. You can fall on the way home. Remember what we talked about?
Next phase of drop-off:
Unload your kid's trunk and sleeping bag. Chat with counselor while waiting for the trailer that will take you and all the other married couples to designated cabin. My ex chats away. Business as usual, while I just stand there, staring at the ground, like a small emotionally disturbed child. Girls, it was dreadful. This was the first time I'd seen him since "the email."
I survived, though the "Barbie smile" I'd prayed so fervently to exhibit never did surface. I was headed home (meaning I took one turn out of the camp grounds) when I got lost in the middle of no where for an hour because I didn't listen to my sister (who lives in the middle of no where) when she said, "Take a map. And remember, all the trees look the same. This is East Texas."
It was the perfect storm. And who's notorious for showing up all calm in the midst of a storm? Jesus.
Me: Jesus, why couldn't I act like everything is fine today?
Jesus: Because you weren't fine, today. And by the way, I'm not "fine" with what happened to you, either. Isn't it the whole truth you seek? Stop being so hard on yourself. So you freaked out a little. Life goes on.
Me: What's the whole truth behind the pain I couldn't conceal today? I'm beginning to think it has nothing to do with (him) or that email.
Jesus: The most painful goodbye you'll ever say is the one you must say to yourself. To the "you" who endured the careless sins of another for years on end. The you who deep down, did not believe she deserved true love, because deep down, you didn't love all of you. So you distorted reality and staked your claim on happily ever after.
God wasn't playing when He said in Hebrews 4: 12 that the Word cuts between soul and spirit, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires. I had a two-hour drive in front of me. Two beautiful hours to cry, not for what (he) did to hurt me (a necessary part of healing), but rather, for me. Just me. It's taken a solid year to get to these tears. It was worth it . . . I'm worth it.
"Then the wind died down and it was completely calm" (Mark 4: 39).
Is there a storm within you only Jesus can calm?
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 @ 9:29 PM CDT