Pause, breathe, and continue on (5 things to stop doing in your relationships)

It’s been awhile since I was moved to write. I guess I’ve been contemplating a lot lately. Sometimes fear of someone taking what I write and being misled by their interpretation of it scares me away from writing what I’m … Continue reading

Stained canvases

It’s not a pretty painting in my eyes. The canvas was stained from years of painting, scraped away, then repainted. Now I lost the grip I had keeping it from being scraped away again. The stain of those I loved is still fresh now as new strokes of color are being laid down. I know the stains like imprints on my heart, will always be beneath the surface-they can’t be removed. But the painting must continue, this new scene unfolding.

My new normal…. To say it’s easy being single and alone is mild but it’s more difficult when you aren’t forgetting those behind you (not running away). I am trying my hardest to come to terms with this. I’m told intentions aren’t good enough and indeed it is hope that keeps the spark in my life. It’s just still ….so painful. The rejection hurt but letting go of a bond….I never thought life could hurt so much. But part of my healing has to be me letting go. So I am starting over. I’m discovering the balance and understanding boundaries and realizing how healthy I am becoming alone. Trying to do it slowly feels like a fire burning me alive. I just need an end to the pain like ripping off a bandaid and waiting is a slow torture that reminds me every moment that it is Christ that pulls me through this life-I can overcome this trial because He has promised me He is with me. God has told us in His Word that He has a hope and a future with good for us…even if it’s not until I die.

Prioritizing blended families

I am going to start posting about relationships and children now that I am divorced and there doesn’t seem to be reconciliation in site. It is my hope that if I am ever married again, the husband I have will see eye to eye with me on this. I was brought up to believe that a husband and wife need to put each other and their relationship before that of children. Usually the marriage is first and then children who grow up and then leave and yet a marriage remains. I thought maybe this was just biblical, which it is…but I am also learning that it is in secular psychology as well. In fact, the following is from psychology today:

“Making your kids the centerpiece of your life may seem like a good idea, but generally it’s not. Besides the more obvious risks and dangers such as overprotection, indulgence, and other practices that can lead to a sense of entitlement and prolonged dependency. Making your children’s happiness your highest priority can result in an unanticipated and undesired consequence: the promotion of the idea that marriage requires the sacrifice of one’s personal needs and desires in order to fulfill the higher moral imperative of responsible child rearing. There’s no question that some degree of sacrifice is required for any relationship worth it’s salt to be successful, but the real question for parents is always, “Where is the line between my responsibility to my children, my responsibility to my spouse, and my responsibility to myself?”

When one or both partners make their children’s happiness a higher priority than the health of their marriage, they run the risk of neglecting the needs of the marriage, and in doing so, fostering feelings of resentment, neglect, resignation, and alienation in themselves and/or each other. Even if the consequences aren’t overtly harmful, they can erode the quality of the couples’ connection and give children the message that marriage isn’t a particularly fun place to be much of the time. As most parents know, children sense much more of their parent’s moods, feelings, and attitudes than they outwardly express. Unhappy and unfulfilled parents can lead their kids to conclude that marriage makes people unhappy, or if the focus of their discord centers on child-rearing differences, that they are the source of their parents’ unhappiness.

It’s natural and beneficial for parents to make their children’s well being a high priority. It’s better to err by caring too much than not enough. Still, making the needs of the marriage subordinate to the needs of the children can, as many have discovered the hard way, lead to unexpected consequences. For Betty, the children always came first. She claimed that because her husband Stefan was an adult, he could take care of himself and shouldn’t need much attention. Even as her children grew into adolescence and young adulthood, she never modified her position. She justified her stance and frequently told Stefan, “You’re not giving enough to them, so I have to.” “I’m not focusing on them,” Stefan would respond, “because they need to stand on their own two feet. When are you going to let them grow up?”

“You don’t care about your own children,” Betty would blurt through her tears, and the cycle would continue. They had this conversation hundreds of times over the course of their marriage. Sadly, both were unable to see that the casualties of the impasse were the children, as well as their marriage. For years, their relationship had been starving as a result of a deficit of attention. With both children now grown to adulthood, their marriage had devolved into cold, resentful stagnation.

Betty’s relentless attention to her children was a way of avoiding the real problems in the marriage, which had to do with a lack of intimacy and a loss of trust. Stefan’s unwillingness to nurture the marriage by acknowledging his own loneliness and sadness served to perpetuate the pattern. Ironically, but predictably, the children for whom Betty sacrificed her marriage were also losers in this game. Not only did they lose out on the kind of support they needed to become more independent and responsible themselves, but they missed the opportunity to grow up under the guidance and example of a loving partnership, Betty and Stefan managed to stay together even after their kids moved away from home, but their marriage remained unsatisfying because they never faced their real issues. They stayed together because they were fearful of being alone and opted for the familiarity of the old pattern.

More than anything else we can do for our children, the example of a happy marriage supports and encourages the possibility of creating such a relationship in their lives. The time to experience the true blessings of a marriage is not after the kids have left home. It’ never too early or too late to put your marriage first!”

This was an issue in two/three marriages for me…both similar in personalities but one the children were born into and the other the child was in the process of being adopted (wherein he then chose the child to be adopted over reconciliation). My first husband realized this and repented after the divorce but sadly I was living in sin and didn’t care. Next time, if I don’t stay single, I will make sure whomever I date is on this same page.

Resigned

I have resigned from my position as the one you may think I am. The me that I’ve become on the outside is not the person I am inside. I tried to fight it and have been at war. I lost myself years ago, shut out by the feeling of weakness, both in flesh, and in heart. But I’ve realized I can never be perfect enough for any person. I’m stripped from facades and done pretending. My pride is gone and my fight is over. I am just one match burning inside. I will shine my light and focus on basics again. I will stand up for who I am. I am loved, by God and by me…and by my children and family. I will love freely but not fall freely in love. I will live in my here and now, forgetting the past and all my hurt but not where I have come back from. I won’t worry about tomorrow. There isn’t enough mercy and grace in the world but I am enough for me. I never stop caring but will not be pulled under and succumb anymore. Nothing, no thought or evil or temptation, owns me any more. I gave you all my notice-

Resigned,

Cara

(And here is my song for the day…)

Life is worth Living

Here I am working on homework again; homework that constantly challenges my thoughts on life, crime, Justice, and passion. When everything boils down, I’m not afraid to die…not afraid to make a stand for what is truth. Knowing the background of criminal justice and understanding it from a Christian perspective is sort of similar to having become a foster (and adoptive) parent. Even when life is rough, like really crazy and tough, you keep thriving. Life is so crazy: unfair, yes, but HE said HE would take our burdens. It is something I constantly fall back on. Man I would be a mess with my Heavenly Father and His forgiveness. 

I’m often told I have a big heart. Huh, it isn’t bigger than any other’s, but really, it’s been a broken mess for the last decade. Losing children and not being able to see them every day is heartbreak that I could have turned around and blamed on God-especially because wasn’t it He who their dad used to take them away and his so called Christian lawyer that took every good and amazing trait God gave me and twisted it to make me seem like a bad person? The one who couldn’t admit that in his heart he’d been committing the same crime for which I committed once in flesh when HE looks at all sin as equal. And yet, when my friends ask why and how can God allow innocent children like Victoria Martin, to be brutally murdered, “a child who needs protection,” I can say that it is HE who is protecting soooo much more. No that doesn’t mean there are hazards or ones who He’s allowed to slip through. For one, we don’t know HIS plan, and for two, HE may have known how badly this child needed to go HOME to be with HIM. There are no tears or pains in heaven. This is practically Hell at least for some…certainly was for Victoria. My heart hurts for her and the acts committed by those who God gave to protect her wereunfathomable. 

One of my deepest struggles is being able to give myself over completely to HIM. It’s possible though, and when I allowed God to break me totally this year, He blessed me with a business and a renewed determination to reach for the passions He’s given me. I first was passionate about teens and wanting to start a business havingsometging to do with them…but Spokane had a teen program, so it didn’t make sense to my friends and family. God knew that. He had plans for me in New Mexico…one of the most notorious criminal playgrounds in the USA. I never thought that growing up with so much protection and then learning how bad the world really was would lead me into a mission of learning the law and enforcing it, but with humility. 

The greatest thing I want everyone to see in my life is the mercy. The fact that I’m just as imperfect as the criminals and that the only thing that sets me apart is the other fact that God lives in me…shining through the broken heart He so graciously allowed me to have (I consider it a privilege). So yeah, my life is super hard to get through sometimes. I don’t WANT to deal with my broken heart. I don’t LIKE scrounging for the money to pay bills. But ha-life is about relationships and others AND I promised God when He physically and spiritually brought me back to life almost 9 years ago, that this life was HIS. He only gave me passion and the next step in each way of my path and even when I tried to veer away, He’s stayed by and pulled me back. I know I NEED Christ like I need air-more! But I already died in the hands of violence and defending truth once, so I am willing to take that chance of dying that way again (as an officer) and I KNOW that I am living the life He’s gifted me with to the fullest and as transparent as possible. You can not look at what I’ve been through and not see HIS handiwork! It’s just too much. 

Anyway, here is a song that struck a chord in me today:

It’s  “Life Is Worth Living” by Justin Bieber (hey, he has been through a lot and is also a product of grace). 

Ended up on a crossroad

Try to figure out which way to go

It’s like you’re stuck on a treadmill

Running in the same place

You got your hazard lights on now

Hoping that somebody would slow down

Praying for a miracle

Who’ll show you grace?

Had a couple dollars and a quarter tank of gas

With a long journey ahead

Seen a truck pull over

God sent an angel to help you out

He gave you direction

Showed you how to read a map

With a long journey ahead

Said it ain’t over

Oh, even in the midst of doubt
Life is worth living

Life is worth living, so live another day

The meaning of forgiveness

People make mistakes, doesn’t mean you have to give in

Life is worth living again


Relationship on a ski slope

Avalanche comin’ down slow

Do we have enough time to salvage this love?

Feels like a blizzard in April

‘Cause my heart is just that cold

Skating on thin ice

But it’s strong enough to hold us up

Seen her scream and holler

Put us both on blast

Tearing each other down

When I thought it was over

God sent us an angel to help us out

He gave us direction, showed us how to make it last

For that long journey ahead

Said it ain’t ever over

Oh, even in the midst of doubt


Life is worth living

Life is worth living, so live another day

The meaning of forgiveness

People make mistakes, doesn’t mean you have to give in

Life is worth living again

Life is worth living again


What I’d give for my affection

Is a different perception

From what the world may see

They try to crucify me

I ain’t perfect, won’t deny

My reputation’s on the line

So I’m working on a better me


Life is worth living

Life is worth living, so live another day

The meaning of forgiveness

People make mistakes

Only God can judge me

Life is worth living again

Another day

Life is worth living again

Aha! You saw it, didn’t you?! He says “people make mistakes, only God can judge me…” And you’re thinking he’s using that as an excuse? Um, no! Stop that! Stop judging! See? Unless you haven’t ever had any sins or “mistakes” in your life, you can not “throw stones” (judge). No one is perfect. It’s our human nature to judge and blame. We need to learn to accept responsibility and be repentant for only our own actions. I guess I say this because I’m still judged. Even my ex husband still tries to make me feel guilty when it’s he who played dirty in court and tried to turn false accusations on me to get our kids. Why have I not fought this? Because even if my kids don’t see it, I know God did…and He is the only who matters to me. Has it hurt? Oh my goodness! When my old church let him help and lead kids and told me I couldn’t, because of what “I’d done” and then allowed his girlfriend who left her husband for him to help, what a slap! But you see? People judge! God doesn’t and even then He reminded me that no one could keep using that against me. It was like the one mark I couldn’t escape, and it was so hard because I even tried to reconcile and was rejected. I gave my baby up for adoption because I knew it was best for him and the older kids’ dad even said I was taking the easy way out-that I should have to live with my mistakes. :/ A child deserves nothing but the best and I hope my kids know that I have put them first even if it’s not until they read this some day. I was told that my child conceived out of wedlock would get to see his dad who went to prison for what he did to me, who wanted him to grow up and kill his “white” brother. I was told I wanted to stay with this man when in reality, he told me every gruesome way he would kill my dad in front of me if I ever left him. So, yeah, I made decisions on what I thought would be best and the consequences of my sin are real but I would have never understood God’s grace like I do now. Like I said, each of us is sinful-no one is perfect. We don’t know God’s plan for each one of us. All we can do is walk with God, one step at a time. 

Life is worth living again.

Betraying Myself

"My demons mock me as I walk in the cold from class with tears stinging my eyes."

I haven’t written much lately. I have been so consumed with school and my business and family. I don’t know who actually reads my blogs or not nor do I really care as long as in the end some good can come of it. Sometimes I write what I do just to get things off my chest-like my blog is my best friend. I know, I can tell God and heh, believe you me I certainly do tell Him…many times. I cry to Him and yell it out, sometimes begging Him, and always praising Him. Of course, how my life has turned out isn’t His fault but all good is in spite of me and in His glory.

Rambling tonight already…

Basically, I heard this song awhile back from one of my foster kids. It hit a chord with me, especially now this time of year when I feel alone, or at least away from my own parents, and siblings. I’m not necessarily close to any of them. In fact, I have a few friends out there who have stuck with me through everything and lately, things aren’t going well for them. Maybe everyone goes through these feelings of wishing life was something it wasn’t-like a memory mixed with fantasy, because of course, I’m sure in my memory, I’m forgetting all the bleak and dark moments I’ve been through.

My main professor in my major (Criminal Justice) accurately pegged me as having anxiety the other day. He said I spend too much time over-thinking sometimes, especially about the past and the future and that I need to spend more time in the present. Haha, I know that I don’t spend time wishing I could change the past or create some fantasy-filled future though. I do look back on those connections I’ve had in my life and the why as well as the meaning and impact on who I am as a person. Without each person who has been in my life, I would not be this living, breathing, constantly-breaking, yet stronger than super-glue, kind of human being. I am capable. I am strong. I am courageous. But I fall, I fail in my weaknesses, giving into my fear so often. It’s like I’m this walking betrayal of myself; an oxymoron in every way.

Funny, but I remember when my parents took us as kids, through personality tests, I would always be almost identically strong in two areas and they were always seemingly polar opposites. How. Is. That. Possible? I thought, secretly, I must be schizophrenic or something. I always felt like I needed to hide part of who I was because I would seem crazy. Now I embrace my crazy and reflect inwardly on who I am and if there is a deficit somewhere that I can “fix” so that I don’t keep repeating my mistakes in life. Trying is what I do, to a fault. I don’t give up easily, despite being accused of that in marriage several times. I have learned SO much about me these past few years and especially this last year. It’s like every year for the past few years, I feel like I have figured myself out the most. Clearly I am a crazy and complex person-I don’t know how the pieces even fit together. It’s like God dumped out the pieces of a dried up desert and watered them, forcing them to soften and fill in the cracks, connecting into one entity: me.

So how do I keep going seeming like I am this walking contradiction of myself? Am I soft and vulnerable on the inside and tough on the outside? Well, I disagree. I don’t care about the exterior as much, although sometimes I make myself up all pretty. I couldn’t survive the harsh world around me, and the lashings that life has dealt me without being strong inside. My outer shell betrays me-sometimes showing my soft and empathetic heart. My heart is molten and bleeds, erupting in more love than I want to show. But my mind is skilled and tricks me into questioning my feet and where they wander, seeking justice, and truth in all that I do. Is it possible to be a caring person and be in law enforcement? The violence in my past-being beat and raped, then re-victimized in the trauma center is something I still have to face and get over. I have still haven’t written about what happened in 2013, which indicates to me, as a writer, that I haven’t faced it and put it behind me as well as I was able to do with the past.

My demons mock me as I walk in the cold from class with tears stinging my eyes. These insolent “children” who haven’t experienced loss or trauma as I have, that laugh and make light of the rape scenario our lab class is going through. Like tiny needles tapping the rawness of what I went through. The assault I experienced wasn’t the only loss I suffered. Waking up in tiny fragments of time and space and screaming in my head for my daughter, with no one paying any attention to me, not knowing if she was okay. Being told they were keeping my clothing as evidence, what little I had left of being cut off of me. Pounding in my head with searing pain, unable to move or speak-just let tears roll down. My internal anguish from the heartbreak I had just suffered, having my family torn apart, was far worse than not knowing what happened to me when I blacked out-when I was almost killed. The irony of my first ride in a helicopter being me laying strapped down to a hard surface, vibrating my throbbing head against it as I was lifted to a larger scale hospital. Then laying on the large table with a bright light above it. I felt like I had been abducted by aliens, only the ones photographing every inch of my naked and vulnerable body were human. The rape kit inconclusive and the speculations of the deep laceration into my forearm from a knife. The MRI flew by in between blackouts and concluded that I had suffered an unstable spine injury and wouldn’t be able to do anything on my own for awhile-only, all I had was my 4 year old daughter, who I had found out had slept through the whole home invasion (even through the alarm I was able to hit) and found by police in her bed.

I am convinced that had I not gone through a domestic violent relationship, given a child for adoption, left for dead in a hotel room trying to stand up for what I believe, not had cancer, or any of the other less extreme trials in my life that God has slowly strengthened me through, I couldn’t have gone through all this so easily. I did move away, and so facing it wasn’t the same as if I had stayed and advocated for myself. But it drove me to chase after my kids in the town where their dad had moved to. I realized my life has flashed one too many times before my eyes and that I need to spend the rest of it giving to my kids and to those around them who can make it safer and better for them. I am strong and I am a fighter-I will get through whatever God helps me with.

So, here I sit, contemplating why I feel like I’m one soldier in my battle, realizing that even if my life can impact just one person, then my life was not in vain. I am not going to betray who I am and choose the soft sweeter side above the rugged-edged, wild and determined side of who I am. I am going to embrace my past and help anyone who has walked the steps I have with love, showing them that in Christ, all things are possible.

 

Feeling Again

Fingers frozen
Thoughts dancing wild
Inside
Chest is tight
Pulse rising
Can’t touch the keys
With the war waging
Tearing down
Layers of pain
Struggling
Fear is fighting
Trying to conquer
Protecting
My fragile heart
Beating louder
Shattering
Silence
Growing
Now echoing
In my ears
The chorus of life
Remaining
Within my soul
Resonating
Memories
Fading
Blurring the walls
like raindrops falling
Wet ivory now moving
Teaching
My heart to sing
Again

 

Portrait on the wall

The sun shines brightly

Grass green and flowers blooming

Picture perfect, portrait on the wall

We function well

Carrying on this disillusionment

And then one day

A glitch in our system

The facade falls from the frame

Shattering into a million pieces

Leaving behind the nakedness

Truth is life’s ugly

But we cover up our lives

With pretty things

Keeping our world full

Constant activity

Children and what looks like God

But what happens?

When the portrait’s facade falls away?

When life’s rawness revealing

Our imperfection to all

Comes into focus

Only One to know us

To pick up the pieces

And carry us through these hardships

Let everything go

Let it be real and imperfect

Cry and tell Him you’re hurting

And let Him work it out

Or you can

Buy another picture

Cover up the bleeding

And continue basking in the sun

Of your picture perfect life.

 

Life Uncut

Today I am writing out of grief. So many awful things happening in our society and one always thanks God for the family, home, comfortable life, or what not that they have and that it’s not “them.” But it is someone…. You may not know them personally but they are suffering more than you can imagine.

What if something happened to someone you knew-in your family? What would your reaction be and how would you handle it? I know it is unfair to ask this of my readers because quite honestly, until something significantly awful happens, it isn’t possible to gauge how one would react. We all have our own ways to cope.

Today is a day of coping. Something significant happened last week and it will forever affect our family. It’s one of those things that you want to just go on and pretend like everything is normal and okay but is it? Will it be? You know events in our lives don’t just disappear as if they never happened, as much as we try to make them. There is nothing that can recall this nor can anything be taken back and as a parent, I’m every emotion thinkable right now.

Sunday at church was a message I had been looking forward to: When God Doesn’t Make Sense. But as it turns out, the pastor’s message spoke right to me in what is going on. There were no silver linings-no fluffy feelings that all would “get better.” But the message was God’s purpose and how we don’t have to understand God’s plan to understand His purpose. He has a purpose in everything even every bad thing that happens. (You can catch the message here: http://www.life.church/watch/when-god-doesnt-make-sense/

Maybe God is allowing us to go through this to make us closer or is trying to make something clear to us through this, but whatever the case, He has a purpose and a plan and it is for good…no matter what we feel (painfully) or how much we do not understand. Pastor Craig, in his message, talked about the story of John the Baptist and how he asked Jesus for help and Jesus could have helped John but His purpose was elsewhere and in the end, John was beheaded. It is a gruesome story and not one of hope but one of understanding: God is bigger and greater and omnipotent, all-knowing. There will come a day that we have served God’s purpose here on earth and will be reunited with Him in heaven and although my temporal mom-ness is feeling distressed, angry, and hurting, I know that this is just that temporal.

Are there happy endings? Sometimes.  But knowing Christ isn’t a free and/or easy ride. It isn’t the easy thing, it’s oftentimes choosing what is harder and more challenging, because He said so. He grants us life…uncut and graphic.

Life as I see, I mean, Dream It

There are days when the world feels like it goes against me. Everything I say and do seems to irritate and everything that’s said or done towards me just rubs the salt into the rawness. Likely, I am trying so hard to climb UP, that in my incessant trying and perpetuating speed, I end up digging a hole-deeper, and instead of going forward, I regress.  I guess one could compare it to quicksand: you fight to get out of a pit and instead you sink deeper.

Those days, I look back at how I’m cramming every second of time with more time-consuming opportunities, convincing myself that they are helping me get somewhere, but really, are they? I take two steps forward, and slide right back down.

I’d like to know my efforts aren’t in vain…and I guess I somehow wish that this is a dream from which I will awake and everything will be perfect:

I’ll wake up in the morning (well rested) to a clean house, go on a nice jog, kiss my honey goodbye as he leaves for work, talk to my daughter while I cook her breakfast, get her on the school bus, then drive to work, getting there plenty early of course! (I know…don’t laugh.) After a prosperous day at work (because I’ll be doing what I love like owning a business or working as a police officer, fighting crime), I’ll go pick up my daughter from her after-school program, where all her homework would have been done and I’ll see a great report from her teacher on how helpful and obedient she was.  I’ll drive home and start cooking dinner and just then, my husband will walk in the door and come to kiss me immediately because he missed me so much. After he changes, he’ll come to the kitchen and finish prepping dinner and setting the table with me. We will all sit down at the table and say grace, then eat our well-balanced meal talking to each other about our day (no cell phones). After dinner, we will clean up together and then I’ll throw in some laundry while my daughter gets ready for bed and my love feeds our well-behaved dogs that are a little mischievous sometimes.  Then we will tuck in my little girl together and go sit on the couch, me doing homework, and him watching his sports and catching up on news. After I finish, (and switch out the laundry), we’ll  go take a shower together, maybe somewhere in there…he’ll passionately start kissing me and tell me how beautiful I am, and then…maybe some other things…. Then, we’ll finish folding laundry and make sure the house is tidied before we lay down for the night, snuggled up in each other’s arms. Sigh…

I know, some fairy tale huh. I think I have to wake up and realize no one is perfect-no life is perfect and happiness and joy is about what you choose in spite of a dirty house, running late, not having enough time in the day to get everything done that should be, juggling family life, and trying to shush up about my apparent irrational expectations about partnership.

And, life goes on….