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

God is With You

This is taken from the study I just finished called “The Sacred Search” by Gary Thomas and it is worth sharing because so many of us go through life letting marriage or failed marriage define us:

Remember how we started this book? Seek first the kingdom of God. Not a happy marriage. Not an easy marriage. Not even a wise marriage. Those are all noble pursuits, but the first call of every Christian is to fulfill God’s will for their life and to grow in righteousness. Most of us will not be called into a Hosea marriage, but some of you, even after making a careful choice, may well feel Hosea’s pain of betrayal. This will hurt, but it needn’t wreck or define your life if your spiritual priorities are in the proper order.
The truth is, no marriage is easy. There is no guarantee that the person you marry will continue to grow in faith. She may backslide. He may get sick or break psychologically or spiritually. But you’ll be okay. And you’ll grow in the process. That’s a good thing.
So take a deep breath. God isn’t going to leave you. Who you marry will affect you, but that person’ needn’t define you. Don’t lose your joy, wonder, or even happiness as you face this season in your life. Life is a journey walked hand in hand with God. We want to walk in wisdom, but God has plenty of experience helping His children work through the consequences of foolish choices (their own and others’).
Embrace the soul-healing words of Christ: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
* Look at your spiritual life, your prayer life, your romantic life. Are you believing that God will be with you always? Do you trust Him?

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.

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.

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.

 

Take a Chance

“What if…” “If only…”

Such an elusive way to think.

This is me.

Someone took a chance on me.

They trusted and freely gave

And then they forgot

Their reasons fading away

Like water through my fingers

They left me alone

I couldn’t decide which thing I must have done wrong to have deserved it.

But I thought, “what if I had…”

And in the end, I now know it wouldn’t have made a difference.

There are many things in my life that I think to myself that I would change if I was given the opportunity, and yet, I am happy for the wisdom I have through it all.

Yet, I still go through this constantly.

Teeter-tottering on the concept of failure versus success.

Someone else took a chance on me.

I was tough now-more secure.

They accepted me and I them.

But I wasn’t enough in the end.

I found that out through heart-ache and tears.

Head and heart beaten to pulp.

Loss and…failure.

I had lost, again.

I wasn’t looking in the right place.

If ONLY someone who I already trusted was with me, it would be different.

But this time I wouldn’t get so deep.

Another chance-

Another heart-ache…what is wrong?

With me?

Like a rag doll…once a cared for possession but tossed aside.

I longed for it,

But grew to trust only me.

Then it happened!

My long lost ONE!

I took a chance.

I rocked my world and went all in.

Full throttle into the life I thought was right.

I wanted him to take a chance on me too.

I thought he did, but still undecided.

And then wavered…

He couldn’t give me the chance-it conflicted with the life he desired.

And again, I was alone.

More alone than ever-and broken.

But what is broken can let in more love-more hope.

I trusted and I found one.

No chances taken-I just said let it be, whatever it may be.

Don’t take a chance, but believe in me.

I have a few friends who have taken that chance on me-they have believed in me when others wouldn’t.

They watch me fall flat on my face…

And get back up each time-tear stains down my dirtied cheeks.

But they LOVE…they ACCEPT the inevitable ME.

They don’t know my outcome and they’ve seen (or heard of) my so-called “failures.”

And yet, they still took the chance on me-they counted on me to pull through.

*****************************************************************************

My challenge to you is to take that chance and continue to have faith in someone even if and when it is not what you expect.

I am preaching to myself right now because I want the “what if” and “I hope” to work itself into reality but the fact of the matter is that it is me putting expectations on someone and that isn’t fair.  Hope is good-unconditional love is BETTER! Acceptance in SPITE of someone’s outward appearance or maybe a stigma-a label.  It’s hard to walk in someone else’s shoes.  And that is why I am happy I have had so many unsuccessful relationships in life, because it has taught me all of this-Love is eternal and people will come and go.  (Yes, you read that right.)  I have been torn and tattered.  I have been abused in almost every way in my past and who I am-how I am is too much for most people (family, spouse, friends included).  I have lost much, but I have not lost ME-and GOD has never lost ME.  HE loves ME-for ME!  HE knows where I am going and what will happen and HE takes a chance on me and that I will follow and love Him and do what HE says (definitely not because it’s popular).

When I was climbing, I learned to trust each hold and each path I chose.  When you lead, in rock climbing, you literally “commit” when you reach out and put all of your weight on a crimp or a smear and you “commit” to that route (you usually can’t go backwards unless you fail fall).  It’s so similar in life-you have to take that chance, trust, and then commit.  It’s actually a pretty simple formula.  Then if you fall, you try another route and eventually…hopefully stronger in the end, you make it to your destination.

I don’t like sounding like I’m preaching and I know if you are like me, you won’t just read this and learn it-you’ll have to live it just as I had.  If you don’t take a chance on someone, you may never know how amazing they are or will become. And you will never know how their ripples will affect you.  This may be on a loved one, lover, child, parent, co-worker, friend.  I don’t know, it may actually be that you need to take a chance on you.

Whatever the case, you are thinking of something right now that you need to take that chance on…something you just need to know. Maybe you won’t and you will never know.  Sometimes I think to myself with a smirk that I have come such a long way and done so much more than anyone who had taken the chance on me and then given up would have ever thought possible  But I don’t do these things for them…they’re because it is just the path I’ve walked.  No, I haven’t always “walked in the path that God willed” I’m sure…but He knew before the world was in motion that I would walk this path and He promises in Jeremiah that “For I know the plans I have for you…plans of good and not evil.”  We just need a little perspective to see how God equips us for those hardships and brings forth the best in each of us if we let him.

Ok, haha!  I got a little preachy and I’m sorry.  I guess I was having a moment looking back at some old poems from the past and realizing just how much I’ve come through-all which I would never have had the strength to go alone.  I struggle a LOT (hey-no one said this is easy), with who I am and why I was never “enough” for those who supposedly committed to me.  I have high expectations sometimes-more for myself than others.  And when someone does seemingly take a chance on me now, I have a hard time trusting.  I push them away and don’t talk to them much because I am afraid of not being what they “thought” and then feeling disappointed when they leave my life.  I will share an experience from my younger years that has stuck with me for a long time.  When I was in 8th grade, I was living in a 5th-8th grade girls dorm in a tiny boarding school in Bolivia, South America.  The prior year I had been in a large public school in the US (my parents went to the US every few years for a year “furlough”), so I knew none of the rules at this boarding school for this age.  Well, within weeks, I was breaking (pretty innocently) rules and my dorm parents sat me down in their office.  Their words will always sting-they told me they had expected me to be an angel since they knew my parents and they were disappointed in me.  WOW!  That hurt…and I believe that was the first of many disappointing moments in my life.

Anyway, take the chance, trust, and commit.  That is my challenge to you-to myself.

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….

Timing

I’ve heard the phrase said, “it was just wrong timing.”  I thought this to myself regarding something recently and stopped myself.  I try not to think too in depth about much when it comes to my life, my choices in the past, and that sort of thing.  I have taken many opportunities in life and I’m sure missed out on many.

I am the product of a free-will thinking individual as far as my beliefs.  And as I said to a friend recently, I get criticized for all my decisions that come off as looking like I am not sure where I am going in life.  I want more-I don’t want to settle and be content with just “getting by.”  Or so I say….  I guess some things in my life are dictated by “other” forces such as not wanting to rock the boat with family or children.  I have had a lot of varying jobs that have all given me a wide spectrum of job skills.  I have had a lot more relationships than one would care to that have given me the ability to put up with some things and not others or how/when to choose my battles or when to let go.  Each thing I’ve gone through is a process.  Like I said before-stepping stones…it has always seemed to be my destiny in life to hop through on stepping stones without a final point and to be a stepping stone for others to “find themselves” or what they want.  Does it make me excited?  No, honestly, it doesn’t…don’t we all want a happy, perfect ending?  Maybe I just believe that my happy ending is giving all that I have and am for others.  Yes, I have desires and wants, but either I don’t get those or I just have to keep waiting.  Maybe when I’m 90? 😉 The grass might look greener and I have always taken chances and risks, but I’m so tired of doing so and being wrong.  I just can’t risk that anymore.

All these thoughts bring me back to my main point-is there ever a “perfect time”???  I remember thinking that about a relationship I had and yet, it was clearly never meant to be.  A good friend once told me I was his soul mate but the timing was off and that we were “never meant to be” and of course, I agreed that it wasn’t meant to be, but for other reasons.  “Timing…”  Is there really ever a “perfect” time in life for anything?  Sometimes people put stipulations on getting married or having children, saying, “When x happens, then we’ll be ready.” (Most times x=having money…which is rare for most people in this day and age to ever have the “right” amount of.)

Henry David “Thoreau” (my favorite writer if you weren’t aware) said, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”  He also made the wise comment that, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”  Thoreau said more than what I could ever quote-all good stuff.  So, to paraphrase what he is saying in these, we know what we want and can not always have it, except in our dreams.  There is no “perfect time” but we have to live each moment at a time to the best that we can and take advantage of the open doors…those opportunities.

It’s times like this that I realize I am writing to reveal something new to myself-to clarify all the thoughts in my head.  I wish I could say that I will seize moments in the future and do just that, not playing it safe (as many of you think is my custom…even though it isn’t.)  It isn’t in my nature to stir anything up.  So, I’ll try to be patient and wait and keep living one day at a time and see what happens.  Thoughts and feelings can stay in my dreams where they belong.  🙂

Just think about it the next time you tell yourself something isn’t the “right time.”  Maybe that is the very time you need to take an opportunity.  Everything happens for a reason.  You won’t know until you try.

Listening to “In My Dreams” by REO Speedwagon

Partnership

I’ve been pondering partnerships lately and it is interesting to note that although the roles of partners are different (they compliment each other). One person usually carries one burden and the other person carries another, both equal weights, but it is usually in their capacity or strengths. Thus many men go off and work while their partner (wife) stays home with the kids and cleans house, etc. now, both feel the weight from time to time, but it is important for each to do their part and to value the other for their part. Below is my short study on partners.

It is a partnership in which partners share equally in both responsibility and liability.[1]

Partner

A partner is:

A friend who shares a common interest or participates in achieving a common goal
A sexual partner
A significant other in an intimate relationship
Wife or husband in a family
A member of a partnership
A business partner
Partner (business rank), a member of a law firm or accounting firm which is formed as a partnership
A participant in a partner dance
A participant in a game with teams of two, such as tennis doubles, contract bridge, or Partners (board game).

“Partner” synonyms: colleague, associate, coworker, fellow worker, collaborator, comrade, teammate; archaiccompeer
“business partners”

[1] Sullivan, arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 190. ISBN 0-13-063085-3. [2] http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partner