Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Being Loved

There are days when I doubt my love-ability. Do you understand what I mean when I say that? I wonder if I can be loved, if there is something innately wrong with me that prevents me from being loved. Have I done something in my past that I don't remember that brought me to deserve being unloved? Was there something I have done that has caused those who claimed to love me to hurt me, abuse me, reject me?

I struggle to understand and accept God's love. How He can continue to love me after all these years, after all the things I do that break His heart. How can His love be unconditional? What IS unconditional love? I hurt Him, yet He still loves me? How can that be?

Do I have a wrong definition of love? Parents discipline their children out of love. Spouses get angry, yet still love. I've left my marriage because I will not be abused and I will not allow my children to be abused, but here's a confession... I still love my ex. I still love who I thought I married. I still wish that things were different. They aren't. He had his good moments, but they cannot overpower the abuse.

I feel alone. I feel dreadfully alone. Sometimes that aloneness leaves me feeling vulnerable, where it brings temptation. I suppose on the days that it brings me temptation it is good that I am alone. Some days, the worst thing about getting divorced is the being alone. Did I bring the aloneness on myself? Do I deserve to be alone? Unloved?

Am I brave enough to allow myself to open up and be loved again? Will I have the courage to be vulnerable enough to be rejected and hurt? Am I enough?

I'm still dancing, am I destined to dance alone?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Staying Strong

All my life, it seems, I have yearned for a hero. I've wanted someone to step up and save me. Today I considered this desire and I realized that it is strongest when I feel weak. I have concluded that I am not yearning so much for a hero to swoop in and save me from my life, I am yearning for someone to step up and be someone I can rely on, someone I can trust.

There has never been anyone there for me. When I needed to be strong, I needed to be strong, there was no one to take the weight off my shoulders. When things went wrong in life, as they are wont to do, I have always felt like I had to shoulder it alone, like if I don't stand strong and firm things will fall apart. I feel like I will fall apart if I don't "stay strong" because there will be no one to catch me if I fall.

It's the same when I am physically unwell. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, never stopping because I fear that if I stop I might not start moving again.

Is it okay to take a break from the dance? Is my stamina enough or am I going to break down trying to keep the dance going? Do I have enough faith to believe that God will carry me through despite my weakness? I am 100% certain that He can and will sustain me, is it weakness, lack of faith or wrong to want more?

I'm going to keep at the dance, I'm going to let Him lead me to rest. Here's praying I don't collapse under the steps ahead.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Doing the Impossible

How sad is it that I want to take over God's job? I want to be in control of my own life. I want to be able to make decisions and know that they will stick, that there is nothing in the way of me following through with them.

On Facebook there is an application called "God wants you to know". Today's message to me was "On this day, God wants you to know that when an impossible must happen, put it on God's to-do list. Well, if you can't make it happen, and no one else can, there is only one thing left to do, - finally look up and trust in God to make it right."

I like that, yet I must admit that my gut reaction is I'm tired of living every day like this. I am facing an impossible thing, or what feels like an impossible thing next week. There is something about to happen over which I feel like I have very little control and I am scared. There are so many things that could happen, so many ways it could go wrong and "everyone" tells me how small the chances of things going "right" are. There is nothing left for me to do but prepare and pray. Nothing left for me to do but trust that God has it all under control. He knew this was going to happen, He has orchestrated everything, why is it so hard for me to trust Him?

I'm going to keep dancing. I'm going to let Him lead and see where it takes us. Pray with me, please.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Many days I just feel alone. The path I have chosen to walk is not an easy one. Not many will walk it with me. Oftentimes those who do choose to walk with me for a short while are only there to tell me how it should be done, to show me how I'm walking wrong. Those people leave me feeling even more alone.

I am blessed to have T in my life. With her, I know that no matter what happens, no matter what choices I make she will stand by me and support me. She doesn't always agree with me, but that's okay because she recognizes that this is my life and I have to make choices that are in front of me. She offers her wisdom and her support, withdrawing neither if I choose to make a different decision than she would have.

I go into crowds of people who used to surround me with love and support and now I just feel alone. I walk through life, same as I did before I left my husband and filed for divorce, yet now I feel more alone than ever. I never realized how isolated I had become until I left and there was no one else there. We all have our lives. We all stay busy. I pray that I can see when others are hurting and just need someone to reach out to them and have a conversation or offer a hug.

I'm hurting today. There are times I can't stop crying. I feel alone, adrift, trapped. Dancing alone is not always fun. I'm going to keep going, I'm never going to give up. I could really use a friend with skin on today though.

Invisible Abuse

I left my marriage because he was abusive to me and to my children. Ok... Honestly, I finally left because he was hitting one of the children. The abuse towards me I had lived with for years, thinking he didn't hit me so it couldn't be an abusive relationship. We started marriage counseling within 4 years of being married and all the therapist had to say was "you are both resentful towards each other". I was hurting, I was frustrated but I was not resentful. I felt unheard and invalidated. My ex felt vindicated and justified. We didn't continue with that therapist very long, yet for years I heard (and continue to hear) about how resentful I am towards him.

To me it seems that emotional abuse is invisible, ignorable. The public consensus seems to be everyone gets angry and says things they don't mean sometimes. The reality is that an abusive person doesn't wait until they are angry to say things about the other party. It isn't anger that triggers them to be jealous, insulting, critical. They don't use anger as an excuse to prevent you from seeing friends or demanding a detailed account of what you did that day. It isn't anger that inspires them to demand to know every single thought that passes through your head.

An abusive person leaves you no room to be yourself, no room to think through an issue before talking about it, to demand to know EVERY detail about your life and thought processes. A person like that doesn't want you to be you, they want you to be who they want you to be. I have gone against my ex's wishes and remained friends with people he didn't like, but I suffered for it. If he didn't like them I heard no end of litanies about why. We couldn't do things as couples, he demanded to know "why I wanted to go out" or if I encouraged him to go out "why I was so eager to have him out of the house". He would return early, he would call home constantly. After we had our first son, there were days he called home 12 times from work. He never had anything to say, he was just checking up on me. When he was unemployed he spent his days & nights playing games on the computer and looking at porn. When I invited him to join me in bed he would take over an hour to finish his game, tell me he was just shutting down the computer and  be mad at me for falling asleep while I waited. If I didn't tell him in very specific words what I wanted, he claimed to not understand. I would tell him 3 times something was coming up in our schedule, yet when it happened he would be angry that I never told him. I took to emailing him about them and he still would claim I never told him. He would blame me for every little thing that went wrong, whether or not I was there. If I made a suggestion, he took it as an order and got mad that I was ordering him around, to the point that I didn't make suggestions. If I asked him to do something and then asked him again the next day I was nagging, so I stopped asking him to do things. If there was a decision to be made and I presented it to him, he would leave off making the decision until it absolutely HAD to be made, then tell me to do whatever I wanted and be angry at the "wrong" choice I made. If he wanted something, then he went and got it, no matter the financial hardship it caused to the family, yet I was accused of getting everything I wanted.

Our marriage became a place where I raised the children, I cleaned the house (with a small amount of assistance from him), where I didn't ask him for help, where I didn't ask him for anything, where I stayed out of his life, but he demanded a regular accounting from me. He would complain constantly about how awful all women were. There was always a lady in his life somewhere (usually work) who hated him or was hitting on him. He would tell me how wonderful he was and how lucky I was that he remained true to me despite the temptation and opportunity to do otherwise. He was jealous of my friends, wondered who it was I was saying "I love you" to, no matter if it was my mom, my sister, cousin or a close friend. Always wanted to know who was on the phone. Got jealous of those I talked to on the phone, claiming that I never told him half the stuff I told them. Reality was that was the only time he listened to what I had to say because he was trying to catch me doing something wrong. He hated that I breastfed in public. He hated when I wore "sexy" clothes... unless I was wearing them at home where no one else could see me. He would make comments about my clothes until I was too uncomfortable to wear them anywhere. He would make comments if I gained weight, not insulting per se, but making it clear that it was obvious. Any shortfall or imperfect look was pointed out.

Did I wear bruises under my clothes? No. Did he force himself on me? No. Did he destroy me with his words and actions? Every day. Does he still find ways to insinuate his abuse and destructive words on me? Every opportunity he gets.

He has destroyed my self-confidence, he has taken away my assertiveness, he has worn away my trust in my instincts, he has caused me to wonder about my sanity, he has taken away my friends and so much more.

I can get those things back. I am working hard to restore my mental health, my healthy self-image. He has caused me to look deeper at those things that remained unhealed, allowing myself to be trapped in a farce of a relationship as ours turned out to be. Some things are easy to see. I am not a criminal, I am not a liar, I am not deceitful. Others are not so easy to see. I am not exaggerating, I am not making things up to suit my purposes, I am not being vindictive or resentful or acting out of hate. If you believe what he is saying, it will look like I am. The reality is always somewhere in between the two stories. But if you know me... you know who I am.

Marriage is supposed to be forever. It is supposed to be a place where two people can come away from the world and be renewed to face the battle head on again another day, together. When it becomes a battle ground that is worse than the world's, perchance it's time to walk away from it. When the battle becomes less about fighting a common enemy to fighting the enemy who is the one person who swore before God, family and friends to love and cherish you forever, it's time to revisit whether it is a marriage of God.

My role in life is not to be abused until death. My role is to serve God. How can I serve God when I am being destroyed? How can I protect my children when I choose to live with the one person who is hurting them the most? There is enough opportunities to learn of the real world when they are older, when they are out and about in activities and socializing. Home should be a place where we learn how we should act, how we should believe. It should be a place where we are given a safe haven to recover, regroup and leave again strengthened to fight the daily spiritual battles that rage. It should not be the most unsafe place in our world.

My home when I was growing up was the most unsafe place for me to be. I thrived on getting out and doing activities at church and at school because I didn't have to be home. I was the child who pretended to be healthy so I could go to school, I was the child who hated to go home because home was where I was being destroyed. I do not want that for my children. I want them to find home as a safe haven. A place of rejuvenation and rest. A place where they can be who they are without fearing that someone is going to stop loving them or start hurting them. Home is a place where accidents happen, disobedience happens, but love continues through it all. Where the purpose of discipline is not to hurt or destroy, but to teach and build up.

I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes. I continue to make mistakes. But I vow that my children will have a safe home to grow up in. I vow that I will do everything in my power to protect them from those that would hurt them, no matter who they might be.

We're going to dance together. We're going to make memories and learn new ways to do things. We're going to make mis-steps and probably step on each others toes in the process, but it's not going to stop us from dancing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being Mom

For a long time now, I have been accused of being like my Mom. In fact, if my ex wanted to really irritate me and get under my skin or make me change my mind, he would just accuse me of acting like my Mom.

I love my Mom. She's been there, she and I are the only ones left of our core family, I understand her and how she's acted in the past, but she's hurt me a lot in that past.

I am not my Mom, though I admit that I look like her so much that when either of us walks into a room where someone knows the other one, it is almost inevitable that we get the comment "you must be Sarah's mom" or vice versa. I share some of her mannerisms because they are good mannerisms and, let's face it, she did raise me!

What I take exception to is being "accused" of acting like my mom or being my mom. Honestly, I am never accused of acting like my Mom in a good way, so this is a study into how I am NOT like my Mom, not how I am. Do I sound like I'm back-pedaling? I don't want to offend my Mom and I don't want you to think I don't like my Mom, I do. And for those things where she's hurt me, I've offered and she's accepted forgiveness and we've moved one from there. So, here is how I am not like my Mom.

Mom was not emotionally available when I was a child. She was hurting too much. She was a great mom in many ways! She didn't protect us from abuse. When we were being hurt, assaulted, she denied it, ignored it, disbelieved it. I will protect my children from abuse. I will stand up to an abuser to protect my children where I would not necessarily do so if I were alone.

I offer forgiveness when wronged. I may not let you back in my life, especially if you've been abusive to me or someone I love, but I will forgive you and I will not hold a grudge. When I suffer pain, I reach out for help, I don't hide it, I don't neglect it until it forces me to deal with it. I was once like that and it almost destroyed me. I won't do it anymore.

I'll trust. I accept that not all people in a "class" are the same, I will seek to trust and accept people until proven wrong. I will keep my eyes open, but I won't shut a person out before they have a chance to show me where they are. Will I get hurt with this method? Sure, but it's better than the alternative.

I am my mother's daughter. I am not my mother. Accusing me of being my mother or becoming my mother will not sway me any longer, it will not cause me to re-examine my decisions or actions because there are very strong, excellent reasons that show I am not my mother. I am me. I'll make decisions, I'll make mistakes, but they are mine to make. I get to chose what mistakes I make.

And I get to chose to dance in the rain that falls after the mistakes are made. Today I am thriving in my uniqueness. I am choosing to love being me, unique and talented in the way God made me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I'm stressing at this very moment. I'm so frustrated!! You know how somethings in life are just out of your control? I can control my actions, my decisions, my behaviours, and ... to a large degree, my reactions to others. However, I have no control over others decisions, actions and behaviours. I have to live with it or just live without it and sometimes I have no control over WHO is in my life. Sure, I can (sometimes) restrict how often someone else is in my life, but I cannot fully eliminate some of those who I'd like to. That sounds awful.

I'm getting a handle on my life. I'm climbing out of the pit, but there are still moments when my feet slip in the dirt, when a new pit opens before me. How do I handle that? How can I keep my feet on solid ground? By keeping my eyes on Christ who WILL see me through, no matter how difficult the battle, no matter how slippery the ground.

I'm slipping right now. I feel stranded, I feel unable to provide what my children want/need and/or what I want/need. Sometimes it's a waste of my time. Other times it makes me feel inefficient, like I'm not enough for myself, or for my boys.

I am enough. This dance of life is not without its pitfalls, without its trials. I need to remember that behind every trial is a blessing, behind every storm is a rainbow. I need to remember that though I stumble and fall, the music will go on and I can just keep dancing when I get my feet back under me again.

In the meantime, it's okay to enjoy the music and envision the dance steps in my head.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11

I had trouble getting into my blog yesterday, so this is late but still appropriate.

I saw many posts on "where you were when the towers fell" yesterday, someone likened it to our parents generation of "where you were when Kennedy was assassinated". It is along the same lines. It is a day we all remember with shock and disbelief.

I had just arrived at work and they had the news on the computers... at first I thought it was some prank, that someone had photo-shopped a video of the towers on fire. It took some time (probably seconds but felt like minutes) before I realized it was actually happening. It was surreal. I didn't react to it right away, later it hit me. The office closed down as we worked in the securities building in Winnipeg and fear was running rampant, we didn't know if we were targeted as well.

How could someone decide that it was okay to murder over 3,000 people in one day? How could people think that was an appropriate thing to do? What makes a terrorist go on a suicidal mission, does he/she think of the people who they are targeting? All philosophical questions that will remain unanswered, possibly for eternity. It is hard to fathom being the tool that accomplishes such horror.

On the other hand, there are minute by minute decisions that we make every day that affect others, sometimes to their hurt and despair. Some of the people hurt by that are destroyed so completely they can never be whole again, outside the grace of God.

There was good news yesterday too. A little 3 year old, taken from his home and kept for 4 days was returned to his home in the same manner in which he was taken. Startling, strange and terrifying. I don't want to even try to imagine the pain and fear his parents experienced while he was missing, the desire to never let him out of their sights again now that he is home. Praise God it had a happy ending. What of the little boy though? How will this affect him as he is growing up? How has he been damaged? Even if all that happened is that he was taken for 4 days, well cared for and returned.... He has still been harmed, his security, his safety have been pierced.

I have hurt people too. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes when lashing out in anger or fear, sometimes intentionally because it can't be avoided, sometimes intentionally because I make a wrong decision.

Does saying sorry help? I believe it does, because it offers to the other person the opportunity to give Grace and Forgiveness. It reminds them that such gifts are possible to give. It also helps me because I need to do all that I can to heal the relationship, wherever and so far as it is possible.

Some relationships aren't worth healing to the point of reconciliation, but all relationships are worth healing with forgiveness, even if the relationship must remain closed and buried.

God bless you as you dance to forgiveness and healing. It is your heart that is healed, whether you offer forgiveness or offer an apology.