Number 4

This is my fourth holiday season since I “left home.” The first year was tough, but felt good because I was no longer getting berated, belittled, abused and attacked. But it was horrible because I’d just left my family and felt wretched about it. The next year was a little better, and we even spent Christmas Day together. My husband and I were talking and our family was still family-ish. Last year was really rough. I was struggling with emotions and loneliness and not knowing what to do about this “boyfriend” and going through Divorce Care and realizing that some friends and family were no longer there for me. Parts were good, and I had both of my sons for Christmas Day. But there was just so much emotional crap thrown in there. Yeah, and some people close to me were going through some tough stuff as well. I wrote about that last year. I guess this year is a little better. So far. I am STILL lonely. I STILL struggle with depression and hurt.

But I’m leaning more and more on Jesus. This morning I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt so stupid for being a foolish woman who has driven everyone away because of my damn standards. I stopped and realized I was listening to lies. I asked Jesus to wrap His arms around me and hold me. To tell me how much He loves me. That I am dear to Him and that He is near to me. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I am starting to value His presence more than other people. And that is huge for me. Because no matter how much people love us, they are fallible, disappointing. But He is perfect. And His love is perfect. And it drives out fear. I have plenty of fear for Him to be kickin’ out.

I’m slowly healing. Slowly. The hurt isn’t as raw as it was. It isn’t as devastating. It’s there, it’s big, but it doesn’t OWN me. I’m not sobbing on the bathroom floor. I cry, but it doesn’t OVERWHELM me. I want Him to OWN me, to OVERWHELM me. The horrible beauty in being crushed is that we are so ready to surrender our uttermost to Him. We don’t care about our self anymore, we’d rather just disappear. It makes turning all of it over to Jesus simpler. I was just thinking this afternoon, I just don’t know how to do it. How to be a person. I don’t know how to be a friend anymore because it hurts. Because I feel so empty. So broken. But not having friends around me, caring about me, having fun, is so miserably lonely. I just don’t know how to do life anymore. I wish I could opt out. So how simple, then, is it, to tell Him, “You take it, you do what you want with it. I don’t know how to do it, you do it.” That, crazily, gives me something to be thankful for. That he can work through such sadness to create what I know will, eventually, be beautiful. Not because I believe I deserve being made into something beautiful, but because I know Him. I see what His hands have wrought. And everything He touches is His Glory.

I’m practicing being in the moment and being thankful. I’m trying to recognize when my expectations are misplaced or I’m believing lies. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’m to find my delight, my joy in God. Not other people, my home, clothing, family or events or circumstances. And if I’m finding my delight in the LORD, I’m not expecting those other things to be all that. Those things come and go, for sure. Instead, I can focus on Him. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t disappoint. He is beyond what I can hope for. And believe me, those words don’t just roll of my tongue. I’ve had plenty of times when those words would have made my eyes roll. I wanted something else. I wanted things to be the way I expected contentment to look. Family, home, love, friends. And all over Facebook, that’s what I see people being thankful for. And I start to tear up and feel sorry for myself. But if I’m practicing thankfulness, I have to find Him and praise Him. And then I focus on the most amazing things. Like breathe. Sunlight. A general love for people, not the ones who love back. His face. And I can find real Joy there. I wonder if that verse doesn’t mean that He will give us the things that our heart desires, but that He will create desires in our heart.

God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me.
Psalm 51:10

Although I’m still hurting, I know I’m healing. And I know my Healer. He is faithful and good. He has big arms for hugging. Big enough for us all. 

 

Thankful Butt

IMG_5916Not surprisingly, I’ve been pondering thankfulness… and I’ve always considered myself a thankful person. And I think I am, but more accurately, I am a “thankful but” person. Not “thankful butt.” “Thankful but” means I think about all the blessings I’m grateful for, but there’s always a “but” there. Like, I’m so grateful for my family, but one son is far away in the Navy and we are no longer together as a “real” family since our divorce. So, it doesn’t feel like I have a family anymore… and then next thing I know I’m feeling sad and blue about my broken family. Which happened yesterday as I set the table for our Thanksgiving dinner. Just two places. And I’d invited my friend, but (see, there’s another one) he hadn’t responded, so I guessed he wasn’t coming. As I made the table pretty, the turkey was roasting in my oven, there were pies and stuffing and potatoes and cranberry and champagne, the weather was gorgeous and I have a view of the bay that is amazing, and there I am doing “but.” But only two of us. But my friend should have rsvp’ed. But one son is so far away and I worry about his safety. But what happened to the rest of my former husband’s family and why do they not include us in any celebrations anymore? And those stupid buts are bringing me down.

So, this has to stop. I need to be grateful for blessings. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Get over it, Lisa! God has been so good to me. I have a good relationship with both of my sons because I follow God’s wisdom and love on them. I have a warm, dry, lovely home. Yes, I’m by myself. That is a blessing, too. I have old friends and new friends. I have things to look forward to, creative juices are flowing, my health is better lately, and I can do whatever I want. My life is great, and I need to stop looking for buts. Lord, forgive me for the buts. Thank you for the blessings. Renew my mind so that I am always praising and thanking You!

Happy season of thanks-giving and joy, everyone!

broken crayons

IMG_5103Life has been eventful.

I finished the Divorce Care program. It really was huge in helping me to deal with the difficult issues of divorce and begin to move forward. I also made a couple of valuable friends that I can connect with over the pain and healing. It helped me to turn more toward Jesus for comfort. It has been very, very good.

I’ve also re-engaged with my “man friend” and things feel different this time around. I really don’t know what happened, but he seems more connected and engaged emotionally. Although I was apprehensive about trusting him, I decided to “jump in” with both feet and see what happened. It has been good. But of course there are challenges, which I’ll get to another day.

I’ve worked at developing a few friendships and that helps. I’ve started playing golf, which gets me out in the sunshine and gives me some exercise. I’ve taken a few trips this spring and summer. I’ve been working at my art and have begun developing a business plan for an idea I have. God is giving me direction and helping me put the pieces of my life back together. I definitely feel more whole and positive.

Is it strange, then, that I have lately had feelings of great remorse and anxiety over my choice to leave my abusive husband and let our family crumble into pieces?

As if, since I am stronger and happier, I have some sort of amnesia about what was happening to us, what he was putting me through, while I was there.

I encountered some friends from our church, and the husband expressed words that conveyed a hope that I would somehow relent. That I could consider going back. I doubted myself.

I have had nightmares.

But I have pages and volumes of pages with pain and despair written all over them. I struggled for years and years with the confusing and destructive treatment. No one else can understand. Not unless they have been there. I know how trapped I was in the lies and the games and the control. And when I find someone else who HAS been there, who DOES understand, it is so reassuring to hear their validation. To know it was wrong. To know it happened. I made the right choice to leave. I am okay. I am okay. I made it out.

I’m broken. But broken crayons still color.

It Isn’t Love… It Is Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve had wicked thoughts lately. Thoughts that I was wrong to leave my abusive, controlling husband who nearly erased me after 24 years. Thoughts that I wish I was back in my own home, with my old friends, in the world I had grown accustomed to. Thankfully, this article passed under my nose and I read it. I remember where I was. I am glad for where I am.

After Narcissistic Abuse

Love doesn’t destroy us. A lack of love Destroys us.

Narcissism is the antithesis of love.

How?

Here are 5 Ways Narcissism prevents Love in relationships:

1. YOU CAN’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS IF YOU CAN’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF

The foundation of love is truth. A whole person will insist on having an honest connection with themselves. A person who can love has the desire to live with integrity, be true to their identity and values, they know who they are and respect themselves and others. Whole people possess the desire to adhere to their personal ethics.  All these traits stem from a strong connected relationship with yourself (and a higher power).

You cannot have a relationship with someone who is wearing a mask

Narcissists are lacking this relationship with “self” and a higher power. They’re floundering inside, looking for a cure on the outside and flit…

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a list of words

through a fence

Negative things Kurt said to me

You are too emotional
You are too sensitive
You shouldn’t be so sensitive about the things I say (I’m being funny and you should know that)
You are the Queen of Assumption
You aren’t very tactful, you say insensitive things to me
You are not soft and sweet
You nap too much
You are too busy
You don’t take enough walks with me
You are a selfish bitch
You aren’t feminine
You ar not a team player
You are headstrong and independent
You are too lenient with the boys
You coddle the boys
You need to be more tender and nurturing with the boys
You need to be a hard-ass with those boys
You get too engaged in debates with the boys
You should make money, get a job, other women do it, why can’t you?
You care more about the boys than about me
You are not submissive like a proper Christian wife
I talk to my sons like a man talks, it’s none of your business
Your feelings are incorrect, you have too many feelings
You are kicking me in the nuts
You do not respect me
You don’t trust me
You take life too seriously
You are manic-depressive
You are too “heavy”, you need to keep things light
You push all my buttons on purpose
You have the life of Riley
Your forehead is wrinkled
You make me get angry
This pain in my chest is from the stress you cause me
You are not my soulmate
You are not easy
You laugh too loud, it’s weird
You are abrasive
You are too opinionated
You don’t need me, you’re too strong

Messages that I internalized

I’m not loveable
I can’t trust someone to stay, be committed
I can’t trust love
I have to behave a certain way to keep someone around
I shouldn’t have strong opinions, it’s not attractive
I’m not okay the way I am
Being strong and capable is not feminine

I’m a woman

Dear Men,

If you think the fact that I have emotions make me less intelligent and reasonable, that’s your opinion. In my opinion, emotions are what make us human and raise us above the animals. Therefore, if you, as a man, lack the capacity for emotion, that makes you less human, which would reduce you to the condition of being an animal, less intelligent and reasonable than I.

“It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.”
Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women