Disclaimer

Since this is a public blog, I feel a disclaimer is warranted. A few things I want out there. Regardless of whether they are believed or not, this is my heart behind a few things.

  • I write because God asked me to share my heart
  • I have to be and get okay with being misunderstood
  • I also need to be aware and okay with the fact that not everyone likes me, knows me, or approves of what I do
  • I write to help girls with decisions before they marry, work on their marriages, and to share the struggles of divorce and sharing kids.
  • I write to let other women know they are not alone
  • I write to share the love of Jesus
  • My ex husband is a great dad
  • I’ve grown to love their stepmom and at this point wouldn’t want anyone else in her place. She loves the girls, what else could I ask for?
  • I am beyond thankful that our girls have two sets of parents who love them enough to want them all the time. Praise God for that!
  • I share struggles associated with co-parenting to highlight the grace of God, encourage others to work on their marriages, and to be aware of what they will face if it falls apart.
  • Some marriages need to fall apart
  • I have made many mistakes in marriage and mothering too. I admit to each and every one and ask forgiveness
  • The thoughts expressed in this blog are my own. You are 100% entitled to your own and welcome to share as well
  • There are absolutely two sides to every story, I can only share my own. I only know my own
  • My intent is never to hurt anyone, but to extend grace to those who have hurt me and I can only pray for the same for those I have hurt
  • My purpose for this blog is an eternal one. To point to Jesus, to share how He alone shares in our struggles and loves each one of us with an incomprehensible love regardless of our failures, mess-ups, and weaknesses….and we all have them. I am no different.
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I Hope You Dance….

This is how Mama dances…

Co-parenting is hard. When both parents want the kids all the time. When both parents want to be involved and at every milestone. Switching weekends and sharing holidays, scheduling trips, and forgetting clothes. When one parent doesn’t like the school choice of a parent or the new relationship of the other. When both parents want their kids in different activities. When both parents have different priorities and dreams for their children. When they attend different churches or one stops going altogether. When both parents care deeply for the kids but one couldn’t care less about the other parents feelings. When both parents….tug of war.

Parenting is hard enough….

My girls dad and stepmom have a more flexible work schedule than I do. Girls asked, so they signed them up for dance lessons. Not just dance class, but multiple classes, even elite companies and competitions. Lots of money and lots of time go into this.  A lot of “my time” with the girls is affected by their dance schedules now. But, theirs is too. Lord, help me. They pay for it and they make sure they get there (since I’m working when most of the classes start).

I can’t help but feel out of the loop, it’s more their thing than our thing. For me to nix it altogether just because I could or because I want them in different activities doesn’t seem fair either. Girls would wonder why?? So, I do my best to support, but it’s hard and it hurts.

Their dance schedules have taken over our lives. Four nights a week and weekends. It just feels like too much. I don’t like it when they miss church for it, I don’t like it when they miss school functions for it, and I don’t like that they aren’t on school teams because of it.

Once again, I feel held hostage by what he wants to do. I also feel like they’re missing out on other things and overextended. But, then I go and I watch them dance. I see the passion in my oldest’s eyes when she does. I see the improvement, confidence, posture, and elegance. She prays about dance. She wants to go to class, she wants to succeed, she wants to keep dancing. How could I deny that? So, I will say “thank you”. Thank you that they even have the opportunity. Because if it were just me, they wouldn’t. This isn’t easy, ya’ll.

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure co-parenting lately. It’s stressful. Honestly, I have felt more pushed around than primary custodian because of all this. I feel like if this were my idea, I would get an earth shattering “No” from him. But, because it’s his or hers, it’s expected for me to go along with it. I’m not telling them what’s happening, they are telling me. None of this is easy.

I’m sure many of my issues with dance go back to my childhood. Dance was a “no no” growing up, in all forms. Of course, I wanted to. I think about how I have always loved to dance with a pure heart. I think about how beautiful a first dance is and how sweet a father/daughter dance would have been. I also think about how David danced before the Lord. I think about the athleticism involved, the artistry, creativity, and the outlet for expressing emotion. I think about the good things…but still worry about so much.

Once again, I struggle with what people will think and which battles to pick. But, Jesus says, “Look at Me”. In all things, all these hard and new things, I will look to Him and ask Him to calm my anxious mind and thoughts and trust that He is working. I think I will look back one day and say “Thank the Lord they danced.” May they never feel the shame associated with it that I did.

I pray for protection for my babies, their dreams, and their hearts for Him. That they flourish and that they dance to His glory. Meanwhile, I will go to every competition, recital, and performance I possibly can. The alternative would be to miss out on something they’ve grown to love, are talented at, and have a heart for. I thank God for their health and legs that can leap and plié and point. I pray that His will be done in their lives and that His grace abounds in mine. Because, I need it. Lots of it.

He knows my heart. He alone knows and holds theirs….

To my girls, I’d like to finish this by sharing a song that has always brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat, because it’s beautiful and true. I mean this from the bottom of my heart…. Whether it’s writing, drawing, singing, playing, going on that adventure, staying close to home, or twirling in your tutu….I hope in whatever form it comes, when you get the chance to sit it out or dance….please dance.

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance….” — Lee Ann Womack

When All Else Fails….

When the phone call is not returned. When you’ve reached out multiple times. When your plans fail. Whatever it may be. When you’ve done all that you can do…

We blame ourselves, take criticism to heart, seek to please the unappeasable, wear ourselves thin, burn candles at all ends, over plan, over apologize, overwhelm, and over think. We fear rejection and seek comfort. We wonder why we’re left out and then isolate because of it. We filter our words for fear of abandonment. We worry about the future and squirm over the past.

Can we seek God’s love in the midst? Can we share openly when each one of these come to knock on the door of our hearts and ask Him to answer it? Can we ask Him to usher it out when, even thought we hate to, we swing the door wide open. In our humanness and struggles is where we discover and swim in God’s grace the best.

Maybe it’s not a habit that holds you captive, but a deep sadness. A relentless fear. An insatiable need for control or perfection. An insecurity from childhood. A difficult parent or the loss of a child. A regret. Maybe it’s not what you’ve done, but what you’re scared you may do. Let God in and share. Let THIS be the gateway for relationship. Let THIS be where your intimacy grows with your personal Savior. Let THIS hard painful thorn usher in the beauty of Jesus. Not my Jesus, but yours.

And each time it rears its ugly head, claim His precious Name. He died for this. He died for you. And He died to bring you an eternity of peace from it soon and very soon. Let THIS keep you homesick for heaven. Let THIS be used to the glory of God in your life. Let THIS be what brings you closer than you’ve ever been to the One who made you, claims you, and redeemed you.

If THIS is what brings you to your knees (emotionally, physically, mentally), let it be in front of the cross. Because THIS is why He did what He did…for you.

Because when all else fails…Love never will. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Faith of a Child…

Last night I was feeling crummy, really all day. I worked all day, picked up my girls and let them know early on that dinner would be easy and I needed to go to bed early. Allergies, exhaustion, pre-flu, I wasn’t sure, I just knew I wasn’t myself.

They were helpful and understanding. It was the second time that I can ever remember going to bed before them. They are 11 and 6 and I left them on the couch, blew a kiss, closed my door and went to sleep. Having no idea if they would sleep there all night, brush their teeth, change their clothes, anything. I decided they would survive, no matter what, and crashed.

I woke up at 5am feeling much better and stumbled out to the living room to see what the sleeping arrangements ended up being. I found neither one on the couch, but both of them asleep in my oldest’s bed, PJs on, sound asleep, their heads at opposite ends of the bed. Warmed my heart so…

When they woke, I shared how much better I was feeling, completely unsurprised and unphased, my oldest said “Well, we prayed for you, so….” Like there was no other option except for Mom to feel better this morning. Thank you, Lord, for her faith and Your answer to that prayer. We all know it could have gone either way and does often.

Not only did they change their clothes, they brushed their teeth (I could tell by the leftover toothpaste in the sink), she said they also read a book and prayed before bed. Like I always do with them. With me completely dead to the world, my girls connected and shared their typical bedtime routine. And prayed for Mama! All the feels this morning…Lord, I thank you.

Sometimes His answer is “Yes”, sometimes it is “No”. Sometimes it’s “Not Yet”, but He is always faithful. He loves us and hears us. Garth Brooks has a song that says “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers” when he runs into an ex girlfriend after years with his current wife. Truth is, God answered that prayer. His answer was “No”. A no from a loving God is a blessing that we can only see in hindsight and may never understand this side of heaven. Most of our prayers that receive a “No” feel like rejection at the time. But, lean on the truth that God loves you. Lean towards Him rather than away and trust His answers in your life.

Seeing how my girls took care of themselves and each other last night made me proud. Hearing they prayed for me last night was humbling. Seeing and feeling it answered encourages my faith. Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness! And for my precious girls that prayed for me without me last night, together. ❤

This Is Me

“The Greatest Showman” is the talk of the box office right now. After watching an outtake that brought tears to my eyes over and over again, I bought 7 tickets. I was going to support these actors. No matter what I thought of the film, the “This is Me” singer was worth my money. Her emotion still sends tingles down my arms and tears to my face.

You can tell she’s been put down. You can tell she’s believed it. You can tell she’s at the point in her life where she only wants real. You can tell she’s learning to love herself exactly as she is and only desires those who do too in her life. You can tell she’s scared to death, but willing to not only stand up for herself, but others too. You can tell she’s finally willing to be walked away from or do the walking. She will no longer cling, hide, or strive to please, she will embrace who she is and who she was made to be. You can tell she owns her weaknesses and imperfections, but won’t let them keep her from singing. Not anymore.

I can relate. That’s where the tears come from, I guess. Maybe you can too. Maybe you’ve been put down and believed it. Maybe you’ve been afraid to speak your mind or your story for fear of false accusations or rolling eyes. Maybe you’ve been told something is all your fault. Something you’d never pick in a million years.

In the movie, she plays the bearded lady. She was hidden from society and called a freak her whole life, even by her family. But, she sings like an angel. They would let her voice be heard, but never her face. It took one man to call her out and celebrate her differences for her to feel valuable. Praise God for the people in your life that do this, and know that even when they feel hard to come by, your Creator celebrates you. You are who you are for a reason. Your trials, conditions, story can be used for His glory. And, He died for you.

We all have a story. Maybe you’ve been harassed, abused, neglected, accused, lied to, lied about, dragged through the mud, laughed at….Jesus, the Son of God, was spit on. For us. He was beaten, accused, and killed a tortuous death…for you.

When the ultimate accuser and liar (Satan) comes to ridicule you for who you are, what you’ve done, what is happening right now. Kneel down and then stand up. Because we can come boldly to the throne of grace and mercy when we need it MOST. And, He is victorious. God already did what He had to do to save us. To claim us. To keep us.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

I claim this scripture. You can too. God looks at each of us in awe, wonder, amazement and love. He made you, not because He had to, but because He wanted to. Lean into that and when you are hurting, get real and honest with Him. Like the day you were born. Can we come to Him with no makeup on our face and no makeup on our situations and say “this is me”. Can we open up to Him and others and say this is where I messed up and “this is me”. Can we ask forgiveness, make amends, change, admit wrong, lay it down and say “this is me”. He loves us as we are, but never leaves us that way. He comes in, reminds us who we are to Him, and loves us so much that our hearts desire to reflect Him. We will WANT to be closest to the One who knows us best and still loves us most.

When you call out to Him “This is Me”. His answer is always “And I love you”.

The Nail Salon…

This is a story that bears repeating. This is a story that sounds too strange to be true, but because it happened to me, I know that it did. This is about that day at the nail salon…

Our relationship was rocky. His employment had been off and on for the two years I knew him. He had been laid off for months now and it scared me. I’m well aware I could lose my job today, any of us could. But, as a single mom to two girls, steady employment is high on my list. I just couldn’t relax and get excited about the future without it. We needed help.

So, he gets hired at a job fair for a well known company in the area, Praise God!! Hired on the spot. Now, to take the tests required and start working. Problem solved and prayer answered, right? ….Drug test, check. Written test, taken. Never in my mind did I consider him not passing this written test. I mean he’d been in this field for most of his working life. I just thought it was a formality. So, when I got the news he didn’t pass, my heart sunk. Now, I KNEW the problem must be him. I mean, why couldn’t he pass? I couldn’t live this way. I was less than compassionate, I was just mad and confused.

I asked God if this was His sign. I know He wants what’s best for me and the girls. All I heard in my spirit was “wait”. Three hard days went by and I waited. I didn’t end the relationship, I waited and remained honest with him and God that I was highly bothered and frustrated with this situation. Everything else seemed to be coming together, except this job situation. And, I couldn’t overlook it in our courtship.

On the third day of waiting and wondering, I left work early because my last patient “happened” not to show up. I didn’t have my girls that day, so I “decided” to get my nails done. When I pulled into the parking lot, I “chose” a salon I rarely went to. Still don’t know why, just decided to mix it up. Meanwhile, I’m texting with a friend about her love issues as well. She asked if I would mind talking instead of texting as she just wanted to hear my voice. I told her sure, but that I was heading in to get a pedicure so I couldn’t talk loudly as not to bother others. The staff “happened” to sit me beside a woman in the salon.

I was sharing my heart with my friend about this test that he didn’t pass. I must have sounded extremely distraught. So much so, that the lady sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder while I was talking and said “I’m so sorry to bother you, I work there and that test had an 85% failure rate, it’s the talk of the company right now.” WHAT?!? I quickly let my friend go to get more information.

She went on to tell me that employees currently employed there had taken and failed this test. The problem was not him, it was the test! I would have never known, he would have never known had this encounter not happened. Not only did she ease my mind about this test and my guy, she told me to have him call her directly since her department was hiring. So excited and thankful, I shared his name and said he’d call her first thing in the morning. When she heard his name, she said she knew him! Not only did she know him, he trained her at a previous job!

Needless to say, he called her the next morning and the ball got rolling. It didn’t roll smoothly, it took six weeks to get a start date. But, start he did. He just finished his first week as a direct employee at an amazing company that he may very well retire at. Not only are the benefits amazing, he is starting at twice the amount of money he would have made had he passed that ridiculous test.

If my patient had shown up, if I had to go straight home, if I had gone to the salon I normally go to, if I hadn’t been talking on the phone instead of texting, if I hadn’t been sat next to her, if she hadn’t reached out to ease my mind in compassion, if she had been wearing her earbuds that day (which she told me us she usually always does when getting her nails done), if she hadn’t have tried a brand new salon to her that day…..so many ifs.

Looking back, God told me to “wait”. My standards were on point and I do believe a steady job and ability to be employable and maintain employment is and should be on our lists as single ladies. I’d want it for my daughters’. If I hadn’t have waited I wouldn’t have experienced this or had this story to share. So share I will. So each one of you will know that when God moves, He moves. Even in nail salons…

Can We?

Can we give thanks for opportunities to forgive? Can we give thanks for the times we’ve felt the loneliest? Can we give thanks for the times we’ve been betrayed and felt the most hurt? The ultimate thanksgiving.

For the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2) Mentally, physically, spiritually, it took all He had and He did it for us.

God is the Giver of all good things. (James 1:17) He is also with us when things and people are taken away. (Joshua 1:9) When we can see these difficult situations as times to deepen our relationship and increase our dependence on Him, we can view them through different lenses. The lenses of thankfulness. Thankful that our God never changes. Thankful that our God is the same God in the good times as in the bad. Thankful that He still died for us. And thankful that He is coming back to take us home.

Can you, like me, look back on your worst times and think, “Wow, I lived through that and I came out closer to Christ. Leaning on Him harder than ever.” I have different trials now. We all do. Can I look at each of these and say “Thank you, Lord.” “Thank you that You hear me and although You have the Power to remove them completely, You may not. You may walk beside me instead.” Either way, Lord, I say thank You.

Those “opportunities” to forgive mean someone has wronged us. That’s never pleasant. Can we, instead, view them as opportunities to catch a glimpse of how much grace God lavishes on us? How often we let Him down and how His love never fails or wavers? Can we forgive someone and say thank You, Lord, for forgiving me…?

Can we say “Thank you God, for what you give. And, thank You for what You do not.” It takes great faith that God IS love to do that.

Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (GNT)

When our child turns away, runs away…..When our spouse leaves, when our health fails, when our job is uncertain, when money is tight, when tension is high. As tears roll down our face, can we say, “Thank You, Lord, for never forsaking me.”

Because, no matter what, I have this blessed assurance that Jesus is mine…’O what a foretaste of glory divine’…