Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the tag “divorce”

I’m stomping my feet, Lord! Hear my cry. Answer my cry.

I saw the little yellow pencils.

And the 50-cent glue.

I saw the pencil boxes and the erasers and the row after row of 5-rule and 4-rule and college-rule and I wanted to just cry.

Thank you, Jesus.

August is coming.

August.

Is coming.

And I survived. We survived.

And I know the Truth. I know that if not for the grace of God, I deserve nothing. I know that all I need is Jesus. I know this and yet not really.

I want Jesus AND.

Jesus is enough so long as my children are home.

Home with Mom.

And oh, I can hear my pastor’s voice in my ear even as a type, but dangit!

I did not deserve this summer.

Night after night after night for my babies to be picked up from our home as if I’m some nanny.

An entire summer of asking permission.

An entire summer of trying to explain to a 5 year-old why she can’t sleep at home.

And entire summer of trying to explain to a 9 year-old why we can’t leave town. Why we can’t go on vacation.

Why we can’t.

“I can’t take it for one more day. Not for one more day.” That what she says.

Whispers.

As I carry her to the car.

And after they leave, that’s what I feel.

And here we are with school supplies on display and August just days away and yet tonight, Lord, I don’t think I can take it for one more day.

Forgive me, God.

Forgive me for needing Jesus-and.

Forgive me for wanting more.

Forgive me for failing to see that you are enough.

But oh my God, please let this be over and bring my children home.

bird i can do this

 

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Give thanks and fly free, single mommas!

 

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A friend shared a blog on Facebook written by a woman who’d been left by her husband.

A small confession. Which is not really a confession, because I’m pretty sure you won’t care, but I’ll give it anyway:

I don’t read blogs.

I read books.

But not blogs.

Several months ago, someone commented on my blog that I “sounded a lot like Ann Voskamp, only easier to understand.”

At first, I thought this was a great compliment.

Then I realized it probably meant I was reading too much of Ann.

Only, I “easier to understand.” Read: dumbed-down.

In short, I was becoming a dumber version of Ann.

Anyway, I don’t read because I either get mad or I get jealous.

Mad because I think I’m a better writer.

🙂

Mad because they’re complaining about their children and mine are gone.

Mad because super-holier-than-thou-Christians will rant word after word about the breakdown of the American family and their answer is “to stay” and some of us need a little more than that and yes, I get mad.

And jealous.

Jealous because somehow their life seems far better; far easier; far more lovely than my own and I don’t want to read about their better, easier, lovelier life.

So I don’t read blogs, but for some reason—today—I did.

My first thought? “I’m a better writer than she is.”

Oh my gosh, I’m kidding!

She described the day that her husband left.

She wrote details of the evening and she shared her heartache and heartbreak and I’ll have to admit, she tugged for a few lines until this.

In bold letters, she said:

In THESE divorces. THESE divorces are particularly traumatic.

THESE divorces? What the HALE?

And I’m already mad!

This is why I don’t read blogs.

I suppose she wouldn’t think  my divorce was traumatic?

My husband didn’t come home one night and tell me he felt trapped.

He didn’t come home one night and pack and bags and leave.

One can dream.

Uhm, no. My husband stayed. For almost an entire year, actually.

Her husband loved her enough to leave.

Her husband wanted out. Found a new girl. New man. I don’t know. Movin’ on. Packed his bags. Adios.

He’s a coward and cheater and a lousy father (because when you cheat your wife, you cheat your children), but he left!

Oh my gosh, girl! Celebrate!!

He loved you enough to leave.

The author continues, saying there were no signs. I quit reading. Maybe she corrects herself later, I’m not sure.

No signs?

HALE yes, there were signs!

The problem is she didn’t see them.

I didn’t see them.

A friend of mine was joking one day, making light of, ya know, my completely tattered life and I said, “What? You mean you knew? Were there signs?”

His answer? “Myra Katherine! Not just signs! There was a constellation!”

And do you know the only time he met my husband. At my wedding.

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of our wedding. So close to 20! What is that? Paper? Pearls? Because dangit, I need new pearls! I accidentally washed them. It could’ve happened to anyone, really. I had poked them into my sheets while camping because they were digging into my skin and then I forgot about that and ya know, washed them.

And dried them.

I have clean and dry pearls.

Anyway.

I was thinking about my anniversary, so maybe that’s why I read this blog and while I did get mad and, yes jealous, I also softened just enough to realize that I do the very same thing that she does.

I dare to compare. My sadness to yours.

Uhg!

And seriously. Who are we to think there is such a thing as “these” divorces or “these” deaths or “these” heartaches. Scripture tells us that if I see a speck in her eye, (and I am telling you, I’m staring at the specks!) then there’s a beam in my own.

Dangit! A whole flipping’ beam!

I’m almost three years into life as a single momma and here’s where I still struggle.

He loved me so little, that what he was giving (or not giving) was what he thought I deserved. The mother of his children.

Undeserving.

Loved. So little.

So yes, sister Ann. I quit reading you for a while, but I remember.

All is grace.

And so to my hurting friends who’ve been left for another woman.

For another man.

For whomever. For whatever.

Find the grace. Give thanks.

Give thanks that he left.

Give thanks that he loved you enough to let you go.

He can continue to be a coward and a cheat and YOU!

YOU get to go and live your life.

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still.” Maya Angelou

Leaning into the arms of Jesus, fly free, my single mommas!!

The can break their vows, but they can’t crush your spirt.

They can stomp on your heart, but they can’t steal your smile. 🙂

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Children: A “reward” of the womb, not a an “award” from a judge

“Only a fool vents his full spirit.”

That’s from proverbs. 29:11

I have a tendency to vent my full spirit and I’m struck by this verse and wondering how to do this right?

For 15 years I didn’t vent my full spirit. I didn’t even recognize my full spirit.

Coulter and Emma Claire’s dad has parenting time for all of June and July. Otherwise known as visitation.

Oh, he must live out of town, you say? He must not see them during the school year?

Nope.

Regular visitation during the school year too.

And see how well I’m doing? I haven’t even written about it for a full month!

But yesterday was ugly.

Mean.

After a 12 day vacation, I asked, quite simply if they could stay the night.

With me.

The mom.

And I’m not going to vent my full spirit about it. I’m just going to tell you.

My readers.

Mean.

And I lay (laid?) in bed—awake—for a full three hours this morning before I had the courage to face the day and then I got hungry, but now I’m back in bed and it’s this word that’s tossing in my head and it’s tossing in my spirit and it’s just this word.

Awarded.

He reminded me, so thoughtfully, so kindly that he had been “awarded” June and July.

It wasn’t an award.

It was a conciliation.

There are no awards handed out for parents who can’t keep their promises.

It’s pretty simple, really.

Saying “I do” to your spouse means saying “I don’t” to, ya know, everyone else.

So instead of venting my full spirit, I thought I would write a letter.

But then I was afraid that writing a letter would sound a whole lot like venting my full spirit so I scratched the letter (which wasn’t hard because WordPress changed their format and for the life of me I can’t figure out how to save a draft or proof a draft and so whatever, the letter is gone.)

Next I decided to google “statistics of children of divorce.”

Then I wanted to burn my computer.

One statistic said that children of divorce have more emotional and psychological damage than children who have lost a parent to death.

No way, you might say.

Yes way. I read the study.

Well, skimmed.

But what it is? What is it that makes divorce harder on a child than death.

And you can’t really compare one loss to another and one grief to another but why?

Ugly hearts.

Mean hearts.

Broken into tiny little pieces, hearts.

OK, so instead of a letter, how bout this? How ’bout a few reminders for divorced parents.

And just to be safe—just to ensure that I don’t spew and vent and get all crazy-momma bear on you, how about I just go to the Word.

His Word.

Yes.

How bout this?

Children are a gift from the Lord. Not an “award” from a judge.

Children are precious in His sight. Not a pawn for your fight.

Children are a heritage from the Lord. Not a tool for hate.

In first Samuel, I read: “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

When I think about the hours that I have spent in prayer over my children and when I think about the even more countless hours that my prayer warriors have spent in prayer and when I stop to remember God’s faithfulness and his provision and his goodness and his answer that Coulter and Emma Claire were knit together in my womb by God Almighty and the fruit of my womb is a RE-ward not an A-ward and when I stop long enough to listen and remember and I continue reading Proverbs 29:11, I read that a wise man quietly holds it back.

And so I hold.

I mean, it’s kinda like holding one one of those cheap bouncy balls that you get at the pizza place and it slips out of your hands and bounces behind the refrigerator and you can never find it again. I mean, it’s a little bit like that; it’s slippery and fidgety and I struggle and maybe today I’ve already failed,(think I’ll skip the word count so far) but I want to be wise.

And it dawns on me, it doesn’t say anything about being right.

I guess God doesn’t so much get caught up in those stupid games.

And besides. You know what else I read today? And I just love it when the Lord gives me a clear answer, but would love it even more if it was an answer I liked, but for today.

Just this.

Exodus 14:14

“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Hold us, Lord and fight.

The 10 Little Milligrams that Changed My Life

Snuggling in bed after a whole “I’m telling Dad on you”—“Fine. Tell Dad on me. I don’t care.”—kind of evening, Emma Claire finally settled and apologized.

And so did I.

My big offense?

I let them stay up late watching a movie.

Which was super fun until I broke the news that it was  too late for books.

Anyway, I should’ve just read the dang books because for the next hour Emma Claire asked question after question—

After.

Question.

I have promised two things. To myself and to my children.

I will always tell the truth.

And I will not spend a lifetime telling them they are too young to understand.

Even though quite frankly, I’m still too young to understand.

I recalled a moment getting into my van. Emma Claire was on the verge of  3. I had just handed off my resume and was brushed off without a second glance.

And I had used such nice paper.

And it went straight to the shredder.

So I drove off.

Crying.

Emma Claire said to me, “Mommy why are you always crying?”

A couple of weeks later I and a doctor’s appointment.

Yearly exam and my first in Nebraska.

I sat in a waiting room and I am telling you that everyone woman in that place was glowing, bellies full except for me.

The nurse calls my name.

She’s 12. Maybe 13.

I start crying from the minute I step onto the scale.

“Any issues for you today? Anything that you’d like to discuss with the Doctor?”

“No, ” I squeak through sobs.

“Uhm, OK. Well, is there some… are you… uhm, OK.”

She leaves.

The Doctor walks in.

She’s 15. At what point did people start going to med school in their teens. These people are not old enough to babysit my children. How can they be old enough to take care of me?

She’s very kind and very gentle but I am super annoyed.

“The nurse mentioned you were  upset. Do you want to talk about it?”

“Uhm. OK, sure. Well, I think I hate my husband.

No, I don’t hate him.

I love him, but  I think he hates me and so yeah, I’m pretty sure I hate being married.

And I hate Fremont.

And I can’t find a job.

And I didn’t date a whole lot before I got married so I’m not entirely sure, but I’m pretty sure that my life is not normal and everyone gets on my nerves.

Seriously.

Everyone.

The only people I actually like right now are my children.”

She talks for a while and finally says, “Do  you think you might be depressed.”

Ha. I laugh. No, I’m not depressed. I cry all the time, yes.

But I’m a Christian.

Good grief, No!

Christian’s do not get depressed.

“OK. Yes. I understand. You are not depressed. But maybe, just for a season, you might consider a low-dose— SUPER low-dose–anti-depressant to see if it might help. Ya known, with your non-depression.

I asked her if I would gain weight. Because this fog that I’m in, crying everyday, all-the-time, yes it’s not too much fun, but let’s prioritize. Gaining weight, well that would actually really depress me.

I mentioned it to my mother on the way home. I told her I would not fill the script.

She thought perhaps I should consider it.

I was afraid that my husband would try to use it against me if we divorced.

Spoiler alert: I’m a pretty smart chick.

I mentioned it to my husband. I told him I would not fill the script.

He thought perhaps I should consider it.

I get a call. The lump I felt? Needs to com out. Appointments were made, surgery was scheduled and I decided what the HALE.

I will fill the script.

10 mg.

2 weeks.

And then, bam! One morning I woke up and I can’t explain it but it was a type of clarity. Like if you have a smudge on your glasses and they clean them for you at the eye doctor and then it’s awesome how clearly you can see.

Again.

I don’t know if it was un-diagnosed postpartum.

I don’t know if it was simply circumstantial.

I don’t know and I don’t care. 10 precious milligrams and I started to wake-up.

Yes. Out of a fog. And my life was un-recognizable.

To myself.

And the lump came out and it was not cancer.

And after my surgery, my neighbor down the street, Tina brought me a meal. My husband didn’t eat it.

My children didn’t eat it.

But I ate it and I loved it and more than that, I loved that I had a neighbor who would bring me food.

And I quickly went off the pain mediation because it made me forgetful and irritable.

But I continued to take the 10 mg. And the fog continued to lift.

As my friends and family can so easily attest, the 10 mg. doesn’t solve all your problems and I didn’t stop crying and it’s not a quick fix and it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s an imbalance.

My doctor described it like this. There are these little balls, bouncing around in your head and when there’s an imbalance, the balls don’t bounce as high as they should and no, it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s a failure of chemicals.

And flat little balls that have lost their bounce.

I’m still taking my ball-bouncing medicine.

I’ve tried twice to go off it.

Last time, I went cold turkey because I forgot to fill it.

Three days in, I called my handsome friend (let’s call him Mike. Ya know, the one that was in my Easter pictures where it looked like I wasn’t wearing a shirt, but I was wearing a shirt, anyway, we’ll call him Mike because that is actually his name, so I called him. Wait maybe I texted. See? The fog?

Anyway, I can’t even tell the story because I was ranting and raving about stuff that I shouldn’t have been ranting and raving about and by the end of the night, lying in bed I had decided that I needed to leave my church.

My church!!!

My family!!!

That I love!!!

My covenant family; those that have walked beside me and held me and loved me and prayed for me and been a husband to the widow and a father to the father-less and Praise the Lord, that’s when I remembered.

My 10 little mg. Although, for truth and credibility I should clarity that it’s now 20 mg.

Stupid bounce-less balls.

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A year later, I was back in the doctor’s office.

The nurse looked a little older. The doctor a little more qualified and I did notice a few 40+ women in the mammogram room. At second glance it appeared that I wasn’t the only one who had said goodbye to her baby years.

The doctor walked in and I had to hold myself back from just hugging the breath out of her.

She did not deliver my babies. She did not watch me go through miscarriage and fertility drugs and here is a woman I did not know and still barely know and yet she changed my life.

And in a way and by the Lord’s provision, she actually saved it.

I know there are more late-night conversations coming about why and how and it’s-not-fair. But I also know there is always, always, always—

Grace.

For the moment.

Turns out, I actually know why we got divorced. That’s a question I can answer.

And it’s a much easier question, than 3-year-old Emma Claire’s asking her Mother why she cried.

All.

The.

Time.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

 

 

My First Time Here

Arkansas Thanksgiving 2012. Best. Roadtrip. Ever. No puppy puke; no kid puke; no clothing changes; no lost shoes; no lost credit cards; no run-a-way dogs; no crying (for me or them), just a little Radio Disney, a few snacks and some Dramamine.

I’ve been doing this for many years now and I’d like to think that I’m getting pretty good at it. But with each new age; each new stage, the game changes and there are new rules. First it was diapers and sippys and pacis and then it was wicky sticks and pipe cleaners and I once even had a project that used this goopy glue stuff (lesson learned). We’ve blown bubbles and finger painted and even made play dough sculptures. Now there are legos and dolls and books and stickers.

And movies. Seriously, I give thanks today for Redbox. 

But each time we head out, it’s like starting over.

Ann Voskamp writes, “Am I making any of the right decisions. I’ve never been here before so how do I know the way?”

And I don’t think she’s talking about road trips.

I know the way to Arkansas, but we are in Arkansas for Thanksgiving, without their dad.

I’ve never been here before.

Coulter and Emma Claire will spend Christmas in South Dakota with their Dad. I will miss the awe and wonder of a 4 year old finding the treasures left by Santa. I will miss Coulter walking down the aisle at the little Lutheran church with his cousins at the Christmas Eve service and everyone laughing because they remember when he was 2 1/2 and instead of putting on the shepherd’s costume, he joined his girl-cousin with the angels and proudly wore his sparkly little halo.

We won’t be together—as a family—for Christmas.

I’ve never been here before.

My parents weren’t here. My grandparent weren’t here.
What the heck…I’m the first generation “here!”

Today on the drive emma claire was watching a movie. All of a sudden she just starts giggling….hard giggling…and she says, “Mom! Did you hear that? That girl said ‘I need to trust my instincts’ my in-stinks!”

More laughter. In-stinks! It’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard and Coulter tries to explain that there’s no humor here.

“Emma claire…its not stinks, it”s stincts….It just means to do what your gut tells you to do.”

And it hits me and I give praise for the in-stinks and the instincts and that feeling in your gut.

That feeling that is the Holy Spirit

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I’ve never been here before and acknowledging that; remembering that, is grace and I start to giggle with Emma Claire and we laugh and we laugh and we laugh and I’m not sure what’s funnier….the fact that Emma Claire thinks in-stinks is so hysterical or the fact that Coulter is so frustrated that we are laughing at something that is obviously so.not.funny.

I’m a 40 year old single mom of  two navigating our first holiday season as a “separated family” and I’m thankful for this word. I’ve never been here before.

How can I possibly know the way? There’s only one Way.

I can lean in; lean hard; listen to His voice and learn to trust my instincts.

My in-stinks! Get it? See? Come on, you know you want to laugh. 🙂

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