Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Confessions of a Christian Divorcee



I assume many that know me might read the title of this and click on the link for some sort of dirt... maybe a tell all of my recent divorce and the terrible path we took to get there...

There will be some insight, but I refuse to let the world in on some of the private matters, because it's none of your business. I refuse to publicly bash my ex, because I do have a daughter to protect, and honestly I don't really bash him privately either. He is the Father of my daughter, and at the end of the day I can be thankful that he loves her and cares for her. But I want to share so that maybe someone else can learn from our mistakes.

We were headed for disaster from the very beginning, we just didn't know it. Or maybe we just didn't want to see it.

To be quite honest, the beginning of our relationship was pure perfection. We had the same goals and future and hopes. We supported each other's dreams and genuinely looked forward to a future together. Then in 2011, we discovered that we were pregnant.

We were in church and doing ministry, but obviously we had our own sins to deal with. I believe that our refusal to deny ourselves and to truly live our lives the way God intended was the beginning of the end.

There are ALOT of things I would change about the past few years... getting pregnant and giving birth to what I believe is the most amazing child on the face of the planet isn't one of them.

But inevitably things changed. We placed ourselves in a position where we were no longer leaders in the Church. Never were we outcast, in fact we were shown ridiculous amounts of love and support from our church. But we both needed to reflect on our mistakes and how to continue in the future. It really seemed as if everything went so smoothly... By the time we had our daughter we were once again serving in ministry.

However we were already in need of repair long before we were married. Our move away from ministry changed us... The very thing that brought us together and defined us was no longer part of us.

I could make lists upon lists of what he did wrong... but I've spent enough of my time dwelling on his mistakes.

I should have seen the red flags. Last week I wrote about how people can change if they want... but you cannot force them to. And that is where I was, forcing this marriage down his throat. You can't make someone love you... You can't make someone grow up. But that didn't stop me from trying.

I've never felt us mentally unstable as I have in the past almost two years. I was literally obsessed and driving myself insane. I was ridiculously unhappy and jealous. I manipulated him, I would pick fights to make myself feel better, I would throw a fit if things didn't go exactly my way... all because I felt I was entitled after his bad decisions. He definitely made mistakes and terrible decisions, but that didn't justify my actions. I literally felt crazy. I was no longer myself. I was completely unhappy.

I would like to say this really began after we were married, but the truth is it began long before. The warning signs were there. I just didn't want to see them. The decisions my ex made after we were married were no different than the ones he made before we said I do... I guess I just expected him to change. I expected something that he wasn't capable of at the time.

I have a terrible habit of falling for the Peter Pans in the world... the boys who never want to grow up. I think I was ready to get married when I was in high school, so I was excited to have my husband and father to my daughter home every night. I think we got married because he knew it would make me happy... thinking that it would be an easy transition from boyfriend and baby daddy to husband and father. It wasn't. Not at all... and I never let him forget it.

I honestly don't know that he ever would have left had we never had that last conversation the day he decided to go... I was determined to make this marriage work no matter how miserable I was. He wasn't ready to change... He wasn't ready to be the husband that I needed. And I knew that... and he knew that... we just didn't want to admit it to ourselves. After all, we were so happy when we first started dating... so ready to conquer the world together.

I discovered he was discussing the possibility of leaving... however it had yet to be discussed with me. I told him to leave if that's what he wanted.... and he did.

We tried over the next couple of months to somehow salvage the mess that we had made... to forgive... to let go... to move on... No matter what avenue I tried... counseling, reading books, being less crazy... nothing changed. We were still unhappy, and he still wasn't ready for the commitment he had made.

If you had told me when I was younger that I would get divorced, I would have called you a dirty liar.

So what can you learn from our mistakes?

1: Run from Sin. When you are in habitual sin, there are most certainly consequences.  I'm not saying that everyone who is caught up in sin is doomed for marital failure, I'm saying that when we knowingly disobey the word of God... we put ourselves in a position for future failure.

2: They won't change. Well they might, it's possible. But chances are, the red flags you see before marriage aren't going to drastically be undone once a ring is on your fingers. If you get married with the expectation that the other person is going to suddenly become super husband or wife, you are already doomed. People change because they want to, not because you force them.

3: You have issues too. I was constantly obsessed with his mistakes and downfalls that I rarely took the time  to see where my own imperfections played a role. After all, it was his bad decisions that made me this way... I pawned it all off on him. It was his fault I was this way... I refused to look at the fact that I had a choice. I blamed my misery on him. But it was my decision not to get up out of my depression... I just didn't realize it at the time.

4: Get help, and fast! We should have started seeing a counselor long before we ever did... even before we were married. But I kept our issues to myself, because I thought I was protecting our family. You should never go and spread all your personal issues to the whole world, but it is very helpful to have an accountability couple that can support your marriage or even start seeing a counselor early on... We were in denial of our issues... I think waiting to get help was one of our biggest mistakes.

5: Divorce isn't the answer. I say that even after I have gone through the process. I believe that if we were faithful, that God would have seen us through. In reality, we should have never gotten married to begin with. But we did, and I would have moved heaven and earth to keep our relationship together... but it takes two people to want to work on a marriage. I couldn't do it on my own.

6: Forgive. I think its one of the biggest things that could have saved our marriage. It's something I couldn't do at the time. I couldn't let the past go.

7: Be Honest. There are a lot of things I was willing to let go of, but lying was one thing that I couldn't. Once you lie to someone, it's difficult if not impossible to gain back that trust. So instead of looking for ways to gain back that trust, I found ways to lie myself. If you can't beat them, join them. But I was wrong... very wrong.

8: Put God first. I really think we had this at the beginning... and somewhere along the way we lost it. Praying together, encouraging each other spiritually, praying for each other, doing ministry together... In the middle of our trials God was definitely not the center.

My marriage has ended, and regardless of the terrible things I have experienced over the past couple years, it still makes me said. I still feel like I failed. I still have those what if's...

Maybe your marriage is falling apart... I home my mistakes can help you find some clarity. I hope you can find a way to mend the broken pieces.

Maybe you have already suffered a divorce. Honestly, I am lucky, ours was quite painless... maybe yours was terrible. God still has a plan for our lives. Our past mistakes don't have to define us. We can still move forward.

Maybe you are dating someone and you know that it isn't a health or godly relationship... and you realize you need to make a change before you say I do... or possibly end that relationship.

I thought I was going to change the world with his hand in mine... but just because I don't have a hand to hold, doesn't meant I can't change the world. I refuse to let this divorce be my defining moment. My dreams haven't changed. My hope for the future remains. Things didn't work out the way I planed, but I believe that God is still in control.







Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Change



I am the way I am, I just can't help it. I'm fat because of genetics. I am an addict because of a predisposition. I'm rude because I am a female. I'm abusive because I was abused. I hate others because I've been hurt. I hold grudges. I steal. I procrastinate. I'm always late. I sin... I can't change who I am. 

Bull crap.

I agree that people rarely change. But it isn't that they can't change. We have to ability to change... to better ourselves. The reason we can't change it a lack of desire... a lack of follow through... a lack of commitment to change. 

Change isn't easy. In fact, changing something that might define who you are may be the most difficult thing you ever do. 


But change is necessary if we are ever to become the individuals that God created us to be. 

How do you change? 

You start small. You pick one are of your life that needs to be changed to focus on. And then you pray. You get help from a friend or pastor or a counselor. You read books that encourages you in your desire to change. You consult experts. You make a plan. When you mess up, you don't quit. 

The things in your life that are holding you back... that is not the way that God intended for you to live. 

You will never be perfect... but why aren't we striving to be? 

Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

The very least that we can do, is to offer your life as living sacrifice. To stop being so focused on the things that make you the way you are, and to start living your life to be pleasing unto God. And this is the LEAST that you can do.... 

You can change. You can be better. You can give up those things that break God's heart. You can stop living your life held back by who you think you are and start living your life the way that God intended. 

The question is do you want to? The question is are you up for the challenge?  It won't be easy, but God has so much more in store for you. 

"They say a leopard can't change its spots. But we're not leopards. We are humans. Our defining characteristic is our adaptability. We adapt to survive. My point is: we CAN to some extent, change our spots..." -Tom Hiddleston 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

I wasn't going to blog this week, but I am beyond angry and ashamed to have read the things I have read today.

Things like...
"Robin Williams died? Who cares"
"Suicide is selfish, stop talking about Robin Williams"
"Robin Williams is in Hell"

There were more... but these comments where the ones I found the most disturbing. Let's start with the first...

WHO CARES
Well, apparently a lot of people. He was an amazing actor and had the ability to bring joy and laughter to those who watched his films. I mean, practically my entire news feed was covered with people who were genuinely broken over this news. So yeah, a lot of people care. Just because you are so heartless that a tragedy which doesn't personally affect you can't stir at least a tiny emotion, doesn't mean the rest of us are. People grew up watching this man, and many probably felt as if they knew him. Maybe he wasn't your friend, or you next door neighbor, but it amazes me that you can look at human life with such indifference. I can only hope that people don't show you and yours the same disrespect in time of tragedy. After all, what have you done in this life to make a difference? My guess is that even your greatest accomplishments might pale in comparison to a man who was obviously adored by many.


SUICIDE IS SELFISH
I think I can agree somewhat, especially from an outsiders perspective. The thing is, we have absolutely no idea what demons this man faced. Not a clue what finally brought him to the decision that death would be a better alternative to life. He was in pain... I know because you don't just end your own life for the heck of it. People who commit suicide... they aren't thinking about you... or their family... or their friends... they are thinking about the pain that they live with day in and day out. So yeah, maybe it is a bit selfish. But obviously if you are calling him selfish, you've never been so dark and desperate to even consider such an act. Everyone you meet is facing a difficult battle that you know nothing about... It's easy to simply simply wright this off as selfish. But when you take time to really look at how much pain he must have been in to take such drastic measures, when you try to look at it from his prospective... The perspective of someone who is hurting so much that they con't possibly imagine the pain ever getting better... I've probably said the same words, that suicide is selfish, at one point of my life or another. But depression changes people... and selfish or not, the fact that you could only look at his act rather than the reasons makes you seem extremely cold.

HE'S IN HELL
Really? Did Jesus himself come down from heaven to specifically tell you that was his final destination? Did he then send you on a mission to spread the news... no? Yeah I didn't think so... Honestly, I think this response was the must infuriating of all. I was honestly surprised to read this from anyone except the yahoos at Westboro Baptist Church. Just regular old people in my timeline making this proclamation. Here is the thing, he very well might be. But I don't know that. It isn't my place to judge. The Bible tells us that we will know people by their fruits. Regardless of any speculation on the matter, it is also scripturally not my place to judge. Maybe he used his last moments on earth to make peace with God, I hope so anyways. I would like to believe that there are cases when people are so unstable mentally in such a situation that they are incapable of making a logical decision... I know God is merciful. But to flat out proclaim that he is in Hell? Are you a prophet? I mean really, I want to know what exactly gives you the audacity or credibility for such an announcement. I'm sure they could use a few more picketers at his funeral if you really feel so strongly about it.

Before anyone get's their panties in a wad, this was not directed towards anyone in particular. This was just samples of things I read from Facebook pages and twitter hash-tags. But if the shoe fits, feel free to lace that thing up and wear it!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To everything there is a season...

"I just want to be mad for a while"

I know it isn't Monday (when I typically write my posts for those who aren't aware), but I needed some time to think about this. Honestly, I needed some time to calm down before I wrote something completely rude and hateful and then no one would ever read my blog again. I think I'm calm now... maybe...

I've experienced A LOT lately... and while I am so ridiculously thankful for all the love and support and prayers... this is going to be bit of a rant, so this is your fair warning. 

Over the course of the last few months there have been times when I have been angry. I was angry and frustrated with my aphasia and not being able to express myself the way I wanted to. I've been angry and wanted to cry on more then once occasion because of my hair falling out. And not driving? I love my Mom and she has been great, bet a 26 year old mom needs her independence! 

Can I tell you the most frustrating part? Is that people try to help, and really they make it worse. I know it isn't their intent. I know in their heart of hearts they really are trying to put a positive spin on things. But when my hair looks like this....


Honestly the last thing I want to hear is "At least you're still alive". Don't get me wrong... I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to still be alive. But stop telling me I can't be upset. Stop acting as if I can't cry every once in and a while over my bald head. 

And the driving thing? Come back to me when you are an adult and you aren't allowed to drive for an extended period of time. Again, I know I'm lucky. My parents have been great to take care of my and Liv, and I know not everyone has that. But I want to be in my bed. I want to go to Wal-Mart by myself. Honestly I just want to fill the 4-Runner up with gas and just drive until it runs out. I miss my independence. 

But yet again, I have people making me feel as if its not OK to be upset. Like its wrong and ungrateful of me since I've experienced so  much blessing to be mad about silly things like driving. 

Can I tell you what is helpful? Just a plane "yeah, that sucks". Having your feelings validated sometimes is the most helpful thing someone can do. 

Maybe it's just me... maybe other people want you to help them see the brighter side. 

It's not that I don't see the bright side or that I ever stop being grateful for the blessings. But you know what, sometimes I just need to be made. I am human and I have feelings and I need to cry or yell or be angry. Even if its about silly and insignificant things like not being able to drive. 

I think sometimes we are too quick to offer some helpful or encouraging words, when maybe the person we are offering them to might just need us to be there. It isn't always necessary to offer an inspiring speech... but sometimes simply a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold... or someone to listen to you when you need to vent. 

If you haven't experienced it... try to put yourself in theirs shoes. Try not to offer advice you wouldn't want. If you really want to be there for someone, ask them how they feel, don't just assume and start opening your mouth with what you think about it. 

Sometimes I need to be mad.... last week was one of those weeks. That doesn't mean I'm not grateful or blessed. But I am human and I have feelings and sometimes I have to let those feelings out. 

There are different times in our lives when different feelings or emotions are needed. When different actions are required. That doesn't meant they are wrong. It's just different seasons. 

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.





What is Paigerific? I’m glad you asked, although I don’t have an exact definition to offer. Paigerific is my thoughts and my heart. Paigerific is my passion and my fear. Paigerific is my success and my failures. Paigerific is my blood, sweat, and tears. Paigerific is more than just simply word. It’s a million different words all rolled into one. Words like hope, grace, determination, imperfection, love, faith, insecurity… The one word I would use to describe myself? I am Paigerific.

 


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