Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Will the Joy Last

Thanks be to God that after that week of grieving, came a week of JOY. I'm not crying when some asks how I'm doing anymore, which is a HUGE step! In fact, I can tell them positive things that are happening in my life. It feels like my to-do list will never get done, however. Yesterday I had to do laundry, clean the house and rake the leaves from the back yard. I had no idea how tedious it was to rake leaves! But at least it was a good work-out, which I much needed! And I'm thankful that I have a home to care for.

I am also working on the plans for my future. I've decided to apply to Trinity University's Counseling Master's Program. I feel like that's where God wants me. I can't imagine leaning about counseling in a secular school. My faith is the only way I've made it through my trials. I will probably start in the fall.

Through this time, often the best therapy has been to just listen to praise and worship music. It's like my prayers in song form, and I sing it to the Lord! The following song says exactly how it is:

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

With lyrics like that, I am reminded that although there will be trials, JOY comes in the morning! There will be many more struggles and endless adventures ahead. For everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. God is teaching me in all that I must endure. He is preparing me for the future He has for me. I can be excited about that!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Week of Grieving

It’s amazing how I think I’m doing so well, and then I fall apart without notice. God has taught me so much during this week of grieving. I’m the kind of person who likes to see the silver lining. I look on the bright side and try to ignore the darkness all around me. Some may call me na├»ve, but I think that’s God’s will for us. However, Divorce Care taught me that my circumstances right now are different from the normal everyday stresses of life. I must grieve my losses in order to move on in a healthy manor.

Just starting this process a week ago initiated something I wasn’t ready for. As soon as I thought I was finished grieving, something else would come up and I’d break all over again. I felt so fragile. Any little thing that happened, that normally wouldn’t get to me…DID. One example was when my little girl was angry with me saying, “I’m just going to go stay with Daddy for a whole week!” She wanted to punish me, and it worked. I was crushed! Even though I knew she was only trying to hurt me and that she didn’t mean it, the pain ran so deep. I was devastated! I know I didn’t respond as well as I could have. But in the end, I confronted her and we talked. She apologized and we made up. I told her how much her words hurt me and asked her not to say things like that again.

In that moment, I was grieving Hannah’s losses. She hasn’t said much about her Daddy leaving, but I know she much feel something. I asked her yesterday, “How does it make you feel that Daddy moved out?” She said, “Sad.” I couldn’t get much else out of her. I explained to her that she can always feel free to talk with me about these changes. She just isn’t interested in discussing it. I wonder if she will be ready one day, or if she truly is OK with everything. She still seems to be the same happy girl as usual, thank God.

I’ve said before and still believe that Jesus is cradling my little girl and protecting her from all around her. I believe that she was chosen by God to something amazing. And I was chosen to be her mother. In a way, I feel like Mary having the dynamic responsibility of raising Jesus. I know Hannah is no Jesus, but God will use her…mark my words!

I have been praying a lot for the last couple of days that God will take my affliction away from me. I pray that my time of grief has passed. Today has been really good, and I feel even better after going to my Ladies’ Bible Study this morning. But Divorce Care meets tonight, so only God knows how I’ll feel tomorrow. I just want to feel God’s peace again. I want to be able to minister to others by showing my strength. When I am down, I don’t have the strength to help anyone. I don’t like to feel that way. I have asked God to build me up again and USE ME!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Difficult Day

It has been a difficult several days, but I feel better on this Monday morning.  Yesterday, I was able to meet with a friend who's been where I am.   It was so helpful to bounce my thoughts off of her.  She didn't even have to give advice, per se, just ask the right questions.  I was able to come up with solutions to many of my fears.  One of the biggest things I've been battling with was what career to go into.  I need to study for my Master's in something I enjoy that will make enough money to support my daughter and myself.  I've always thought I'd go into counseling, but I learned that it's hard to make much money in that field.  I hated to have to worry about the money, but I am a single mom.  That's very important.  But what else was I to do?

After talking with my friend, she was able to help me to see what God wanted me to do.  God has put me through all of these trials so that I can help others in similar situations.  I have such a strong interest in psychology.  I enjoy reading self-help books, always trying to improve myself, which in turn will help others.  It was like the little light bulb turned on and I had a "dugh" moment.  What was I thinking?  I have been put in this exact position for such a time as this, as Esther was in the Bible.  (I have a lot of these moments.) 

It all comes down to, God has been molding me into the woman He needs me to be to be able to use me.  None of this is about me, or even about Hannah.  What is money to God?  If I fall short, He'll make up the difference!  My job is to trust in HIM!  I believe he used my friend to help this to become clear.  Believe me, it couldn't have been more clear!  I feel like a fool that I even worried about this.  I'm thankful for the straight forward way God speaks to me.  He continues to walk with me through the valley every step of the way.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grieving My Losses

I've done really well since the divorce was final on April 6, 2010. In fact, I was downright joyful. I wondered if I even needed to go to Divorce Care. This is a Christian support group that meets for 12 weeks to help people dealing with divorce. I decided to go, anyway. They asked around the circle what losses we were grieving. I didn't have any. I felt like there was no loss, since my marriage was so bad for so long. But after listening to all the others share their losses, things like having someone's hand in theirs; remembering their favorite restaurants they used to eat together as they drive by one, I realized something. I said, "You should all be grateful that you had some happy memories with your spouse. I have none. I only remember horrible things that my X did to me. My only memories spring from passing certain hotels that I know he used." My memories only bring me PAIN! Of course as I said this, I was balling. For the first time since my divorce, I cried and I cried and I cried. I haven't stopped crying since. Apparently, I am finally going through the grieving process that is necessary to get past all this. They said that if I am not grieving, there is something wrong with me. That concerned me, but it wasn't long before I found out they were right. I wasn't letting myself think about everything I lost. They told me to think back further to when there were good times. I needed to think back to the dreams I had when I said "I do". I have lost that. It's just that I lost it years ago when the marriage went stale. But I never got to really grieve it then.

I also remember a man state that he had been divorced 10 yrs before coming that night to Divorce Care. And now he was divorced a 2nd time. He said he realized this night that he had not grieved his losses properly after his first divorce, and therefore brought baggage into his 2nd marriage which led to a 2nd divorce. I sure don't want that to happen to me. I want to take as little baggage with me as possible with or without a 2nd marriage.

Moreover, I am now going through something very painful. I am forcing myself to remember. I realized I was suppressing all of that. I was trying so hard to only focus on the positive thinking that was the healthy way. But it's just not normal to go through something like this without some down time. Therefore, I am letting myself grieve now. I find myself crying over anything. It's amazing. I've been so strong for so long, against all odds, and now it's all coming out. I even feel all that anger coming back toward my X as I grieve all that he did to me. I just need to take the time to allow for this season. The facilitators in Divorce Care said I need to make a list of all of my losses and grieve them all. Oh, how I dread this. I want to just burry it, but that won't make me healthier. It's better to get past this now and not let it come up again later.

I like to feel like I have it all together. I don't like to feel weak, and I don't like people to see me like this. But I also need people. I realize they want to be there for me. It was funny, I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) yesterday. Most of these ladies know what I'm going through and asked me how I was doing. As one lady asked, I just started to cry. She had this horrified look on her face like it was her fault. I said through my tears, "Don't worry. I'm just going through the grieving process. It's normal and I'll get better." Even through my tears I feel like I have to be strong. I don't want them to worry about me or feel bad about asking how I'm doing. I'm thankful that they care, but I guess I gave them more than they were expecting. HAHA!

I am overwhelmed right now and can't handle much. But I know "This, too, shall pass." I know this is a necessary step, so I'm willing to walk through it. It will make me a healthier person at the other side. God is with me and has something amazing planned for me. I ask Him to continue to be a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path to get me through each and every day. God is so good, and I trust Him!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going Back a Few Weeks: As I Sit In Mediation

I hand wrote my blog on mediation day, but am just now getting to re-type it here. So, bear with me as I remember March 8, 2010.

My future is being negotiated as I sit and wait in a small room with my lawyer. It's a humbling experience as I trust in God as my provider. I have everything to lose, yet everything to gain. It's hard to say at this point which way this will go. All I know is that my trust lies in God. He's going to work this all out.

My whole life has taken a drastic turn in the past 6 months. This isn't what I signed up for! When I said until death do us part, I meant it. Loyalty comes easy for me. Unfortunately, my X wanted more. "If it feels good, do it," right?

What's wrong with marriages today? Why can't 2 people commit? To tell you the truth, I don't know many marriages that have stood the test of time happily.

What hope do I have of growing old with someone, which was my dream? I want a lifelong relationship with a man. Is that even possible with the immorality in this world?

As I turn to the next chapter of my life, I remember many good times and a lot of bad. What does my future hold? I hope to get my Master's degree in order to get a job to support myself. I hope that I will find something in a Christian setting, where I will still be available for Hannah. I don't want a consuming job that will take away from Hannah.

Then I think about my dissolving marriage. I never wanted to be "single" again. How is someone supposed to even choose a spouse? I thought I chose well. My X and I wanted to start a church in Venezuela when we got married. We had plans to go into God's ministry together. Is there nothing sacred? What changed?

What hope can I offer my daughter after what I've been through? I worry how I will guide her to choose a spouse if to have a spouse at all. I hope that time truly does heal all wounds, and that I will feel better about Hannah's chances at a happy marriage later. If statistics now show a 60% divorce rate, what will it look like when Hannah's old enough to marry??? Will there be an 80% divorce rate? Will people even bother getting married at all? I guess that's already starting currently. I've known many who choose to have children together but never tie the knot. What has this world come to?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Filled with God's Peace

It's almost been a week since my divorce.  I've had numerous emails, calls, messages, etc from people who are worried about me.  Against all odds, though, I am fine...happy even.  My joy still comes from the Lord!  In fact, I feel that a burden has been lifted off of me.  The divorce is now final.  I am FREE to redefine myself.  I am free to live my life for God without a husband who brings me down.  I will not let another man hold me back...ever! 

In fact, I feel very satisfied being single.  What more could I ask for?  I have my precious little girl, who is a blessing to everyone she meets.  I have a house, a car, I get to go back to school to work on a career.  I never have to depend on a man again.  I will only depend on God from now on.  I have learned how He will provide for me like no man can.  I just have to trust Him in the midst of trials, which is not always easy. 

It is very uncommon for divorces to end "well".  For me, I believe it did.  I could have left this marriage with nothing.  And maybe I could have hired the $25,000 lawyer I visited, and I would have gotten more.  But it was more important to me to get just enough to know Hannah and I will be ok until I can get a career of my own to support us.  For Hannah's sake, I didn't want to destroy whatever relationship I may still have with my in-laws.  I know how important they are in Hannah's life.  She needs to have grandparents who will devote their time to her, who will love her....and they do.  I was very reasonable with my "demands", so I basically got what I needed. 

Hannah is also the same happy girl.  Really, I think the divorce was the best thing for her.  Before I knew what my X was up to, he was never around.  He had very little patience for Hannah.  He basically avoided being at home.  He often was not home when she went to bed.  Now she gets to see him so much more.  And he's finally spending quality time with her taking her to do fun things. 

God has worked this all out, and I know He will take care of my little girl, so no harm will come to her.  I picture Jesus holding her cradled in His arms.  She's got me and Jesus.  That's all she needs!  We're such a good team.  I couldn't love anyone more than I do that little girl!

We're going to be just fine.  And I look forward to my future as a single mom.  I will make the best of it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

D-Day "It Is Finished"

"It is finished" as Jesus stated right before he died. Well, in a way, I have died. I have given up my life for Jesus. And today represents my resurrection!!! The divorce was final today. It took a total of 3 minutes. It's a little disturbing how an 8 1/2 yr marriage can be dissolved in 3 minutes! It couldn't have been easier. My X didn't even show up, thankfully. I had my two friends with me and my lawyer. Really, we made the whole day like a celebration instead of a pity party. We took pictures outside the Broward County Court House and everything. My lawyer said, "This is a first for me" as we snapped a shot of me with him. HAHA! Pascale told me that this day would be a day that I remember for the rest of my life, so I might as well make it as positive as possible, so I did. After court, I went to my Esther Bible Study, late, but I went. Then a group of us went out to lunch. Once again, I have been blessed with some very good, supportive friends. That means EVERYTHING. I can't tell you how many texts, emails, and calls I received today with people checking up on me.

So, how was I, really, you may ask. I think it could have been a down day for me, but I truly feel that God is and has been protecting me from a lot. I know I am bottling a lot of my emotions inside. I know that! I don’t know if that is good or bad. I’m just always trying to make the best of everything, stay positive, and keep smiling. I’m trying to appear strong. As you can imagine, I am broken on the inside. As I just wrote that sentence tears flow. Who am I kidding? I’m divorced!!!!!! That was never a part of my plan. I never wanted this, who would? But I can’t dwell on that and have a pity party in Jessica’s honor. I would much rather call it a celebration. I don’t want to feel any more pain. I don’t want to hurt anymore! If I don’t laugh, I will cry. I don’t want to be sad. Is this healthy? I don’t know.

I’m just trying to look forward, instead of dwelling on the past. God is seeing me through. My life isn’t my own, anyway. It belongs to God. Why should I mourn the loss of my marriage if it is a part of God’s plan? He has so much in store for me. He will use this for GOOD! You’ll see. “It is Well with My Soul”….that song writer said after losing EVERYTHING! That is where I am right now. Those are the very words I need to be singing….it is well with my soul, even in the midst of what seems to be impossible.

I will be doing a lot of reflecting this month. I will need to pray and ask for a lot of prayer for God’s guidance in how to plan my future. I need to decide what career I want to go into, or what GOD wants me to go into. Then I need to apply to the university that has that program. It has to be a career that will support the lifestyle we are accustomed to, so I can't work for nothing, either. And I have to do all that by May in order to start in the fall. I need letters of referral and everything before then. So, I’ve got my work cut out for me this month.

In addition, my X just called at 9:30 pm saying that Hannah wanted to come to my house to sleep. I tried to talk her into staying with her daddy, but she insisted and cried. So, I told him that it’s his decision what he wants to do. Finally, he decided to drop her off at my house. He had such an angry look on his face with his eye brows scrunched up and a big frown. He didn’t say one word to me. I hate that Hannah has to see him like that. It’s not right for him to get angry at her when she wants to be with me. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and my guess is it won’t be the last.

He broke our family, and this is one of the many consequences he will have to pay, sadly. I’m sure this makes him feel rejected. He’s already rejected by everyone else, and now Hannah, too. But he shouldn’t take it so personally. She’s 4 yrs old! Most 4 yrs old need their mommy much more than their daddy.

Anyway, today starts a new chapter, and I hope to make it a good one, in spite of the trials. God is with me!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thankful for the TRUE Meaning of Easter

Hannah and I have a really good Easter week. She has completed 7 Easter egg hunts! Yes, we have a lot of candy! I enjoyed joining her at the Easter Chapel at her school. She's such a little praise and worshiper. I LOVE it! Afterwards, I watched the egg hunt at school. Then she had her Easter Party there. I picked her up early for our Baby Bunch Easter party, which is always a BLAST! There were pony rides, a petting zoo with bunnies, a bounce house with slide, the Easter Bunny came for pictures with the kids, an egg hunt, and food. So this was a VERY busy day!

Hannah went to Jungle Island on Friday with her daddy for their Easter Egg hunt. I took her to another community hunt on Saturday, and today, she had a hunt at church and another Easter Party/hunt at a friends' house in the afternoon. Oh, and of course, the Easter Bunny paid my house a visit, so she had another hunt this morning before church. That makes 7!!!! Hannah is one blessed little girl.

I was so impressed how Hannah so eagerly told people she met the importance of the REAL reason for the season, that Jesus Died and rose again to save us for our sins. What an important day of celebration. I don't even want to think what life would be like for us without the resurrection! In addition, every time Hannah found an empty egg, she reminded me that that egg was for Jesus to represent the empty tomb. She is my little evangelist!!! What an amazing little angel. I thank God everyday for her.

Friday, April 2, 2010

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A Good Day in the Garden

I spent the day working in the yard today, something I enjoy doing. Then a friend, Laura, came over to visit me and Hannah to hang out later. We ordered pizza, something I haven't done in years! Can you believe that? After Hannah went to bed, Laura, a beautition, gave me my very first WAX! Yes, I waxed my eye brows for the very first time!!! She also trimmed my hair. It was fun, well, maybe not the waxing part. OUCH!

Hannah was very interested in all the "stuff" Laura brought. She watched Laura waxing her own brows and decided it wasn't for her. HAHA! I think Hannah made a new friend in Laura. She gave Hannah all sorts of interesting beauty tips. :) Being a princess and all, these kinds of things are VERY important to Hannah. It was a good day, thank God.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still Counting Down to D - Day

Yesterday was a better day, because I got out and worked in my yard, which I enjoy so much. It really is therapeutic for me. But today....was difficult. I don't know why. It should have been fun and distracting being that Hannah and 2 big Easter parties today. Maybe it was seeing other kids with their families and knowing Hannah doesn't have that anymore. And with the X not being there, it was hard, but then I remembered that he was never at any of Hannah's events during our marriage. So, what has really changed...not much? But that made me even sadder...for Hannah. When we married, he always wanted lots of kids, but when we had just one, he disappeared. Why??? Why didn't he want to take this all so important role in Hannah's life? She is the most amazing little girl in the whole world, and I'm not biased! :) She is intelligent, well behaved, talented, sweet, beautiful....etc. What more could he ask for, and yet, it wasn't enough. He was much too concerned with himself.

During our marriage, I got to a point where I decided I was just going to live as if I was a single mother with a sugar daddy, which was kind of my situation. We were financially provided for. I was able to stay home with my precious little girl, except there was no relationship with him. I had to accept that, because I didn't know I had a Biblical way out of my marriage. I often wonder how I didn't see what he was up to. I feel like a FOOL! But then I stop to realize that God allowed the truth to be known when HE was ready. Everything has its perfect timing.

Finding out last August was convenient because Hannah was able to start school, so I could spend the mornings figuring out what I was going to do with this information and working on myself. Thank God I didn't have an infant at home to take care of after receiving such news! But I keep asking myself, why he had to do these behaviors for so many years. It just makes me feel more deceived. And to think, I didn't think he was a good liar...little did I know that he was a pathological liar. How can he live with himself? How can he come home to me after sleeping around with strange women? That, to me, is a very sick man!!! I feel so taken advantage of. I feel dirty.

This is why I try so hard NOT to think about what he did too much. I try to be strong and focus on the positive. I try to focus on my future instead of my past. But how long can I keep my mind in the future. I think, in a way, I may be in denial. I mean, I know what he did, and I've accepted it. I've even forgiven him, but I think I've been WAY too strong. I don't think what he's done has really hit home yet. And I think it will, and to tell you the truth.....I'm scared.

I'm a psych major, so I like to think of myself as being very put together and emotionally healthy. So, what does that make me if I become emotionally unstable over this? Maybe my strength over the past 6 months has just been a cover for how I really feel, for the pain that is hidden deep within, that's just waiting to burst out. I don't want to face those demons. I don't want to hurt anymore.

Some people tell me I should just let it out and let it consume me for a time, and then it'll pass faster, like it is a phase that I must pass through. Then others tell me to be strong and don't let this get the best of me. So, who's right? Maybe I just need to let myself cry. I don't do that....letting myself cry. I always try to be strong for myself and everyone around me.

It's taking its toll on my body. I'm back to not sleeping, yet I don't want to take sleep meds, because it's addictive. My eyes just stay in a bloodshot state. Eye drops don't even work. I try praying when I can't sleep at night, but that just gets me thinking even more. Chamomile Tea helps, but not always.

My divorce will be official in 5 days. Up until this week, I've been anxiously awaiting the time when I could be free of him so that I can move on with my life. Hey, I'm getting a second change at being happy, whether that means alone or with another man. One thing's for sure, God will always be FIRST in my life from now on! My life is not my own. I have died to self and live for Christ!!! I know now what REAL faith is!!! God is so good, and I pray that He will continue to help me through this next phase of the morning process. Because it's true that it feels like I've experienced a death. In a way, a part of me has died. My dream has most certainly died.

But then I must remind myself that there will also be a rebirth of self. I can reclaim the Jessica I once knew, the Jessica that has been locked up for all these 8 years. I adopted my puppy (Sasha) and my kitten (Angel), which have been the BEST thing I could have done during this time. He wouldn't allow me to have pets, and anyone who knows me from way back when KNOWS that I am an animal LOVER! Sasha, my dog, is on my lap right now. As I'm home alone more often, like tonight, I'm never truly alone. I have more furry girls. I'm so thankful for them. God placed each of them with me for a purpose. I prayed so much before adopting them. And God sure did deliver!