Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making My Room My Own

I just bought new bedding for the first time since the wedding! It feels good to make my room look different. No one had to approve my choice. I chose what I liked without considering anyone else’s opinion. I feel like my bed is now MY OWN! Of course, it’s Sasha’s, too…my yorkie.  But she really doesn't care what the bed looks like.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Questions are Coming

My little 4-yr-old daughter has really started asking questions about the divorce. I think it’s good that she feels comfortable doing so. I’ve even started bringing it up more. When talking about friends or family, I mention that certain people are also divorced, which means their kids get to live in two houses just like she does. This way, she doesn’t feel alone in this. I’ve also been using other families to explain the step parent and the possibility other siblings down the road.

I want to make sure that she feels completely comfortable asking any questions that she may have. So far, I really don’t think she sees this as a bad thing. She’s happy having two houses.

However, she has been having lots of nightmares since the separation in Aug ‘09! She dreams the same dream over and over, where a man comes and takes her away from her family. That tells me that there is some hidden insecurity. This saddens me. But I know that I am doing everything in my power to make her feel very secure with me. She is 100% sure of my love for her. I tell her constantly. I spend lots of time with her and NEVER make her feel unwanted. I also NEVER talk badly about her daddy to her. She doesn’t need to know what her father did to her mother and her. The time will come one day when she will need to know, and it’ll be her daddy who gets to tell her. But for now, as hard as it is to me, I must build him up as a Prince in her eyes.

What’s hard is she tells me how Daddy and others in his house yell at her all the time. I know she’s bound to be pretty sensitive with the voice rising, because I just don’t do that at all with her. So, if she compares me with anyone else, she may think they are yelling. Yet, her daddy yelled at both of us all the time when he lived here, so I imagine it’s mostly true.

I just have to keep in mind that a lot of parents yell at their kids. I do happen to be extremely patient. The yelling will not be the end of the world for Hannah’s development. In so many ways, I will have to be the very BEST mother I can possibly be to counteract any of the negative affects she gets from spending time with him. She needs to be with him, for her own good. She needs to know her father loves her and wants to be with her. But if he tells me he’d rather not have her on his day, I will gladly take her, myself, as I have all summer. He chose to not spend time with her during the day, only at night. I could get upset and tell him, that he’ll have to work it out. He is an equal parent, after all. But I choose to see it differently. I see it that Hannah is able to spend even more time with me, the healthy parent. This will allow me to be even more of an influence for her this summer before school starts again. So far, we’ve had a great summer. I have had many behavior issues to work on that she learns at her daddy’s house. But we’re conquering them one at a time.

The Stigma

When I enter a crowd of strangers now, I feel different. I feel like I need to explain myself, like I owe it to them to tell them I’m divorced. Why does this have to define me? Then after telling them I’m recently single, I feel the need to explain why, so they don’t think I just left him for a lack of happiness. For that would not be a reason for me to seek divorce. There are very few reasons divorce is acceptable in God’s eyes, and that’s more important than my happiness.

I visited a Single’s Bible Study the other night at a different church for the first time. I love to church hop. You meet more people that way! I’ve been praying that God would keep interesting men far from me until I’m ready. Well, He sure came through! All that was there were divorced women. I think its better that way, no temptation. Besides, the reason for going was to meet other woman like myself. But…for some reason, I feel the need to get away from people like myself, at the same time. How confusing is that? I want to get to a place where I don’t have to talk about being divorced. I just want to feel normal again. Why do I feel the need to explain myself? I hope that will pass with time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Upsetting Find

Today is Father's Day.  I think I've taken it quite well.  My daughter still has a father, so I can be thankful for that.  I didn't have to see him at all, which is good.  But the challenge came when my friend told me I should buy him a gift.  "What?!?!?!?!  Are you kidding me?  Not after what he did to me!"  Then he didn't even get anything for ME for Mother's Day.  I owe him NOTHING. 

For the next several days, I thought about this.  I got angry and sad.  But eventually I realized that my friend was right.  I need to be the bigger person.  I need to kill him with kindness, as they say.  So, as difficult as it was, I bought "Bringing Up Girls" by James Dobson on CD for him.  I figured it was a gift that would end up helping Hannah, if he even listens to it.  He doesn't read, so I knew a book would collect dust.  I wrapped up really nice in a gift bag and made a nice little tag for it.  I even dropped it off at his house yesterday to make sure Hannah could give it to him first thing in the morning. 

Yes, I swallowed my pride and did the right thing.  I hope he appreciated it, but it really doesn't matter.  God is proud of what I did, and that's all that matters.  I was obedient to God alone.  Isn't that all we're called to do? 

The unfortunate thing that happened today was when I opened Pandora's Box.  I've been doing some organizing and came across a bag of old mail and cards.  Well, this stuff dated back to when we were dating.  I found a stash of love notes from each of us!!!  I read them, with tears flowing down my cheeks.  We were in LOVE!  How did we get here from there?  Based on the notes, we couldn't be apart.  We missed each other every moment.  Even my X would leave the house, while I still slept at times, and he would leave little love notes for me around the house as newlyweds. 

How could he go from one extreme to the other?  Here's my guess.  He lusted me, not loved me.  Lust is a feeling that does eventually wear off.  Love is a choice that is never self-serving and never dies.  I chose to love my X, which is why I'm having so much trouble letting go now.  I loved him even in spite of his cruelty and infidelity.  I loved him unconditionally. 

He used to tell me he loved me all the time, even just before the divorce, but I would always tell him, "Actions speak louder than words."  He didn't show me love.  I may not have said it often, but I showed it.  That is so much more important!  And when I did say it, you can be sure I really meant it. 

Now, what to do with these memories of a love long gone???  Some of them, I gave to Jady, for him to surely toss, hoping that he may just read them and feel bad.  But I decided that I'd pick a certain few to keep for Hannah.  I want her to know that she was born from LOVE.  Her parents once loved each other.  How we got here?  She'll have to ask her Daddy that one. 

She has asked us, "Why doesn't Daddy live with Mommy anymore?"  I tell her the truth.  We are divorced.  Of course, she wonders what's divorce?  I tell her that we are no longer married.  She pretty much leaves it at that for now.  I want to be open and honest with her.  When she asks, I will tell her the truth, down to what did Daddy do.  Then I'll tell her to go ask her daddy.  But I expect it'll be many years before we hear that question.  My X will have to be the one to answer her that.  It has to come from him. 

But over all, I did pretty well today.  Hannah's daddy doesn't have to live with me, as long as she has one.  I pray that God will make him the best daddy possible.  I pray that he will be convicted and will draw near the Lord.  I pray that he will desire change for the sake of his daughter.  I pray that he will never hurt her!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Emotional Detachement from X

I realize now that the reason I often struggle when my X does/says certain things, is that I am still taking them personally. I let it get to me when he is cold and doesn’t want to talk to me or have any kind of relationship with me. I consider that not being civil. When I found out that he was still highly active in his ungodly lifestyle, I took it personally. It was like being betrayed all over again.

The point is he is no longer my husband. I know that’s a fact, but I don’t think I’ve really allowed myself to emotionally detach from him. And maybe it’s because there is a very small part of me that still loves him and has hope for him to change. I know God is a god of MIRACLES!

Last night in Divorce Care we learned about reconciliation. I learned that reconciliation doesn’t mean getting back with the person. It means coming to a place of civility with that person. This may mean forgiving them and letting go of all bitterness towards them, whether they deserve it or not. It may mean asking for their forgiveness. But that’s only the beginning.

During the meeting last night, a couple came forward to speak. The wife had chosen to divorce her husband due to bitterness she carried from the beginning of their marriage. After the divorce, she lived an ungodly lifestyle. She eventually began to realize that the grass wasn’t greener after all and became extremely depressed. Not only had she left her husband, but her children, as well. A few years down the road, she stopped eating and became very thin and ill. She decided to call her ex-husband, and he told her to come home. This man took care of her and nurtured his ex-wife back to health for 2 yrs.

She asked for forgiveness asked him to remarry her. After some thought, he agreed. After all that she had done to him, he forgave her to the point that he was ready to remarry her. Let’s just say that I was fighting back the tears the whole time they spoke! They were there, at Divorce Care offering hope to those who were separated and divorced. Even though your spouse has gone astray and allowed Satan to take hold of them, God can still work in them. God can one day make change in them. And they just may come back asking YOU to take them back.

What am I supposed to do with all this? All I wanted was for my X to desire the change needed to make our marriage work, to get himself right with God. But he rejected this option. He showed no remorse and no sign of Godly fruits in his life. But can God still change him? I guess that’s best left up to God. I know I can’t make that change for him.

Getting back to emotional detachment, I realize that it’s time for me to let go. Maybe it is best for us to not be around each other and talk to each other much. It isn’t any of my business what he chooses to do with his life. I need to find a way to stop taking things personally. When I feel like he’s being rude, I shouldn’t correct him, or concern myself with it. The fact is, he’s not my problem anymore and I can just leave or hang up. He doesn’t live with me, so how often could I possibly have to undertake his rudeness. I need to learn to counteract his rudeness with my kindness. I don’t need to get defensive or worry about changing him. He’s not much husband to change.

So, she he comes to the door and avoids looking at me, I just avoid him right back and/or show kindness when the opportunity arises. I try not to let him get to me. His behavior has nothing to do with me. He’s just a miserable person.

What’s sad is that my little Hannah has to put up with it. She tells me that Daddy yells at her all the time. This hurts me a lot, but I can’t change him! I couldn’t when we were married and I certainly can’t now. I just have to be the best mom I can be, so that his yelling will be less of a blow. Who knows, eventually, she may to not want to see him. But that will be her choice, not mine. I have to allow him to be the father he chooses to be.

These are all ways I have seen that I must emotionally detach from him. He detached from me emotionally many years ago. I’m only just starting. For having been divorced for 2 months, I think I’m doing really well. I only have one more Divorce Care meeting. I have officially gone through each and every phase of divorce. I am sure I will go through some of them again, but I know I am in a MUCH healthier place today, because I went through the Divorce Care course. It really helped me to recognize and deal with the different stages I was going through. I would much rather heal from this now than later.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like my normal healthy self. I guess that’s why I haven’t written in my blog for a while. I’ve had no trouble sleeping. I show no signs of depression. I got my energy back. I’m not anxious. I don’t feel sad very often. I’m optimistic about my future. I rarely think about things associated with the divorce in a negative way. I still have a little difficulty concentrating sometimes. But that’s about it.

I know, beyond a doubt, that God is healing me, because I have been obedient and faithful. He is providing for my every need. I’m so thankful to not have to go through this alone. I would have made all the wrong choices, like so many do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

To Let Go


A Favorite Poem About Letting Go

To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;

It means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off...
It's the realization that I can't control another...
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Co-Parenting the Hard Way

Many people say that I expect way too much out of my co-parenting relationship with my X for having been divorced only 2 ½ months. Well, life doesn’t just stand still. I want both of us to be able to get over the past and move forward from here…for our daughter. I’ve found that it’s not that easy.

About a week ago, I wrote my X a 3 page letter expressing my feelings about our lack of civil communication. I explained that as things are going, he will not be permitted to attend Hannah’s birthday party in September. I am not to a point where I can be in the same room with him, especially my daughter’s birthday party. Last year, it was a disaster, as I had found out only one month before of my husband’s double life. He was there, and I cried the whole time. It was miserable for me. Thankfully, my daughter didn’t notice. But I’m not willing to put myself through that kind of suffering again.

You may be thinking, but that’s still 3 months away. Yes, it is, but I’m a planner. I need to know what to expect, so I can start planning Hannah’s party. He’s offered to help pay for it, but if he’s not invited, will he change his mind? I need to know these things now.

Anyway, in response to my letter, he called me one day to “talk”. He said he wanted to start the process of communicating civilly. I have to admit, I was impressed at his self control when things got heated. I was the one who had issues. I realize I still hold a lot of bitterness, and it was rearing its ugly face. My X makes me feel like he doesn’t care at all about how I feel about anything, which hurts, being that we were married for over 8 years. It also seems that he only wants to spend time with Hannah when it’s convenient for him. Summer is here, so Hannah’s out of school. He expects me to keep Hannah ever day, because he claims to be working, which he’s not. He goes to the office and surfs the internet, basically. This is how it always was in marriage, his cover for his double life. So, yes, his using “work” as an excuse still makes my blood boil.

That said, I’m going to try to handle things differently during our next conversation. After a lot of thought, I’ve learned that I need to keep it about me, not him. So, if he says he can’t keep her, and it’s his night, I can either decide to keep her myself, or simply tell him that I have other plans, and since it’s his night, he’s going to have to make other arrangements. This way, he has no reason to get defensive. He’s right when he tells me that his personal life is not my business anymore. What he chooses to do during the day is his choice, and I shouldn’t bring it up, knowing that is his giant red button. His reaction is not productive to finding a resolution.

I’ve been doing a lot of praying about this. I’ve prayed that God will take his actions out of my heart and mind. I find myself dwelling on things he’s done to me, and it’s so painful. Why must I keep thinking about the past? I just want to be able to focus on the present and future and never look back. But everything around me reminds me of these things.

I know with time, my heart will eventually let go of the past. They say, “Time heals all wounds.” I’m counting on it!