Showing posts with label Enduring More. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enduring More. Show all posts

Darn You Forgiveness {1 Yr Post Divorce Rant}

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Change. Blame my lack of blogging on change.
God bless consistent. Or boring. Or mundane. 
I'd be a-o-k with that but change (although for good) is flooding my world.

One of my roomies moved out and now the other is too...from two to none in one month! 
I changed jobs which resulted in a change of co-workers (obv.), schedule, and wardrobe!
And, I even changed gyms. I had a little moment when I stopped my boxing membership because that placed served me so, so well. Not just in my physical fitness but my emotional well being. Those poor bags took a beating but I always left less angry than when I arrived. 

Change isn't my thing. I am very much a creature of habit but I'm learning to embrace it.

...Back to my actual thoughts that I set out to share...

I remember saying once that I don't believe in divorce. In being naive, it made sense to me that if you loved enough to marry, then you would always love enough to fight to stay married.

Hypocrite much? Indeed.
Because here I am, exactly one year after sitting before a judge, raising my right hand, chin quivering, and hearing what had constituted my completion be flayed into oblivion. I am among the 50% in America. I am exactly who I swore I would never be. That is me, I am one of those.

It still makes my stomach turn to hear the word divorce. Queasy almost. And I despise those forms where you have to circle your marital status. Why can't they just say single or married? Why is it necessary to have to circle "divorced." I know I am divorced people, I still have his last name. I don't need to circle a little word to remind me that my marriage failed. 

It stinks. It hurts. It robs. It devastates. 
To think that my divorce was finalized a full year ago almost seems impossible. I spent the past twelve months separating us, rediscovering me, stabilizing my new reality, and healing in God sized ways. Though there were moments of intense pain, and outright anger (insert anger therapy via those punching bags), deep sadness, and an overwhelming longing for what was supposed to be, the year was rich with healing. Sometimes I am in awe of how good the year unfolded. I am ok. More than ok really. I know that and I recognize how far I have come with the hand that life dealt me. I read once that, "Physiologically, hearts broken from love lost rate among the most stressful life events a person can experience, exceeded in psychological pain only by horrific events such as a child dying." Death of my child and a divorce from the one whom I thought was my forever...simultaneously. Oh what heartache. Praise Jesus that He can redeem when quite literally everything is broken. 

I loved him with all that I was and a part of me will forever. We shared the majority of my life. He was my first and only love. For 12 years, we built us. Over those years, we had real memories. Real memories filled with joy and happiness and warmth. And for that, a part of me will love and care about him forever. It is true. I don't wish him harm or evil or retaliated pain. I pray peace, and healing, and hope for him. The very same I pray for myself. That is hard for others to understand once they know the reality of how we ended. But, I don't need a eye for an eye. I don't need him to know compensated pain. 

Instead, I want to get to a place of genuine forgiveness.
But, that's just it. I want to get to a place of forgiveness. 
Not merely uttering words but a transformation so deep that it frees.
I am not there. Bits and pieces. But fully, 100%, no hold backs, unhinged, all-in-forgiven, no.

Shouldn't forgiveness follow repentance? Shouldn't it go hand and hand with the words "I am sorry." Shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't? I can justify, rationalize, and validate until pigs fly. It is a work in progress. Some of the most raw memories are so drowned in deceit that it makes forgiveness a struggle. Despicable and wrong and a blatant selfishness. When those memories surface, a pain wells up so strong that I have had to literally utter, "Aly, you are ok." I have to hear it to believe it when my mind is so lost in the reality of the choices made. 

Jesus Himself commanded the Pharisees to cast the first stone at a woman caught in adultery if only they were without sin. And he commanded not only forgive but to forgive seventy times seven times. And in the sermon on the mount, there is that nice little section about loving your enemies. That is right, those who persecute you. 

Oh forgiveness, darn you. 
Someday. Someday I believe that it will come. 


"Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made...we acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to those who hurt us. This is not saying, 'It didn't really matter', it is not saying, 'I probably deserved part of it anyway.' Forgiveness says, 'It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply, and I release you. I give you to God.' It might help to remember that those who hurt you are also deeply wounded themselves. They were broken hearts, broken when they were young, and they fell captive to the Enemy....This doesn't absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did. It just helps to let them go - to realize that they are shattered souls themselves."  
- Captivating (Written by John and Stasi Eldredge)


Just keeping it real. 

Thank You for Sharing...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When I first learned of his affair, I was not sure how or even if I would openly share. 
There was a fine line between over sharing and casting stones while balancing being authentic and protecting the innocence of my deceased child. 

It took me months...and several drafts mind put my shock factor feelings aside and turn my true feelings into cohesive thoughts. And for the record, he read and we discussed the post before I published because I wanted to be open with him before I put it out there for the interworlds to know. 

I shared to free myself from hiding, to lay it all out, and to be downright real.

What I never considered was how my story would impact others.
I didn't start my blog for any other motive then to just write about me. 
This is my journal where I write out life as I live it.

In the past eight months after sharing my story, so many have reached out to me to share that they too battled infidelity. There is refuge in knowing that on some level, someone understands. Some remained together while others are left with a crumbled marriage and a divorce decree. Some are years removed, while others are knee deep in the midst. Some were newly married while others had been together a lifetime. Some were pregnant (no, I am not alone!), some have young kids at home, and some have kids that have their own kids. With each story, my heart breaks.

I catch myself gasping, "What is wrong with people?"

And then wanting to shout, "You vowed to FORSAKE all others not FORNICATE with others."
 I guess I can see how you could confuse those two words because they both start with f...#UmmNotAtAll.
Sorry, was that too far? Please accept my apologies if I crossed the line. Forgiveness is a work in progress.

It makes my heart ache to look into the eyes of those who just learned of the affair and feel their fresh pain. To see them battle self confidence, and raw anger, a broken heart, and be left yearning for the life they thought they knew. 

 What a broken world we live in. 

I, in no way claim to be an expert. I don't have it all figured out nor do I always have good days. 
But, opening up has stirred up conversations that I think need to be had. Authentic and real conversations about life.

So, to those who have reached out to me to share your own battle, I just want to say thank you. 
Thank you for being brave and honest about how hard life can be.

I feel your pain.
I see the emptiness in your eyes.
And though our stories may not be identical, I sense your hurt.

But more so, Jesus knows your pain, your emptiness, and your hurt.
In the face of my healing, I continue to cling to the hope promised in Jeremiah 29:11.

I am certain that God has a plan bigger than I can comprehend. And though it doesn't always feel like you will surface or ever utter the words 'it is well,' I believe in the promise of a future...for me...and for you.

So friends, keep your heads up. 
Surround yourself with those who support you in the muck.
And cling to faith in a Creator that is capable of redemption grander than we can fathom.

Words of Affirmation

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I remember sitting at a restaurant with my best friend back in March. And, can we pause for a moment and address how simply amazing my bestie is. If there was an award to be given out for the most faithful and dedicated friend, she would hands down take the cake (literally and figuratively). She accepts me regardless of my mood, is on speed dial for vent sessions, has a couch that has a collection of my tears, and a deep love for my Addy despite never being able to meet her. My bestie, she loves well.

Okay, back to our dinner date. I was sharing with her the radical idea that I had conjured. I explained that I had figured out what it was going to take for me to heal from the devastating end to my marriage. I can remember thinking it was going to be the solution, the answer, the way to end the hurt that I had been harboring. 

I was going to ask him to write a letter to me.

I learned a long time ago that my love language is words of affirmation. I save every card that I have been given, file the most touching emails, and screen shot messages that encourage me. So, it made perfect sense to me to ask him to write a letter validating me. I wanted a piece of paper that proved that despite his decision to have an affair that I was a good wife, that I was pretty, that I made him happy, that I was worthy. I thought to myself that this said letter, the very words affirming my role, would hang in my home for others to see and be worn as a coat of armor.  I would carry it around and when I began to doubt myself or when I felt I was being judged because I was 'lacking something that resulted in him choosing to have an affair,' I would be able hold up his words for all the world to read. This letter would allow me to say,  "Yes, my husband had an affair. But look, I was a really good wife." or "Yes, my marriage ended in divorce. But see, these are the things I did well."

As I was explaining this brilliant idea to my best friend, I felt so relieved as I just knew that his validating words would heal me. He broke me and I needed him to fix me.

And so, I called him. 
I reminded him of my love language and shared exactly what I needed him to do. 
I gave bullet points of topics that it would be helpful for him to touch on and that he could end by explaining what he misses the most from the life we spent 12 years building.

Yes, I did that.  I really did. 
And, he agreed.

Four days later , I was reflecting on the weekend that I had just had at Hope Spoken and replaying my conversation. I was anxiously anticipating his healing letter. As I got out of the shower, I had a moment of ultimate clarity so real that it stopped me in my tracts. I looked around and it was just me. 

In a split second, loud and clear I heard the words, "But Aly, to me you are worthy and to me you are enough." They flooded my head and penetrated my soul. Standing alone in a little hotel bathroom, I looked around expecting to see someone uttering the words to me. They were so concise, so convicting, and so liberating.  A defining moment of healing for me. 

This letter that I thought would heal me, would simply be words. 
Empty, broken, weightless words. Regardless of how eloquent, they would be from him and he doesn't define or validate who I am. His actions were independent of my role as his wife and he isn't the foundation of my worth. His words could not heal me, they could not free me, nor could they ever liberate my spirit.

I don't need his letter to validate who I am. 
To the King of Kings, I am worthy and I am enough.
Worthy & Enough. Praise Jesus that he can make all things new.  


And for the record, I hesitated to share. But, I was dinning with yet another friend recently (I recognize I am abundantly blessed by the people in my life) and sharing with her how I struggle with meeting new people. It might seem odd given that I share pretty openly on this little blog or on my IG account. But to me, this is safe because if you don't want to read, you would unfollow me or close the window and I would never know. But in person, that isn't the case. Opening up to strangers is scary because it leaves me vulnerable to how they will respond to my story. My dear friend explained to me that perhaps sharing in person or sharing of the most intimate moments of healing would be just what someone else needed to hear. That maybe, just maybe, God would use my broken and redeemed story to encourage and draw others to Him. It seems crazy to me. I am just being me and sharing my authentically messy self but if my words could possibly help someone else, I will share. You too are worthy and you too are enough. Did you hear that? You are worthy and you are enough.

And also for the record...that letter, it never came.

Being Aunt Aly

Monday, September 22, 2014

When divorce becomes your reality, you think about the splitting of the obvious...the house, the bills, the finances, the "stuff." The task of dissecting it all was deeply painful but I think what has proven harder is the splitting of relationships. 

There was an unspoken understanding of 'these being my people,' of you taking these friends, and of each of us retaining our families. That is hard. I don't care so much about the stuff (unless you are talking about Addy's things and in that case, MommaBear won't part). But, it was hard for me to accept that those whom have become my family wouldn't maintain their role in my life.

Those very people that stood in the room with us on the day my beloved was born, those whom held her, and had the opportunity to take in her presence...those people were no longer our people but mine or his. 

Blessed am I because what I have found is that those very people love and care about me just the same as before that little divorce decree changed their title.

This was so abundantly clear to me one Sunday when I had the opportunity to spend the day with his niece and nephews...the kids whom I met the day they were each born, whom I have watched grow up, have celebrated their milestones, and love deeply. As we jumped in and out of the pool, hearing "Aunt Aly look" or "Aunt Aly race me" or "Aunt Aly catch" was such an incredible blessing. To them, I am still Aunt Aly. And, that role is not something I take for granted.

So in being a good aunt,  I treated them to ice cream after our swim with only one rule...the bowl was the limit. I let them each fill it as full as they could with ice cream, candy, and every topping their little taste buds fancied. And then I watched as they joyfully indulged. It only felt appropriate to fill them full as they were unknowingly filling me.


Also, I want to share the sermon from Sunday
It was Matthew 5:4. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

As I sat in the pew, I cried, I nodded in agreement, and I felt like I needed to shout "amen." So, I wanted to share. Friends, life is hard. Maybe you haven't lost a child or a marriage, but we all mourn something. A parent, our health, a dream, a job. Whatever it is for you, Jesus wants to meet you in the middle of your grief. Listen and be encouraged. I was.

Facing Trigger Days

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I don't like to dwell or to allow myself to get lost in thoughts about "how life should be."
I find it to be a dangerous path, a slippery slope per say. 
One that quickly becomes consuming and wreaks havoc on my emotional state. 
For me, it can conjure bitterness, lead to self doubt, and allow anger to resonate.

Fond reflection and remembering the good are quite different but dwelling in a world that is not reality is yet another. But, it is human nature. And in the week leading to what should have been my sixth wedding anniversary I felt the emotions seeping into every aspect of life like a weight thrust upon my shoulders. It would be an outright lie to say that I didn't think a time or two about how 7.26 should look or think about how the vows promised were deeply broken. It wouldn't be true if I said that it didn't hurt or sting to face a day that had long represented one of my most highly regarded and happiest moments. And it certainly would be a lie if I attempted to claim that I never wondered if he remembered or perhaps more so, if he even cared. 

How quickly those reflections can damage the spirit. How quickly they can strip away the truth and replace it with inadequacy, anger, or sorrow. How quickly that little voice can lose sight of the hope and redemption that has been refueling the soul. 

So, I rose with the sun and set out for a run. To clear my mind and my spirit in preparation of a day that for the first time in six years was without significance.  A 'trigger day' as my counselor so endearing calls them. As I ran along an open field, a big yellow butterfly crossed my path and fluttered along with me. I couldn't help but grim as tears of joy welled up. 

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past year is that when I surrender and allow God to work, He meets me in my moments of greatest need. A yellow butterfly, as I was attempting to still my spirit to face a day that came with such weight, provided a serene peace.

There is hope, there is joy, and there is the promise of a future. 
There is life, there is peace, and there is good to come. 

One Point For Life

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have high standards for myself and I know that.
I deeply want to feel "normal" in whatever capacity that is so I push myself, sometimes failing to recognize that even though I want to feel "good" at times there is just too much and that isn't obtainable. It is ok to be sad, to grieve, to feel the hurt. 

There are days, or even weeks, when life just wins.
This week, life is winning.

Sunday was Mother's Day and as much as I tried to tell myself that I was ok, I could feel the hurt and sadness and the weight of that day overtaking me. Through a smile, I stuffed the feelings down hoping that they would just go away and I could celebrate my momma. I was remembered by so many who have faithfully loved me and my role as a momma celebrated. But Mother's Day just doesn't feel like it should. I distracted myself with things...a garden to be planted, flowers to be potted, yard work to be completed, laundry to be done. I went to bed feeling drained and never stopped to address the feelings that were beginning to sink my spirit. 

Monday started off with a bang when I failed to secure the blinder and my morning shake went flying leaving my kitchen a sticky mess and me late for work. My day spiraled and so did my spirit. By the end, I was mad and upset and discontent and resorted to indulging in take-out. 

With suppressed feelings, my weary spirit unraveled today as I went back to my doctor for my yearly appointment. I haven't seen my ob/gyn for a year and let me tell you she is one of my most favorite people...of all time...forever. But sitting in the waiting room, walking the hall, waiting in an exam room that represented such sadness, and then filling my dear doctor in on where my life has gone since I saw her a year ago sent my emotions into overdrive. 

As I walked out, I sat in my car and could hold back no more. The emotions just kept coming. The sobs of sadness, the anger of a life I could not have predicted, the absence of "what should be," and putting myself back in a place that holds such deep feelings was more then I could bare.

A superhero I am not, yet I get upset when I can't handle it all.

I have to give myself grace.
 And to remember that I don't have to have it all together always. 
But mostly, to remind myself that He invites those who are weary and in need of rest to come. 

This week, I am weary.
But God is good and good things are coming...big, big things.
Praise Jesus that He can renew my weary spirit.

Bad Days

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Thank you.
Thank you for the out pour of love, support, and encouragement.
 I am beyond touched and humbled by the number of people who cared enough to read my story. And even more so by  the number of people who have committed to pray for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

I do want you to know that I have bad days. 
I have days where I am consumed with an intense feeling of anger.
I have days when I feel so deeply wounded that the tears will not cease.
I have days when the loss is so profound that I fear I will never feel whole again.
I have days when I want to pull the covers up over my head and hide from the reality that is my life.

Bad days...they are real. 
On bad days, I battle the voice in my head that tells me I am not worthy.
The voice that tells me I am not good enough, not good enough to be a mom and not good enough to be a wife. On bad days, the questions of how and why overtake my spirit.

I am far from perfect but every morning I look into the mirror and command myself to march on. I am not embarrassed to say that I still see a counselor regularly. She has been instrumental in helping me to face life. I would pay her every week just to hear her say that I am doing really well given the "simultaneous yet unrelated grief cycles" that I am trying to navigate.  It would be easier to numb the feelings with an escape of, alcohol, spending, over commitment. But numbing is only temporary and eventually the high will fade. What is harder is to fight back. To fight against that voice in your head, to face life when it is hard, and to march on even when doing so hurts.

Someday, I want to breathe in deep and feel, in the pit of my soul, that all is well. 
To forgive and be set free begins with laying down my stones.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 

John 8:3-11

I laid down my stones.
I laid them down knowing that my God whom was nailed to the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, had His blood shed for the forgives of his sins too.

I lay down my stones and remind myself every morning that God has a plan for me.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11

Being Authentic

Saturday, March 1, 2014

  It's March 1st. 

I want my month of March to be about my daughter and honoring her memory. 
To do that though, I need to get something off my chest. 
Something I have been harboring for quite some time. 


I have written and rewritten this post several times.

It is difficult for me to share.

I started blogging years ago when we were newly married and had just purchased our first place. I wanted to document our journey to make our new house into a home. After we learned of the challenges of our pregnancy, my blog became a way to keep our families up to date on Addy’s prognosis and it became a form of therapy for me as I navigated the ups and downs. I want it to be a way to ensure that my Addalyn is remembered but also a way for me to heal.

I believe that there will come a time when the words that I type will be words of joy, happiness, and triumph but that is just not where my life is at the present.

I struggle to share the reality of me because opening up makes the present more real. And the reality is not one I have fully come to terms with.

And, I struggle to share my hurt after the pain that my journey has brought to those who love me already this year. I know that my family and friends were affected by the passing of my beloved daughter and they too are working through the grief. So, sharing my current struggle is difficult for me as I feel like I am adding to the pain for so many who have faithfully loved and supported me throughout this most difficult year.

But I desire to be real, genuine, and authentic.

It is not easy to share but I can tell you that life is not easy.

As if my pregnancy, the loss of my beloved daughter, and my grief in her absence was not enough for one year, my already broken heart has been enduring more.


We started dating on my 16th birthday...7.1.2001.

On 7.26.2008, we said our vows and made a forever promise to each other. I love him and I believed in our marriage to the core of my being.

Last week, I sat before a judge and what I believed to be my forever, legally came to an end. Our marriage ended in divorce because the vows of honesty and faithfulness were broken.


I learned of his affair in September but I was not in a place where I was ready to share. Honestly, I am still not sure I am ready but each time I get an email/text/or letter of well wishes addressed to us or get asked how “we” are, I cringe. I yearn to be authentic and true to where I am in my life. But, I knew just saying that I was going through a divorce would never suffice. It would not be enough because the first place that your mind would wonder to would be that our marriage ended in divorce because the grief was too much or because our marriage could not overcome the death of our daughter.  My beloved daughter is innocent and this momma needs her to be protected. She had nothing to do with the demise of my marriage so she will not be assumed to be the cause nor will she ever be blamed. I do know that grief is hard…I am living it. And, I do know that the death of a child can take a toll on a marriage but the choices were his.  He began his affair knowing that we were pregnant and before we knew of any complications with our Addalyn’s development. My Addalyn is wanted, she is deeply loved, and she is inexplicably missed. I can assure you, it will continue to be my life's work to ensure that she is not forgotten.

I am devastated, sad, and hurt. At times, I am even angry.

But, it is not my place to judge or condemn. I believe that we will all be held accountable for the lives we lived. When my time comes to be reunited with my Addalyn, I want to stand before the Creator and hear him say, “well done my good and faithful servant.” Well done, not because I have achieved perfection or lived an extraordinary life. But, well done because I have trusted God has a plan for me and despite the overwhelming pain and heartache that I have endured this year, I have tried to faithfully trust that God is in control.  So I won’t harbor anger or even hate. By His grace, there will come a season when the hurt will cease.

So, it has just been me.  The child and the hubby whom I should rise to every morning and cuddle up with every night are simply no longer present. It has just been me, me and a long road of healing as I have been navigating the first of every milestone without my child and the first of everything in 12 years that I have not had him by my side. It has been a lot to bear. There is longing for my daughter and for my groom and an emptiness in their absence.

As I have prayed so many times over the last year, I continue to pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 

May He continue to mend my broken heart and transcend my weary spirit.

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