Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Divorce.

If you would've asked me 10 years ago if I "believed" in divorce, I would've said no. Honestly, if you would've asked me 2 years ago, I would've said no. 

No one gets married and says "I'll get divorced one day!!" ... quiet the opposite- I heard the divorce statistics of this day and age and I said, "but I'm not that. This is forever. Statistics don't matter to me." But it wasn't forever... and I have to "believe" in divorce. It happened to me. And more than that, it happened to my son. He is now a "child of divorce."

I had a long time to grieve my marriage. It broke years ago and some piece of me started grieving way back then despite most of me being desperate to fix it. It took years to grieve. And in the last 8-9 months, I grieved the heaviest pieces. My heart caught up to where my head had been. It was a long process for me... but see, Liam is still grieving it. He's grieving the loss of a two parent home. He is a 4 year old that uses the word divorce and tries to fit it in its spot on the shelf of our daily life. Not exactly sure where to put it, or when to use it, or how it functions, but totally aware that it's his now. And mine. That it belongs to us and it's not something we picked out at the store with great anticipation. Instead, he asks about when we can return it.... Erase it. He asks about a time when we won't be "divorce" anymore. He asks big things. And I struggle to find answers to these big questions coming from such a little boy. Age appropriate honesty with a 4 year old who is asking "why doesn't daddy live with us?" 

I stare at my ceiling from my bed at night after a bedtime of big asks from my boy and I wonder if he'll be okay. I wonder if he'll resent me for walking away from a dangerously destructive marriage and ultimately dividing his home. I wonder if he'll ever fully trust anyone, or forgive anyone... or if he will be able to navigate in a healthy way the big emotions he's experiencing right now and at every developmental milestone from here on out. I wonder how he'll process the truth of his situation at 5, at 12, at 16 years old. I wonder if he knows how deeply loved he is... I wonder... and I worry... and I fear... 

I've experienced deep hurts in my life.... but seeing and feeling my son experience deep hurt.... I don't have words for that. Sitting on his bed, holding him as he sobs... as he try's to decipher the how and the why and what's next... and I'm helpless. I'm crying too. And we just hold on to each other. I climb down from my perch of "authority" as his mom and sit with him as a fellow broken-hearted person. 

Liam asked to spend his birthday money today and already had the dream toy selected. He went inside Toys R Us with purpose and we enjoyed our time there. I love these moments of "average/normal" life. I think all too often I'm so aware that "regular" just isn't our current season. Afterward, we were driving back to the church for work tonight and from the back seat, I hear, "momma, you're always with me when I cry and I'll always be with you when you cry." 

I was utterly speechless. I felt so much so intensely right at that moment. I guess Liam felt he needed to go on because I hadn't spoken in return yet because.... how..... and he said "I love you very muchly and you love me very muchly and God protects us from inside our hearts. God loves us so much, too." 

I don't know if Liam will struggle with forgiveness or trust or boundaries... I don't know if he'll resent me or bottle up his emotions. I don't even know what next week looks like, let alone his adulthood. But I do know one thing and it's enough. Liam isn't a child of divorce. He's a child of God. Recklessly loved. Fearlessly protected. Fiercely sought-after. And so am I. I'm not saying I will never have moments of worry or fear, I'm just saying in those moments, I may need a reminder. We are children of God and THAT is enough. 

Living Loved, 
T

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Rebuilding

This week, we celebrate Liam's birthday and I think a pretty fair theme for the year has been rebuilding. A great friend of mine moved away several months ago, and in doing so, she gave me quite a bit of birthday gear in construction theme. I showed Liam, asked him his thoughts, and he's been ALL ABOUT IT ever since. And in this season of remodel that God has my Little Family in, I felt it appropriate.
As is tradition for me and my boy, I ordered his birthday shirt and found some time to sneak in some birthday pictures... and what better back drop than the big trucks that are iconic tools for the rebuilding! Check out some of our Construction Site photos and just try not to fall in love with my kid.
At this stage of life, Liam loves building. Legos, ropes tied to random objects, blocks, rocks, or anything he may need in his newest invention; he's a builder. And I admire that. It doesn't matter what its made of, or if it even looks like what he originally intended, once he has a final product, its perfect exactly the way it turned out. We can all take a page out of his book on this one. Embrace and authentically engage in the process and we'll be more content with the final product. 
Look at that face :) He may have been a bit giddy to be this close to these big machines. They sure are big, and when you're up close to them, they can be a bit overwhelming, scary even. Gearing up for these photos, Liam couldn't wait to touch the wheels, but he also made it very clear to me that he was afraid, too. That's how I've felt during this season of rebuilding. Excited at progress, but also scared of it. Elated at change, nauseated over the unknown. It's okay to hold two completely different (and sometimes even conflicting) emotions or truths simultaneously. Liam and I have learned to lean into those feelings. It is part of our rebuilding. 

So yes, we are under construction. This year, 2017, has brought on many changes and its safe to say they are changes even bigger than these giant trucks. However, as Liam and I have learned to lean into the discomfort and feel it, we have realized that in doing that, we are stronger. We can't be dumped on or flattened or bulldozed, because the Foreman in charge of our remodel is the Lord. 
So happy birthday, bud... and thank you for being the most patient and loving not quite 4 year old on the planet. You remind me every day why I'm doing what I'm doing. My journey is for me and for you, so thank you for riding it out with me. I've never met another child with your level of empathy and emotional intelligence, and sometimes that scares me. Mostly it makes me proud and excited for your future. I'm amazed at every new thing you learn and I'm so thankful that God chose me to be your mom. He knew you'd teach me things that no one else could. I pray every day for the man you'll become and I can't wait to see how the Lord uses you. 

Construction sites are messy and usually take a long time before anything takes any real shape, but I'm encouraged by God's promise of His plan for us. He's been at work on these blueprints for a long time... and something very awesome is being built. Something very awesome is coming soon
Happy Birthday, Liam. I love you more than you'll ever know. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Independence Day Is Coming

Independence day... Those words are heavy this week. They're exciting, they are scary... they are hope.

I have been working really hard on myself this past year and a half. Harder than I've ever worked at anything. I've had to lean into some major discomfort as I've learned how to let myself feel those awful feelings through my journey. I've had to learn to set boundaries and practice enforcing them. I'm not perfect at it, but I'm improving. Its uncomfortable at times. But I stand taller, more self assure... more me when I succeed in it.
In my journey, an author who has greatly helped me bridge the gap between my hurts and the Lord is Melissa Haas. And the other day, as I was reading, journaling, and just chatting with the Lord, this author, like many more before her, likened my journey to that of a butterfly. Honestly, my first thought was "oh... cliche... I thought we were going to get deep into heart issues here." And then it did.
Basically, yes, I was this caterpillar before I embarked on my journey and I was pretty prickly, but the cocoon is where the action happens. It's where I've been for 19 months...  and the place of all the change on this journey. The learning to protect my heart. The truth about my identity. The undoing of all my false beliefs based on my past experiences. The work on me and my heart - the hard stuff. The Whole Process. And you know what? Cocoons are dark and scary and leave you hanging upside down!! That's just plain traumatic. If the biggest changes in your life are happening to you while you are upside and in the dark - whoa! This is no "beautiful butterfly" speech, this is dirty truth that total transformation isn't instantaneous, but rather something that is distressing... harrowing... demanding. And worth it.
Seemingly suddenly... boom. It's time to break out of that cocoon and fly away. But first, those wings need to dry. I'm still vulnerable. I made it through the most upside down and darkest part of my journey. And yet, my fresh baby wings aren't instantly ready. They need a minute. AND I GET A MINUTE. God gives me what I need and what I need is a stinking minute! I just hung upside in the dark and did hard things. For 19 months. This is the week of INDEPENDENCE. And I need a minute. This week, after many months of waiting on judges and attorneys and paperwork, my divorce is final. My marriage ended a long time ago, but now the law acknowledges that. And I need a minute. That's okay. I'm okay.
You know, I watch Liam look with wonder at these sparklers and .... I get my minute. I watch him swirl them around, embers falling in the dark and I take it all in. Because I'm not hanging upside down anymore. I'm not in the dark anymore. I'm here, right now, in my week of independence with sparklers that emit just enough light to illuminate the very next step. I don't have to know how my story ends, or how my week ends, or even this day. All I have to know is the very next step and God gives me that. Psalm 119:105
When you are in a dark space for a long time, your eyes adjust to the dark. You get pretty good at seeing in it.... so much so that you begin to forget there is anything any different than that dark. And then, light floods in and you're briefly blinded. Overwhelmed.... but just for a minute. So as my wings quickly dry and my eyes adjust to the light, I'll breathe deeply. I'll check that my footing is solid and just as soon as I've had my minute... I'm flying.

Happy Day of Independence.

Living Loved,
T