Category Archives: Marriage

It’s Hard for Me to Say

It’s hard for me to say that I am pretty, even though I’ve been told that I am by people who I trust and love.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a fierce warrior, even though I know my story and know I’ve overcome.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a strong leader, even though the power reflected in my employees would clearly point in that direction.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a good wife, even though my husband constantly reminds me that I am.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a good mother, even though if you met my son’s you would see how awesome they are.

It is also hard for me to say that I am an addict, a liar, a thief, a cheat, a prostitute, a crackhead, a sexually abused child, even though if I am being honest about my past those words are there.

It’s becoming increasingly hard for me to say I’m a Christian, even though my love for Jesus and my faith in God grow substantially with each passing day.

These things, these words, these labels are what society has chosen for me and some of these, I have made for myself.  I cannot deny the hard truth that I almost killed myself and everyone I love with my addiction. I cannot deny it, because it happened and to deny it would mean to deny that I am not only a survivor, I am also redeemed in the eyes of my creator. I am saved, loved, forgiven.

So, although these things may be hard for me to say, I can look you in the eyes today and own these things, all of them, the good and the bad.  I can say that I am a beautiful woman of God, who has sold her body and soul for crack. I can say that I am a good mother who left her child alone or in the care of others to go get high. I can say that I have excelled at the art of marriage, even though I once failed miserably at it.

I am new, and that, is not hard for me to say.

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“I’m Never Writing Again!”

cross this out“I’m never writing again!” I cried out with tears in my eyes and a whimper in my voice. “I also deleted Facebook off my phone and I’m done getting on it!”

My husband is rarely surprised by my dramatics, but still always actively participates in helping me come to a quick resolution.  He has learned that listening with a sympathetic ear, then quickly redirecting whatever lie it is that I’m believing, is the best approach to the circus I drag to town on the crazy train.

“She’s better than me.  Her writing is so raw. She quoted scripture and cussed in the same paragraph. I’ll never be this good and I can’t take the embarrassment of it all. I quit!”

Ronnie wrapped his arms around me and let me cry it out.  He assured me that my writing is good, that people can relate to it and that I’ve just got to keep writing. I wiped away my tears and nodded my head, but damnit…I was done.

I thought about this all day, wondering if I should announce my departure from the podium, no, that’s so dramatic and attention seeking.  Maybe I would just go silent, no, that’s not what God called me to do. Ahhh! I should take a class and read material from more writers that I want to sound like! Wait!  That’s inauthentic.

I was spinning my wheels…did you hear it too? was spinning MY wheels, as if this calling was somehow meant for me. As if I was in control. As if I had a say in the whole thing.I had made this thing all about me and, quite frankly, it was mostly made up. All the thoughts in my head were swimming around, festering, giving each other high fives, breeding, pumping each other up, all the while sending me off the emotional cliff, headed for writer suicide!  I was doomed!

It’s a really bad place up there.  Exhausting. Lonely. Dark. There is very little truth conceived there and the demons that lurk there are evil ones, waiting for their hot bed, waiting to destroy me, ready to kill. It’s moldy and seething.  It’s the rotting flesh of my own pity. The place my confidence goes to die. It’s God-less there…or is it?

I believe that no place is God-less. I believe that the fear we live in is simply the privacy fence that we look through, seeing the green pastures ahead, but too afraid of the barbed wire we imagine is lining the top. I KNOW that God exists in crack houses and dirty motel rooms.  I know he follows his people into war. I know that he sits bed side during failed suicide attempts. I know.

So how in the hell could I deny that he was here, in this the ugliest of sins, envy? I couldn’t. He was there and I intended to seek his counseling, because I was dangling my feet right over that ledge, posted and ready to jump head first into the abyss.

“God. Help. Save me from this. I don’t want to be jealous.  I don’t want to be self-loathing. I don’t want to toss-away the passion you have given me. Help.”

He heard me.  I knew what I needed to do.

I picked up the phone and dialed her number.  What the world was I thinking? Was I really about to do this? Hopefully she won’t answer. She answered. I confessed. I was free.

The truth we shared was beautiful. I confessed my jealousy. I told her about my emotional breakdown. I murdered the demon that I had carried with me all day long. And you’d never guess, but she had felt the same way. Turns out, she isn’t super confident about her writing. She’s a little embarrassed each time she hits Post. We also talked about how rare it is that people are vulnerable enough to call and talk about what ails them, usually resorting to something far less attractive and far more damaging.

At the end of our conversation she thanked me for calling and told me I was a great writer. She reminded me that God used TWELVE disciples and a messiah to deliver one message. I and she are just two of the voices carrying the same message. The message that there is hope, that God does save and that although every voice is different, each is valuable.

“I’m never writing again!” quickly evolved into, “I think I’ll write about this!” And I’m glad I did. Today that monster didn’t win!

Awkward Silence

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Silence is golden…or so they say.  It can be a coveted luxury for a new mom, the sacred place for a worshiping soul, the blank canvas for a studious learner.  It can also be death for an abused lover, pain for a suffering addict, the dark and lonely place of a mind that feels alone.

Almost 3 years ago I embarked on this sober journey…again.  I was known as a chronic relapser.  Someone who comes in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, staying sober until life looks good, then tearing the whole thing down, only to scratch and claw their way back into AA, repeating the cycle. It is embarrassingly awkward, filled with judgment of people who don’t understand and lonely because clearly, you just can’t “get it.”

I ALWAYS wanted to be sober.  I longed for it to come easy to me.  I saw people, knew people, who had come in, dragged up from the depths of hell, much like myself, and they “got it.” Whatever “it” was, they got it.  I wanted that illusive “IT!”

Lack of desire was not the issue.  If you knew me when I was using, you know that I am not even a shadow of the person I was created to be.  God made me in His image to be loving towards people who are hard to love, kind & generous, creative.  When I am using, it’s as if the candle is blown out.  I can think of nothing more than of myself, justifying my poor behavior as acceptable, greedy & dried up in a desert of shame & pity.

When I washed ashore in September of 2013, in my own version of Nineveh, Victoria, TX, I felt the call to be creative.  I come from a family that fosters creation on one side and encourages hard work on the other, with little time for creativity.  I fell somewhere in between, loving both hard work and writing.  I needed and outlet for the time because I was given the chore of sitting still, being quiet and listening to God.  Not the easiest thing for a girl like me, but I knew my will had been broken, I was going to do whatever I was told to do, so I did.

I began this blog.  You can look back over those posts and see that my journey had just begun, but there was still a powerful story of redemption beginning to surface.  I was awakening, slowly but surely.  I received a phone call on afternoon, from someone I greatly admired who told me that I should put the brakes on this writing thing, that being so “out there” with my early recovery could be detrimental to my case in point.  I heard & listened & shut it down. I also got a comment from a person from my dark past, who did not have my best interest in mind.  These two incidents drove me to this 2 year awkward silence.

Recently, listening to God and not my fear of being “found out,” I started sharing my story.  I was given the green light from my husband to be candid, open, honest…even when it is ugly, about what I went through.  You see, this story is not just mine, it is his too.  He suffered on the other side of my addiction for 2 years, mostly silent, dying in his own way.  So to get his blessing to move forward was all the push I needed.

Here I am.  Back. With an incredible story of redemption, light, love that defied all obstacles, hope.  This isn’t just my story.  It is the story of many women, who sit in silence, wishing they too had an outlet.

Stay tuned.  This is just the first of many posts.  I can’t wait to tell you of all that has happened.  A love story that only God could’ve written. A business that was built in His hands.  A family stitched together with the Almighty thread of peace.  A life you would hardly recognize as the one violently tossed from the belly of the whale.

This story is ours.  Join me. Break the silence.

Beauty for Ashes

I have heard it said many times that God takes the horrible, tragic things in our lives and uses them for good.  A prime example in my life has been the relation and comradery I find in the 12-step program I attend.  Each one of those folks is using their darkest past to carry God’s light to the suffering afflicted in order to help them see that change is possible.  Another great example would be mother’s who put their children up for adoption.  The majority of children who are adopted out are not born into the greatest of circumstances, but their new family is able to provide them with the love they so desperately need.

Neither one of these senerio’s is perfect. Each one is still conducted by and through human beings, and we all know that humans will fail us, but in each one of these dramatic cases there is a common thread of God showing up and showing off.  He loves to take unbearable situations and make them remarkable!

I wanted to share with you a real time experience I had in this arena just yesterday.  It will demonstrate how humans fail, I fail even bigger, God comes in because I open the door and something even more out-standing than I could have ever imagined happens.  He is so Good.

A couple of days ago I called my husband.  A little back story here is that we are currently separated and I worked on utterly destroying our marriage for the last year.  We both have room for improvement, but my actions warrant complete dismissal.  Back to the story at hand.  I called him earlier than he likes to be called and I bugged him about something that I wanted him to do.  Great way to wake up, right…a nagging wife!  When he answered me, his tone was condescending and his manner was short. I immediately went on the defensive and ended the phone call, only to text him moments later.

The text was NOT nice.  It wasn’t wrong in the sense of context but it was accusatory and angry.  I needed to say what I said, but I didn’t do it in a very loving way.  It was a knee-jerk reaction to an uncomfortable situation and I wanted to shake him up.  The text ended with the threat of, “maybe we shouldn’t talk if you can’t change your behaviors.”

And with that, we didn’t talk for 30 long hours.

30 hours may not seem like a very long time, but in marital fight time, especially when 300 miles from each other, it’s an eternity.  I spent the first 5 hours checking my phone every 20 minute or less to see if he responded.  The next few hours were spent in anger contemplating whether I would answer the phone when he did call.  After that I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.  My dreams were awful.  I was hiding from someone and on the run.  I woke up unrested, but with a new resolve to make that day better than the last.

The problem was finding out how to do that.  In the past I would’ve acted out of fear.  I would’ve manipulated, spun my wheels until I got what I wanted, cried, begged, pleaded and degraded my own worth in the process.  Today would be different.

I started off by praying that God help me to focus on the task in front of me.  That each step be clearly marked and that my selfishness be removed so that I could follow through with duty.  I placed more emphasis on God and I let him carry me to work.

One of my jobs is cleaning houses.  During that process I asked God to help me do things differently.  To allow me to make a move I have never made before.  I called someone who God has lead me to as trusted leadership.  I told her about the situation and she spoke some truth about herself and her relationship into my life and I identified with her.  I had been selfish, I had reacted out of fear.  Did he need to stop speaking to me in a disrespectful manner? Yes. But how was my reaction going to transmit us to a place of common ground.  I was humbled by our talk and hung up refreshed.

I called on God again. I asked God to forgive me and to give me guidance on how to rectify the situation.  I waited and I sat still until I felt God move me to call my husband.  What ensued could only be attributed to God.

When we talked a heaviness was lifted.  I expressed my apologizes and insecurities.  I didn’t explain or justify, I simply laid my mistake down before him and asked him what I could do better.  We talked about it and he set some clear boundaries. I did the same.  I expressed my dissatisfaction with the tone he used and we both vowed to get better.  We talked through some of the hardest shortcomings of our 6 year marriage in a little over 30 minutes.  My husband told me that he could only tackle one issue at a time without getting to angry and I followed his lead.

Our conversation ended with the first truly unprovoked, unsolicited, unforced “I love you” we have shard in a very long time.

This is one of many times that I have found that just by letting go of the reigns and relinquishing control to the man upstairs, a dooms-day situation was turned into a beautiful bridge to recovery.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to mess up.  Thank you for loving me when I do and thank you for turning ashes to beauty.  You are an awesome God.

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