Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Stay away from my husband…

Even though it was a voice I had never heard over the phone or ever before for that matter, I knew she was hurt, angry, and territorial despite her trembling voice which gave away the fear behind her words.

I was doing something upstairs in my bedroom when my son came in and handed me my cell phone and said it was for me.  I asked who it was and he didn’t know so I answered…”hello,” and she simply stated, “stay away from my husband.”  My first thought was…which one…whose wife could this be? But she continued on and revealed the little bit of what was going on because she’d found an email between myself and her husband.  Not my finest hour.

But you know what?  After we hung up, these were my thoughts.  Thank God my husband didn’t answer the phone and what was she doing calling me when she should have been talking to her husband?  In my righteous indignation, I thought, “if she’d have been the wife he needed, he wouldn’t have come looking for me.”  There, right there was my justification for being an intruder in someone else’s mess.

As the day wore on, I grew livid and even more indignant.  How dare…how dare THIS man put MY marriage in jeopardy by being so stupid as to leave “evidence” out in the open for his wife to find? How dare she call me and try to put me in my place?  Are you getting the irony of this?  Do you see the problem here?

My day was spent with my heart doing a new little pittery pattery type of “how to cover my tracks” dance while I thought of ways to make this go away so my own marriage wasn’t affected.  Ummm…too late.  It was affected when I chose to step outside of the sacred marriage bond and smack onto Satan’s playground.

When I was a little girl, my family would go camping.  If they couldn’t find me close by, my mom knew I had traveled to the women’s restroom so I could talk with whoever would listen.  She told me she would either come herself or send one of my brothers to come get me.  She knew I would be telling those souls who would listen how my daddy was drunk and my parents were arguing.  Lord knows what else I may have babbled on about.

During the majority of my school years, I would be set off to the side at a table or desk by myself so I would keep quiet.  Ummm…helllloooo, I wasn’t talking to myself, but it was me who invariably wound up separated from the pack.

I once got into a fist fight because of my never ending chatter. Nice way of saying gossip. I have a point.

Yes, I was an adulterer…a very brazen adulterer.  I didn’t know my worth.  I didn’t know my place.  I didn’t understand the full affect of my actions.  Yes, I knew right from wrong….however, when you hang with the adulterous crowd, the wrong fades into the background.  Birds of a feather most certainly do flock together. But, in the end, I’m responsible for my actions.  I own them.

Before you throw that proverbial stone my way, make sure your slate is clean.  Would it make it better if you knew the destruction I brought into my own life?  Would it be helpful to know the guilt, shame, and regret brought me to the point of a suicide attempt?  Maybe you’re thinking….good, you reap what you sew.  But my answer to that is, it matters not what you think.  You weren’t there. You don’t know why it was permitted in my life.

What I do know is, its part of His redemptive story in me and just like all those years ago telling strangers about my parents arguing, I can’t keep silent about this any longer.  It screams to be released and I won’t let it consume me any longer.  I was meant for more.  And if you find yourself in an adulterous relationship, in case no one has ever said this to you…let me say it.  You were meant for more.  You are worth so much more than being someone’s side dish.  You deserve to be the main course.

I no longer dance on the devil’s playground.  Being lulled into a honey trap of deceit, dishonesty, shame, and guilt wields no power only regrets.

These days I dance on God’s amazing dance floor.  I have nothing to hide.  I twirl and spin as He holds my hand and calls me redeemed, forgiven, precious, a jewel to behold and daughter of the One True King!!  I owe Him everything because He gave His ALL for me.  Let me tell you, this life….this resurrected life…a bazillion times better than I could have ever imagined.   He is all that and beyond.  He’s where I find my salvation and here is where I sit, at the foot of the cross where my sins are nailed and forgotten.  No sin is worth my joy.  Jesus…there’s my joy.   Jesus….there’s my life.

If you need a little more insight…take a look at a story written long ago…

John 8:1-11~~“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.

Repent, ask forgiveness, and sin no more…yes, it can be that simple.  Grace is the pardon for your jail time, but not a license not to change.  “Go, and sin no more.”  Means you’re not stuck in the pit you created.  Means you have an out.  Grab your “get out of jail” free card and live the life He created you for…live the beautiful life.

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Anger Awakened…

A little over 24 years ago, I wrote this story.  At the time, I believed in God, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him.  I didn’t even know that was possible.  As you read this, I hope you see that even though my marriage failed, God never gave up on me.  He kept calling and it would take 20 more years before I finally answered.  I left the story as is and maybe if you’ve been following my blog, you will be able to see the work God has been doing to heal this heart of mine.  Thanks for stopping by!

I wrote the first and last paragraphs in Feb, 2001 for a college English class.  

It was the day before I would turn 27 years old. I was mostly, “happily married,” and I was pregnant with our first child.  My husband had decided to go out for an evening with his friends, and while I told him to “have a good time,” I, in no way meant for him to.  I didn’t comprehend why he wanted to go out with his friends, and I was fuming both inside and out; the anger, had he even bothered to look was so clearly etched on every inch of my face.  It was a look I had felt many times, a look, that if it were allowed, would drip acid into your soul and burn a hole clear through.  It was a look that hadn’t reared its ugly head for at least 9 years.  So, it was on this evening, alone with my unborn child that I finally decided to let loose the anger that had been pent up, for longer than I can remember…

The following is what I wrote that night 24 years ago:

My father was an alcoholic; a mean drunk to the core who seemed to take great pleasure inflicting mental anguish, guilt, shame and unworthiness onto those he claimed to love: his family.  All of us were subject to this drunken onslaughts and each one of us carries hidden scars while he lies in an empty grave.

On the evening of March 19, 1990, I for whatever reason felt abandoned by the man-figure who now encompassed my life, and I could no longer hold back the flood gates that were crashing at my door.   I had to let my feelings out, so, with pen in hand, I put each tear to word.

It doesn’t ever change, the same vision so clearly remembered, day after day, into my nights, only to haunt me again, in my dreams.  I wake up drained, knowing what lies ahead. It sometimes takes all day to “wake-up.” Sure, I laugh, even to me it sounds hollow. I carry out daily chores out of habit, a ritual if you will.  I love, but what kind of love?  So much it hurts and I just know my heart will break from the tightness. Other times, I don’t even know the person who lashes out without conscious feeling, hurting the ones I love most so that I won’t be hurt, but in fact, I’m hurting myself the most.

Everything inside, a tightly coiled spring waiting to be sprung, but afraid of what will really happen if it does. Will I lose control forever; will I know “me” when it’s over?  Me, who is “me?”  Where do I begin?

Dysfunctional-that’s what they call it when you come from a “broken” home.  “They” say there’s help for we dysfunctional types. Funny, where was this help when we cried out for it; when we really needed it?  Now you couldn’t count all who want to help. Bitter, that’s how I feel about your so-called caring.  The big bucks seem to be flashing before your eyes: $70.00, $80.00, $90.00 is that what you make an hour now?  Please!

So now I’m a dysfunctional type. Okay, let’s go with that.  We’ll start with “Daddy” – I read something once and always remembered this, “Anyone can be a that, but it takes a special man to be a daddy.”  That statement told me one thing, my “daddy” was nothing more than my father.

You blame yourself, you know, for his alcoholism. Maybe I didn’t clean enough, maybe my grades weren’t good enough, maybe I wasn’t quiet enough, or maybe, it wasn’t me at all?  No, it must’ve been me or I wouldn’t be down here in the middle of the night listening to him drone on and on about how bad I am.

It’s dark but with each puff on the cigarette, the tip burns brighter.  You catch a glimpse then, his eyes are closed, his head tilts back, just slightly.  The cigarette unsteadily falls to the resting area, until the ashes just fall off.  Has he fallen asleep? With a little luck he has.  You make it halfway up the stairs and he calls you back.  You scream inside wanting to blend into the walls, to be forgotten.  Instead, head hung low, tears of frustration well up in the bottom of your eyes until the pool gets too deep and they fall on your face.  You sit back down in the chair, praying that morning will come soon or maybe he’ll just pass out.

How much longer can he hold out?  The country music in the background all has the same twang. I hate, I hate him, I hate me, I hate God.  A terrible thing to say, I know, but I can’t help it.  Why did he put me here? How long have I been bad? Will it ever stop? Who’s coming?  Mom, did she get enough sleep, she looks awful. Why doesn’t she leave him?  No one deserves this, or do we?  Who’s to say?  It tires the mind to think about it, because the reasoning never ends.

They say God won’t give you more than you can handle.  Oh really, maybe it’s true.  I’m still here. But am “I” really here, or is it a shadow of who I might’ve been?  If, for such a little word it holds so much meaning, but, maybe, “if” I had a different father would I be different? Of course I would.  Worse off?  Possibly, but maybe I’d have been the cherished little princess all little girls dream of being. Why, what silly ideas little girls have.  Can their smile really brighten daddy’s day? Maybe if I have a little girl, I’ll find out.  My smile certainly didn’t do a hell of a lot. But maybe it did.  Maybe he just couldn’t tell me.  Yes, false hope, it’s one of the things that kept me going.

Listen to me, what kind of rambling is this?  Those of a “mad” woman? No, I don’t think so, they are those of a deeply scarred and battered mind, a mind, only years of mental abuse could have created.

What’s the cure?  They say time heals all wounds.  Oh really?  I think time needs a little help from patience, understanding, and a love that runs deep and true.  But is it fair to ask of someone?  I don’t know.  So I ask you my love, how deep does your love run?  Will I push you too far one day into leaving me, or will God decide that for us, maybe even the President?  Will a war take you from me, or I from you?  Will yet another door be closed, or will you and I still be stanind as one laughing and loving, because all that we had to endure made us strong?  I guess only time will tell.

Time, when you think about it, that old saying comes to life: “there’s just not enough time in a day.”  Ha, if we had more time, it still wouldn’t be enough because it seems that all we have is never enough.

And I want to  know how deep your love runs.  I’ve no doubt in my mind we’ll grow old together, we’ve been through so  much in such a short period of time and hectic as it may get, in the end, there’s us.  I sometimes need so much reassuring it must at times tire your mind and body. My holding back sometimes comes too easy.

You’ve taught me quite a few things and I’m just now fully feeling the impact of your love and quite frankly, as much as I want and need to wallow in all your gentleness and tenderness I am also stupid enough to still put up “walls.”  Forgive me and I know in the end, you’ll feel as much love from me as I feel from you.

I don’t recall how long it took me to put my millions of tears to words.  I don’t even recall emptying the tissue box.  I do, however, recall how I felt when my story was “completed.”  I felt emotionally battered, yet, free. I had taken my first steps into a recovery I never knew I so desperately needed.  In one evening, I had taken a lifetime of emptiness, poured it into a sieve, and separated the good from the evil.  I began my journey down a long road that I travel everyday: a road of forgiveness, mending, healing, and love.  A road, survivors the world around, call recovery.

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Back to the Beginning

I began filling out my passport application.  I’m going along quite nicely until I get to the part where it asks the date I got divorced or widowed.  I had to think really hard on the date I got divorced, and I can’t quite pinpoint the exact date.

Earlier in the application process they asked if I had ever been married.  Piece of wedding cake!! (finger snap for emphasis) I knew right off the bat the date my last marriage occurred. OK, if I’m going to be really honest, I can remember the dates of 2 out of the 3 times I’ve been married but I can’t remember the dates I got divorced.

So I go to my “divorce” file.  I hate this file.  It reminds me I failed.  Not gonna lie, it’s a file that still makes me cry.  I’m not entirely healed of that mess just yet.  I realize I still carry some shame from that and I have to place that mess at the foot of the cross and let my Savior step in and heal the wounds.  I have…no…scratch that…I need to let His love and truth cover the stain of my humanness.  Jesus, I need You!!

When I was in the Air Force, we had to wear name tags on our uniforms that displayed just the last name.  For the most part of my career, non-flyers wore a sewn-on name tag on their utility uniform or what is now called Airman Battle Uniform.  However, the flyers wore a Velcroed name tag, one that could easily be taken on or off.

After my third wedding, my spouse and I attended my squadron’s Christmas party.  I don’t remember a whole lot about that party, but I do remember during that party when everyone in the squadron was receiving gifts.  I remember when they called my name and made a small speech about my “gift.”  They made fun of the fact I had been married a third time and said that I should go to a more temporary means of putting my name tag on and proceeded to hand me an empty Velcro flyers version of a name tag.  They all laughed and I died a little on the inside from being mortified.

Forgiveness….I need to forgive them.  In my mind, they don’t deserve my forgiveness. They were cruel and they laughed at my expense because they thought it was funny.  They put a nail in my flesh and I had covered up the nail with hurt, humiliation, and hate.  It was buried.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about this event.  As I started writing this story, I really didn’t know where I was going with it.  In fact, I had started taking a different road and got stuck.  I sat back and asked Him to show me, and the memory plopped in my head.  I was stunned.  I started crying…a lot.  I didn’t even remember their names, but I do now.  I remember the room, I remember the feeling, I remember their faces, and I remember the name tag.  I remember throwing it in the trash.

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to go back to the beginning.  It’s a necessary part of healing.  Yup, not gonna lie, it hurts.  My eyes are puffy, my face is red, and countless Kleenex lay on the floor.

So I say their names out loud, one by one, I say “I forgive you,” and then send a blessing their way.  I don’t want anything standing in the way of His redeeming grace.  I want to know the fullness of my Savior’s love, so I remember His words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,”~~ Luke 23-34 (ESV) and I step into His grace. And you know what?  I may look a little worse for the wear at the moment, but I sure do feel better.  Trust Him when He wants to do a work in you…He loves you so much and He knows what He’s doing.

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