The Fourth D

Its been almost a year, yes a year, since my last post. The release I felt in writing that post has carried me far and then on some level not far enough. I still think about M. Only now, I’m content with the memory. Admittedly, sometimes it lingers a bit longer than I want it to, but when it’s gone, I dont feel so hollow.

In my last post I spoke about my three D’s and how I was waiting for the 4th one… Deliverence. I’m still holding out for that but God did give me a fourth “D”.

After a very emotionaly charged weekend which included copious amounts of frozen pizza and cookies, I sat on my bed and in the stillness of the night said aloud, God, I would like a boyfriend and a dog. Boy, if that statement doesn’t show my state of mind– clearly I wanted companionship. HA!

The next morning, after said binge weekend, I decided that I needed to swear off solid food and decided to get a smoothie. As I was walking out of the smoothie shop, there was a little puppy running loose in the parking lot. I distinctly remember saying to myself, “aww, look at that little puppy.” Next thing I see is the puppy running towards the main street. I paused for a second certain that someone was chasing it but nope, nothing. So I said, in an effort to divert its path towards the street, Hey buddy, hey buddy. The puppy ran directly to me, jumped INTO my car, went to the back seat and fell asleep. I remember standing there with my smoothie in my hand expecting someone to come running after it. Nothing. I was in shock. All I knew was that I needed to get to work and what was I supposed to do with a puppy? I was wearing a belt that day, something I do once every 10 years, so I fashioned my belt into a leash and took the puppy to a vet to see if she was microchipped. Nope. I posted notices in the neighborhood, notified animal control. Nothing. After three days, I decided that I could not keep a puppy – I was barely keeping myself – so I surrendered her to animal control. No one picked her. The Humane Society took her in (phew, she wasn’t going to be euthanized) but still no one claimed or choose this sweet puppy. And each day, I watched the Humane Society’s facebook page and went to adoption events that they held and still no one choose her. Each night my heart felt more and more conviction – was this MY dog? Did God actually give me a dog? Finally I couldn’t take it, I submitted my application, paid the fee and brought home my sweet Khaleesi/Cassie/Sydney/Bellatrix and finally the name that she actually accepted and suited her, Maggie May.

That was nine months ago and I’ve never looked back. I shamelessly love on her, kiss her nose and rub her belly on demand. I buy her toys and treats not because I have to but because how can I not? I laugh at her antics and constantly say to myself, I can’t believe its only been 9 months, she feels like she has been a part of my life forever. And for her birthday I am throwing her a birthday party at her favorite doggie day camp, complete with treat bags for the other dogs and pizza for the staff.

When I tell the story I say that I went back to the smoothie shop the next day in hopes of seeing that glorious man who would become my boyfriend, but alas no such luck. And when I get to the part of how I rescued MM, I have to pause and say, no, I think she rescued me.




A Rocky, Stinky, Sweet State of Normal

My therapist told me to keep writing. I haven’t been faithful to that request. I have been doing a lot of stuff outside of the blog. I’ve been living. Living a new (another) life and finding what has proven to be a rocky state of normalcy for me. In hindsight, perhaps keeping up with the writing would make it feel less rocky.

I have started attending a divorce support group. Last year, I went to one meeting right after M left–it was the week they talked about anger.  I left that class and told the facilitator that it wasn’t the right time for me.  I didn’t “act” like what they showed angry to look like. I had anger in me and wrote about it, but I wasn’t fired-up angry, if that makes any sense. I certainly wanted with everything in me to hate M, to hate her and I didn’t, I couldn’t and I still don’t. I wondered and still do- what’s wrong with me that I don’t have any feelings of hate toward them? Wouldn’t THAT be normal? Don’t normal people lash out and break things and scream at  the top of their lungs until their face is red. Don’t they start fires and burn pictures of past memories and toss belongings onto the lawn, don’t they try to retaliate? And yet, I had none of those feelings. I would share that with folks and they told me I was numb, they told me it was because I understood the love of God for me and therefore could show compassion to those that hurt me. It didn’t make me feel normal to hear any of those things.

In one of my question and answer sessions with A, he came out and asked me one night, Do you blame God? I paused. I cried. I said yes.

I’m a “good, Christian girl” so of course I’m supposed to believe that nothing slips through the fingers of God without Him knowing or allowing. I’m to believe that God is sovereign and that nothing catches Him by surprise. And yet I couldn’t wrap my mind around how five years ago the Lord allowed me (and M) to lose our worldly belongings and have nothing but our family to cling to. Yes, my “family” was quirky but weird as it was to others, it was mine. It consisted of me, M, and our two dogs. Then in a matter of 13 months I lost one dog, then the other dog, and finally M. I lost all of “my” family. I remember saying to God, I don’t understand. What’s next? What else am I going to lose? What’s left to be taken from me?
I was scared to know the answer.

After a pause, A replied Yes, God allows everything but don’t confuse that with Him being the author of it.  And I realized that was an answer my soul could accept. I didn’t want to hear it but I needed to and I didn’t like hearing it anymore than I liked that M and her had an affair and continued to spread lies about me even after they got what they wanted.

I’ve realized I was angry but that my anger was misplaced and the reason it didn’t “look” like what anger should look like, is because how do you “show” anger at the Creator of the Universe when He is the one that I desperately needed comfort from? It’s like biting the hand that feeds you… you may not like what is being served for dinner, but if you’re hungry enough you will eat.  In all of this, I was still counting on the Lord to be my source of strength and to live up to the promises His Word says about having a hope and a plan for my future (Jer 29:11) and that I would have a table in the presence of my enemies and MY cup would overflow (Psalm 23:5).

In my support group, we are in week two of the “trifecta” (anger, depression, lonliness) and I realize that I’m never going to be able to slap or punch M, (and it’s not prudent to do that to her either) but I can be angry at M even though he isn’t here anymore. I have things I would like to say to him, things I want him to know but there are all sorts of ways to work through that. My display of anger isn’t so unusual–anger takes many different forms. Television’s depiction of anger in divorce was what was guiding me to believe I wasn’t handling this normally but I’m handling it as normally as I would handle things.

So my new sense of normal has currently got me in a raw state–like an onion–all my layers are being peeled back and I’m learning a lot about myself. I just hope that it’s not so stinky that I offend anyone, but rather, maybe I will be like a Vidalia onion… sweet and bloomin’!

Unanswered Prayers

….just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.         Garth Brooks

This is one of two posts that I have struggled with posting. Not because I don’t believe in it but because it was so tough for me to actually accept. Truth is God answers all prayers, sometimes just not in the way we want to hear them.  Its easier to say that the prayer was unanswered than to admit that the answer was No.

In packing up and moving my stuff from the rental to my new place, I found some of my old journals. I scanned through them and was actually surprised by some of what I had written. There were numerous pages where I had written prayers to God begging him to take your anger, take your depression, your foul language… begging Him to help control your frustration towards me and thus the anger that I was on the receiving end of, and then the prayers for strengthened love between us and for the pressure of finances to be eased. One of the first entries that caught my eye was me recording a meltdown you had one of the first night we moved into our rental. You were angry at me because you had to make the mac & cheese with margarine instead of butter. It wasn’t a good night.

I struggled with the fact that you got this great job at the U. We (I) had prayed for this job for years. Lord, please bless M with a job at the U so that he will have benefits, retirement, we can have holidays off together, we can start to look at owning our own place, and Lord, please let it be a position that we might be able to still work with one car so as not to have to add an additional burden to our budget right away.  BAM-answered. You started your new job 13 days after D-day. And I carried the burden of not understanding how God would answer that prayer but not the ones that I had prayed for so many years. I struggled because if God is omnipotent and nothing takes Him by surprise, then why would he choose to bless you knowing that you were going to do such a horrible thing. Why were you getting to benefit from the prayers of not only me, but my friends and my family? Why would He not want you to have to struggle with where to live and where to work and what to do?   Why? Why?

But it doesn’t matter why. The answer to my prayers for peace in my marriage all those years was “no” and the answer to you getting the job was “yes.” And the reason it doesn’t matter is because I don’t know what the road ahead holds, but I do know who holds the road. Years ago, I couldn’t see that years later the Lord would say Yes to peace, just not in the way that I expected. I do have peace now and while its not within my marriage, it is within me and it wasn’t an unanswered prayer but rather a prayer to yet be answered.

PS… if you are struggling with the whys in life, talk to a Pastor. Mine has been an invaluable resource in helping me get through this and if you don’t have a Pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley has a short article that might help– How will I know God’s answer to my prayer? 


…..And what if trials of this life, The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, Are Your mercies in disguise? Blessings by Laura Story

I was recently challenged by a dear friend to write about my goals, dreams, and plans, no matter how lofty they might seem. I have given it some thought and I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have any right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve considered those for myself. They always took “us” into consideration and the question was pretty much what do I need to do to help our family?

For so many years, any goal or plan I had was to help improve our station in life. My goal was to have a good job so that we’d have insurance that was sufficient to meet our needs. I wanted to return to school to improve my skills so that I could get a promotion to get more money for us, when people liked my handmade cards enough to pay for them, I worked to find events and stores that would carry them so that I could bring in extra income to help us.

Now that its just me, and I guess its time to take her sage advice to heart. She so eloquently shared that now its my turn. It’s time to make choices for my future, choices that don’t include you.  So today, while I don’t have an answer for future plans outside of just remembering to breathe, I am going to choose to focus on my blessings and maybe soon I will be able to share some goals, dreams, and plans for my future.

  • I am blessed to have a Savior who loves me no matter how many times I present myself as unlovable with my words,  actions, and attitudes
  • I am blessed to have an amazing network of friends, many of whom are traveling this road with me, quietly holding one hand and handing me tissue with the other
  • I am blessed to have the most supportive brother who upon hearing the news started the conversation with “First of all, I love you and you are strong enough to get through this” and ended it with, “Its a good thing he wasn’t there when I was”
  • I am blessed to have a Pastor who upon hearing the news of your infidelity immediately called you out on it, made you take responsibility by telling you that you had 24 hours to tell me or he and his wife would be over to tell me themselves
  • I am blessed that my new route into work allows me to pass the cows that I love
  • I am blessed that my job includes a boss who immediately says “Yes!” when I walk into her office and say, “I need someone to be angry/sad/mad with me, will you?”
  • I am blessed to have an outlet with this blog. I’ve received some very sweet comments that have encouraged my soul.  I love that my first comment was from someone who called you an a$$hole (even now that makes me smile–thanks Pabloswife) And that so many others are willing to share their story and make me feel not so alone. Be sure to check out their stories ———>
  • And lest you think I forgot them, I am blessed to have amazing parents who have taken me in not just once, but now twice to help me get back on my feet. The first time was four years ago when they helped move us move across country so that we could find our balance after losing everything in Arizona. And now they are letting me occupy a small slice of their homelife again all the while never making me feel like a burden or a failure for the life that I somehow seem to be living.

As I look back at my list, it’s really about all the people that seem to have MY back, something you wouldn’t, didn’t, or couldn’t do. Thank you J for the challenge. I really am blessed.

The Little Things

It’s the little things

  • When filling out paperwork and I need to list my emergency contact. For so long it was you
  • When having to circle single, married, divorced. I’m technically still married, but I’m currently single while in the midst of divorce proceedings
  • Having to remember to take the trash to the curb
  • Hearing about a current event and not having anyone to ask or talk to about it
  • Seeing someone with a Michigan hat or shirt and wanting to shout GO BLUE so that I could come home and tell you that I made you proud
  • Seeing a mutual acquaintance who isn’t in our current circle and he asks me how you are doing
  • Watching College Game Day and laughing at Lee Corso
  • Knowing that the reason you didn’t like Kirk Herbstreit is because he played for Ohio

It’s the questions that will never be answered

  • Am I angry at you Or am I angry at the time I feel you stole from me by having an affair?
  • Why haven’t you paid the lawyer yet? It’s been 40 days
  • When did I stop being good enough for you?

It’s the realizations

  • I forgot how much I liked country music
  • I missed natural light filling a room, you always insisted on closing the curtains to avoid glare on the TV
  • I really HATED the setting you chose for text message alerts. I told you, but you ignored me
  • I missed pizza with more than a meat topping. When money meant that we could only get one pizza, I always defaulted to what I knew you would eat and gave up my veggie pizzas
  • Quiet time can really be quiet. No TV or music in the background, just quiet—me & God
  • You really had a foul mouth, its nice to go a full day without hearing the “F” word
  • All eighteen stations in the car can now be set to what I want… I’ve not changed them yet
  • Just because my marriage ended doesn’t mean that God’s purpose my life did

Running Numbers

I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? Tom Hanks, Castaway

I’ve been asked a lot of questions, and I ask a lot of questions myself. We had a joke for it when we were together – you said I was “running numbers.” Well, I’m running a lot of numbers lately, trying to figure things out and having moments of clarity accepting that there are things I will never know.

You left me to deal with our church family and our friends. When asked Where are you? I now reply “You have made some choices and decisions that mean you will not be around anymore.” For a period of time, I contemplated simply saying that you had an affair, you didn’t want to reconcile and we are getting a divorce. I struggled with trying to protect you and I don’t know why. You didn’t have an affair, you are having an affair…we are still married and you are still with her. There is no effort to show me how much you are sorry regardless of what you say.

What hurts the most, the fact that he said those things on D-day or that you are no longer his woman? This one took less time to answer than I expected. It really is a combination of both. In recent months, your actions were more cooled towards me. I attributed that to your extra work schedule and the stress you were under while working two jobs, albeit part-time jobs. I didn’t realize it was the stress of living a lie. One of my concerns that I shared directly with you was that you didn’t make me feel like I was a priority to you. If you wanted me to sit next to you at church, then you would have saved a spot for me, but you didn’t. You wouldn’t withhold affection, you would want to hold my hand, you wouldn’t walk three feet in front of me, you wouldn’t jump at the offer of a friend to go hang out and leave me at home. So hearing you say that there wasn’t a spark between us, that you weren’t “in love” with me, that there wasn’t anything in me worth fighting for would have only been words if they had not been validated by your actions. So what hurts is that your actions backed what you said and that’s why I can’t accept your apologies right now. They aren’t just words to me.

How are you? (Meaning me) Well, at this moment I am (insert assorted answers.) At any given moment I go through a range of emotions. I realize that I’m like the Georgia weather…don’t like it? Give it five minutes and it will change. One lesson you taught me is an old AA technique: if I don’t have a beer right now, I can have one in an hour. I’ve applied that technique a lot lately but sometimes I can’t wait an hour and I have to just get through the next minute. If I don’t cry right now, I can cry in a minute. And the next minute, if I don’t cry right now, I can cry in two minutes.

Why are you paying for the divorce? Well, I’m not paying for it, but I am paying half. And after that, I really don’t have a reason.

How can you forgive him? Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

How can you not hate him or her? Love… And I don’t mean my love for him, but rather the love of my Heavenly Father for me. ….And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Where is he going to live? I don’t know but yes, I do care. The Lord has blessed him with a great opportunity at a new job and whether he succeeds or fails is up to him.

Are you going to move back to Arizona? Tempting but no. I have created a life here that will go on even without him in my life. And now maybe I will be the one taking the opportunity for the one available ticket.

Now what? Well, I guess I will continue to rise up each morning and breathe in and out and pray that tomorrow will be a bit easier than today and I won’t have to remind myself to breathe.

Can you Repeat the Question?

It’s hard to ask why, but even harder to ask what now? 

Seeing you at our meeting with the lawyer last week was different than I expected. I really thought that the site of you might make my heart fall or leap, I wasn’t sure which, but I certainly thought that I would feel something. But when I arrived, you barely looked up from your phone. We made small talk and chatted about your new job. You were cold… and I realize that while I am heartbroken, you may very well be the one with a broken heart.

And yes, to answer your question that day… I did feel better repeatedly saying to the lawyer that you had an affair, and by repeatedly, I mean repeatedly. I now realize that it wasn’t nice and I’m sorry. You should know that I truly don’t hate you but my heart hurts because you don’t seem to care.

I remember telling you on D-day that I wished you would just tell me you hated me because then there would at least be some emotion, not just the blank stare and clenched jaw. This is going to end; nobody wins. There is no race to the finish to get the gold medal. In about 45 days we will no longer be husband and wife. In 47 days we would have been celebrating our anniversary.

Eleven years ago, what drew me to you was the way you “played” life. You had friends with whom you had fun and you were your own person. You know that one of our biggest compliments we had of each other was that we had our own friends-we were our own person. We were not each other’s half—we were two wholes who came together. We each had our own source of fulfillment that complimented the other.

Your friends have now lost you as fast as I did, but they don’t get the courtesy of a goodbye or a why and it’s hard for me to know what to tell them. You understand that the facts remain, you had an affair, you didn’t want to reconcile and we are getting divorced. But I don’t want to be calloused in my responses, I can’t, that’s not me…anymore.

Maybe when I was still resentful towards you at the way that life was not getting any easier. You were taking trips out of state to see family and trips to chaperone youth events and fishing trips with your buddies. I would get up and go to work everyday to make sure things ran smoothly here. So it was very frustrating to hear you say that the final tipping point for not wanting to reconcile was that one of the littlest family members said they didn’t remember what I looked like. You took that as a sign of disinterest on my part. The part you easily forgot was that only one ticket was available and any extra funds were used to make sure you had travel and spending money.

Nevertheless, my heart found forgiveness for you and for that situation and I think that prepared me on some level for what was to come just a year later. I do forgive you, I forgive her, but forgiveness is for my benefit not yours. It is what is allowing me to carry on each day and go to work. It is what is allowing me to maintain a civil relationship with you and to look you in the eye and say very honestly that I do wish you well. It is only by the grace of God and the prayers of many friends and family that hold my heart right now that I can ask the question… why? And it is only that same grace and those same prayers that help me to understand that I will never get the answer that satisfies my soul but still begs the question. Now, all I can do is ask the question, “what now?” and step out in faith that I will get that answer.