We Thought It Was Love

but now we're better off where we are…

It wasn’t even my labor…

The most experience I have had with a “birth” in my life amounts to the newborn scale and hospital kit I got one Christmas for my Cabbage Patch Kids. But seriously.

I had never seen a real life birth. I had never even watched a birth video in health class. Those are the kind that truly scar you for life. Yesterday, I waddled my preggo self to the hospital where one of my very best friends in the world was going to give birth to her 1st son, Kayden. I was scared out of my mind, not only to witness a birth, but to be rendered completely helpless to seeing my friend in pain, and not being able to do anything about it.

This woman? a CHAMP. no, even better, Wonder Woman. She was induced which typically brings on stronger contractions and oftentimes an even longer labor, but guess who was DONE pushing in 11 hours? Yeah, and I’m her friend. I’m gonna brag about it.

As I stood by her bedside, offering her only measly ice chips and a hand to hold for solace, I realized something I have never even thought of before. The absolute sheer strength it takes to be a woman. Not just in regard to having babies, but on a day-to-day basis. But thinking of the strength it takes to bring a LIFE into this world. In that moment as I was standing next to her while she was bringing that life into the world, my heart was more full than it has ever been in my life…”and her heart grew three sizes that day…”

I was so proud of my friend and how hard she worked to get this baby here, not only for that day, but for the last 9 months. I have seen her through the nitty-gritty, day in and day out. Pregnancy is not glamorous. People always act like it is, and there are those moms who claim all they gained was a bump…excuse me while I call the BS card on that one. It isn’t glowing…it’s sweaty. It’s hard. It’s I hurt. It’s my back and hips feel like they were hit by a semi. It’s the fact that as I type this, my feet are swollen to the point where it feels like I am stuffing my toes into my Barbie’s shoes. IT AIN’T PRETTY YA’LL! We will get more into the annoying questions/phrases people ask preggos at a later date, cause my heart wants to remain joyful today.

When that baby’s little head came out, and I’m cheering for my friend to KEEP PUSHING, tears were dripping down my face. The salt was burning my eyes, and all I could think was, “I am witnessing a miracle. a MIRACLE. A Jesus turning water into wine, one loaf of bread into thousands 2013 miracle.” Oh, and it was. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Also the most difficult and not altogether pleasant…how is it that those two are ever intermingled? I find that the things that are the most beautiful in this life are the things laced with difficulties, the “not so pretty.” When that baby boy was pulled out and started crying, I could not believe something so miraculous existed this side of heaven. And it wasn’t even MY LABOR…

Congratulations to my friend Elishia and welcome to the world Kayden. You are so so so very loved. Now somebody hand me a box of tissues to wipe this next round of tears…

Will you be mine?

It may be too far away from Valentine’s day for a title like this, but hopefully you’ll find joy in today’s ramblings…

Today, I’m reflecting on a story from a good friend. He regularly asks my perspective on women for input and advice. He and I have a large age difference, but the common truths about us are universal at any age. My advice continues to help him grow and understand the woman he loves.

He bought her a ring a couple days ago, not an engagement ring, but something they could consider a sign of commitment. His version of the story is he gifted it to her and asked her to wear it on her left ring finger. Without hesitation, she agreed. However, his concern, was that she didn’t seem excited. She carries a mellow temperament regularly, but her lack of excitement confused him. Was it a lack of commitment? Was it too much? Did she just not like it? (The list of worries continues…) I pointed him in another direction:

Sometimes we just don’t feel worthy.

First, there is the obvious: This innocent and genuine love expressed by my good friend may have been received with hesitation on her part. Will he leave me? Does he really love me unconditionally? How much of my heart should I let him hold?

Combine those basic relationship worries with feeling like she does not deserve the genuine love he’s expressing, simply because “It feels too good to be true!” or “It’s too much!” and it’s obvious any of us might have trouble accepting such a gift in her situation.

We do the same thing with God. He loves us so purely, so unconditionally, that we have no idea how to receive! We don’t know how to be blessed in a way we can’t repay.

But here’s my new connection… the way He asks us to show our commitment is to share with others right? To tell people about Him and to spend life with Him. This is the same thing as accepting a ring from a lover. We wear a ring as a mark that we are committed and attached to another. Saying “I belong to someone”. You tell the world you are married. You brag about your spouse to others. You walk through life together. If only we could be just as open and verbally expressive about our relationship with Christ!

Here’s the funny part to me. My friend says, “and you have no idea how scary it is for a guy to buy a ring and present it to a girl!” I argued but it wasn’t a proposal… “Doesn’t matter” he says, “she might reject even that. Then where would I be?”

Now, don’t hate me for this, because I know God is not a God of fear, I’m sure he’s not fearing rejection in the typical sense .. but run with me. My friend’s response allowed me to connect with heaven for a minute. Here’s God up there, asking genuinely, “Will you share life with me? Will you be mine?” And depending on our answer, he waits patiently and asks again. Many times he may be rejected. Yet, he still blesses us, provides us with air to breathe, money to provide for our selves/families. He loves us unconditionally, despite our past, despite giving ourselves to other things, people, or false gods.

I believe after divorce, many of us feel like used goods. We feel like we’re on the shelf at a 2nd hand store. We may feel used physically, maybe burned too many times (even if it was only one marriage), or surely hesitant to jump into something new!

But, let us define “worthy”. It is “deserving effort, attention, or respect“.

Do you not deserve these basic things from your lover? Of course you do! What is love if not valuing quality time, paying attention to them, making an effort to communicate, and to share life? Human love is based in trust and respect!

No matter our “feelings” of worthiness or worthlessness, you have been deemed worthy by God, and deemed worthy of your love’s time and attention and respect. Do not doubt yourself!

I dare you to open your arms wide and receive all love and gifts with an open heart.

-A

New Year, New You

Everyone has some kind of new year resolution, I’m sure of it.
But this year, I didn’t feel like a New Years resolution was in order.
Until I sat with my mother, and talked for hours…

The pain after a breakup is always individualised. It’s unique for every breakup, every event, every special realtionship. You may still carry scars of a breakup or event that caused pain from years ago, childhood even, and you may not even realise they are there.

After reflecting and going through a healing session with my Wholistic Doctor, I found hidden sadness towards my divorce. I was totally unaware that under the surface, I still feel guilty or pained by the truth that I hurt a friend who would no longer be a lover. I expected tramatic memories from younger years, but I did not expect this hidden sadness to surface. We physically and emotionaly worked through the sadness and tramatic memories and directed my path towards healing.

It’s amazing to feel this burden lifted.

I encourage you, this year, resolve to improve your quality of life, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Take the time to ask yourself what hidden burdens you may carry.

I leave today for a trip to Honduras. This will not only be my first time out of the courty, but my first true vacation without a cell phone in my adult life. Work will hault, play and peace is the only healing motive we have for this trip.

Take care of #1. Connect with God, with the community, and with your true, inner self. This is the best way to be the best you can be.

I send you into the world with all my love and encouragement, and support from afar.

-A

Not all bad, but still not good enough

“How do you know when to end a relationship?”

I replied to the lady with a quote from an old friend. She had said “Whenever you find a red flag.”

There’s a problem with nice people though… we see a red flag and then we give the person the benefit of the doubt and change it to yellow. We tell ourselves that we’ll turn it to red when something else flags in front of us, or when they repeat the behavior and bring it up again…

But once you put on the glasses that change red to yellow, you don’t notice the flags anymore. And now you’re a few months in, pointing out “this, and this, and this, are all no good.” How did you miss them? Or did you see them and minimize the problem?

Should you even settle for yellow?

Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone has yellow flags pop up. No one is perfect. But, I have found, with the right fit, even the yellow flags or God forbid, the yellow ones with a red stripe down the middle, all turn green. Bright happy green. :)

Because… when you’re dating your soul mate, (even married people should date) you work through things. You talk them out and are both in happy and healthy places where you can come to compromise or learn to respect a boundary.

One of my biggest pet peeves and strongest boundaries is my spouse making fun of me in front of others. But I have learned that my soul mate can still do this in a loving, teasing, gentle way that I can appreciate. When he recently went too far and crossed the boundary, I pulled the “you know this is a red flag for me” card. It’s very important to me, and I needed him to respect that. He did. He never meant to be hurtful, but his comments crossed the line, and it was a very rare occasion. He sincerely apologized, and when he teased me this weekend, I didn’t flinch.

On the contrary, the person who asked me “How do you know when to end a relationship?” has seen manipulative and passive aggressive behavior in her boyfriend. The only thing I can hope for you, if you’re in a similar situation, is that you have a close friend you can trust to process with. She needed time to talk it all out and think things through.

Anytime you see unhealthy, needy, manipulative, and/or passive aggressive behavior… you’re walking into trouble. Say no. Walk away. Change their name in your phone number to “Don’t Answer” and move on.

Someone can still be a good person and still be needy. They can still be a good person and have a passive aggressive episode. We all have our moments. But after a few months, you should be able to tell someone’s character. If your gut keeps signaling at you. Trust it. You have those instincts poking you for a reason. Don’t feel guilty because they really like you, or say they’ll be bedridden if you leave. That only proves their unhealthy.

They have to be able to take care of themselves before they can help you grow. And if someone doesn’t encourage and support your growth in life, they’re not worth your time let alone your heart.

Be strong. Search for those bright, happy, green flags. Don’t settle for yellow. :)

Turning the Page: Part 1

Last year around this time, my life was about to turn a page of epic proportions. It was similar to the last few pages before a new chapter in a book where something absolutely shocking happens, which catapults the reader into 5 more chapters because they just cant.stop.reading. The nail biting pages are what I like to call them.

The day/night before Thanksgiving I woke up with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I’m sure you know the feeling…when you’re waiting on a phone call or a text and the news seems to be leaning more toward the negative. I couldn’t explain the feeling of dread. I tried to rationalize it to myself all day, but deep down, in my heart, I knew. I just knew. Much of this blog speaks of women having an intuition that far surpasses the natural elements of the world; a sixth sense, a “feeling.” Call it hocus pocus, but I believe firmly in it. I believe God gave women an even more keen intuition to warn them when things are “off” to protect themselves: spiritually, emotionally, physically.

You’re probably screaming at the screen for me to get to the point. Maybe you have left to even go use the bathroom or grab a snack, but please bear with me.

The feeling began to encase my heart in what felt like frigid waters. I couldn’t focus on work. I think I may have even left work at a few minutes to 5 in the hopes for some relief. I drove to my boyfriend’s house who I had loved for roughly 4 years. We had only been dating 5 months or so at this point. I drove up and I parked and felt this chill around me like nothing I had ever felt before in my life, even on the nights after my dad had left my mom and I had no clue where he was. I knocked on his door and he answered it, but there was no hug or kiss waiting for me. Instead he led me up the stairs and he leaned against a table and says, “Meg, I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

Cue the stunned silence.

This was the man I thought I was going to marry. Not marry for a couple years until we grew tired of each other, but stay together til I had dentures sorta thing. Til death do us part.

I most certainly burst into tears. If you want to read the darkest of all my blogs, look backward at my blogs around Christmas last year. That story…the story about my bearded man, that was him.

There wasn’t much explanation as to why we should break up except a lot of “We’re too different.” There were many tears shed during that conversation. I felt as if I drove away quickly, with no indication that he had ever loved me, and no idea what was next. I could barely see to drive. I just couldn’t stomach the feeling of heartbreak. It was not just a broken heart, it was heart pulverization. Complete shattering of a dream.  Most of my friends were married, two kids deep, with graham cracker crumbs lining their car seats. I didn’t feel as if any of them could understand this grief. I was sure they had experienced sadness, grief, and hard times…but this was unlike anything I could even begin to explain.

I didn’t want to have “girl’s nights,” I didn’t want to answer questions. I didn’t want to see them say “ohhh, well maybe someone BETTER will come along.” I didn’t want what I call a ‘Christian greeting card’ answer. I wanted to be with Ryan. I wanted a salve for my shattered heart. I wanted someone who truly understood what it was like to not be with their soul mate. That was all I knew. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t need Ryan for my survival and thriving that things would begin to turn another page. The voice I needed to be listening to all along was the voice that remained small amidst the roar of the crowd of voices in my life…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

True Words

 

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Photo credit

Glowing – Part 2

I told you “I had to know more about this mysterious man I had assessed incorrectly….”

So a couple of days later, we went out for coffee again. I invited him to go on a “4 corners drive” with me. He said yes.

I didn’t really expect that part… lol :)

I picked him up and followed the roads on the city outskirts to view the Albuquerque lights from all 4 corners- North, South, East, West.

**He totally thought I was taking him out in the boonies to kill him or something.**

I guess he started trusting me at some point, because we shivered in the convertible and sang and talked until we returned home. There, we sat in front of a warm fire and talked the night away. We talked about life and love and our past and potential futures. We talked about school and work and who we are and we went deep diving in each others’ souls.

Skip to 3 months later: January. We’re at his parents house, date night, and we’re in the hot tub…(ooh, la, la!)

**No, don’t get any ideas! He still hadn’t even kissed me yet**

We were still in this weird stage. The moving from friends to more, getting to know each other, and scared to death you’ll give over your heart and get hurt stage. But the fact that we hadn’t kissed was what made it even more special. Because here we were, in a hot tub, with snow all around, and snow falling on our faces, when we decide we should get out and go in. (It was cold out!) He gets out of the water and trips a sensor so the light turns on. And we can see the snowflakes fall all around us. It was like the stars were falling. It was the most beautiful, unforgettable, magical moment. I fell in love. I melted right there, along with the snow I was standing in. I wished he would make this moment even more perfect and kiss me right then.

But he didn’t.

He held me as we stood in the freezing cold and laughed and stared up into the falling stars. We let the snowflakes fall on our eyelashes like we were kids again. And then, once again, we kept each other up late, talking for hours.

This is the intimacy we built our relationship upon.

The knowledge of another heart, mind, and soul. We didn’t need to know each other physically. That would come in time. (Another month and a half later to be exact- until he would finally kiss me! Cough, cough!)

I kid because we all know that common feeling. We’re impatient to feel and touch someone we love. But let me tell you; that kiss was SO worth the wait. It was just as dreamy and sweet and memorable as the night the stars fell. And that’s the way it should be. We should seek the spouse who fills our soul and appreciates every part of our minds and personalities. That’s what you’re spending the rest of your life with- each other. Not just his/her physical presence.

That yummy shirt he’s wearing? Temporary. His annoying cat? Temporary. (Sad as that may sound)

His religious beliefs? Probably Permanent. His desire to have children or not? Probably Permanent.

Her parents and how they influence your lives? Permanent. The way she treats you? Permanent. The way he respects and shows you love or doesn’t? Permanent.

Her physical ability to run, jump, & live life as a capable person? Temporary.

Now, that’s a fresh perspective.

Your life can change in a moments notice. Tragedy does happen. Is the person on your arm just “arm candy”? Or is it the person you’re prepared to walk through the fires with? Someone you love and can depend on? Of course, if you’re fresh in a new relationship, your answer is “I don’t know.” But as the relationship grows… you’ll know. Deep down you’ll feel confident this person completes you, or you’ll realize it’s simply convenient. If it’s only convenience that’s keeping you attached… then what happens when it’s not easy anymore?

The relationship switches from “permanent” to “temporary”…..

-A

Interrupted

My plan for this next post was to be “Glowing- part 2″. But my life has been interrupted with too many topics to write about and process with you… Many of you may not know I have a BA in Religious Studies. I process my Christian faith, and yet I strive to be the most open-minded Christian around. I don’t put God in a box, but I still look to the Bible for answers and to get me thinking. Today, we’re going to start deep diving in the Bible…And ask tough questions… Because my study today left me with a heavy heart.

I’m re-reading one of my all time favorite books, Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, whom I greatly admire. (Mostly because he asks his readers to study, test, probe his work. And I enjoy doing so.) I was reading today, and it mentioned Jesus saying his yoke is easy. (Matt 11:30) I was reminded of the other big verse to “not be unequally yoked” (2 Cor 6:14)

I’ve been known to my friends to mention this verse and turn it around (like everyone else does) and say we should be equally yoked with our lover. I’ve been known to say X and I were not equally yoked, even though we professed the same faith. I’ve been known to say you can be equally yoked with someone who shares a slightly different faith, Catholic & Christian for example…

But that’s really not what this verse is saying. It’s not saying ‘you should be yoked with so and so’. It says “do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…” So what does that mean, considering a “yoke” back then, was a rabbi’s set of rules about how to live?

I believe this means don’t take on the yoke of an unbeliever. Don’t follow their rules, their way of life. (My study Bible notes seem to agree with me. Lol) We all know bad company corrupts good character, right? (1 Cor 15:33) So, if you choose to date someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God, and lives selfishly and sinfully, then their way of life will influence you. Especially a male who is called to be the spiritual leader of your home… Don’t we want to be with a man who will help us grow spiritually? Instead of someone who distracts us from our calling and being Christ-like?

Deep diving. I know….

But these are things you should think about. Who do you want your children to learn from? What kind of home do you want them to grow up in?

On to the personal part of this story… Why am I discouraged? Because all this diving led me to look into furthering my education in Masters programs. It lead me to 1 Timothy 2:3-4. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

I want to listen to the truth/ sound teaching. I want to learn from a tough teacher. Not all things are black and white; but I don’t want to unconsciously search for a teacher that tells me things are grey- just to make my life easier. I want to be challenged. I want to test and probe someone’s teachings and ensure they speak truth. More importantly, I want to be a teacher who teaches the truth. I don’t want to sugar coat things. So as I researched ministry and theology degrees, I found that because I am divorced, some Christian schools will not accept me as a student or if I remarry, I “may become ineligible for ministerial credentials”.

wow

I had no idea I would enter into a marriage commitment that would feel more like two roommates. I had no idea I would divorce him a little over a year later, after spending roughly 4 years with this man. I had no idea I would find the love of my life, later, and wish to marry again someday.

And now, I had no idea, the church would not accept me because I am divorced. I should have known. But it hit me today, like a ton of bricks. So, my Jesus forgives and accepts me… But he says you can’t teach others about me because you’ve sinned? He thinks my sin is worse than your sin?

He does not. I know my Bible says all sins are equal.

Nonetheless, there are consequences for our sin that we can’t always foresee.

And, I have to live with these consequences. I have to find a school that will accept me. GPA aside, it may be the title “divorced female” that congers a rejection letter.

Then again, I will overcome. God doesn’t fit in a box, even if some churches do. I know I need to be equally yoked with my school if it’s in God’s will for me to go. And maybe it’s not… I won’t know until he opens a door, or closes one.

May he open doors in your life this week and show you what you’re yoked to.

With a heavy heart, but still in love,

-A

Glowing

It’s been quite a while since the ladies and myself have gotten on here to blog to you. Wedding season has swept me into a mess of stress and worry and I don’t think about anything else very often… but today I met with a bride that inspired some blogging and made me think it was time to share some positive changes with you.

My clients shared their hopeful & inspirational story with me today. The couple met in high school and went to a dance together when they were 17. They went separate ways and never talked after high school even though they lived in the same city for almost 35 years. A few months ago, he looked her up on Facebook and he sent her a message. They’ve decided to get married in less than a year from now. They were like giggly school kids. When she told the story, agreeing that “when you know, you know” she implied everything comes together when it’s supposed to; and there he was smiling at her, just glowing.

Have you ever seen a couple who make each other soul’s glow?

I can tell you, that’s when you know. When you can be silly together.

When I was dating X, he did not make my soul glow. In fact, he made me the worst version of myself. He would corner me emotionally or manipulate and lie to me to get me to agree to do or accept things I didn’t respect. I recall him telling me once he was taking me to an action movie, good guys vs. bad guys kinda deal. So I went along with it, trusting him. I walked out of the movie only 15 minutes in because I was sitting watching a horror/thriller filled with gore. I can’t handle that kind of imagery. It’s just too strong for me, and he knew it. He lied to talk me into it. The worst part of this memory is that I felt so guilty for walking out. I was the childish one who had to storm out and refuse to watch it, therefore ruining everyone’s evening, when I was actually manipulated from the start. He probably thought he could get away with it because I’m “too nice” and wouldn’t dare ruin everyone’s night. That might have worked if I didn’t feel the evil pouring out of the screen.

Jump to today…

My soul now glows.

I told my mom the other day that if something happened to my boyfriend, if he left me or something tragic happened… she’d have to come pull me out of bed to get me to eat or shower. I would be devastated. She smiled. “Because you’re in love…” I guess that means I’ve never been in love before. I’ve never felt so strongly before. I’ve never known that my heart would be incomplete without that other person. I didn’t know my soul had a missing puzzle piece that only he could fill.

I used to be a client at my boyfriend’s work place. He one day sparked small talk and said he’d “always wanted to fall in love, but never found the right girl“. I was confused. This guy had always been so charismatic. I thought he could get any girl he wanted. I thought he’d been with girls he worked with even; he was such a flirt. His truth and sincerity caught me off guard, so I kept thinking about his phrase for a few days. I called a mutual friend of ours and she told me I had been incorrect. Maybe he could get any girl he wanted, but he was an innocent flirt. He didn’t chase tail. In their years of friendship, she’d never even seen him accept a phone number let alone have a girl on his arm.

So I sent him a message on Facebook and asked him out to coffee. (Sound familiar now? lol)

Only he denied receiving it. He was terrified. “What if she’s the one and I’m not ready? What if I don’t treat her right?”

The next time I went into his work place I asked him about it. He said he’d look for the message. He had to answer now. So, we met for coffee a week or so later. I thought I’d play matchmaker and set him up with a friend of mine. I wasn’t even considering it a date. Then I asked him about music and he took my breath away. His answer was deep and thoughtful, inspiring even. It hinted at an amazing person buried beneath all the masks I saw him wear at work.

I had to know more about this mysterious man I had assessed incorrectly….

….to be continued…
-A

Quote of the night

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So true.

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