Respite for your weary soul (+ possibly your weary body)

Ladies!  It is not too late for you to join me next weekend at Restore in the DC area.  If you have any questions about this workshop – please email me.  We will laugh, cry, get angry, and be besties before it’s all over.

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This is not exactly how I wanted to spend the last ten days.

Especially because it’s my favorite season of the year – *Fall*.  I want to be out and about, enjoying the color changes here in Denver along with the gorgeous weather (minus the snow storm that blew through here some two weeks ago).

Instead – I find myself in bed.  Sick.  Jason made an executive decision yesterday and hauled me to the doctor and I didn’t have enough energy to protest.  The doc thinks I came down with a virus about ten days ago and then caught a second one earlier this week.

Lovely.

So that’s why I haven’t been able to get any traction, turn the corner, and move on with life.

I find myself feeling frustrated, powerless, and disappointed.  I find myself saying – I have missed a whole week of my life!

My boys look at me with anticipation in their eyes every morning and after school – I can tell they are wondering – is momma any better?  I shake my head – and say I’m not quite there yet, but I’ll be better soon…

And then last night – Jason and I are lying in bed and I ask him to pray for me, for us.  As he prays – he mentions surrender.  He mentions not resisting but rather allowing this to play out.  And giving us the strength to get through.  ‘Cause momma’s don’t have time to get sick.

Something in me shifted as I heard Jason drift off to sleep and I lied there fully awake – hurting too much to slumber.  What if I were to just let go – to surrender this, too.  To know that there is goodness in everything and something for me even in this week.

Maybe the week that was wasted, that I missed, was actually a week where I was able to be… reminded of my fragility.  To see that I’m really not as in control as I want to be.

Maybe this week – because of my pain and inability to sleep – was not wasted because… I was able to pray for a dear friend battling cancer and another dear friend battling a chronic disease.

Maybe this week – because of my inability to get up and go – was not wasted because… I saw that asking for help is a good thing.  It allows me to practice humility and to actually see that I have needs that I can’t always meet myself.

And of course – my heart goes to y’all – my dear readers.  You might be having the same thoughts.

He’s ruined my life.  Because of my grief – I have missed out on my baby’s first year.  I have missed out on the joy that usually surrounds my birthday.  What a waste.  And will I ever EVER be repaired enough to find that joy, that hope ever again.

I want you to know that there isn’t anything in this life that has happened to you that God didn’t touch first.  (Thank you Dale for your wisdom):

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

He knew of your heart break.  He knew of your pain.

And while it might seem ridiculous to even think about right now – God has so much good planned for you because of the trials and tribulations you are facing right now.

“What you intended for harm, God intended for good.”  Genesis 50:20

While I believe getting to a place of acceptance can take years and buckets of tears and grappling with questions that don’t necessarily have any answers – I believe that surrender – yes, surrendering whatever load it is that you are carrying TODAY – can be a short term respite for your weary soul.

What is it that you need to surrender?  Can you get specific?  And then – what would it look like in practical terms to release it?

For me – I need to surrender this illness that has (temporarily) taken over my day to day.  I can choose to wait patiently, to ask for help, to pray for others while I wait, to look my children in their eyes and be reminded of how much I love them even though I can’t show them in any other way right now how much they mean to me.

Wishing each of you a much healthier week that what I’ve had the last couple.

xo – Shelley

 

embracing this season

As my boys slowly return to school and I find myself getting a little more margin in my life – I am grateful to have some space to breathe.

I love summer.  I love the warmth.  I love the slowing down of life.  I love being with my boys.

I also love it when they go back to school.

And I always look back at the summer and wonder – How did I get by?  How did I DO it?

(And for those of you that home school – all I can say is – you, my dear ones, are the HEROES during this time of year.  I have always thought that home schooling would be SO cool, SO amazing, SO the thing for me.

Until I drop off my kids that first day and limp home, licking my wounds from the summer, and I realize – I almost didn’t make it, once again.)

Picking up where I left off earlier this month – I am in a season girls.  I have been fighting it and resisting it.  Doing anything and everything in my power to deny that it’s a rough one.

All up until last week, the first week of school, when I took that breath, sat down and then realized – this isn’t going away anytime soon.

Maybe that is the first step in surrendering these ugly seasons – agreeing that they are indeed right in front of us and not magically disappearing.

As for what to do next – well – I decided I need to name it.  If I was going to get comfortable in this season of wading through some tough parenting and some tough fighting with Jason – I needed a word (or several) for it.

(As a side note – recognize that there is power in naming things.  Whether we are naming our children when they are born, Adam naming all the living creatures that God created, or God renaming people in the Bible – there is power and authority when we call it what it is.)

So, last Thursday – Norman and I went on a bike ride/run (Norms doesn’t start preschool until next week.  Can you guys guess who was riding the bike and who was running?!) and I was asking God – what shall we call this season you have me in?

I started thinking through the best words to describe where I’m at – sh%# show would work but I just didn’t feel like that was the most godly of descriptions to use.  So I thought longer and deeper as Norman started to complain about his legs getting tired while he was biking (Y’all – did you really think I would make my five year old run while I rode the bike?!).

Patience…perseverance…steadfastness…surrender…endurance…

I don’t like those words.  I mostly don’t like perseverance.  And it was perseverance that I kept circling back to as I asked God – is this the word you have for me?

Aaaaaaaaand – it was just about then that I look down and Norman has a flat tire and is crying to go home.

I start crying, too.

I want to go home, too.

Why is everything SO hard?!  For crying out loud (literally) – why can’t I just go on a run to try to get grounded and feel good without it turning into a sh%# show?!

I walked in circles, took some deep breaths, and then told myself – oh, and Norman (since he was standing right there with his bike) – we’d make it home.  One way or another, we would.  It might take some serious perseverance (for the love!), but we would get there.

And isn’t this exactly what God is saying to us?  While we lose hope, feel despair and depression, wonder what in the world is going on – God is right there beside us telling us we will make it home.  One way or another we will get there and He’s not going to leave us until we do.

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Some of you might be in a winter season of your soul like me.  If you are – I encourage you to name it.  Start by simply asking God – what in the world are we going to name this season?  You might be surprised with what comes to mind as you present that question to Him.

Then – look up the word in your concordance in the back of your Bible.  You can use this website to help you look up verses and start to pick apart the meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words used.

That’s what I’m working on this week before the boys wake up in the morning and here is a little of what I have learned:

  • perseverance means to bear up courageously under suffering (Matthew 24:13).
  • it also means hopeful endurance (Romans 2:6-7) and is the opposite of cowardice or despondency
  • there is a connotation of steadfastness (1 Cor 15:58) and refers to someone that is fixed in purpose
  • another Greek word for perseverance refers to being patient and brave in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to have long patience (Hebrews 6:15)
  • and last – when we persevere – the result is completeness and wholeness (James 1:2-4)

Maybe I’m starting to grow fond of the word perseverance.  If the end result is wholeness and completeness – I think I’m game to sit in this a little longer.

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Would love to hear your heart on this.  What season are you in?  What has it looked like to let go and allow it to be rather than fighting it and denying it?  xo – Shelley

 

Truth for your day

This week – I was acutely reminded of the pain of the first days and weeks following Jason’s disclosure of his secret past.  The gut-wrenching – deer in headlights – I think I’m going to vomit sort of pain that brings us all to our knees.

The good news is (because I’m always looking for the brighter side) is Jason is living with integrity and living a godly life with purpose.  He is all in.  I as well am all in and living a life trying to pursue God and His path for me and not my own (the struggle is real!).  Yes – the good news is Jason and I are together and intact and fighting strong.

While I know sharing particulars here isn’t wise – the last few days have brought back some of the priceless and ever-so-important realities that I had to mine for in the weeks and months following Jason’s confessions.

So if you are new on this journey or a seasoned veteran like myself – I think you will appreciate hearing what keeps bubbling up in my head as we wade through the waters –

There isn’t a one of us that can fully prevent bad things from happening.  As much as I’d like to believe I can be perfect – this week has reminded me once again that it’s impossible.  God is the only one in this life that is perfect.  We are not.  I heard this quote yesterday and appreciated it – “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business.”  -Michael J Fox

Boy, did I struggle early on in our journey with questions such as – how could I have prevented this?  How could I have prevented myself from marrying a sex addict?  How could I have somehow been a better wife, a better lover so that this wasn’t my story?

The truth is – bad things happen to good people and it wasn’t my fault – but it was so hard to get there.  Especially when I suffered consequences as if it were my fault.

Isolation breeds fear.  It’s critical to talk about it.  One of the hardest things we will ever do is to share our pain with someone else.  I can remember 15 years ago – how I held onto my story.  Wondering if I just didn’t tell anyone – maybe it wouldn’t be real.  However – holding it all inside for month after month sickened me.  There was so much fear that I carried around inside of me.  John 11:10 says “but if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

When we choose to drag what is dark into the light – no matter how scary it is – there is always freedom awaiting us.  It certainly doesn’t take away the consequences or the reality of the choices made by those we love (or made by ourselves for that matter) – but it does something powerfully healing when we share our truth with someone else that we consider safe.

My heart aches for all the women out there that haven’t shared their stories with a single soul.  That, my friends, is why I believe so much in these support groups.  Because it’s a place where you can share your story and work toward being real, true and authentic.

I’m reminded (and oftentimes forget) I’m no better than anyone else.  Then tragedy strikes and I’m back on my knees, realizing none of us are better-than.  It comes back to humility and there is nothing like the humbling work that Jesus does in our lives.  It’s painful.  It’s harsh.  And it’s also necessary.  Because living from a place of lowliness – continually choosing hands wide open, asking God to get us through the next minute, the next hour – there is such a sweet richness there that can quickly fade when life is throwing us Care Bears and rainbows.

What good will come from this?  I remember asking God – how will you redeem this?  How in the world could any good come from it?  I heart Genesis 50:20 when Joseph says to his brothers years after they betrayed him – “what you meant for harm, God meant for good.  The saving of many lives.”

Oh God – how much we all want that for our stories – for it NOT to be for harm but instead be for good.  And for not just one life to be saved because of our pain but for many lives to be saved.  Yes – that’s what we want!

Here’s to hoping that when you read this post – you are resting in God’s goodness – even if you feel like you are at the bottom of the food chain.  xo – Shelley

I’ve got work to do – Part 3

Before reading this post, it will help to read Part 1 and Part 2 of “I’ve got work to do”.  I’d hate to confuse you anymore than necessary!

As I mentioned in Part 2, I received some feedback from my life coach as I was doing this forgiveness work.  She pointed out two areas that, for all intents and purposes, I missed.

Here are the two critical parts in my big release that I didn’t realize would be helpful to my healing –

Part One – I didn’t spend near the time and effort writing out why I felt hurt in these four five relationships (okay, seriously, I am feeling insecure that I might be coming across as super unhealthy given the number FIVE.  Oh well.  It’s my truth today.  The end).  I was advised to write out every single thing that hurt and to shush the “fairness police” peering over my shoulder telling me I’m too sensitive or too whatever.  Instead, by doing naming the hurts, we are choosing to value ourselves.

Part Two – In releasing others (aka forgiving them), it’s helpful to remember we are forgiving past hurts – not necessarily on-going hurts where there hasn’t been a chance to detach, get safe, and grieve.  As in, oftentimes, we must get some distance and perspective before forgiveness can take place.

Check out this excerpt from Boundaries

“Forgiveness has to do with the past.  Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future.  Limits guard my property until someone has repented and can be trusted to visit again.” (page 263)

Going a little further, something we can ask ourselves is this – What will I do differently next time? By asking this question, I’m able to actively figure out what I can do (not anyone else) in the future to help guard my heart in a healthy way.  Empowering.

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So a couple of days later, I went back to the drawing board.  I listed out the hurts. I thought through and wrote down what I will do differently next time.  And let me just tell you – this was SO validating and healing for me.

Doing these extra couple of steps also helped me come to this realization – a lot of my “do differents” had more to do with boundaries and self-control than anything else!  (I literally pulled back out my boundaries book and have been flipping through it over the last couple of days.)  Again, empowering to figure out what I can do differently moving forward!

All that said, let me tell you ladies – I am under no such illusion that because I have released these five precious women from my heart – that I will never ever struggle with feeling bitter or resentful toward them.  I know this all too well from my forgiveness journey with Jason.

Jesus take the wheel!

What I DO have is greater peace.  Greater freedom.  My load is lighter because I have let them go.  I’m not spending near the amount of emotional energy thinking about the hurt!

If any of this is hitting home with you – I want you to know, you can do this too!  I’ve never met someone that needs help with forgiveness more than me!  So, whether it be forgiveness work related to betrayal or forgiveness work in a completely different relationship, there is freedom awaiting you!  Chances are, it won’t be glitzy or glamorous.  It will happen only with a LOT of effort on the front end followed by creating a quiet space to meet with Jesus and allow Him to work through you in a mighty and mystical way that we can’t explain.

One last thing, remember as I mentioned above, forgiveness requires a LOT of grieving and naming the hurt.  I used to think I could forgive in order to circumvent the grief process but I know differently today – grieving is a big part OF the forgiveness journey.

xo – Shelley

I’ve got work to do – Part 2

I was waiting for the perfect opportunity for my big release.

(I encourage the women in my groups to go before God and ask Him – is there a particular way that you’d like for me to forgive my husband?  The other woman, the other man?  That said, I’ve heard of some really powerful ways that this forgiveness work has transpired – releasing helium balloons with each one symbolizing a different hurt, hurling rocks in a lake with each one labeled with a different offense.)

I wanted to get creative – and at the same time, I wanted to be obedient to what I knew would be a fleeting kairos moment that I felt deep in my soul.

(Side note – do y’all know what I mean by this?  Oftentimes, I sense God pushing me to forgive someone for a minor offense or to be generous with my time or money.  I hear it, I acknowledge it…and then life moves on and it becomes a fleeting desire that I never act upon.  This happens so often to me.  So I KNEW – creativity needed to just fly right out the window so I could be obedient to what He was asking of me.)

So I asked God.  I waited.

And what I ended up doing was neither glitzy nor glamorous.  I tucked my youngest in bed for his nap last Tuesday afternoon and had exactly one hour before my olders would walk in the door from elementary school.  I knew it was time.

I sat down with my Bible, pen and journal.  I prepared my heart by writing out about 5 verses to inspire me to let it go.  Here’s a couple of them –

Work toward being compassionate, kind, humble, patient and gentle.  I choose to forgive because Jesus forgives me.  I choose to love because this is the greatest commandment. (paraphrased from Colossians 3:12-14)

It’s good for me to suffer so that I might learn your ways, LORD. (paraphrased from Psalm 119:71)

I then asked Jesus to be right by my side.  I took each woman individually (I added one more to the mix, after a rough weekend with a neighbor) and started with confessing what I did wrong.**  What I regretted doing or not doing.  I then spent just a little bit of energy writing out how I was hurt.  And then I released each one of them – pen and paper, just me and God.

This took me less than an hour to do and by the time I was done, not only was my hand cramping but my soul felt lighter (I say this because I never really think it’s going to work!  Anyone relate?)

However – and it’s a really BIG however – I missed some critical steps that I wouldn’t have realized if it hadn’t been for me processing this with my life coach.

And I’m SO thrilled to share this with you ladies in Part 3 because I think it’s really REALLY big!!!  Don’t worry, you won’t be waiting long for the conclusion.

Until then, any of you feel like there is someone God is asking you to release?  Anyone that comes to mind that is taking up so much emotional energy that it’s time to sit down and do some business with God and experience more freedom than you have at this very moment?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

xo – Shelley

(**A note to those of you contemplating forgiving your husband after finding out about his betrayal – I don’t know that in your case there will be much, if any “confession work” for you to do.  Confession and asking God to reveal any shortcomings is important work but to be clear, I’ve yet to meet a woman that forced her husband to look at porn or have an affair.  For these sorts of hurts, I can’t imagine there is anything to confess.

What I shared in this blog post is about releasing women that I’ve been in relationship with where the hurts have been much much more minor than betrayal in marriage.  Thus, this is slightly different than the forgiveness work you will do with your husband.  I would never want you to think you bear any blame for your husband’s choices (which is something I struggled with for months and is why I want to make this perfectly clear).

I hope this helps clarify any doubts creeping in.  xo)

 

I’ve got work to do – Part 1

Do you ever know that you have some work to do?  And you know what the end result needs to look like?  But you just don’t know how to get there?

Kinda reminds me of my forgiveness journey.  I knew I wanted and needed to forgive Jason.  I knew that by forgiving him, my burden would be lighter.  I knew that the ONLY way to live a whole and joy-filled life was to chase after forgiveness.  And yet, I really didn’t know how to get there.

I had no choice (Actually, I had a choice – I could stew in my bitterness and resentment or I could GRIEVE) but to slowly and surely put one foot in front of the other and TRUST that God would lead the way, just as he did with the Israelites as they left Egypt some 3500 years ago –

“By day, the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night, in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or by night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” – Exodus 13:21-22

And that’s exactly what happened – I started to get real (I mean, REAL) uncomfortable sitting in my pain and grieving my reality and allowing God to lead the way.  Grieving that the one man on the planet that I chose and that I thought had chosen me – also chose other women, too.  And he never told me this reality until after I said – “I do”.  I had to grieve that no. matter. what. my marriage was officially tainted.  I had to grieve that I was officially broken.  Oh yes, so so much to grieve.

And little did I know that it was that grieving that propelled me toward forgiveness.  More specifically to the grieving, it was putting on my brave pants and getting super honest about how I felt.  You ask why it required my brave pants?  It’s because there is NO way I could FIX those feelings.  I had to SIT with them.  I had to SIT with them.  I had to SIT with them.  UGH.

And then I realized, the one and only way to move forward through the pain was to lay it all at the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to do a miracle in my heart and release me from the hurt and the pain that Jason caused.

Jason never could do enough to pay me back.

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So maybe that’s the answer to my question from above.  I know I have work to do.  I acknowledged late last week that there are not one, not two, not three but FOUR people that I need to release.  Dear me.

I keep thinking of Paula Rinehart from Strong Women, Soft Hearts, where she talks about pulling out her yellow legal pad and going to town – just she and Jesus – looking inward and asking the big question – who do I need to let go of?  It’s something she says she does every six months.  Inspiring.

I’d say that’s my next step – to take out the paper and make my confessions obvious in black and white – a marker of sorts.  To confess what I did wrong in these relationships.  To confess that I’ve harbored bitterness and resentment.  And then to ask Jesus to work in me and through me to change my heart.

I am ready to release.  I am ready to be more free.  Anybody want to join me?

Shaking out the blanket

Hi Ladies!

I’ve been yearning to sit here and write to each of you – and it’s been a bit cRaZy over here so I haven’t been able to.  This morning, I’m putting everything to the side,  I’m sitting in my comfy pants and I have my favorite chartreuse blanket wrapped around my legs.

So here we go.

What’s been keeping me so busy,  you ask?  Well, several things –

I’ve been prepping like crazy for two events coming up.  If you live in the Seattle area, I’d love for you to come to this one day event.  And if you find yourself sinking and in need of a weekend-long intensive, I’d so love for you to come here.  This is six months of healing wrapped up into one weekend and let me just say – you are worth it!

As if prepping for these events wasn’t enough, Jason had a bit of an emergency a week ago that landed him in the ER.  Ten hours later and one surgery later, I brought him home.  My parents were absolute life savers as they immediately drove seven hours to come help and took the littles back to Texas with them the next day.

So it was just me and Jason in this home of ours.  And it was incredibly quiet.  I loved it.

I realized like never before how much I love this man.  How thankful I am that I chose to stay.  How thankful I am that he did the hardest work that any guy could do to save our marriage.  Thankful.

We had some sweet conversations this past week – and realized some things that need to change.  I guess that’s what a surgery will do to a family.  Allow us to see things in a different light.  To recognize the importance of family and friendships and love and connection like never before.

Why do we keep landing here?  Asking ourselves – what are we really doing?  Why are we limping along like this?  Should it really be this difficult?  This stressful?

The answer – maybe, maybe not.  Certainly raising little boys makes life a bit more intense.  Trying to keep our marriage a priority makes things, well, messy.  At the same time, we are asking ourselves, where can we simplify?  What can we say “no” to?

(And before you start to think that I do it all, please know that I don’t.  And if I’m brutally honest, the truth is – these speaking events I’ve been prepping for?  Well, I’ve sacrificed other really good things like time with Jason, time with my littles, time with friends to make them work.  And I don’t know that that’s even right.  Sigh.)

Reminiscent of the breakdown I had almost three years ago – where we had to completely shake out the blanket and re-prioritize almost everything.

Anyone feel like they are here?  Like they are just barely making it through their day?  So much on their calendar and on their to-do list that life really is all about that and not about celebrating, loving, connecting and enjoying?  Well, if you are feeling me here – know you aren’t alone.

I was talking to a friend yesterday and she was saying that by the end of the week, they are ripping off pieces of a paper towel to use as toilet paper in their house because they’re all out of the TP.  She asked – what are we doing??  All I could do was nod and say, I get it.  Completely.

So maybe, like me, it’s time for an overhaul.  It’s time to set all commitments and priorities out on the table and look at them one by one and decide – does this stay?  Or does this go?  Shaking out the blanket.

This is always scary for me, is it for you?  I’m sitting here as I type and asking myself – why is this so scary?  Why not exciting?

There is relief, that’s for sure.  Anytime I get to the end of myself and realize, there must be a better way – there is relief.  But I don’t like change.  I don’t like facing the reality that I can’t do it all.  It taps into my incompetence like none other.  So maybe that’s why.

I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9 when Jesus says – “My grace is sufficient for you.  For my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Okay, God.  Maybe this is an alright place to be.  To know I can’t do it all, to know I have limits.  To know that when I am weak – that is when You are strong.

Would love to hear from you – are you feeling like you’re barely making it through the day?  And if so, what could you say “no” to?  Likewise, if you are reading this and thinking – I was there but I’ve made some changes, thank goodness I’m not there anymore – then please tell us, what did you do different?

love you gals – Shelley

ps.  I promise, I will come back to worthiness soon.  I hope you are still keeping track of the lies in your head like I am.  My list is growing.  Holy cow, can’t believe how I shame myself.  xoxo

Free-Fall

Hi Ladies!

Well, here we are.  2017.  Can’t believe it.

I’m sitting here this morning in a quiet house.  It’s the first day of school post-winter-break here in Denver.  My boys have so much energy that to be here in the quiet where all I hear is the fridge and heater kicking on and off is just plain odd.

I have to say – I forget every year how sweet that week between Christmas and New Years is.  It just feels like the world slows down, we can all catch our breath, learn to breathe a little easier, and forget what day of the week it is.  Does anyone else just love that week like me?

Enough rambling from me.  Let’s get down to business.  What I really wanted to share was where my heart is at this morning:

Do you ever feel like God is asking you to jump off a cliff into the unknown?  To trust Him even when in a lot of ways it doesn’t make sense?  Maybe you are pacing back and forth right now at the edge of the cliff.  You know in your heart God’s asking you to jump yet in your mind, it really can’t be possible, can it?

As I sit here and reflect, I feel like much more often or at least initially, God asks us to jump off of a chair.  Thank goodness for that!  We can see the ground.  We might feel a flicker of fear but only for a moment and before we know it, we are on solid ground.  And when we land, we realize that standing on the ground is so much more comfortable than standing on the chair.  Maybe this is a faith building practice of sorts for when we face the cliff.

Because those times come for all of us – when He asks us to jump.  Not off the chair but off the cliff.  These moments are (thank goodness) few and far between.  I can think of a couple off the top of my head.  When I chose to forgive Jason, for instance.  That was definitely a cliff dive.  I did NOT see the ground and I fell freely into the unknown.  I made a choice and although it didn’t make sense in my head, it made sense in my heart and I took that leap of faith and trusted God.

It also happened almost five years ago when I finally said “no” to physical therapy because I knew God was asking me to say “yes” to helping women with a similar story to mine.  Once again, I did NOT want to jump.  I am a big fan of stability and security.  So many unknowns taking that jump.  And besides, I LURVED my career and I worked hard to get to where I was.  But I jumped.  And it was such a good choice.  In fact, I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make it.  God was oh-so-patient with me.

I’ve found myself at the edge of the cliff, once again, as of late.  And I gotta say, it hasn’t gotten any easier for me.  I like the jumping from a chair much more than jumping from a cliff.  The decision to jump is always painful.  But the free-fall after the jump – well, in a lot of ways it’s even harder for me.  The decision has been made, the “no” is out there.  And yet, I don’t have total clarity in what God has asked me to do because I haven’t landed yet.  My feet are not on solid ground.  I can’t look back with that 20/20 hindsight and say – “ah!  This is why!”

So where is my heart today?

It’s thick in the wait.  I’m in the free-fall and I haven’t landed yet.  It’s vulnerable here and I’m not going to lie – I don’t like it.

I know this is where faith is built.  I know this is where I choose hope.  Good things will come.  But for now, I’d rather have comfort.

So I’m buckling up once again.  Clinging to God.  Clinging to others.  Clinging to loving myself well as I fall.

Believing, hoping, trusting that my feet will hit the ground in the days, weeks or even months to come.

xoxo-Shelley

what I’m learning about myself right now…

Hey Girls!  It’s me again, Shelley.

I laugh as I say this because Jason and I have this running joke that dates back to college.  I saw someone I knew walking down the street while Jason and I were driving past them.  I proceeded to stick my head out the window and honk and yell as I waved, “IT’S MEEEEEEE, SHELLEYYYYY!”.  I guess I figured they might not recognize me.

It was too funny.

jesustakethewheel

I still do this occasionally.  Takes me back to my roots and it makes us laugh ’til our bellies ache.

I wish I could say that laughing is what I’ve been up to lately but that hasn’t been the case.  It’s been a bit heavy here at the Martinkus house.  Jason’s been working through some heavy stuff – grappling with unmet expectations and what we fondly call, “mid-life recognitions”.

It’s left me feeling like I need to detach and protect.  It’s triggered the past.  I’ve seen these small glimpses of old Jason here and there and I’ve wondered – oh boy, where might this be taking me?  Where might we end up? or this one: Does he even want to be married to me anymore?

Jason warned me not to catastrophize or over-react (see the above paragraph for examples of this).  (Does he not realize that I am a professional catastrophizer?)

After my over-reactions, I started to wonder – does this ever end?  Will there ever be a time that there isn’t a reminder of the past?  Where there isn’t more to process from decisions from long ago?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I just can’t believe that we are coming up on 13 years into this process and there is still work to do.  Not the ugly slow work of the first three or so years but work none-the-less.  As soon as I think we are coasting, I realize there is something else that God is pruning and shaping in ourselves and in our marriage.

life

The card Jason left for me yesterday morning. He says I’m the straight line and he’s the bunny. Well honey, you definitely keep me on my toes!

So we’ve reached out for support.  Jason met for lunch yesterday with a friend, someone he trusts.  Thank goodness, this man was able to tell Jason things that I could have told Jason (I know, I’m so humble) but that Jason wouldn’t have heard well from me.

I sent out an SOS to my go-to girls and they came a running ready to support, ask questions and encourage me.

Finally, last night, Jason and I had a break-through.  He reassured me with tears in his eyes that he is grateful I chose to stay married to him.  That he wants nothing more than to be with me and our boys.  And that he needs space to wrestle through these hard questions he’s working through.

So what might I be learning right now?

  • This road might not ever end.  I get to choose if I’m going to buckle up and surrender the ride to God or grip the wheel and exercise my controlling tendencies.
  • I will always need community.  We will always need community.  Support is priceless and it’s something I’ve had to fight for and will continue to prioritize in the years to come.
  • I’m stronger than I was when we started our recovery.  Because years ago, this would have probably sent me into a tail-spin.  Today, a tail-spin is not out of the question but I feel like I can detach and allow Jason to grapple and to find my grounding in something other than him.  It all comes back to trusting more in God and less in me and my situation.

This verse keeps playing in my head:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet i will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  Habakkuk 3:17

I choose to surrender.  I choose for Jesus to take the wheel.

What about you?  What is God teaching you about yourself right now?  Is it hard for you to surrender and allow Jesus to take the wheel?  – to fully trust in Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

on surrender. {and being small}

Hello Lovely Ladies!

This blog post comes to you from my bedroom.  Where I’ve been fighting what I assume to be the flu for four days now.  Joy to the world.

I tried to embrace this sickness.  And I wasn’t surprised at all to come down with something.  My stress had been mounting over the last couple of weeks over – of all things – taxes.  For the love.

But by last night, I was done.  I’d had enough.  I felt so pathetic.  Inadequate.  Powerless.  Achy.  Smelly.  You get the picture.

surrender1

A girlfriend dropped off some soup that is also sick (misery loves company) and she made a comment about how God was teaching her something in this, too.

Stop the brakes.  Oh yeah.  God is in this, too.

It was her comment that started my release.

I realized, I needed to surrender.

I started humming the old hymn, “I surrender all”.  And then proceeded to cough and choke.  So I quit the humming.  I’ll just sing it in my head…

My to-do list?  I surrender.

My parenting this weekend?  I surrender.

{One of} my mail piles?  I surrender.

There is a sweet release in surrendering.  But why is it so hard to get there?  Well – maybe for me – it’s because I don’t like feeling small.

This carried over into a text exchange I was having with one of my go-to girls this morning – did I mention she is sick, too?

mailpile

What does it look like to embrace being small?

What does it look like to really and truly be okay right where I’m at?  Right where you’re at?  Especially when we feel small… trusting that God has a purpose for us every. single. day.

It might be that you are sick this weekend like me.  Or it might be something more crushing – like a marriage that is barely holding on.  Or a diagnosis that won’t go away.

I want so badly to be okay with where God has me.  I want to be Shelley and nobody else.  And if that means being small and inadequate and imperfect, then okay.  But boy, do I ever fight it.

There are a lot of us women out there running to the same finish line.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of pushing and shoving – in order to get there first. or better. or more perfect.  Myself included.

Let’s just stop.

What would it look like for us to pause?  And cheer someone else on?  To find the least of these and move them along even if it means we finish last?

What would it look like if we really thought of others better than ourselves?  Not in a self-pitying sort of way but in a Christ-like honoring sort of way?

What if we stepped back and allowed others to go first, be first?

It takes a secure woman to do these things which I seriously lack half the time.  But just talking about this perspective helps.  It helps me feel relieved that it’s okay where I’m at and it’s okay where you’re at.  God has a purpose for each of us.  Today.

Okay.  Deep breath.  I’m glad we could have this talk.

And if your head is spinning, like mine, take two ibuprofen and let’s chat in the morning.

xo-Shelley

ps.  I’d love to hear – what do you feel God asking you to surrender?  Cheesy or serious – would you share?