Prayer Request Please…

Friends, please pray for me. I’ve truly come so far in my healing from the sexual assault I endured at 13, but every now and again, a moment hits me and I feel like I’m grieving what happened all over again. That happened to me not that long ago and now I just feel drained. I hate even thinking about it but I also know if I ignore it, it just sits and festers inside me. Keep your babies safe, friends. Don’t be paranoid but trust your gut and remember that over 90% of reported child sexual assaults takes place by someone the child knows and trusts (and that’s just the reported cases). It’s easy to believe only monsters could do such a thing, but sadly they aren’t always so blatantly obvious as that. The man who assaulted me was my sister’s ex-brother in-law. Known and trusted by her ex-husband’s family for over 20+ years, he worked with my brother in-law and was invited to every wedding, barbecue, family gathering, hunting trip, etc. Sexual assault has a lifelong impact. Be willing to offend to protect your child more than fear being wrong. Thank you, L, for following your instincts and being willing to act to end what was happening to me. ♥ Thank you for the prayers.

Unforgivable

Your words have been on my mind sporadically the last day or so… unforgivable.

I’m not unforgivable. It’s unfortunate that my mistakes are not something you can move past, and perhaps our relationship won’t heal, however you have no authority to condemn me unless you also wish to condemn yourself. I don’t condemn you. I forgive you. Your actions have been deeply hurtful and my hurt as a result has hurt you. I’m sorry for hurting you with how I’ve worked through things. In hindsight I see many other ways I could have addressed my pain. I hope you can move past the pain and find healing, and I hope you know that your mistakes don’t define you. You are a beloved daughter of the Lord. He loves you. As I am, you’re His.

As such, I cling to Him for restoration and forgiveness and I hope you find it within yourself to see all the wrongs you’ve done through the eyes of Jesus: with grace, compassion, and love; that you allow Him to set yourself free from the mistakes you’ve made, and from the hurts done against you.

Only God chooses who is unforgivable. You my sister, are not, and neither am I. God is bigger than our pain, our hurts, our sins, and the wrongs done against us. He’s bigger than any division the enemy has created and attempts to continue to broaden. God’s sacrifice on the cross was enough. Jesus is enough. All we need is Him and to allow His Truth to renew our hearts and minds to transform us.

It’s my continued prayer that we both find His peace as completely and wholly as His desire is. That we keep searching for a deeper relationship with Him than we have and continue to go deeper still. It’s my desire that somewhere along the way we’ll find our way back to one another; healthy, restored, new, and healing.

You see. We’re not unforgivable. We are loved more than we’ll ever comprehend.

I’m still healing and growing up. I might still be hurting, but I love you, sister. I love you. That will never change.

Chats and Snuggles with Karyn

Last night Karyn gave me a hug and her eyelashes tickled my cheek. I began to sing butterfly kisses but couldn’t remember the lyrics and she asked what song it was so I played it for her. Her, Katlyn, and I were all bawling by the end of it and they both talked about how they never wanted to leave. LOL! It opened up a conversation about the future.

Karyn said she struggles with the idea of marrying because she’s concerned her husband will feel crowded with a big family. First of all, I totally chuckled on the inside, but then I told her that she can talk to the man before they marry and if he doesn’t want to be around a big family, she doesn’t have to marry him. She was relieved to hear that. Then after I explained that she doesn’t have to marry anyone she doesn’t want to be with, that some things she can compromise on, but there are some things she never has to compromise.

I asked her if she wanted a big family and she said yes, that she wanted many children, but she would want to take valerian root (it’s what I take) because she’d probably be pretty stressed out. LOL!! She said she hopes she is a mom like me in that I spend time with my kids and listen to them, that she loves on them and plays with them.

She said she also struggled with the thought of getting married and with having a lot of kids because she’d miss me and wants to spend time with me. I told her she doesn’t have to get married and have any children, but doing so doesn’t mean she can’t come see me. She will have her license and her own vehicle and be able to come see me whenever she’d like, and I can visit her too. I told her that she could come at any time and if it’s late, the kids can go to bed while we visit and she can either stay also or she can leave the kids until morning while she goes home to spend time with her husband. She liked that, too.

We then talked about what kind of man she’d want to be with and she talked about missionary work, hoping her husband would be in love with Jesus most of all. She then said she’d want him to be like Daddy, so I asked what kinds of character qualities like Daddy she’d like him to have if she could choose and what she said absolutely blessed my heart. She said she wants a man who is fun and plays with their kids; who would never leave them and would be loyal; that he would be honest, respect her privacy (that’s the word we’ve used to reference intimacy from since they were little), and that he would admit when he’s wrong, apologize, and be humble; that he would work with her and compromise, and of course that he’d have a beard. hahaha

Words can’t describe how much this little chat with her blessed my heart. Karyn isn’t really chatty about feelings or goals or desires, so I have never really known what she was thinking about certain things, but this conversation showed me the depth of the sweetness I knew was there. She’s growing up to be such a smart and lovely young lady.

Oh and I just recalled another thing she mentioned regarding being a witness to someone else being reprimanded by their parent and asked what she should do. I suggested as long as she was welcome to stay present to see it, that she could observe and learn from another person’s mistakes so she doesn’t have to experience the consequences of wrong choices. She said, “Yea! Then I can learn from watching it rather than doing it.” I told her how wise that is, but to be sure it’s always led by the Holy Spirit and not just what one person believes is right or wrong. She liked that…

I’m so blessed by my children. They are amazing human beings and I’m elated to be a part of their journey. What a gift I’ve been given to know them and to see their beauty blossom. I’m so so honored and privileged to be their Mama. I couldn’t be more thankful than I am in this moment. Thank you, Lord!!

Hold on to me…

A baby
placed into your life,
Vulnerability and defenselessness
The purest form,
You wouldn’t give
You only took
She was there
Bare and begging
Empty and alone
He broke her
He stripped her
She lost herself
He ruined her
You did nothing.

You were blind
Pretending you could see
You saw
And did nothing.
You heard her cries
Your own needs
They screamed louder
You turned away
You never looked back
And when she was gone
You pointed your finger
She was the pain

How could you?
She stayed quiet
That wasn’t enough.
She sought you out
You regretted nothing.
She spoke the words
That pissed you off.
You blamed the darkness
You learned nothing.
You shut her down
She walked off.

She was unsteady
She was unsure
You yelled at her
Trust her?
You couldn’t.
Look at her.
Just look at her.
You said it.
You didn’t get the emotion.
You scared her…
She just wanted love.

Hold her…
She wanted you to touch her.
Love her…
She wanted to be special.
Kiss her…
She wanted to be loved.
He did…
He stole from her
Your love… was replaced
By trickery and confusion
You mocked her
You punched her with your words
She was broken
And you stepped on her pieces

You had peace
But where was hers.
You forgave yourself
But never showed her
You moved on
You left her
She was wounded
And you were gone.

Daddy, your daughter needed you.
Mama, I was all alone.
Our house never felt like home.
I needed you to be there
I was shaken and alone
You moved on.
Mother you hated him
It was all you could see
But I was there
Wishing you’d come to me
Father, you weren’t there
You abandoned us all
You left me scared.

Forgive.
Forget.
Move on.
But you haven’t.

You’re still putting your responsibility on me.  Sitting in silence as if you don’t know.

He disrespected, deceived, and confused me and now you do the same.

Don’t you see? Don’t you see me and what you’re doing?

Blame me… but I won’t apologize for reacting to what you’ve done.
This isn’t about the past. This is about today.

You were never there… and you’re still not.

Your words hurt me and now your lack of them hurt me…

Say something.

Say the right thing.

And mean it.

 

Being Who I am…

I’m sitting here, listening to Karyn talk to herself as she plays… she’s so imaginative and creative, with so much enthusiasm… and Christopher just started talking to himself too… he’s sitting next to her and playing with his Mario toys, making them excitedly do math… neither of them are hesitant, embarrassed, hiding behind what is or isn’t cool or socially acceptable…

I’m so thankful for that…

I still remember, over 20 years later, when I made my stuffed animals talk to each other as I played by myself and someone coming up behind me and laughing at me. Poking fun at me that I was talking to myself. For all I know, they thought I was cute… but the impact left me embarrassed and paranoid that I was immature. I was just a kid being a kid, and I was embarrassed that I was being weird and different.

It’s spilled over into other areas of my life… how I clean my house, how I dress, how I walk to my vehicle or down the road or across a parking lot… it led me to stop wearing ski pants to go sledding because it made me look like a kid…

but I was a kid…

I’m so glad my kids are being kids and feel free within that realm of their childhood. They aren’t thinking about being kids… they just are.

I want to be that type of woman… not thinking about being who I am… just being who I am.

Moments

I watched a show where the mother of an adult woman passed away. They were close and had a friendship that I’ve never had with my parents… and I found myself grieving what I never had, and what I could never have, even if it’s another 30+ years before my parents pass away because that relationship of trust and security was never established.

Something I said to my husband the other night about it… I’m the grown up now and I have little ones looking to me to be what they need as their parents. I can’t dwell in what I didn’t/don’t have because it’s on me to provide it for these precious people. I’ve spent over a decade since becoming an adult searching, yearning, and desiring more from my parents, and now I feel I have to close that chapter and move on.

The desire isn’t gone, there is certainly overlap where I see myself momming my own little ones. With my oldest just a couple months from becoming a teenager, which was the most pivotal time in my young life and when everything fell apart, I see the need to let the broken and hurting parts of myself and the relationships it stems from to slip away. It’s not a lack of love, a lack of interest, or a lack of forgiveness… just simply less love and less interest, and a less important relationship to work through than the value in the one I have before me with my children. Nothing is more urgent than the energy and love I have to offer the babies that the Lord has entrusted to my care and if I’ve learned nothing from what I never had, it’s that no one can make that choice to be the parent that I needed, that my children needed, than the parent themselves. Me.

Parentless with parents was always a difficult position to be in… my parents live 10mins from me. They gladly, willingly, and even joyfully open their door to my growing family… they are there but there is a detachment present. Perhaps not for them, perhaps they don’t feel the disconnect and it’s something they don’t understand. I was oblivious to my need for them until my safety was shattered and all I wanted was them to fix what was broken… I was 13, searching for stable footing. Perhaps they could never repair it, no matter how they tried. All I know is that all I had was The Rock that I was standing on… I didn’t even acknowledge it was there, because I could only see the vast waters that surrounded me, empty but suffocating whenever I tried to step off. The only safety was on that Rock…

God was always just sitting there with me, and often I never noticed, much like a toddler keeps watch of their parents as they play but doesn’t notice their presence so much until they’ve returned from a trip to the store, and realized they weren’t right there, and how much they needed/wanted them. Sometimes this made me angry, because I longed to be scooped up and hugged, held, and loved on, showered with affectionate words of how special and important I was… but my parents were supposed to do that… instead, they had no idea how much I needed it and I had so many others filling my head that I was a horrible human.

I definitely fall short of where I could be, but I’m learning more and more of being comfortable in my skin and simply desiring to grow because that is inevitably what happens when you seek to be healthy and whole – not because I need to be better, not because I’m not good enough, not because I’m dirty or ruined. Simply because growing is what you do when you are loved and have value… and I am. I am loved. I am precious.

My parents were children once… they had siblings and they had to grow up and figure things out for themselves too. They had children and faced each other in marriage as they sought to survive and thrive and impart what they felt was best for their own family. I have compassion on them and what they had to work through… and I hope my children will give me grace and love through all my daily mess ups.

I envision the future with my children, seeing them marrying and having babies of their own, spending time with them and playing with them, passing on a legacy of love and compassion, hoping the message of their value in Christ sticks. I envision how I might respond to the mistakes I’ve made if they were to confront me with them and how I definitely wouldn’t respond. I don’t need validation anymore, but I did. I needed my parents to let me be angry at them and to say they were sorry. I needed them to say they wish they had done some things differently.

I don’t need that now. I still have anger, but I don’t need validation anymore. I don’t need them anymore… and now I’m faced with ‘what if they die’ what will I do. Will I be okay? Will I have wished I done things differently. Should I give them the time with my kids before they die? Am I hurting my kids if I don’t give that relationship to them? I’m left wondering what the right things to do are,what would make me a good daughter or a good mother or a good person? But ultimately, I just think about what’s going to help my family thrive.

I can’t be everything to everyone, and I am struggling with that, but I’m trying to embrace it. I’m simply not strong enough to be the daughter without what I need, as well as the mother I never had, for the children I’ve been given… trying to give all I am to them so they are not children without what they need… and perhaps this is how I’m without to begin with, because my parents couldn’t give me what they didn’t have themselves and were searching for it as well… but alas, that doesn’t change anything other than perspective, which is good because it leaves me aware but in the same place.

This is a moment… and I leave room for everything to change in any such moment… but I also acknowledge where I am in every moment also and this is where I am, counting each moment as precious in the lives of my children above all else as I walk out God’s calling on my life – to be a mother. The hardest, most rewarding, most challenging, most crazy-making thing I do… and right now, that’s all I have time for.

If someone makes it like I’m in a bad place or that I’m thoughtless of their own needs, then they don’t have my own kids’ needs in mind and they can wait. Anyone else who gets it, will get it and support that, and will wait willingly.

I am taking all I have to be closer to Jesus and pour everything I have into what God calls me to. It’s all about Him.

Being Considerate

In an effort to get out of my head a bit, I brought my husband to work today to get some things done since we have a full day tomorrow. Well, after getting our system situated to go grocery shopping, my six kids and I began to work our way through the busy store. It wasn’t long before I noticed that others were in a hurry and my six kids (well stationed around the cart so we can move through the aisles and I can see all of them, while also respecting that the aisles are shared space), and I were quite the inconvenience to those trying to enjoy their own shopping trips.

One lady actually glared at me that she had to walk around my two daughters in order to get to the other side of us. One elderly couple stood there grumbling, and after I gently and respectfully apologized and said ‘oops! we’re right in your way!’ the woman said, ‘yep!’ without cracking a smile. That was about 5 or so minutes into our mission at that particular store…

Add to that kids asking for things, me reminding them to walk with me, looking at my list, processing what I needed next, my oldest in lala land that I had to keep bringing back to the cart so I didn’t lose her, training my youngest ones to stay where I’ve told them to stay, and trying not to walk past any of the items I needed to get and needless to say, I was beginning to feel, well, angry. I was angry that these folks were upset that they had to pause for a moment or go about 3 feet out of their way on account of my family trying to live our lives in the same space. I can’t even imagine what they’d have thought of me if I had let my kids run wild if they were so disgusted with us in the manner we were moving along.

I can’t say I remained respectful, unfortunately. I had grace for about 4 people before I made a slight scene as I spoke to my children about how surprised I was at the people’s reactions to us simply trying to buy food for our home. Thankfully, my kids pointed out the kind man who winked at them, the man with a little boy who smiled and gladly let Kimberlyn say hi and talk to him; the woman who smiled and nudged her own teenage daughter and pointed at us… I don’t think anyone realizes how much these small moments mean to us.

I had to leave before I burst into tears. With only half my list completed, I hurriedly checked out and got the kids in the van before calling my husband and having a little cry on the phone. Mind you, this was our third stop. I’d already brought the kids to the bread store, the liquidation center, and they’d been in the van for about an hour so I could bring their Daddy to work to take the van. They were behaving quite well considering my expectations… so I was angry. What kind of expectations does society place on parents and children? I simply don’t understand.

Well, I’m not sorry for being in the way. I live here too. My being considerate of the time and efforts of others doesn’t mean my time and efforts aren’t important, it simply means I care for others as well as my own.

Thank you to all of you who take a moment to smile. Your kindness means a lot… my kids clearly noticed, and I’m so so grateful they do. They help me see the kindness when I’m struggling to do so.