Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It simply amazes me. Women are deeply complex. In some ways that is a beautiful wonder and mystery. Yet those same complexities are the ones that irritate and confuse me. I have faced some of the hardest situations a wife could ever face: drug addictions, alcoholism, infidelity, and death. And now I am out, beyond the pain and walking down the path of my glorious future. Life is good and full of hope. Yet in the midst of it the other night I find myself discouraged about my body image. It's a warped perception to be discouraged over my body image after all I have been through. Not to mention the fact that I'm two sizes smaller, a half marathon runner, in the best shape of my life and not ashamed to wear skinny jeans or leggings.

Why are we women so easily moved by body image? Why is it that no matter how much weight we lose we still don't see our selves every day as the beautiful women we are? Why is it that in the midst of life turning the corner and our dreams becoming a reality. We can find ourselves in a pit of discouragement, when we should be celebrating?

We need to renew our perception. We need to stop viewing ourselves in light of what we want to be, focusing on the short comings instead of what we are and it's beauty! We need to gain gods perspective. While we were still sinners he saw us valuable enough to send his son to die for us. He sees the good in the midst of all the bad. He isn't moved by our weight, our love handles or muffin top. He sees us gorgeous. Why? Because we are. God is not a liar. God sees us beautiful and worthy because we are. God sees us beautiful because we are smart intelligent and amazing creatures. We balance work, motherhood, health, households and personal relationships. We sacrifice ourselves for our children and our husbands. We give life to a baby with in us, carry it for nine months,and nurture them into this world. We are amazing. It doesnt matter if our bathing suit doesn't make us look like a cover model, we are beautiful. When we feel like a rock star, whether or not we look like it, we are beautiful. Change perspective. Don't see your failures, see your successes. Embrace yourself and what makes you amazing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I purpose to live my life with integrity.  I try to be honest, even when its hard to tell the truth.  I'm grateful I live my life as a woman of her word, because a few weeks ago the last secret became public.  I have been very open about my story, for the most part.  I know that as embarrassing and difficult my experiences in life and in marriage have been, being transparent opens the door for hope.  I didn't choose to be in this situation, but since I am I might as well let as much good come out of it as it can.  So as I am honest and share the truth of the issues in my previous marriage: the drug addictions, alcoholism, and many struggles my late husband had, women in my situation find hope.  I purpose to live my life as a light to the women who are pages behind me in the story life: strong women, who are encompassed by darkness.  This darkness is not self imposed.  This darkness is shed on them by others, and it holds them back, like bars on a jail cell.

But there is one last secret which I didn't share.  I suppose I wasn't ready.  I suppose I still felt a sense of embarrassment, however unnecessary it may be.  I didn't share this last secret out of respect for my children and my late husband.  I'm not one who likes to air people's dirty laundry. While my late husband may not have respected himself, I have always honored him as my husband, in death as much as in life.  I believe that is how God would have it.  I strive to be an honorable women, and so I have tried my best to honor him.  I know I've failed at times.  I called him names, I've shouted at the sky to him.  But I always wanted people to remember him for the good that was in him and not sensationalize his downfalls.

I also didn't share for my children's sake.  I vowed that they would never know, because I didn't want to taint their image of their daddy.  I would tell the occasional person as it seems necessary, but in person only.  I never wanted to put it in print, for fear that they would find it!  And at this point I am still holding to that.  Even though it made its way into print, it wasn't by me.  And though I have been forced to tell my children the truth, it was out of necessity, not of ill intent to dishonor and shame their dad.  Perhaps someday I may write my complete story in a book, but toI even struggle with writing it here.  I have a new life, and I love the freedom of not carrying it with me, not being "the woman who...."  I am not ready to take that step, to publicly share, and associate myself with his final secret, not in that way.  So I will continue to share about the last secret in person only, and in writing generically.

Several weeks ago, the thing I dreaded, the final secret made its way public.  The details surrounding my late husband's life falling apart, that I had guarded for so long, were released in the media.  My life, and personal pain was sensationalized for all to see, simply because its a "good story" and it sells! Looking back I almost laugh because its been so typical in my healing process for me to face everything which I have tried so hard to avoid.  God has brought me full circle to face everything I held as a symbol of pain, everything that I wanted to forget.

Perhaps I couldn't truly move on with skeletons in the closet.  Perhaps I needed to face the pain, for the pain to heal.  I equate it to a broken bone, the kind where the doctor has to break it again so it heals properly.  Thats been my story.  My late husband broke some bones, and in order for me to heal properly and regain full use of my life again, those broken bones must be broken again and reset into place.  It hurt when it happened, and it hurt when I faced it again.  But each time I move past it I feel freer than before.  I feel another chain, another weight taken off of me.  My step and stride is lighter, easier and happier.

I've faced the places I equate with pain, I've faced the people who were instruments of pain, and I've now faced the public humiliation of his actions.  Although I was afraid, and tried to avoid facing it, I'm glad God had me do it.  I trust God enough to let Him guide me through this process, to take my hand and show me all the things I didn't want to see.  I am glad He was there holding my hand.  And now as I walk away, I hold my head up high.  Because I am free!  Nothing has a hold on me.  Nothing has power over me: not a secret, a person, an action, or my past.  I no longer want to define myself, or let others define me by my past experiences.  Taylor Swift sings it best, "Who you are is not where you've been... Your still an innocent."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Second Time

Today I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  It seems that the further I step into my future the more I understand my past.  As many of you know I was widowed a year and a half ago. I was in the midst of marriage hell.  I married a man, whom I loved dearly, and who loved me, but he was sick. He had personal issues that were beyond repair.  Those personal issues showed up early in our marriage and the longer we were together, the deeper the issues became.  Initially they ate away at the level of interaction, communication and closeness we had.  Then it ate away at our marriage, then our finances, our security, and finally our entire life.  His issues were destroying him, which ultimately was destroying my life.  I was a casualty of his self destruction.

In the past 18 months I have been spending time healing.  I have been praying. I have been crying. I have been discovering who I am. And I've been hoping! I have hoped that someday I would meet a man who will love me the way I long to be loved.  I hoped that I would find a man who would receive the overwhelming love I long to feel for another.  I hoped that my son would receive from God the promise He gave, a new daddy to raise him.  Friends, that day is here! I met an amazing man, and soon we are going to be married!

When I am with him, everything just fits.  It flows. Its natural.  My son and I find comfort in being part of a family that loves and respects each other.  I have realized the fullness of our lives is not in what we have, but who we have to share it with.  God has blessed us! I have felt emptiness and despair.  I have felt a longing to be loved. I have felt rejection. I have longed to give myself to someone and have them receive it with open arms!  God has answered my hopes, He has answered my prayers.  He has shown me that He does take us from glory to glory, and that the latter will be better than the first.  

Since our engagement, I've been reflecting on my love for my fiancĂ©.  Throughout this whole process of growing in love together, I've been comparing.  It feels so different than when I dated and married my late husband.  I am sure no one wants to be compared in such a way, but in all honesty its completely normal and totally unavoidable! We are going to compare.  And the good news is, the more I compare the more my fiancĂ© comes out on top.  I become increasingly aware of the healthy nature, and maturity of our relationship and love.  Its a completely different creature than my past relationship.

I wish I could find the words to express this difference.  Perhaps the best I can say is this love is deep, like the deep love you feel when you have been married for a while.  When I married the first time I didn't really know my husband.  He never really let me know him. He had a wall.  It was bigger than the Berlin Wall, and longer than the Great Wall of China, and it was impenetrable.   He would say to me time and time again that he didn't want to let me in because he was afraid for me to see the real him.  Ironic isn't it? I experienced the worst times of his life, and my love didn't shake.  But still he felt this need to hide behind the wall.  The wall was there when we met, there when we married and there in his final days. It never came down. 

As I think back on our dating days I think about the great effort he made to woo me.  He showered me with roses, and gifts.  He made every effort to be the perfect man.  As my good friend described it, "I had never seen anyone pursue like that."  And all the attention captured me.  He "won" me.  And I fell into what I thought was love.  I'm not saying I didn't ever love him.  With time, I grew into that deep level of love that is what God designed for us to experience.  But that initial love I felt, wasn't deep.  It was surface.  It took time for me to really love him because I had to first experience him.  

Today I realized he pursued in me that way because he couldn't just be himself.  He didn't want to let me fall in love with who he was because he didn't love himself, and feared if I saw the real man I wouldn't love him either.  So he did all the right things externally, a form of smoke and mirrors to place my attention on his actions and how I felt, instead of discovering the man he was.  He said the right things.  He bought me all the gifts.  He put a dozen roses on my car while I was at work.  The whole time I didn't realize the surface level of our relationship, and the wall which I was soon to encounter.

Its odd to be reflecting on my first relationship so much during these exciting days of engagement.  It seems random to be gaining more understanding about the past I am so far away from.  But it is my past which brought me to this place, on the edge of my glorious future.  And by looking back I am only able to hold on tighter to my future.  I realize the depth of love I feel this time is deeper because there are no smoke and mirrors.  My finance isn't saying and doing all the right things to win me over.  He is real.  He is himself 24/7.  He exposes who he really is: the good and the bad.  This time when I fell in love, I fell in love with a man, vulnerable, unguarded and willing to give himself to me completely.