Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Ain't No Fairytale

I've come to a conclusion, one based on lack of sleep and several hours of crying.  Yes, I am still doing that.  It's ok.  I'm ok with it.  There is no timeline to this process.  There is no right or wrong.  There is no mold to fit into when it comes to grieving a divorce.  Each person, each breakup, and definitely each situation, is different.  I still cry.  I still get overly emotional and downright inconsolable. Anyhow, back to my conclusion.  One that didn't really dawn on me until I was replying to someone that means a lot to me.
You see, last night, I was a mess.  I was reminded, yet again, just exactly how disposable I was.  It was thrown into my face with such vehemence that I was literally left speechless by the words that were said to me by the ex-Mr.  He fought for his new girlfriend.  He defended her and all but screamed, in so many words, that he loved her.  That is where I lost it. There are many little instances over the past couple of months were he has shown, expressed, down right forced it upon me that she is his.  He is doing for her  what he honestly never did for me.
Here is the thing, after much processing, I know what the real reason behind my pain is.  I know that it isn't him that I still love.  No, love takes a willing commitment and honest effort, that has been gone for a long time.  It isn't love.  What it is is the death of a dream.  Most of us grow up with that idealized thought that we will find our prince charming and live happily ever after.  I was one of those little girls.  I used to sit and dream about being whisked away and given a romance that even Walt Disney couldn't compete with. 
And that is why I am still heartbroken.  My wishes and dreams didn't come true.  Now that I am old enough to know better I can see they were poppy-cock, those childish dreams of mine.  This ain't no fairytale.  Life does not come with fairy God mothers, talking mice, dishes that dance and sing, or a rose that withers slowly. And in most certainly DOES NOT come with a prince charming. 
That leaves me with what life does come with.  It comes with experience, pain, heartache, mistakes, lessons learned, and questions.  But to only focus on those negates the other things that life comes with.  It comes with beauty, hope, smiles, sunshine, and the never ending love of our Savior. 
There you have it.  My roller coaster ride may not be over, but there is no shame in that.  My childhood dreams may not have come true, but that doesn't mean I can't have grown-up goals.  I may not have a prince charming, but I do have a Savior and He will always be here for me.  I may never have a forever someone, but hopefully with time I learn that that is ok and that me, by myself, is not a bad thing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Raising These Girls

I've read recently that God gives us the parents that we need.  I know that we are not supposed to question His authority, but really?  Just what was He thinking?  I won't sit here and rehash all the eww that I had to grow up with.  All the pain, heartache, blah, blah, blah that it was.  I mean, we are as adults, a product of our upbringing regardless of how we changed.  Yes, this means we could have grown up in a very strict, Christian home and become complete crazed partying lunatics or we could have grown up in a home with parents that were never there and vowed to become the most attentive parents to our own children that we could.  Like I said, in one way or another we are all a product of our upbringing.

However, in order for God to give us the parents that we need, He has to give them the children that they need.  Yeah, it kind of works that way!  Here I sit reflecting on that very thing.  You see, for as long as I can remember I always wanted someone who would love me unconditionally.  I can remember telling my grandma this when I was about 19.  I don't remember what she said, but I can imagine it to be full of the insight that only she could provide.  Grandma's are kind of awesome that way.  Then when I was with my first husband I remember pleading to the Lord for the very same thing.  I don't remember what He said, but I am sure patience was something I needed to learn.

Then, on April 22, 2002 I was given the most beautiful gift.  A little girl.  A precious bundle of pink that hardly made a sound and smelled of hopes and dreams and a future yet to be had.  Finally, God had given me someone who would love me unconditionally.  Then, because either He thought I was extra special or He has the MOST amazing sense on humor, He followed up that bundle of pink with 2 more!  YES, people, 3 of them!  I have 3 girls.  This house has so much estrogen up in it there isn't a man alive that will want to be in a relationship with me!

And yet, I think more than anything, God knew exactly the children I needed.  I grew up in a home where I had a mom who was gone a lot.  I know she worked and did other things.  Yet, one of the things I always wanted the most was a relationship with her.  I see friends my age who call their mom daily, seek their advice, go shopping with them, lean on them for just about everything, etc etc.  In a way I'm jealous of that.  I was about 12 when my grandma told me, after I asked why my mom didn't love me, "she simply never learned how to love."  I don't know the truth to that.  I think people express it in ways that they want it to be shown to them.  I'm sure she did her best.

But it is ok because God gave me 3 beautiful people to become the right mom to.  I won't deny what I learned.  I learned to take care of myself.  I learned to take care of others.  I learned to be self-sufficient and self-dependent.  I learned that, in life, you only really have yourself to rely on, that no matter how much you want someone else to take care of you, no one will.  However, what I want to show them is that I will take care of them.  And then I want to teach them that love is - dancing in the kitchen, manicures at 9pm, popcorn for breakfast, crazy hair days, chocolate ice cream, giggle fests, and dressing up just for fun.  I want to teach them that TV is not necessary and books will paint prettier pictures.  I want to teach them that the out doors is their best friend, that sunshine and rain can bring a smile to your face like nothing else.  I want to teach them that falling down is ok as long as you gave it your best because I'm there to help them up.  I want to teach them that I'm human too and mistakes are ok and that we are going to learn this thing called life together.   I want to teach them how to pray and count on God.  I want to teach them that going to church isn't the same as being in church.  I want to teach them that Jesus is always there. I want to teach them how to be better than me.   

The most important thing that I want them to know is that even though their daddy didn't love me enough to stay, I still love them more than words will ever express.  I want them to know that they don't need a man in their life, but if they should get lucky enough to find a good one I pray he is the one God designed just for them.  I want to teach them how to take care of themselves and think for themselves and to love themselves - the perfectly imperfect yet absolutely beautifully and carefully designed works of a loving God that they are.  I want to teach them how to wake up each day and do what needs to be done and at the end of the day be ok if it wasn't a win. 

Finally, despite all that, I really just want to teach them how to love and be loving.  How to stand up for themselves and respect others.  I just want to teach them that they are unique and wanted and so very much loved by me.  Then, when I am done teaching, I hope we can still be friends.  I know I have the hard years in front of me, but I've got God on my side while I'm raising these girls.

The Butterfly Effect

I know this is the title of some movie Hollywood wasted money to create.  Chances are it may even be somewhat decent.  I didn't watch it.  It isn't my cup of tea.  Honestly, I can't even tell you what it is about and that really isn't the point.  I will spare you the science lesson of how a butterfly comes into being.  We all, for the most part, can remember that from Kindergarten.  It is more the philosophical premise of the butterfly that has the wheels in my head spinning tonight.

You see, I stumbled upon a quote today that was simple yet profound. 
The summer after my littlest Little was born we took them all on a vacation to Chicago.  One of the places we went was the Brookfield Zoo.  That particular year they had a butterfly house exhibit.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of butterflies flitting around from plant to plant, person to person, just being.  These delicate, sun dependent, little insects with the vibrant wings doing nothing more than promoting growth with each landing they made. 

People are like that.  I have met people that have the most spectacular "wings" you will ever see.  These people don't just swoop into your day, they flit into it.  They gently land and stay a bit.  While they may take a bit of what you give them - kindness, love, and generosity - they leave something too - their own mixture of kindness, love, and generosity.  These are people who help you to grow and just maybe, with what you pass on, you are helping them to grow too.

I urge you to close your eyes and picture the most beautiful butterfly you have ever seen.  Does it have wings of blue and green?  Is it pure white with a luster only made by the shining of the sun?  Is it even more majestic like that of the monarch?  Whichever delicate pattern you see in your mind's eye, you know how intricately designed it is.  You, too, are intricately designed.  You are majestic and beautifully made.  So, dear readers, as you set about your day, don't swoop in for a landing, but gently flit to and fro and promote growth - both for yourself and others.

Love, M 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day

(I started this post on 02.13.2014)
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  The day when people who are in love, have a true love, or have someone who thinks about them, receive sweet little gifts as a token of that affection.  This time last year I was packing. Not for me.  For him.  He moved out, completely, the day after Valentine's last year.  It's been a whole year of being just me and my girls.  A whole year where I have prayed and prayed and prayed some more for a love of my own.

Here's the thing about love.  It lies.  Let me explain.  Love in the way that we understand it, lies.  Most of us view love as a feeling. We "feel" in love. And we have all bought into the idea that if we aren't "feeling" it then it doesn't exist.  In fact, Valentine's Day is a materialistic manifestation of  that kind love.  It is a day that advertisers have concocted to make us think that just maybe there is a day when we will finally be thought of.  Because thoughts create feelings.  Yes, dear, they do.  You know it, as well as I.  Honestly, though, why should we all bank on a single day to be shown this?  If that person doesn't "love" enough the other days of the year, the idea that it takes a Hallmark holiday to get them to profess their undying love, well, should be a clue that perhaps just maybe what they are after is MUCH LESS than your heart.

Truth of it is, IF you were really loved then the day wouldn't be needed.  Nope.  You would be shown in so many ways.  You would be thought of.  You would be the person another longs to see and spend time with.  You would not be second, third or even fourth place to that individual, save for if God came first.  And, if you are honest with yourself you know what that looks like.  You know what that "feels" like.  You know when you really matter to another person.  Because...

Love isn't chasing after another.  If you are constantly seeking, giving, yearning, begging for time or attention from another person, then chances are EXTREMELY high that they really aren't that into you.  This is especially true when after the beginning is over and they have what they wanted in the first place - validation, attention, to see if they still 'had' it, whatnot - then they will slowly back off and let you die miserably in your loneliness questioning what just happened.  It wasn't you they were after, well, it wasn't your heart actually. Ladies, don't confuse what is real and what is a feeling.  Real men don't play games. However...

Love isn't having to be chased.  Do not be the one to play games.  You are not made by Milton Bradley or Hasboro.  You are a person.  Do not toy with another person's heart.  I will agree that sometimes you can get caught up in a "feeling".  Attention can be deceiving. I urge you weigh it against the truths of God's word.  If you are doing everything in your power to make sure they are chasing you, then well, I think you are looking at love all wrong.   A real man isn't going to show his affection in the way that contemporary society says they need to.  (You know what I mean here.)

So, if we aren't chasing and we aren't being chased, then we aren't really needing this Hallmark holiday to validate our 'love'.  What do we do?  What does love do?  I wish I knew.  I wish I had the answers.  Instead I have nothing more than what it isn't.  I know what not to do.  I'd like to tell you that I will succeed when presented the chance and that I will not make a mistake in the interim.  What I do know is that if I give it to God, REALLY GIVE IT TO GOD, not half-heartedly, then it will work out they way that He wants it to. 

Disclaimer:  this isn't meaning it will be the way I want it to.  Yeah, He works like that.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

God's Timing

I've come to realize something over the past several months.  Oh, who am I kidding, its been over a year.  A WHOLE STINKING YEAR! What is it you ask?  God's timing.  His timing is quite simply in no way WHATSOEVER the same as ours.  He could care less about the clock, the calendar, the sun dial, and any other means we mortals have in keeping track of time.  After all, it is something that he invented only for us to have a relative spans to base things off of.  We, having a finite view of life, live and die by the passing of time.  I'm here.

Last night I had a very deep conversation with someone that means the world to me.  I'd like to believe the feeling is mutual, but in either way this person has a place in my heart that no other can hold. My problem, as of late, is timing.  I have fallen prey to the heartache that consumes because time has not been on my side.  I've fallen prey to the jealousy that eats away at my soul because I do not have what my friends have.  Yes, people - I am this person.  I admit it, regrettably, with my head hung low.

I want forever.  I want to wake up knowing that I am the future Mrs. So-and-so.  I want to know that I am special enough that someone wants to spend the rest of their life with me.  I want to know that I am someone that another thinks of and cares about and loves.  I see my friends, the ones my age who have been married 10, 15+ years and, although I am happy that they were able to get it right the first time, I am so sad that I was not.  Not only could I not get it right the first time, I couldn't even get it right the second time.

Then I think of all the memories they get to make as a family.  Memories that I don't get to have as a family.  I have to make them solo with my girls and our dog.  I think about the nights they never have to spend alone, that they have someone to hold them and reassure them that it is all going to be ok.  I think about the fact they have someone to share every thought and feeling with and I have you people and my journals. And God.  I think about the laughter and joy and the comfort that co-parenting brings them.  I have myself to rely on and hope that I am doing a good enough job to raise 3 girls in this society.  It's hard to raise girls.  On top of that I have to raise them to know what a good man is.  I'm still learning this myself.

Then I think of all the advice that I have been given.  The wait on the Lord advice.  You know, for those who have what they have always wanted, relationship wise, this is so easy for them to say.  After all, they are NOT in my position.  And, if they ever were it was WAY before kids and careers and mortgages and all the grown-up stuff that life throws at you.   But, wait on the Lord they continue to say.  Wait.  God's timing.  His timing is perfect.  I know that.  In fact, I believe that yet I am mortal.  I am getting older.  I want to enjoy my life and His time doesn't care about my time.  Yes, to those who don't understand, I am quite sure this sounds selfish.

Last night, while relaying this, my friend told me that I should relate this to when I tell my girls to wait. In fact, just the other night they wanted ice cream really, really bad.  I told them they needed to wait until a certain time before they could have it.  Once that particular time came to be I was in the middle of doing something else and asked them to wait.  It seemed like every 30 seconds they were asking if they could have ice cream.  Over and over and over again I asked them to wait a few more minutes.  It got to the point where I was exhausted from telling them to wait.  I understood.  After all a minute to a child feels like an eternity.

Then, my friend reminded me that an eternity to me feels like a minute to God.  That He is only asking me to wait.  It isn't that He wants me to wait because He is too busy, but that He is changing me.  He is growing me.  He is transforming me into someone that a future someone will actually want.  I'm trying to work through that.  Today.  Today I am a mess.  I am spiritually and emotionally in a million pieces because the waiting means that I am not yet who I need to be for another.  That, still, to this day, I'm not good enough.  That I have a lot yet to change and fix before another person will find me valuable. That before another will want to spend the rest of their life with me I have a lot about me that has to change.  The person I am now is not who another wants.

I long for the day when I will be there.  When my time and God's time will meet and I will be the right woman for that man.  I long for the moment when that person that gets to be my forever someone becomes so.  I long for the time when God finally says, "yes, Mandy, he is the one and now is the time because you've finally become who you are supposed to be."  I long for God's timing.