Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lens Through Which I See

I love to take photos!  The image I can capture through the camera lens is controlled and focused to create the mood and tone that I want.  In real life, I'm not always aware of how my history, experiences and expectations filter events to skew what is actually happening.  So when Mr. Wonderful brought up valid concerns and fears about our relationship, I heard it through the lens of my own history.  I heard, "This is too hard and you're not worth the effort."  After he shared his thoughts, I genuinely thought he must be so relieved and that I would never see him again.  And it hurt. so. badly.

Let me be clear, this is not what Mr. Wonderful was saying.  This is what I heard through the lens of my own past wounds and experience. When he contacted me the very next morning, I was just shocked.  Going more than a week without seeing him was downright painful.  Even worse than the physical separation was the emotional distance and realizing that I may have lost my very best friend.  He gets me in a way few have before.  The void was real and almost tangible.  Oh, I managed to function - even to laugh and smile after the first couple of days.  I even stepped out of my comfort zone and went out with some friends to place I don't normally frequent and earned several amusing stories and a pick-up line I will forever use in jest.  I stayed busy, but my heart was broken.

Realizing that I had to let him go was a challenge and drove me to once again release every aspect of my life to God's plan.  Oh how I hate that I have to keep re-learning how not-in-control I am.  My mind had a hard time concentrating and not dwelling on what I loved about Mr. Wonderful.  I made a conscious effort to pray each time I longed for him or ached over a memory.  I prayed that God would help me to trust Him, because I was not.  I wanted Mr. Wonderful, I wanted my plan.  I prayed that God would give Mr. Wonderful wisdom, clarity and confidence as he considered what he wanted and what God may have for his own future.  I may have prayed that Mr. Wonderful missed me as much I missed him and didn't want to spend another day without me ... that his children would feel strangely and sweetly compassionate toward my own.  It's true that I pouted a bit and felt angry that God would dangle someone that I could love so truly before me only to snatch him away.  Eventually, accepted that Mr. Wonderful is a free man and gets to make his own choices about the kind of life he wants. 

Mr. Wonderful and I only went one actual day without contact.  I have learned to appreciate his honesty and willingness to be vulnerable with his fears/concerns - even when they negatively affect me.  I discovered that more than my own desires, I want him to be happy.  I don't want to complicate or cause trouble in his life.  In a weird, 'That's how it works way," we're closer.  I do not want to be without him in my life, but I've reset myself to know that God will take care of me either way.  Another things I've learned is that I can love again.  I want to be in relationship with someone who shares my values and goals.  In a strange way, I don't believe God would give me heart and desire to love this way without fulfilling it at some point in my future.
With Mr. Wonderful, there are still no promises of forever.  I hold him and our relationship much more loosely.  I know he would never intentionally hurt me, but the possibility is ever present.  It's part of being close to someone.  This reality causes me to check myself often to make sure I'm depending on the Lord for my future and my esteem. 

Today, I'm so very thankful that Mr. Wonderful and I remain close.  He still calls me his girlfriend and is making intentional efforts to know my children and bring our families together.  Yes, it opens me up to more potential heartache.  Yes, I'm willing to take the risk.  He is so worth it.

What makes risk worth it to you?  Has your past affected the way you view your present?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moody Monday

Another Monday is here - the week will be a busy one with lots of extracurricular activities and increased academic focus as we march toward spring break.  Mom-life keeps me on my toes in a big way.  My baby had a birthday this weekend which involved extra celebration and a party planned for later this week.  We're wrapping up our basketball/cheerleading schedule and I'm looking forward to less on the calendar in the spring.

Now for the real scoop.   You may remember that I went on my first ever blind date way back in the fall.  As I realized how wonderful this man was, I gently and quiety fell in love with him and he genuinely feels the same.  Making time to be together became a priority, but the reality is that our lives are not integrated and our children are in different seasons.  I was crushed when he vocalized the concerns which had been there all along and I interpretted his concerns as his desire to abandon our relationship.  I was wrong, and I'll have more to say about that this week.  The bottom line is that Mr. Wonderful was not trying to end our relationship.  The result has been a bit of whiplash for me as he as actually moved closer in the direction of our relationship and is pursuing me and my children. 

I hesitate to share much, because I still do not know the outcome of our story.  What I'm sure of is that our love in authentic.  We have a hope for a future together and pray that God will reveal how, when and if that is to be His plan.  I still worry that my heart will be broken, but I'm trying to remember my heart belongs to God and no matter what happens, He will care for me. 

I just wanted to share the latest in my mid-life romantic escapades.  What does the week hold for everyone else?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Perfectly Flawed

This is just about as good as things get in my room - and I'm far from it today!
Sunday night around 7 pm I checked my children's backpack for the first time all weekend.  I discovered that we were supposed to have a bag of cotton balls and more glue sticks for school ... today.  Oooops.  There are piles of laundry to be folded and delivered, the floors have been swept, but there are sticky spots which need mopping and I keep finding dishes throughout my house that didn't make it into the dish washer.  We still have Valentine decor here and there and it just seems there aren't enough hours in the day.  And yet, it seems like others have this all together, already.   Am I going to be the only one who doesn't get the cotton balls and glue sticks to school on time?

So I'm reminded once again that the myth of perfection is just that - pure fiction.  Our home has crumbs and piles of laundry, the beds are made by little people which means wrinkles are the norm.  The counters have toothpaste from this morning's rush out the doors and we didn't get the breakfast mess cleaned up.  And if you visit the little walk-in closet, you will witness about twenty projects waiting to be completed. 

I'm glad to know that it doesn't have to be perfect to be great, or beautiful or even wonderful.  Whatever I can do will be enough.  Living with imperfection is the norm for all of us.  What's the most imperfect spot of your home today?

Linking up with others at The Nesting Place.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Single Mom Life

I still don't like to define myself as a Single Mother.  It's not the first thing I say about myself when I meet someone new.  But I'm learning to accept the role for this season of life and often I'm even a little proud at what I've accomplished!

#1 - I've provided a consistent and stable life for the children.

#2 - I've cultivated and created a life for myself as a woman.

#3 - I've tried new things and learned more about what I enjoy.  I've taken risks.

#4 - I'm learning to let go of the expectations and rigid definitions that I thought were the only way to be happy.  Discovering joy amid real life has been so liberating!  Accepting that pain is part of the process is hard, but increases the joy.

#5 - Learned more deeply that God is faithful and to be trusted.  This learned most intimately during the most challenging of times.

Being a single mother is much like being any mother - life is full of choices and demands that pull us in many directions.  These are just some of the many things that fill my wonderful, crazy days ...
  • Firstborn, age seven who's sweet and affectionate heart more than make up for the school day challenges.
  • Sweet Daughter age six, sassy and independent, she is the soul of our family reminding us all to celebrate each day.
  • Baby Boy is almost four.  He is boistrous and enthusiastic, smart as can be and adding to the life of our home with his fun and thoughtful commentary.
  • Family: They all live far away and that makes me so sad.  But the love and support is felt through the miles and I treasure these endless sources of joy.
  • Dearest Friends: Both near and far, these are the people that back me up when I need encouragement, help with childcare, support during sad days. 
  • Worklife: Everyday I sit at a desk and keep the lives of others running smoothly.  I'm grateful for the flexibility and conistency my job provides ... but I hope to find something more inspiring someday.
  • Churchlife: Where they keep me accountable and I learn to live in faith with others.  And I have to say I love the music and joyfully praising God corporately.
  • Homelife: As the only adult, the fact is a great deal of energy and effort goes into the basics of running a home.  Grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, playing and even yardwork are daily parts of single mom life.  Life management takes a lot of energy
  • Mr. Wonderful: There's no denying he's part of each day, whether I see him or just expend emotional energy.  It's challenging, but true.
My single life is full - overwhelming on many days.  There are lonely times and the responsibility can be crippling.  But I love my life!  I love my three busy little ones and the friends who I can lean on.  I've got a fantastic and encouraging church and the best family anyone could ever ask for.  It's not the life I planned, but it sure is great.  What's the best thing in your life today?

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Decisions of Divorce: Wedding Memories


    What did you do with your wedding dress?  All those photos?  The unity candle, goblets, or all the other memorabilia?

    By the time my ex had moved out, all wedding photos had been closeted away.  The hope of  my wedding day had been replaced with the reality of something much different.  On the day our divorce was final, I burned all the senitimental cards he had given me throughout the years.  They were empty promises and vain words to me now.  It felt good to let those go, as if I had been holding onto the words when his actions demonstrated his true heart.

    Soon after, I cleared out my hope chest, tossed the unity candle and napkins, stored photos and videos to share with my children someday and packed it all away in the attic. 

    In a back closet, my wedding dress still hung, preserved and stored like the treasure it was to me.  I have such sweet memories of the day my mother and I shopped together for it.  I remember how grand and beautiful I felt in the esquisite lace.  But I was ready to let it go.  It was a tie to the past, and I am intentionally walking away from my past into an unknown but hopeful future.  So I donated the dress to a resale shop.  It was hard to do, but I haven't regretted it for a moment. 

    I saved the simple veil and I hankie I carried on my wedding day, just in case my own daughter would want something for her own special day, though I somehow doubt she would. 

    My identity changed the day I married, along with my name.  I did not like the woman I became and letting go of the symbols of that day was part of taking back myself.  My wedding and marriage are forever part of my past, but not what defines me.

    What did you do with your wedding stuff?  Do you regret spending so much on the ceremony?  What is the best thing you take away from that day?

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Winner!

    FYI - Lily was the winner of the Dayspring giveaway!  Congrats!  Be sure to send me your info.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Share the Love!

    Sweet Gifts - Cupcake Set

    I have loved Valentine's Day since girlhood and it speaks to the 'hopeless romantic' that still remains in my heart. Always, and even more in this season, I use the day to celebrate all the love in my life.  The love of friends and family is one of the greatest gifts He's given, so I was thrilled to share this gift set from Dayspring.
    Every good thing is a gift from our God and as Beth recently shared in our Bible study,
     "If it's a good gift, it's a God gift."  We've been given so many.  

    I'm giving away one of these gift sets, minus the water bottle (because my own dear girl has already claimed it).  So leave a comment by midnight tonight and you'll qualify to win:
    1) Journal
    2) Tote
    3) Message Pad

    To enter Answer this question: What's the most unexpected gift in your life this Valentine's Day?

    I hope your day is super special and that you feel an extra sense of His love today.  
    We'll be enjoying a heart pizza by candlelight like last year!

    Spread the love!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Moody Monday: You Say it's Your Birthday?

    
    Pinned Image
    source
    It's my birthday, too!  Birthdays certainly lose some of their sparkle as we age, but on this day I'm doing my best to enjoy.  I woke and began with prayer, thankful to God for my life and for the children for which I'm responsible.  They are the one purpose for which I'm sure in life right now.

    I'm back at work today after missing three days to care for sick children last week.  So it will be a busy, catch-up day there.  Tonight we'll go out to eat and work on Valentines for the school parties tomorrow.  Later this week I have plans for a girls night out to celebrate with my friends.  I'm looking forward to the fun!

    I saw Mr. Wonderful this weekend and it served only to confirm my notion that I have excellent taste.  He is not perfect, but he is exactly what I want.  It's true that my heart is poised to be broken, but I can't turn away while he is still considering how much of himself he is able to share with me.  All through the day my thoughts turn to him, and I'm trying to use those moments to shift my focus from this man to God.  I ask God to remove my feelings if they cannot be shared, to help me trust that God's plan is best. 

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Moody Monday

    As you can imagine, this weekend was quite full of emotion and I was grateful to have my mother in town to listen, remind me of so many truths and just commisserate with me from time to time.  We laughed a bit because there was a time when I was so shut down to my emotions, that no one would have known I was hurting inside, even my own mother. Now I can function at work or the ballgame, and still be authentic enough to those I trust to let them see my feelings.  I can be real even with myself.  It's growth for me. 

    This Monday I'm feeling more in control of my emotions, though still tender.  I've got a lot to keep me busy at work and home and then I have an unusual weekend free from childcare duties.  I'll make some plans with friends and enjoy the downtime. 

    It's Monday, but after the onslaught of emotions I felt this weekend, I don't feel particularly moody today.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Crushed.

    I knew this was a very real possibility when I made myself vulnerable.  But it really stinks, and hurts a lot.  I learned that I do want to be in a relationship again - but I wanted it with him, not just anyone. 

    The door is not completely closed with Mr. Wonderful, but there are valid concerns.

    He was - still is - wonderful.