Monday, February 22, 2016

No Longer a Slave

Fear has bound me for years.  The things I HAVEN'T done because of fear is a long list.  I have allowed this thing called fear to impact each and every relationship.

What if...
...the car wrecks... husband leaves me...
...the kids are damaged/injured/scared...
...we run out of money...
...the cars are repossessed...
...the house is foreclosed...
...we run out of food...
...the sky IS falling...
...the conspiracy theorists are right...
...the economy collapses...
...World War III starts....
...ISIS attacks... husband dies... children die...

All of the what-ifs are enough to paralyze anyone.  If everyone looked at the world this way, nothing would ever be accomplished.

The truth?
We have had MULTIPLE car wrecks.
My husband tried to leave me...twice.
My kids were hurt/molested/scarred/scared.
We DID run out of money...MANY times.
The cars WERE repossessed.
The house DID go into foreclosure.
We have run out of food more times than I can count.
Those other things...well, they seem far-fetched right now.

And yet...
...we are still married.
...we have a roof over our heads.
...we have food in our refrigerator/pantry/freezer.
...we have more vehicles than we can drive.
...our kids are healing.
...and God is still in control of it all.  He has provided for us each and every day in ways we cannot even comprehend.  Some days, we look back and just marvel, because we still cannot figure out how God did it.

Today, I faced some old fears...ones that have haunted me in the form of nightmares for many years.  In facing the old fears, I recognized that God, the source of LOVE, has set me free from those old fears.  The names I had be given and had taken ownership of were NOT mine.  The behaviors I had been accused of were NOT what they had been called.  I recognized, once again, that the Devil is a liar, and uses fear to manipulate and push us away from God, the only source of true LOVE.

And THAT, my friends, is why Scriptures say PERFECT LOVE casts out fear.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. I John 4:18 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jealousy is a bugger

There was a point in time that I *wished* my husband were the jealous type.  Let's just say I've gotten over that desire.

Instead, jealousy keeps trying to creep up on me.

Friends talk about close families, and I feel that familiar twinge.

People post notes about how their mothers are their best friends, and I start seeing green.

Someone talks about how quickly they lost the weight... their dream job fell in their lap... they have Sunday dinners with their extended families every week... everything is going perfectly... their newly constructed home is amazing...
...where they have been able to travel recently... nauseum...
...and jealousy rears its ugly green little head.

First of all, lets talk about how easy it is to be jealous of the perfect lives people portray on social media.  I don't see that the dying dog puked all over the living room, that their kids' grades are in the toilet, that they want to pull their hair out listening to their coworkers at that dream job, that the family Sunday dinners are "mandatory fun" and are anything but fun.

Meanwhile, I'm over here comparing the INSIDE of my life to the pretty picture they have painted for the world to see from the OUTSIDE.

OF COURSE I'm going to be jealous.  It's not a fair comparison.

So, today I am appreciating the life I have from the inside here, and viewing my social media feed with a fair bit of skepticism, knowing that NO ONE'S life is THAT perfect!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

So.Much. Pain.


Some days I just can't handle the pain any more.

  • All of the friends who are gone from us here, and are with You...and we're left with the pain.  I know, I know...we have the hope of seeing them again, but meanwhile, it hurts.  
  • The loneliness.  Mine.  My children.  
  • The mom-shaped hole.  There is this deep pain there that just refuses to go away. 
  • The dad-shaped hole...the one where he was supposed to step in and protect me from bullies, and he didn't.  
  • The desire for connection, and then, just as soon as things start progressing that way, people move, or we move, or life happens.  It hurts.  
  • My kids.  I know they don't have a clue...I hurt for them.  The traumas they have dealt with, the friendships that change because of this military lifestyle.  The desire they have to be independent, to grow up.  It all hurts this Mama.  I miss the ones who aren't here.  
  • The fear that invades makes everything hurt, even the good stuff.  
Today I want to cry, a lot.  The tears are threatening, and I don't know how to let them come.  I feel like crying might be cleansing.  But it might also overwhelm me even further.   So I withdraw further, because I am afraid.  I hate living with fear, and trauma, and pain.  

The physical pain is always there, too.  Muscles that tense up because of remembered traumas, and potential future traumas.  Bones that bear the marks of traumas and accidents.  A brain that bears the battle scars and reminds me daily.  A digestive system in rebellion against the constant stress of being subjected to trauma.  An immune system that is overwhelmed with the constant after-shocks of remembered trauma.  

Some day...Oh God...some day...I so long to be free of the constant pain.  That is the hope I have...that being with You will mean that every scar and wound and disease and manifestation of my trauma will be forever gone.  THAT is my hope.  That the pain will be gone forever.  

That is what keeps me going despite the pain.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mom-shaped hole

Both empathy and sympathy are feelings concerning other people. Sympathy is literally 'feeling with' - compassion for or commiseration with another person. Empathy, by contrast, is literally 'feeling into' - the ability to project one's personality into another person and more fully understand that person. Sympathy derives from Latin and Greek words meaning 'having a fellow feeling'. The term empathy originated in psychology (translation of a German term, c. 1903) and has now come to mean the ability to imagine or project oneself into another person's position and experience all the sensations involved in that position. You feel empathy when you've "been there", and sympathy when you haven't. Examples: We felt sympathy for the team members who tried hard but were not appreciated. / We felt empathy for children with asthma because their parents won't remove pets from the household.

How are these feelings developed?  What is the process?  

Most research agrees that the ability to feel empathy and sympathy is something that is developed in childhood, at the feet of one's parents and other caring adults.  

What happens to the child raised under the care of a parent that is unable to feel or express any modicum of either empathy or sympathy?  When the very person who *SHOULD* be teaching these feelings to the child is instead abusive, emotionally, mentally, and physically?  This child ends up either feeling EVERYTHING, in excess, or feeling nothing at all, and following in their parents' footsteps.  

I am that child.  

My mother was that parent.  

I spent most of my 18 years at home daydreaming of how to escape the torture.  Not only was she abusive, but also ultra-controlling, not allowing many in the way of friends, no autonomy in what I wanted to eat, wear, or physical boundaries.  

No one recognized the signs.  I have asked.  No.One.Knew.  Outside of our immediate family, there was likely the recognition that our family was different, strange, unlike others in the community, but no one was allowed close enough to know anything of what happened behind our front door.  

Fast-forward a few years, and I began to recognize that indeed we WERE different, and not in a unique way, but in a completely unhealthy way.  I began to recognize and question not only how I was raised, but how my mother could treat her children the way she did.  Was there no concern that she was injuring her children?  Apparently not.  There was never any recognition of wrongdoing, but instead a defense..."but that was how we were supposed to punish you!"  And "how could you make up those things about me?"  And "Who is telling you these things?"  

As time passed, I began to mourn.  
I mourned my non-existent childhood.  
I mourned the mother I wished I had.  
I mourned the relationship I thought would develop, but never did. 
I mourned the shallow relationship with my father, when he could never defend us from the abuse. 

And still there is a hole that a mother should fill.  
I have tried reaching out to people over the years.  
I have longed for mentors.  
I have asked for people to step in.  
I almost gave up.  

Instead, I have stumbled along, learning the best way I know how.  
I read articles and books.  
I watch other mothers and how they relate to their daughters.  
I apply every bit of psychology I can soak up.  
I hang desperately onto the verses that speak of the orphans:
And I will come near you for judgment;I will be a swift witnessAgainst sorcerers,Against adulterers,Against perjurers,Against those who exploit wage earners and widows andorphans,And against those who turn away an alien—Because they do not fear Me,”Says the LORD of hosts. ~Malachi 3:5
He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food andclothing. ~Deuteronomy 10:18
I have come to the conclusion that I am an orphan.  Though my family lives, I live as an orphaned child, with little contact or care from those who should have been the ones who cared the most for me.  

And yet....God has provided a new family for me.  And another chance at love.  But I still wait for that mom-shaped hole to be filled.