Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Honesty: Do you share with everyone?

Over the past few months, I have wanted to ask my ex-husband if he ever intended on being a faithful husband to me. I will probably never ask him that to his face, because I can only guess his answer would be more lies and after 11 years of them, I sure don't need to hear another one.

So, my question is this: Do you consider yourself honest with everyone you deal with or do you reserve your true brutal honesty for only certain people?

I did my best to be honest with my kids (as much as I thought they could handle) and my ex-husband. I didn't always give everyone else that privilege. I made sure my kids knew where I was and what I was doing but I didn't always tell them how bad our finances were.  I always told my ex where I was and who I was with and when I would be home. He never had to wonder where I was or if I was being truthful.

There are people in my life that I keep at arm's length and only tell them what they need to know. Some people will take the information you give them and twist it no matter what you do and those are the people I keep at a distance. I have had supervisors that I could never be completely honest with and I have had supervisors that became my best friend because even though we didn't always get along they always wanted the best for me and my family.

I believe the hardest person to be honest with is yourself.  When you fall short of a goal, you have to look yourself in the mirror and figure out what happened and how to fix it so you can reach that goal the next time.  I also believe all of us need someone we can be honest with in regards to our feelings about life and all the 'stuff' that goes with living this life.

God knows everything you are facing, what you did wrong yesterday, who you fibbed to and who you flat out avoided during the day. Sometimes the best therapy is time in prayer with God to come clean and ask for forgiveness. He loves us no matter how bad things appear to us and his hands are always outstretched for us to come home to.

Think about how much honesty you share on a daily basis and my plan is to be more honest going forward and if I cannot be honest with a person in my life, then perhaps they do not need to be in my life.

It is completely OK to protect yourself and your children but don't sacrifice your beliefs in the meantime. That is a hard thing to come back from. Trust me on this.

Be safe and take care of yourself.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Trusted Friends

Do you have a trusted friend that you feel knows you pretty well? Do they know everything you have lived through, survived and overcome?  Are you afraid to tell them the whole story?

Feeling safe enough with people you know is a difficult thing to accomplish. I know this first hand. The first person I told about my abuse laughed in my face and said I was exaggerating and that my husband could not have been that bad. They also said I watched too much "Oprah" in those days.

So, I bottled it up, and didn't openly talk about that life/marriage to anyone in my inner circle until 2005. This is why it has taken me so long to heal. I also quit watching talk shows because I couldn't take hearing all the stories knowing no one would believe my own life story.

First of all, I ask you to pray and ask God to show you someone in your life you can trust with your struggles and issues of your difficult life/marriage/relationships.  The few people that I started sharing with in the past few years are not family but they are Christian women that have kept the confidence all these years.

Second, get in a solid Bible Based church that builds you up and feeds your soul with the Word of God. God can heal any pain we have if we only ask him to.

Third, Love yourself and forgive yourself. Whatever you have been through, whether it was physical, sexual, mental, financial, social abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT. The person that put you down will have to answer for their actions on Judgement Day. Learning to love myself and forgive myself has been very difficult and filled with tears and healing along the past 2-3 years of my life.

Fourth, Find a group that you can help. Helping others through fundraising, charity work or even putting up the tables after events at church can be service to others and will help you get through the roughest times because you are focusing on others and not yourself.

Fifth, know that I believe you and support you!  Share my blog with others that would benefit from my story. I only tell the story to show others that there is a LIFE after being abused. Be a Blessing!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. The domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233 and I encourage you to call them for assistance too.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Giving

What do you give?

Most people will read that question and think 'Oh, she is going to talk about tithing'. And you would be wrong. I am referring to giving of  yourself through time, talent or information from the life you have lived thus far.

I know people who are constantly giving their time to cook, clean and prep for others to have a great event.  I know many teachers, parents who give of their finances to make sure the classrooms have what they need. I know people who run non-profits to give food and clothing to those in their communities. I also know many people who choose to stay in the background and are the listening ears, helpful hands and support people for those in leadership in many parts of our life.

Some of us are gifted with hospitality and love to cook and have people in their homes and organize celebrations for just about any occasion.

Some are gifted in administration meaning there are those who are easily able to write the letters, proposals and spreadsheets for the grants to make great projects have funding available. 

Some are specially gifted to work with children (of all ages) and become teachers, daycare workers, Bible School teachers and many other jobs that involve children.

All of us have something to give another person. You can be their shoulder to lean on when they are weary or worried about a child they can no longer help.  You can be their cheerleader during times they are unsure of themselves. You can use your computer to create flyers to help another in their business venture or fundraising project.

Today, I would like everyone to stop and take an inventory of what you have to offer others and commit to sharing your gift with others instead of holding it in.  When you share, you will truly grow as well!

Be a blessing in times you think there is nothing you can do, and you will learn the most about yourself and those you help will never forget your true kindness.

If you are in danger, call 911. The Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 1-800-799-7233 with information to help you get out of a violent situation at home. There is HELP!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sitting Alone

For most of my adult life I have sat alone in church services. My first husband chose not to attend church unless I begged and pleaded for days, so the few times I went alone I technically was on the same row as either my sister or one of my friends from church.  But I was not sitting with my husband. That hurts.

In the years we were stationed in Panama Canal Zone, we didn't attend church at all. I was fearful to go anywhere there alone and the only services I ever heard about on base were Catholic Mass and because that was foreign to me, I chose not to go. I missed it at times and then I became numb to not attending church at all.  That is a dangerous place to be!!

After moving back to the states, I attended Sunday services with my parents and sisters and for the most part I was simply and honestly just sitting there trying to keep my small children entertained for the duration of the service.  I consider that part of my life the 'check box' time. I use this terminology because I was simply checking the box that said I attended services that week. These were my survival/denial years.  I cringed when new people would attempt to be friendly and ask where my husband was because I hated telling people I was divorced with 2 small kids to raise.

Some churches really made a single parent feel welcome and didn't ask questions, some churches made you feel very unwelcome because you were alone with 2 kids and those churches I quickly left.

Fast forward to 2005 when my family started attending /visiting at DFA and I finally made a few good friends there that didn't judge me for being alone in services. To all of those that reached out to me in those years when my husband was working or didn't feel like attending, you made me feel welcome whether I was alone or not and I am truly thankful for that.

In 2010 when we started attending Bellevue Grace, I told them first thing that I would be alone at a lot of services cause of my husband's work schedule and that stopped a lot of the typical uncomfortable questions.  Those kind people in leadership at Bellevue Grace knew other things were not right in my marriage but they still loved on me, supported me and always listened. I wish I could contact each of them and tell them directly how much their kindness meant to me in those years of turmoil.

2012 would be the year I move back to TN and started attending Covenant Church in Burns, TN. From the first Sunday service, I was welcomed with open arms and no one ever questioned me or who I was attending with. At times, I brought a friend with me and that helped me get through the roughest transition of being alone in church. 

Now, I go to church to worship and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the Kingdom and I hate to miss a service. So take my story here today and reach out and smile at someone you see sitting alone in services.  There are many reasons they may be alone, but your smile and offer of friendship could be the reason they come back to services again and again. A friendly person at church can make a world of difference when you are fighting obstacles at home.

Love and prayers for all of you as we go back to school this week and keep smiling and offer friendship to everyone. You just might meet your next friend in the Lord!

If you are in danger, call 911. If you need assistance/guidance in getting out of a domestic violence situation please call 1-800-799-7233 for help!