Day 905

In a world where we are able to constantly whine and complain about the atrocities of life and put those complaints straight out into cyber world at the touch of a button, we sure do love ourselves an awful lot. We tweet, post, and message every thought that comes into our pretty little heads (most of the time while being grammatically and politically incorrect) without blinking an eye. We assume that anyone and everyone actually cares what we look like while we are taking our “car selfies” and hope that our newest snapchat filter gets a bazillion likes. This is where we are at. Don’t even try to deny it. The reality is that through all these new forms of social media, our main goal is to gain approval. I’m not exactly sure whose approval we are seeking, but if we get more hearts and smiley faces I think that’s supposed to be a good thing. I do it too. I desperately want validation from the Internet land for my divorcedyetdevoted Instagram posts (see how I snuck in that ad for my Instagram?)and when I post on my personal account I spend a fair amount of time trying to find the filter that will make me look like a skinny goddess while also hiding my acne and wrinkles. 

But it’s more than social media. We blame social media, because poor ole social media is the easy scapegoat. We are searching for glory. Personal glory. Personal satisfaction. We are seeking personal happiness. Fair enough. Who doesn’t want to be happy? But what is the barometer for happy? Are we looking at our neighbor or co-worker or friend or relative and trying to attain the level of happiness we perceive them to be at? Do we have a goal in mind for ourselves? If we complete a check-list of five major accomplishments, does that equal happy? Will 100 likes on Facebook help us obtain “happy?” What about 200 likes? 300? What if we only get 50 likes? Does that mean we fail? Anything below 40 likes basically means you have no friends and no one likes you and you are destined for gloom and despair for the rest of your days. Are those the rules now? 

This is perhaps (I said perhaps, which means I may be wrong) my biggest personal mountain to climb. I am beyond guilty of seeking a fulfilling existence by selfishly striving to accomplish MY individual set of life goals. I strive to erase the failures I feel from my divorce by being my version of the perfect girlfriend, daughter, actress, friend, etc. I have my own set of rules for what is “right” and if I check all the boxes, then maybe, just maybe I will be able to wash away this scarlet letter from my past. I find myself troubleshooting possible problems in all of my relationships just so I don’t fail again. I am seeking acceptance from those who already love me. I am seeking approval from the world. I am seeking validation that the woman I am is a perfectly fine woman to be. 

When did I stop seeking God’s glory? When did that stop being first and foremost the desire of my heart? How did I fall so far from the very truth that has kept me moving forward for the past three years? My terrible confession is that I stopped believing that God had a plan for me. I thought that he had saved me from a disastrous time in my life and I suppose that’s all I deserved. Other people deserve to feel safe and beautiful and loved and secure. I wasn’t allowed to wish for anything more because God had already done so much for me. I had run out of pixie dust. It would be selfish to ask for more. 

And then, about 4 days ago (Thank you, Jane) I was reminded to keep seeking HIS glory above all else. I sat in front of a desk in a little cottage I am living in during my time in Missouri and held out my hands as I wept. What a fool I am. A woman who writes a blog about God’s overwhelming grace…who had so quickly forgotten how God’s grace works. I know I am strong. I know I am smart. I know I am brave. But I also know I am nothing without God’s grace. His magnificent grace. When did I start to allow anyone else to attach a worth to my soul? The answer in how to get through this beautiful life we have been given is not to “double tap” random moments, but to allow God’s grace to rain all around you. By learning to seek HIS glory first and foremost, we simply step into grace. 

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

Day 898

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself, because I have ALL the thoughts on marriage. I shouldn’t. I know first hand how quickly a marriage can fail and all that goes with that downward spiral. Even so, I repeat, I have ALL the thoughts on marriage. I didn’t even have a long marriage. From the vows to the divorce becoming official, we only clocked about two and a half years. And to be honest, only a year of that was actually what I would call a “good marriage.” So who am I to have ANY opinions on how a marriage should work? I don’t know. But it hasn’t stopped me from voicing my perspective, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Mostly, what I thought (and still think) about marriage is that it’s a lifetime guarantee. You should be able to look at this human whom you are committing your life to and know for gosh darn certain that you are both in this thing for the long haul. Who do you want standing beside you during your greatest accomplishments? Your spouse. Who do you want to enjoy the every day little adventures of life with? Your spouse. And more importantly, who do you want fighting next to you in the trenches when the world throws a great big crap ball in your face? Your spouse. Lifetime Teammates. That’s the gig, right? The good, the bad, the ugly. 

I also believe that’s how God intended marriage to play out. “Til death do you part.” Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with my theory. I know I’m not a good example. I bailed. It’s ok that I bailed and God and I are totally cool, but I still bailed. That’s my truth. I guess the big question is: How can I still believe in a lifetime guarantee when I know how fragile a marriage can be? I can certainly look around at my life and see wonderful examples of a Godly marriage. Couples who have always stood by their lifetime commitment. My parents. All my aunts and uncles. I’m even old enough to have friends who have been married for years and survived some rough ground with their spouses. Yes, it can be done. But it can also fall apart. 

In researching for this blog post, I tried to find different products that would offer a person a lifetime guarantee. I feel like that used to be a thing. A huge selling point. Alas, I could’t find many. Most pieces of merchandise now offer you a guarantee with a time limit. 1 year. 2 years. 5 years. Etc. A “limited warranty.” I guess that’s just where we are now as a society. We’ve accepted the fact that our vacuum will eventually bite the dust and our washing machine will kick the bucket. There is now an expiration date on everything we buy. We aren’t supposed to get our hopes up, because this little tag lets us know how long we can expect perfection from a product. After that date, it’s anybody’s guess when said commodity will wither and die. When did the same ideal begin to apply to marriage? 

I’m blessed with a hopeful heart. But I’m also blessed with a calming sense of reality. There is a caution I possess that wasn’t there before. I want to believe that marriage can still be, and should be, a lifetime guarantee. I want to know that there are still people out there who are aware that “happily ever after” doesn’t necessarily exist, but hard work and love and respect are the attributes that will help two people endure. And I desperately want to send the message that when your belief in marriage starts to slip, you can hold on to the ultimate lifetime guarantee. God loves you. God created a beautiful plan for marriage. God will never leave the covenant he made with you. His love. His promises. His plan for you. His sacrifice for you. Your salvation. Always a lifetime guarantee. 

Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” 

Day 895

It’s all fine and dandy to come to the realization that you need to separate from your adulterous husband. Truly. But, that’s only half the battle. The second part, the actual “making plans to leave”, can often be the more exhausting step of this equation. Yes, I had finally decided to vacate my situation. Congrats to me. But what was I going to do? Where was I going to go? How could I go away and still believe reconciliation was a possibility? This is the part where you may disagree with me. Or maybe you’ll just sigh at my naïveté. I wouldn’t judge you. I get it. I often look back and think “How did I ever convince myself we could still make this marriage work?” However, I swear to you that I believed in my heart of hearts, in the deepest depths of my soul, that I could leave him and somehow we would still find a way back to each other. I did. I mean, through God all things are possible, so why not this?

I knew I had to get away. I was miserable. I don’t have the words to properly describe my pain. My darkness. I felt like if I didn’t leave New York, I would throw myself in front of a subway car. It sounds dramatic, I know. But it’s the truth. If something didn’t change soon, I wouldn’t make it. The day would come when I fell down and wouldn’t be able to pull myself up again. I was losing my fight, my will. Feeling invisible in my despair. I had to go. 

Step one was to tell my boss. He had been such an angel for the past 4 months. I wanted to give my company ample notice. It felt like the least I could do after all they had done for me. NYC was hosting the Super Bowl that year, and I decided I would stay long enough to handle the events for that weekend. It wouldn’t be fair to throw a new employee into that madness. 5 weeks. 5 weeks until my departure. I felt better after setting the date. Every difficult curve ball life throws at you is easier to handle when you have a cut off time in mind. I have found that to be the case often. Once you can see the finish line, your soul will carry you the rest of the way. 

Another small blessing. I was so nervous to quit my job. This company had been so good to me. Truly, they had become a safe haven of understanding. I worried I was letting them down. Through quiet tears I explained that I had to leave. I apologized profusely. He just shook his head and said, “I know.” Maybe everyone knew it would eventually come to this. Maybe I was the only only hold out. Maybe my ex-husband even knew. But I never believed I’d have to leave, until leaving was the only option. I was relieved to have made the decision. It felt right. I felt justified. Once again, I was a woman with a plan. I like having a plan. It gives the illusion that I am somewhat in control of my life. I researched and hired a moving company from my desk at work. I was already knocking items off of my “to do” list. I was being proactive. This was happening.

I changed my mailing address, I booked a flight to Tennessee, I discontinued my gym membership. I had decided I would “move home” and figure things out from there. I was being responsible.  Everything was clipping along nicely. Except that I hadn’t exactly told my ex-husband. I mean, technically he knew I was leaving him. I was moving out. But, at this time, he wasn’t aware that I was leaving the state. I don’t know what he thought I was doing. Maybe moving in with friends? Who knows. I had been clear that January was the last month I would be paying rent. So he knew that much. He didn’t seem too torn up about the current state of affairs, and I hate confrontation, so I chose to avoid the topic for as long as possible. Please keep in mind, that during this process, I truly and utterly believed we would STILL be able to heal our marriage. I had convinced myself that we would find a way back to each other. God loves marriage. We made a covenant with God. Ergo, God would wave his magic wand and (if I was patient and good and perfect) grant us a beautiful marriage with a fantastic testimony and a deeper commitment to each other than we had ever had before. End of story.

It’s been over three years since that woman made all these life changing decisions for herself. I can still feel the pain. I understand what it’s like to feel a deep grief in your heart that you can’t escape. The agony was difficult to endure at times. It was suffocating. Exhausting. And at the end of the story I don’t have a “beautiful marriage with a fantastic testimony.” That was supposed to be the prize for my despair. My winnings. Instead I have a Honda, an amazing bow collection that any rational human would be envious of, a tender heart, a courageous spirit, and a deeper commitment to my Heavenly Father than I have ever had before. Plus the realization that my story is just beginning.

2 Corinthians 3:3 “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”