There are times in your life when you absolutely think it can not get any worse, and that if it does, you will not survive it.
This is me laughing maniacally.
For those of you who have read my blog from the beginning, or at least for a good while, you know that I've been through a lot. I've walked through a lot of hell to get where I am, and there were times that I thought that it was the absolute worst it could possibly be. There were times I thought I was going to die, times I wanted to die. There were days I thought that if one more thing were to happen, I would collapse under the weight of it, and that would be that.
Yet, I didn't.
I've come dang close, but I've not hit that point yet.
I've kind of taken an internet hiatus. I've not blogged, I've not done a lot on facebook, and I've only been tweeting sporadically. I've spent almost the last 6 weeks entirely locked up in my house, except to go to church when I was up to it. I've spent a lot of days laying in my bed, a lot of days incapable of doing anything productive at all. I've shut out almost everyone, pissed off a lot of people, and probably destroyed some relationships in the process.
Why, you ask?
Because I'll be honest with you, when I thought it absolutely could not get any worse, it did. Ten times worse than it ever was before. And I look back at all of those times I was at my max and shake my head, wishing I was back there. I won't go into all of the details because it would take forever, and to be honest, you may not be able to wrap your head around it. It's *that* bad. But here I am. I'm standing. I'm still breathing, perhaps barely, but still breathing. And I keep asking myself when does that point actually come? When does a person hit the point where they absolutely can not take anymore and they lose their minds? Because you'd think I'd have hit it by now. I keep waiting, but it's not happening.
As much as I've suffered in the last few months, I've learned a lot. I've seen blessings that I couldn't have imagined would ever happen, because God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. I am humbled in this tangled mess of what seems to be hell. I'm learning that God still isn't done refining me. The fire is hot. I get stressed out about everything going on, wondering how we're going to do this. I wonder how we'll make it financially, how we'll be capable of making it through all of this. I wonder if it's a good idea to put ourselves out there again. I'm in the refining fire, but I can see glimpses of the results. And I'm stunned.
I'm learning that when you think that no one cares, that you're all alone, that no one can see you, if you take a step back and actually look around, you'll be astounded at the actual support base you have.
I'm learning that I'm a heck of a lot stronger than I ever believed myself to be, and that anger, rage, and spite are powerful motivators. I've learned that he really was still trying to control me. Trying to use every single thing he could, including his son, to get to me. I've learned that he really is a sociopath, and a decent liar. I've learned that while his efforts still affect me in some ways, I don't have to give in anymore. I can stand up to him. I can take his power away. And that's exactly what I did. I sat across the table from him and looked in his eyes and told him exactly what I thought, what I needed to say, (this was shortly after I had gone to the elders of our congregation and told them what was going on, what had happened, and that it should probably be dealt with) and then I walked out and went home, with his oldest son in my car. And it felt good. It felt good to stand up for myself, for my nephew. It felt good to take the control right out from under his feet. And to be done with it. At least for that moment.
I'm learning that God can knit the hearts of people together, no matter their race, age, or social status. That the relationships we are capable of having because of him are far more important that I'd ever known. That teenagers are wise beyond their years, and moms are still learning, and I'm learning from both. That when it comes down to the wire, sisterhood is far more important than anything else, and we'll do whatever we can to save someone we love. Someone who needs us. No matter the cost. I'm also learning that the deepest of bonds can be formed in 36 hours, and that hearts can mesh with absolutely no effort, that lives can be changed irrevocably in no time at all, and that just when you thought you couldn't possibly open up to anyone else, you do, and instead of being a twin, you're suddenly a triplet. And I love you both beyond anything I can describe.
I'm learning that God really can bring beauty from the ashes. That He truly is amazing and prayers are answered and I'm too stupid to step back and count them. But I am seeing, finally, why I've gone through so much in the last four years. Why I've faced all of this head on, and dealt with so many horrible things. I've learned that I am so very not alone in that other club that no one wants to be a part of. And there is good reason for the things I've endured.
To help others.
To protect others, to show them the way. Even though I am still in the middle of some pretty serious stuff, much more serious than anything I've faced before, I am at a place where I am capable of seeing these girls and knowing what they need. Knowing how to protect them. I am now capable of being strong for them, even when I'm weak in my eyes. In my situations. I can be strong for them, because God makes me strong.
Our family has grown exponentially since the last time I blogged. Eric and I are now the parents of a 4 year old son, a 6 year old daughter, a 13 year old nephew/son of the heart, and the big sister of a 19 year old sister. And I don't think I'd have it any other way. Our house is full, but so are our hearts.
Taking in these kids has been hard. Not so much for us, but for them. They're stuck smack in the middle of all the hate and anger and rage their parents/ parent feel. They're fighting loyalties and fears and hurts. They're dealing with their abuse, neglect, and painful pasts. But they're happy here. They're content. Their smiles are stronger, more genuine. Their capability to love, to open up, to be themselves has shot through the roof.
I've learned that when parenting, it's best to let them be who they are. Let them be kids. Let them like what they want to like, to be what they want to be. With guidance, you'll be shocked at what those grungy looking kids with the green hair and chains and chokers can accomplish. What they can be. How strongly they can love God. I've learned that they need parents, not friends. But they do need friends, too, and its best to learn where that line is. I can not tell you how much I love that my nephew wants to hang out with my friends and I, and that he and the 19 year old are getting along so well. It makes me glad to know that he can turn to us and talk, to laugh with us, feel comfortable with us, and yet be capable of accepting discipline from us, because really, that's all he ever wanted. I'm learning a lot.
I've learned that things aren't always as they seem. And for this one, I'm just going to be specific. Eric went to the clinic about 2 months back and they sent him to see a surgeon about his gallbladder. He had previously had three tests saying his gallbladder was fine, and they did another one, which also came back normal. But they decided to take it out anyhow. We were a bit nervous, but we figured once they had it out, it was one more thing we could eliminate. And you know what?
For the first time in four years... FOUR YEARS PEOPLE... my husband, my sweet sweet husband, is pain free. FREE. You heard it here first. His pain is gone. He has been blessed with an instructor position at two different universities, and things are going to start evening out here, soon. God is so good, and so amazing, and I am incapable of wrapping my head around the blessings that we have been given.
So here we are, the six of us, in this somewhat smallish house, (Stacey makes seven and mom makes eight, but they rotate when Eric isn't here) and we're happy. We have our issues, our fears, our problems, but we are so thankful to have each other that we can not see straight.
I wanted to say thank you so much for all of your prayers. For everything you given us over the last few years. Your love, your encouragement, your friendship. I couldn't have made it this far without you.
I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a photographer. I'm a lover of Jesus. My house is a mess, my kids are dirty, we eat take out more often than not. My life is loud, busy and crazy. And that's okay with me.
This is Eric, the man you've been praying for. He's a paramedic. He quilts in his spare time. No, I couldn't make that up :) He has NASH (a form of liver disease, non-alcoholic) and diabetes, but those things don't define him. He's a man of God, an insanely wonderful husband, and the best daddy in the world.. Just ask these guys..
Our daughter Ali, she's 9. She's fiercely opinionated and strong willed. She's a Daddy's girl, but the umbilical cord hasn't but cut from me, either. She's a gymnast, and proud of it. She spends more time upside down or turning flips than she does walking. She's crazy smart, and absolutely sure of it. She is my insufferable little know it all.
Our son Dylan, 7. We lovingly refer to him as Chubs. Or Chubby. Or fat boy. Ahem. He is all boy, as you can see by his crazy wild energy. He has the highest pain tolerance of any child I have ever met. He plays soccer and does gymnastics, but truly he is a gamer, a nerd. He is an avid reader and loves to climb. Not to be outdone by his sister, he's a drama king, but to him, I'm the best mommy in the world.
I'm here to use my voice. So many people can't. In a world of darkness, I just want to help God's light to shine through. I pray that my words are His, and my love is His, as well. This is my journey through the darkness. To start are the beginning of the story, click here.