Monday, January 8, 2018

Who comes first?

I was scrolling through Facebook a while back, and I came across a cartoon that stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was a woman and it said “Spouses come and go, but your children will always be your children.  Be careful who you put first.”  I was stunned. It was probably the closest I’ve ever come to wanting to argue with someone on social media.  But I didn’t.  

I have kids, I get it.  They are important.  They also require a lot of time and take attention away from other things.  However, nothing is more important than our spouses. - Except for the Lord Jesus Christ, of course.- Marriage was set up by God, and the church is the spouse of God just like we are the spouse to our husband.  We shouldn’t put anything before the church, just like we shouldn’t put anything before our spouse.  The Bible says “forsaking ALL others...”. That means our kids too. Trust me, they’ll understand and appreciate it the older they get. Your spouse needs attention and affection in order to feel needed and wanted.  Perhaps the author of this cartoon had problems because their spouse was no longer being given the things they desired in a marriage . Once the kids came along they weren’t needed anymore.  What were they, a sperm donor?  

I say these things for one reason:  I. Lived. It.  I’ve made the mistakes.  I’ve paid the price, and I did my time.  I’d love to pull every new Mom aside and tell them my story.  I’d tell them the opposite of what the world is trying to say, so that maybe in ten years they’ll still be married to their kids’ dad.  I know, no one thinks it will happen to them.  I thought that too.  But here’s the problem, if a husband is not getting what he needs from his wife at home, all the devil needs is for him to have one second where he lets himself enjoy the attention from another woman and he’s got him.  It’s happening all around us, and even the strongest marriages are failing.  The devil can find the weak areas in a marriage.  Don’t think he can’t.  

One of the biggest problems is that no one wants to take responsibility for the things that go wrong in their lives.  It’s always that “good-for-nuthin cheatin’ jerk’s” fault.  That’s not the attitude we should have, which is another lesson I had to learn.  If we have too much pride to look at a situation and see what we might’ve done to cause it, then we’ll soon find ourselves in the same situation all over again.  

The other thing we need to think about is the image we’re portraying to our kids.  Children learn how to raise their own kids by how they were raised.  If they see Mommy ignoring, disrespecting, blowing off or griping at Daddy, they’ll grow up to do the same.  But if Mommy listens to, respects, encourages, and shows affection toward Daddy then the course of history has just been changed!  It’s no surprise divorce rates are doubling and tripling, people are only doing what they were taught to do.  We need to break this vicious cycle.  

This subject is one of many that I’m trying to get to the bottom of.  I’ve been working my way backwards through the chain of events that led to my divorce.  If the cheating happened because the spouse was feeling neglected or unwanted, then I have to think about when those feelings started.  If they started after the kids were born, then I think about how I treated him since they were born.  And so on.  I’ve thought about this to the point of exhaustion.  But it’s necessary.  Yes, he committed the sin, and we are now divorced because of it.  But what could I have done different to keep the sin from happening?  And what can I do different in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  These are the hard questions I’m out to answer, and to hopefully help others by answering them.  That way the small cracks that might be happening in a marriage don’t become gaping holes until it falls apart.  

God bless


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It wasn't all bad

When my husband asks me to blog about a certain topic I happily oblige.  Especially if it's something he feels he needs for himself as well as something he thinks others might benefit from.  

This post is not for the masses.  It's not advice for young folks about marriage.  It's not encouragement for those in difficult marriages.  It's strictly for those of us that have been through the fire, as I like to say.  Those of us that are divorced and have ex spouses.  

When a marriage finally ends after years of heartbreak and tears, it's very easy to think those were wasted years.  That we made a bad decision, or that we were married to terrible, awful people.  Or that we ourselves were the terrible ones.  It's easy to bash your ex for whatever it was they did.  It's like we have to claim insanity or try to justify our reasons for marrying them in the first place.  "I was young and stupid."  "I was getting desperate."  "I should've prayed more about it."   Or the worst one of all "I thought they would change after we got married." I'm guilty of saying the last two.  

No matter the lame excuses we come up with, there is one fact that remains.  When we married them, we loved them.  And as much as we try to tell ourselves the opposite, they loved us too.  Otherwise they wouldn't have married us.  It's not like they planned to be unfaithful or whatever it was that happened.  Just like us, they had every intention of growing old together.  But sometimes things happen.  The devil goes for the weakest link.  Which is why marriage needs to be a threefold chord between you, your spouse and God.  Without that chord the devil will find a way in.  But that's not my subject today.  

Divorce is a huge blow to the ego.  It is a rejection, and leaves you feeling defeated.  The common thought about exes is that for them to have treated us the way they did, then they never really loved us at all.  But as much as I sometimes don't want to admit, it's not true.  As David has said in the past:  "It wasn't a bad marriage, it just ended badly."  

It wasn't a bad marriage.  It wasn't.  In my experience, I had the thought many times that no two people were more perfect for each other.  He was sweet to me and I took care of him.  I called him Boogiloo, and he called me Leigh.  We went on dates well into our marriage.  We grew a garden together and had friends over for game night.  He sent me flowers every Valentine's Day.  We had two amazing boys together, and he helped me through the labor.  There were good times.  I still agree that there were red flags I should've noticed, but it wasn't all bad.  

Yesterday David was cleaning out a desk and found poems from his ex-wife.  He told me how she used to pack his lunch for work and write poems to go in the sack.  I thought it was a sweet gesture, but I also admit I was relieved he felt no need to keep them any longer.  I have also found prayer journals where she wrote down prayers for him and their boys. It's still a little hard for him to admit, but it wasn't all bad.  Believe it or not, he and I actually had good times with our first spouse.  But unfortunately, if you are unequally yoked you will pull against each other until eventually the yoke breaks completely.  And when that happens, it's hard to remember a time when you moved easily side by side.  

My point of this post is that we all have a past. People that have been through divorce are somewhat expected to forget about it or not bring up that part of their lives.  We're supposed to forget those memories and that's not right.  I brought my boys home from the hospital riding in the backseat with them while he drove us to our home.  He was there when they took their first steps.  How can I cut him out of all those memories?  I suppose there was a time when I was bitter and tried to cut him out of them, but time has healed those wounds.  I've moved on, and am more in love with David than I ever was with him.  It's easy now to look back and remember times with him and not feel bitter or nostalgic.  I do not love him, and haven't for many years.  But I respect him as a part of my past, and as my boys' father.  

So to my fellow divorcĂ©es, even if you are bitter now, it will pass.  The hurt will go away.  You will one day get to a place where the thought of your ex will make you feel indifferent.  It won't be good feelings, but it won't be bad either.  They will just be a part of your history.  A history that had good and bad times and you will be okay with it because the Lord has taken care of you and brought you to a new and better situation.  

Now, go pray and thank God for helping you through the turmoil, through the pain, and for getting you out of the mire and setting you on the rock.  Thank Him for the lessons you learned and pray for wisdom in the future.  And lastly, pray to get the point of indifference.  Pray to not hold grudges and to let go of your anger and forgive them.  It will not help your ex, but it will do wonders for you.  

God bless.  


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Friend or Foe? 

It's time to let out a dirty little secret divorced people try to ignore or cover up.  There is a huge problem happening in the world today, and it's all our fault.  

It's the kids. Kids of divorced parents are what is wrong with the world. MY kids are part of the problem. So are David's. So are 99% of kids from divorced parents.  Whether divorced parents admit it or not, we've all done it..... to an extent.  We've tried to win their affections away from the other parent. It's true, we do it without thinking.  All we know is that we want the kids to want to be with us more than their other parent,  so we let them do things we normally wouldn't.  We buy them an extra something or other.  We don't correct them every time they do something wrong.  Basically we try to make them happy, or happier than the other parent does.  

Right after my boy's dad moved out of our house the spoiling began. Without knowing, I was giving into them for everything. I no longer ran my house, my boys did. They called the shots and got away with murder. Why? Because I felt bad for what they were going through.  

I'm very thankful I took notice to what was happening and tried to change my behavior. For some parents though, it never ends. It becomes the new normal, and thus rotten, no good, spoiled little brat children are born.  

Whether the motive is to be the 'cool' parent, or the 'fun' parent, or if it's like me, and simply trying to make up for putting them through this pain. It's something we've all done. We relinquish our duties, and in return the kids get spoiled.  

For me, I was hit with a big dose of reality when I finally opened my ears and heard the horrible, disrespectful words that were coming out of my child's mouth. I said "no more" and we moved into what I refer to as the spanking phase. I had a wooden spoon in every room of my house. I probably spanked each of them 4-5 times a day to start. (Not a fan of spanking?  Sorry, it's in the Bible.  Insert your own form of discipline here). Anyway, a new sheriff was in town and the rules were changing.  

I no longer cared if they liked me. I didn't care if they had more fun at daddy's house. Every time I heard the words "but daddy lets us...." I immediately responded with "I. Don't. Care." I was not put on this earth to be their friend and try to win their approval. God gave me these boys to turn into good, respectable men, and they were going to start by respecting me.  Trying to be your child's friend is the fastest way to ruin them.  How are kids going to learn to do what's right if they aren't being corrected? They aren't born kind and respectful, it has to be taught.  People see having babies as fun and cute, and adding little buddies to their family.  But it's not like that!  It's work, and if you don't put in the hard work everyone suffers, especially the child.  

Now, believe me, I'm far from the tyrant it sounds like. Even still to this day when the boys get back from a visit with their dad I tend to turn back into doormat-mom. Mostly because I'm the one that moved them ten hours away from him. I still carry some guilt about that. But after a few days of them being back and pushing me to my limit, I snap and have a big discipline fest and they straighten up.  

The problem is our country is currently seeing 50% of its parents get divorced. That means half of the kids in our nation are being spoiled rotten. They are being fought over, bought off, and let run the show. They are probably the reason every kid gets a trophy, and why teachers have to change grades for undeserving students. The problem with the other 50% of the kids in our country is that they see their divorced-parent friends getting their way and being bought their heart's desire, so they then go home and complain to their parents about the raw deal they're getting.  Or worse, married parents see how divorced parents treat their kids and actually take on some of those bad habits without realizing, probably to look cool or some stupid reason.  So that means a good 20-30% of kids from non-divorced parents end up being raised spoiled rotten as well!  

I know this is just my hypothesis, but I stand behind it. If people wonder why all these millennials started throwing fits and needing cry rooms, this is it. We're living in a world where kids are the rulers, and it's not going to get any better. 

Gloomy huh?  

Well, I can't end this post on a negative note. But is there a solution? I can't say.  I know that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord the best we can, and that means we do our best to raise gentlemen.  We will discipline, we will spank, and we will try our darndest to teach them to respect us as well as others.  We will do our best to help them become kind, normal functioning adults.  All we can do is work on our small corner of the world.  And who knows, if one person reads this and it makes a change, then it was worth putting it out there.  

My advice (for what it's worth)... Get your kids used to hearing the word 'no'.  A lot.  It will prepare them for a cruel world.  

And then drag them to church for crying out loud.  I don't care if they complain, you take them anyway.  I'm tired of kids calling the shots.

Please, I'm begging you.  

God bless you all.  


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Get out of jail free

It's me again.  

I'm back to save the world from more propaganda.  This time I'm fighting against what I like to call the "get out of jail free" cards.  Not sure what I'm talking about?  Let me throw out a couple of examples:  

There is a billboard in San Antonio for a divorce lawyer, it simply says "when the fairytale is over."  

What?  Really? Whoever said marriage was a fairytale?  

On Facebook the other day, I read this:  

So, strong people leave their spouse, but weak people stay to work it out?  I'm pretty offended by that.  I stayed two years, trust me, that made me tough as nails.  

As you can probably tell, I'm still a little sensitive when it comes to divorce.  Mostly because I don't want people to go through what I went through.  So when I read advertisements and propaganda telling people it's okay to give up on your marriage it makes me crazy and sad at the same time.  It makes me hate the world we live in that much more.  

The worst part is this stuff works.  People read things like this everyday and little by little they'll talk themselves into giving up on their marriage.  Or worse,  people in healthy marriages will read it and convince themselves that Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so from work or wherever could make them happier because life with their spouse is getting mundane.  

Let me tell you this, marriage is not a fairytale.  It's not all romance and violin music.  It's clipping coupons to afford to put food on the table.  It's trying not to nag about something that's been needing done for weeks.... and finally nagging anyway and causing a fight.  It's seeing your girl with no makeup, and seeing your man in holey socks.. or worse.  It's fighting over how to discipline your children, and crying together when your child makes horrible life-altering decisions.  It's pinching pennies and arguing over how to spend those precious pennies.  It's compromising, not selfishness.  It's "I'm sorry, you are right."  Instead of "Why don't you just admit you are wrong?"  

I could go on and on.  

Marriage is so hard.  But it's worth it.  To know someone that intimately.  To know they have your back and will stand up for you at any cost.  To know that you will never be alone and that you have help in this life.  There's no feeling like it.  The Bible says it is not good for man to dwell alone, and to cleave to your spouse. Don't let small annoyances or disagreements come between you.  Forgive constantly, then forget it.  If you can't forget it, pray to.  Pray for a heart to love them more.  Pray for a heart to look over faults.  Pray for your marriage without ceasing.  

Don't read the things the world writes and feel like you have a "get out of jail free" card.  You'll soon find out how much it's actually costing you.  Divorce hurts more people than you realize.  It is so very painful for all that know you.  


Thursday, February 2, 2017

We are not enough

I have decided to take on the role of fighting memes. I don't think this makes me a 'Foo Fighter', but maybe more like a 'Fool Fighter.' These days anyone with a smart phone can make dumb sayings into a work of art... and if it looks like art, then people will get warm, fuzzy thoughts and assume that it MUST be true.

Well, I'm in here to say enough! I can't take it anymore! Memes, or inspirational quotes like 'you are enough' , 'you're stronger than you think you are,' 'you're going to get through this,' 'you're beautiful,' 'you're needed.' They're great, but they're not giving us the right information. All they're doing is telling us that we need to be self-reliant, that everything we need is within us and there's nothing we can't handle on our own. Then, when a hard time comes, we melt into a puddle of worthlessness on the floor because we tried to do it on our own and failed. It's not our fault, the world told us we could do it. Ugh!!! People, this life is HARD! And guess what? We CAN'T do it on our own. But the good news is, we don't have to!

I wish someone would make a beautiful picture that says:

You can't do this on your own, you need Jesus.

Oh wait, I have one of those handy dandy little meme generators and a picture of the Guadelupe River I took last Sunday, I'll just make one myself...



Easy peasy lemon squeezy... see, any idiot - including me - can make a meme.

The point is, even Christians these days are falling for all the self-reliant mumbo jumbo, and then when they hit hard times they fall to pieces because they are being taught that "they are enough" when in reality they're not.

Listen to this:

-We are not beautiful, we are full of ugly sin
-We are not strong, we are weak and worthless
-We are not enough, we are lacking in so many ways

We need to be taken down a notch or two and humbled. However, there is an upside.

-We are important to the Lord
-We are special to the Lord
-We are loved by the Lord
-We are precious to the Lord

We are all these things with the Lord, and we are nothing without the Lord.

So my suggestion is this, we need to stop trying to build each other up with empty compliments that fade away in a short time, and remind each other that Jesus loves us, and that we need to rely on Him every minute of our lives. He is our friend always. Whether we are going through highs or lows, He needs to be called upon, praised and thanked in abundance.

Kind readers, I alone am not enough. I need Jesus.
And I'm sorry, you are not enough either. You need Jesus too. We all do. Now let's try to not be so self-reliant, and do what we're supposed to do - Rely on the Lord.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Do LESS of what makes you happy

Last night on mine and David's nightly walks we started talking about how sad it is that our churches are getting smaller and smaller.  We actually have this discussion quite often.  He'd heard of, yet another, former church member who had departed from our faith... and all faith for that matter.  It's sad how un-shocked we both seemed.  News like that used to bring about emotions of sadness or apallment, but lately it's not surprising to hear this kind of news.  

We talked about why this was more common now than it used to be. So I told him about a pet peeve I have, one that I believe is the major cause for what we're seeing today. 

Let me start off by telling you my most hated phrase of this generation: 

Do more of what makes you happy.  

It's awful and deceiving.  

The biggest problem in the world today is self-love.  This attitude sounds like a great idea and seemingly harmless, but in fact it's what's leading to the distruction of our homes and churches.  It tricks us into thinking that if you're not happy, all you have to do is change and do more of the things that make you happy and *poof* you're happy.  

If you're tired of taking care of your family, then sit on the couch there and read a book.  

If your wife has gained a few pounds, forget diets, just go out and find you a skinny, younger gal to take her place. 

If you're not happy with how your husband chews his food, kick him to the curb and find you someone new... with different things to annoy you.  

If you're tired of hearing the preacher tell you how much you sin, you don't need that!  Wouldn't you be happier just sleeping in on Sunday morning?  Or better yet, maybe go to the golf course! 

This phrase that comes across as the best advice you've ever heard is leading God's people in the wrong direction.  They think they are finding happiness, but there is no happiness to be found under those circumstances.  Only a big mess and more unhappiness.  

Nobody is happy, and they can't figure out why! 

So some of you are thinking: "Wait, what about going to the gym, or getting a peticure, or taking an afternoon break from the kids?  What about my sanity??"

Calm down people.  Don't take this to the extreme.  Taking care of ourselves is very important.  If we don't take care of ourselves, it will be really hard to take care of our family or job or church obligations. Even hobbies are good. I have them.  We all do.  It's okay.  I'm referring to people that put aside their obligations and duties in favor of things that are frivolous and self-serving.  

Thankfully, God gives us a remedy for the unhappiness that is plaguing today's people.  However, most people don't want to hear it.  

The number one thing we need to be doing in this life is serving God.  Go to church, read your bible and pray daily... or more.  

The number two thing  we need to be doing is serving each other.  That means putting others before ourselves.  Take care of our families, visit friends and church members, let someone cut in line, let the BMW merge in front of you...  I'm talking to myself here, so don't go thinking I'm an expert at this.  I'm just as depraved as the next guy.  Most of the time I know what I need to do to serve someone else, but my stupid nature comes out and makes me do something selfish.  *sigh* However, on the rare occasions when I do what I'm supposed to do, and serve God the way I should, I have found those moments of pure joy.  I've seen it.  I've felt it.  I screw it up a lot... and then I try my best to get back to it.  When you're there, it's the most magnificent feeling in the world.  True happiness.  

So my advice... 

Do LESS of what makes YOU happy, and MORE of what makes God happy and others happy, and in the end you will find happiness.  

J-esus first
O-thers second 
Y-ourself last

Seems to spell out joy to me.  

Think about it. 


Monday, December 26, 2016

Cookie Cutter

In the past I've learned that blogging is a journey of self discovery for me.  I'll get that twinge of inspiration to write about something, but I won't really know why until I'm in the thick of it.  Then when it hits me, I'm flooded with all these new thoughts and end up crying nonstop till I figure out what deep seeded emotion led to my twinge. 

 That's how this post started.  

I usually try very hard to not be a jealous person.  So when the feelings of jealousy hit I had to find out where it was coming from.  

Here's the thing... This Christmas it's been hard for me to see all the little cookie cutter families.  You know the kind, perfect mom, perfect dad, perfect well behaved impeccably dressed kids, blah, blah, blah.  Families out Christmas shopping, doing crafts or baking cookies.  All of the usual family Christmas type stuff.  

But I have to ask myself:  Why is it hard for me to see these families this year when it hasn't bothered me before?  

There was a time when I had that kind of life.  I was the mom in a cute little family of four, plus one dog.  I've had past Christmases where I did all those wonderful things like crafts with the boys, baking Santa cookies with them and putting out carrots for the reindeer.  From the outside looking in we were a Norman Rockwell painting.  But it wasn't perfect.  Not by far.  

So I ask myself:

Am I wanting my old life back?  Ha!... no. 

Am I missing that time?  Yes... in a way.  

What way?  I don't know! 

Let me see if I can work through what I'm thinking.  I do I miss the feeling of being in a cookie cutter family.  The mom, the dad, the kids.  The whole set up! But I don't miss my old life.  Maybe that's why my family failed... I was more interested in creating my own little cookie cutter family than I was in making sure I married the right man to have that family!


I think I'm getting somewhere!  

David and I have had many talks about how we wish we'd have met each other first, and that our kids would be just ours, and not half of other people.  When each of us we're going through the Cookie Cutter phase, we were married to people that brought pain to our families.  So I guess now when I see those families, I wish that David and I could have it, you know, from the get go!  Like we could go back in time and relive that phase with what we know now.  We could do the Cookie Cutter phase all over again, and this time do it right! 

Sounds great, huh?  But I'm afraid that ship has sailed.  I will forever regret not being able to experience that phase of life with David.  

So, that answers part of my question..... but what about the other part?  Why is it bothering me more now? Why this year?  

Well, let's see, what else did I like about that time?  Doing things with the boys.  

Ok, can I still do things with the boys?  A little , but not really 

Why? They're getting older. 

There ya go!

My boys are growing up!  

At least my oldest is.   He's not interested in doing crafts with mom, or baking cookies anymore.  He rolls his eyes when we playfully talk about Santa.  He's grown out of so many things that we used to do, it's sad.  I miss him being little.  It also makes me realize it won't be long before my youngest will grow out of these things too.  

My eyes well up with tears when I see them growing and changing so fast.  I'm not ready! I really didn't think it would happen this fast.  I thought I had more time!  


Ok, I'm better. 

I know I'm not really jealous of little cookie cutter families all smiling and happy.  They are all beautiful families that I pray never have to go through what we've been through.  But there are lessons to take away from my ramblings... 

One, we need to be teaching our children not to rush into marriage.  Pray for them to marry the right person, and teach them to do the same.  The family part will come in time, but if you don't get the spouse part right it's more likely to fall apart. 

And two, even though I'd heard it a hundred times, enjoy every minute your kids are little.  It goes by so fast and before you know it, it's over.  I know I'll be savoring every moment I have left with mine.