With all the changes recently in expanding my client work, taking on new opportunities, and saying “Yes” this year, it’s meant that writing here has taken a hit. I have a great line up for the Fireside Chats this month and next as well as a new blogger joining The Essential Creative team! I am really excited to introduce her to you. She’s a fellow writer and really great friend of mine who was instrumental in some of my breakthroughs last year.
That said, let’s talk about some breakthrough. We often hear this statement below, and I give it some credibility because too many of us live in the past rather than venturing on to the future. However, sometimes it can be beneficial to look back. Like tonight – as we venture back to February 15, 2017.
Three years ago, I wrote the following post and was in a LOT of pain. I was trying to figure out some things. 5 months from writing this, I would realize that I was in love with someone and it was scary and exciting and … did I mention scary. But I didn’t turn around. My ability to walk through my thoughts, share my feelings, and get to the root of issues through journaling and blogging has always been a source of healing for me. I thought tonight it would be interesting to walk back to this moment and see how far I’ve come in being a confident, fulfilled woman who allowed myself to heal from the past and a relationship that broke me in a million ways but led to me dealing with those emotions and then healing to the point I fell in love with an amazing man who changed my life by leading me to the God I thought I knew all along but realized in 2018 I didn’t really know that well!
If you’d like to walk with me, keep reading. This one is a LONG one. My comments from today will be in bold, royal blue font. There’s some pretty cool news that will help the family topic for this blog as we move forward. 🙂
When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds
Originally posted on Eyes Straight Ahead on February 15, 2017.
It was innocent enough: I was sitting at work listening to a Lee Brice YouTube playlist when a song I hadn’t previously heard from another artist came on the playlist. Next thing I knew, I was sitting there with tears welled up in my eyes and a face red from the slap reality had just dealt me.
Here’s the song:
While listening to it, I realized that I still wish my ex-husband was here, in my life, around for the good times and bad times and a part of my forever like we vowed to one another we would be. And my reaction was tears. I haven’t felt like God failed me for not allowing my husband to show up and take his rightful spot in my life. I haven’t felt like He failed me because things haven’t worked out the way I thought they would. I have felt like He failed me because He was supposed to heal my marriage and allow my husband to be my husband and allow my daughter to know her father and allow my family to be the family I committed to forever. Ouch! I didn’t see that one coming.I have felt like the Lord failed me because all of the great things that have happened over the last eight years have been missing the one person I thought would be there forever. FOREVER. And yes, I will admit maybe this is true victim thinking….or maybe it is just part of the grief cycle and I am finally allowing myself to go through it…I guess after eight years I should be ready to deal with the grief and move forward. I should be able to put this relationship behind me and move forward but I feel stuck.
I have spent eight years – EIGHT years – reading Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 119, 2 Corinthians, Romans 8:28, Joel 2:18-31, and so many other scriptures that tell me that God knows what is best for my life — and believing He does — while also believing that what is best is to not have to move on, to not have to learn someone knew, to have the family I was told I would have and be able to enjoy the laughs and good times. Because after all, the good times outnumbered the bad — it’s just that when there were bad times…well…they were bad. (Isn’t it interesting how we think we know better than God?!)
So what do I do with this information? I made myself sit that night and listen to another song that has long brought a smile to my face. This song is an anthem my friend Ashley and I share as well as that my folks and I talk about each time it comes on. Here it is:
Music is my solace, my happy place. I can always find a song to share with me the emotion or joy I need. This song, “Baby Girl” is my hope – the last block of words. I am going to send money home to my folks one day because I will finally be living my purpose and be walking in that place where I belong and where I have been destined to walk since before they knew who I was. (It’s so cool to read this today and realize I am on my way to truly making this happen!)
I heard these lyrics and I asked myself, “What do I do with this information?” What do I do with the knowledge that I am still loving someone I haven’t seen or communicated with in more than 8 years and who I have no way of contacting? Would I even want to? Would it benefit anyone if I could? What would happen?
And so I played out two situations: 1) Reaching out and it goes the way I think in my heart of hearts that it should, and 2) reaching out and it goes the way I know it never would. With the former, there is forgiveness extended and closure provided and we are able to give Ali the family she should have, a mom and a dad, but we are still divorced and we are still not together and we are still who we are. We are just able to give her the family she truly deserves in today’s society and with the constraints we have on us as far as distance goes. That would be a wonderful situation. The latter is us becoming a family again and something I just couldn’t truly see happening because I DO remember the sleepless nights, the tears, and the sadness that dominated the bad times. I DO remember the pain and the bad times just as I remember the laughter and good times. (This Sunday, thanks to my ex-husband’s girlfriend, Ali and her dad have a Zoom. He doesn’t live near us and we aren’t yet in a place to move, so this is the best option: Video Calls so they can see one another and start a relationship and see where it goes. I will share more about it at the end of the post.)
So when I stepped back, and asked the Lord, “What is the point of knowing this information…of knowing that I miss him?” The Lord asked back, “Him or the idea of Him?” Thank God I was at home by this point!
So He brought to mind another song that I love and makes me think of another close friend of mine. Each time I hear it I think of our friendship and the ups and downs, the pain, the laughter, the good times and bad, the way I have loved in a way I have never loved. The way this person prepares me to be a good wife when I do finally move on. This song, when I heard it this time, made me think of something else: The way God loves me and holds me close. (Interestingly, that friend opening me up to learn to love helped me realize later in 2017 that I’d fallen in love with someone without even realizing it…in learning to love and working through all of these feelings, I allowed myself to go with the moment and ended up finally understanding what pure love without expectations and conditions felt like. It was pretty amazing on my part and something I don’t regret experiencing… and haven’t fallen out of yet…)
Take a listen:
Do you hear it? Do you hear God speaking and saying,
“I will wait for you. Grace tonight will pull us through. Until the tears have left your eyes…until the fear can sleep at night…”
Oh…I feel it even now just as powerfully as I did the other night sitting there and listening to it. He loves me so much that He came and died for me and yet I keep Him so far away because I worry He will judge me for not wanting to get hurt again, for not wanting to give my heart to someone and have it kicked around and spit upon like last time. He loves me so much that even as I sit here wondering how all I am doing right now leads to the life He promised me and how I have the life He promised me without the human foundation that has been in every promise (the husband with whom I would do ministry and travel the world speaking to women and youth), He hasn’t given up on me. He hasn’t given up on me.
Let those words sink in for you too. After all, the point of me sharing my pain and my walk with you is that you can heal too. I don’t just share them so the world can know my inner thoughts and pain. I share because this is the platform I am able to use to help others.
Through the keys, I am able to share my story that starts conversations that leads folks to God that leads to healed hearts. That is my reason for breathing. Everything else I do I do to be able to write. It matters not in the world or the bigger scheme. They are simply tasks I have been given as I walk this Earth and work on these classes and books and blogs. My real passion is youth and women and seeing them brought into healing and deeper levels of Christ. Do you have a passion? Do you know what it is that you are giving God when you say, “I give you my all”?
Listen friends… this life is about so much more than hurt and pain. And while I am walking out the grief I SHOULD HAVE dealt with YEARS ago, I don’t want to see others harbor theirs for so long. I harbored mine because I was afraid of what God would do with my life if I handed it over to Him. Yes, I just admitted that. I am so afraid of my own calling that I hold myself back because I am fearful of the light within me. I had spent so long abused in my life that I am not used to being an influencer and someone others look up to. And as I think of all these things, our musical journey this blog post has turned into continues. I hear the words, “come out of hiding…” so clearly.
Take a listen to the entire song from which they come:
I’ve shared that song before but tonight they are hitting especially close to home, especially the line “Oh as you run, what hindered love will only become part of the story.” Praise you Jesus that You don’t give up on us even when we give up on ourselves. Praise you that You know us better than we know ourselves and that you believe in our story and know our story and are willing to wait until we are able to fully say to you, “I am ready to come out of hiding”!
Friends, what have you been holding back? What have you been keeping inside that you think He doesn’t know about you? What feelings or emotions have you kept so hidden you don’t even realize they are there?
Let them free today! Let them loose today! Let them OUT TODAY! Don’t keep them bottled up inside even one moment longer. Instead, let the Lord come in and hold you close as He sings to you and let it become that instead of hearing a song and breaking down you start to hear songs and smile because some day someone will be by your side celebrating with you and cheering you on. Or maybe you already having someone doing those things but you are hurt from the death of a child, the lack of being able to have a child, the loss of a loved one, or some other pain. God knows. He isn’t going to be surprised by ANY emotion you have. He wasn’t shocked to learn that I was upset with Him for not healing my marriage, for not allowing my ex and me to be the happily ever after I thought we would one day be or that people all around me said we would be. He wasn’t surprised to learn that I am afraid to move on because I am scared someone else will do the same thing to me again and I am not able to bear that kind of pain yet again in my life. Once was enough to have my life shattered into pieces. He will not be afraid to learn whatever secret you are withholding.
To close us out, I realize that I can’t move forward, as I shared yesterday in the post, if I am constantly looking behind me. I need to look forward and trust that post-divorce life can be beautiful and post-divorce love can be a wonderful thing. I have yet to experience it truly and fully and I am ready to. My friends have prepared me. I have learned that I am strong enough to love beyond myself. I have learned that I am able to love with a deeper love than I have ever loved even my ex-husband, and maybe that is where these feelings are coming from: wondering if he were in my life now if things would be different because I know how to love differently. But the fact is, that my past has no place in my future. Like Lot’s wife, I need to understand that I am not to look back but ahead to where the Lord is calling me. And that place is an amazing place. One where I will experience some amazing things if I will just trust Him and look to Him instead of hearing others.
So with that, I leave you with one last song for tonight. The song that has become the anthem of our track at church and has long been a favorite of mine since I first heard it: The more I seek Him the more I am able to understand love. The more I am able to understand love, the more I WILL love. The more I love, the closer I am coming to once again having someone by my side to celebrate the joys and trials of life with me.
Wow!! Reading this all back knowing what I know today is so amazing. The perspective from here allows me to see that healing began evening. I had been in my first friendship with a man who treated me well, respected me, and encouraged me. I developed feelings… I fell in love… and when I realized it, I allowed it to play out. It was two years into the friendship when I realized I’d had feelings, but it took this revelation here to allow me to start seeing what was really going on. Here’s the thing, though he didn’t fall in love with me as well, his love and finally experiencing a love that didn’t have to do with looks. bodies, sex, etc. helped me learn how amazing two people can be when they are brought together for more than chemistry and sex. It was powerful the way we could do business and talk for hours – days at times. I never could have done that if not for this revelation, as it was after this post and some healing that I started allowing myself to lean in to that friendship more.
Fast forward to Christmas or so this year and I received a message from a girl asking me why my ex didn’t see her dad. I was taken aback and responded that she would have to talk to him. Y’all, I had NO intention of carrying on a conversation with this woman. But something in my stomach was like, “Don’t be like Rhoda!! Don’t slam the door when what you’ve been praying for comes.” So I engaged in conversation after learning she was pretty cool people.
Friends, the healing! For 12 years now we have prayed that my ex would reach out and begin a relationship with Ali. I’ve never closed that door and wouldn’t because I believe fathers should know their daughters unless there is a fear of them hurting the children. There isn’t a fear like that in this case. My ex was a wonderful dad to my oldest and our foster daughter. He and I had the issues, not our kids. So when this woman started asking if she could talk with him about them starting a relationship, I shared that anything was okay as long as it would be consistent. And so… this week, thanks to the healing that began in this post, my daughter and her dad will talk for the first time in her life. They haven’t seen one another since August 2008. I am so excited for her and so happy to see that God knew better than me and knew I had to heal, had to fall in love, had to learn through falling in love how to fall in love with myself and Him, and had to get to a place where the woman could reach out and I wouldn’t fall apart.
Allow yourself time to heal. Look back just enough to look forward. Look back just enough to see where you need to heal. Learning to live today and experience the moment led me back to a God I thought I knew and realized I didn’t. It helped me to finally become the woman I have been all along but was afraid of. It helped me to fully be me. And in all of that, my girls will reap the reward!
What you do you need to heal from today so you can move forward in peace and fulfill the dreams for your life?