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So I have thinking a little bit lately about what it means to be a good mom and a wife, and how my views have changed over the years.


My oldest is 15 and I was 25 when he was born. I had several notions of what kind of mom I would be, what kind of kid he would be, and what kind of life we would have. It looked a lot like the inside of a snow globe – perfect.


It’s New Year’s Eve, and even though this isn’t your typical New Year post, I am in a spirit of reflection and gratitude. This happens this time of year, especially because my birthday is 11 days away. These 11 days become introspective, and the older I get, the sweeter they are.


See, when I was younger, I wasn’t very kind to myself. I guess I had something to prove. I wanted to prove I was good: a good mom, a good wife, a good cook, a good housekeeper, a good decorator, and good everything. Being imperfect at anything wasn’t even an option. And sometimes what it took to be good cost me so much.


I went through a Martha Stewart phase. I tried to make gifts and my own wrapping paper, make baby food, breastfeed, send Christmas cards, turn the house into the mall scene from Elf, and attempt to have friends, a job, and be a good lover to my then husband.


But I wasn’t centered on God. I thought I was at times because I talked to him, especially when my marriage was an absolute wreck or when I wanted him to fix my life. But everything I did was centered on receiving approval from my kids, my husband, and from the world. I was window dressing, but I was failing.


I am not saying that if you put a lot of effort into any of these things, that you are insecure and desperate for approval. Many guys and women truly enjoy the things they do, but if you don’t, may I suggest you simply STOP?


For example, instead of making a fancy appetizer platter for you friend’s party you are attending tonight, run to Publix and get a pre-made party tray. You will be surprised at how no one cares. Cheese blocks cut into cubes or into roses still taste like cheese.


Here are a few more ways to be kind to yourself:


  • Teach your kids how to make their own breakfast or do their own laundry.
  • Eat out on holidays when you just want to skip the shopping, cooking and two hour clean up process, sore feet, and exhaustion.
  • Skip holiday cards. Well you are probably thinking, now you tell me? If you forgot to do them, who cares? I love getting them, but I get about three a year now because I don’t reciprocate, but weirdly I still have friends.
  • Let your house be a little messy. Ask the kids or hubby for help. Hire someone to help out once or twice a month. Stop looking at the pictures from Southern Living Magazine and trying to live up to that. They have a whole staff. You don’t.
  • Go easy on Pinterest y’all. It’s fun, but it’s like being in a library for me: it’s overwhelming because I know I can never read all those books, and I am probably never going to even complete one Pinterest project. It’s just not that important.
  • Stop comparing yourself to your friends. We are all struggling and comparison makes the crazy go ‘round. So your friend had the best maternity pics that made her look like the Virgin Mary glowing in the blue lagoon and you just keep taking pics in those same ratty sweatpants. Big deal. Rock those sweatpants.
  • Set realistic standards with your relationships. You can’t be everything to everyone so use your time in the car to check on the friends who really matter to you. Don’t over promise your time. Don’t be afraid to say NO THANK YOU to an invitation when you just aren’t up to it.
  • Stop setting so many goals. Pray about what you really need to work on for your health and spiritual wellness. Goals can seem very appealing on the front end, but you might be focusing on the wrong things with all these goals. One or two goals in a year are usually more than enough.
  • Ask yourself why? Why are you doing it? If it is out of guilt, obligation, fear of upsetting someone, desire for approval or advancement, just don’t even bother. You are wasting your precious energy. If you truly want to do it, GO FOR IT! Do it with reckless abandon, thanking God for the opportunity, but you still don’t have to be perfect. No one expects that of you, except maybe you.


Most importantly, take care of yourself. Nap if you need to, work out if you want to, eat chips in your closet if you feel like it. Protect your sanity and your health. It’s a must.


For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (Eph. 5:29)


This verse relates to marriage, but let’s think about it. Can you be good in any relationship if you are not good to yourself?


I pray for you to be kind to yourself today, and everyday in the upcoming year. Be gentle and loving. Be patient and forgiving. Offer grace and unconditional love.


This is how to be a good mom and wife. Be a good to you.

Most resolutions are very well intended, lose weight, stop smoking, and maybe even fall in love. But no one actually keeps their resolutions, do they?


According to, these are the most commonly broken resolutions:


  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less


Coincidentally, they are among the resolutions most often made.


There are a few reasons why resolutions fail:


  • Lack of time
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of resources/knowledge


What is it about January 1 of each year that makes us think that more hours will be born into our days, more will-power will sink into our bones, and suddenly we will know how to do what we haven’t been able to do in decades?


But there are some resolutions you can actually make that you can actually keep, because I am not going to tell you what to do, but one REAL step you can take to get there.


Here are 10 worthwhile resolutions that you may have been avoiding for a very long time, but shouldn’t because they can change your life. And I am going to give you one actual how-to for each of them that you can sink your teeth into:


  1. Get healthy–Ok, this one is intentionally vague for a reason: we are all different, so we all need healthy advice that is tailored to our body and lifestyle.

Pro tip–Schedule a physical ASAP. Your doctor may run blood-work and a series of tests to see how you are doing, why you are tired and tell you what you can do about it. See? This is useful.

  1. Help your community­–Most lists include an altruistic component that helps others, but not everyone knows what to do to help.

Pro tip–Tithe. Yep, give up some of your dough to your church. Your church is already helping the community (or should be) and now your money can help an already existing well-oiled machine.

Note: You can also volunteer. But don’t get confused: they are two different things. You may choose to only do one or the other, but one does not substitute the other.
  1. Improve your marriage–January is a busy month for filing for divorce. But even if you aren’t throwing the D word around, you might be longing for something deeper and more intimate. I could write a series on this, and I might but let’s start with one tip, because honestly, marriage is hard, but it doesn’t have to be miserable.

Pro tip–Get marriage counseling. Check with your local directory, your church or your health insurance. There are sliding fees and evening hours for working people. But trust me on this one, it is worth your time and money to get counseling and improve your marriage. Divorce is way more costly.

  1. Achieve weight and health goals–Some of you want to lose weight, others might want to gain it. A lot of us just want to squish it into another area of our body. Changing our bodies is a lengthy process that requires commitment to our health.

Pro tip–See a nutritionist (or health adviser). In other words, put down Cosmo and close your Pinterest app and schedule an appointment to talk to a pro who will help you assess your patterns and advise you on ways you can improve your health over the long run and see real results.

  1. Enjoy life more–Oh boy. We are all looking for the key to happiness, and every year, we are hoping and praying for more happiness in our lives. So why do we keep setting this goal, yet not achieving it?

Pro tip–Let go of what could have been. Living in the past or living with regret will zap happiness in a jiffy. More than likely, you cannot undo what is done (or what has been done to you). So take a look at where you are NOW and come to grips with, and make a plan for your future that makes no considerations for what could have been.

  1. Plan for your financial future–I don’t care where you are in your financial planning, there is always more to learn. Your next step will look very different for the guy next door.

Pro tip–Read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace or attend a respected financial seminar from a respected leader (not someone interested in you investing your money in their next scheme).

  1. Plan for your long-term health–As we age, we have to take our health very seriously and take extra precautions to be healthy. We often avoid the reality of our age, but avoiding it will not shelter us from reality.

Pro tip–Schedule your prostate exam, mammogram, skin cancer screening, OBGYN appointment, or any recommended exam for your age, sex and family history. Yes, it will probably be uncomfortable, but it’s part of being a grown up.

  1. Drop emotional baggage–Been lugging around some drama, heartache, and bitterness for a hot minute? If so, I bet you are exhausted from it. I have been there and it is draining and can even make you physically ill.

Pro tip–Forgive someone. Forgiveness is a process that allows you to be free from the pain that comes with the wounds someone else inflicted upon you. They may not seem worth the effort, but you are. So start praying for the ability to forgive now. It will take time, but it will change your life for the better.

  1. Be someone you like–Feeling emotional, crabby and moody more than you care to admit? Tired of feeling like a walking butt hole and for having to constantly apologize for your attitude? I hear this a lot from my friends, so I know this is common, but should it be?

Pro tip–Choose one attitude to change. Angry, guilt-ridden, or too judgmental? Choose one attitude to adjust and attack it with this handy acronym: P.R.A.Y.

  • Pray about it,
  • Read about it
  • Ask for accountability
  • Yield to help.

Life is too short to keep feeling this way. It’s time to take charge friend.

  1. Do you–Ok, I am not trying to sound 20 years younger than I am, but people of all ages want to have fun, have an interesting life and find out who they are in the process. And if you are around my age, then you might also want to think of “doing you” a little more, because once your kids are out of the house in 5-10 years (or less!), are you going to have a life? Are you going to even know what you enjoy?

Pro tip–Make a list of things you want to learn, hobbies you used to enjoy, or my favorite: things that scare you. Now post this list on your mirror or in your phone and start doing them. This is your life. Enjoy the heck out of it.


There are many worthwhile goals, and I have only mentioned a few, but I encourage you to take charge of what is holding you back, release what is weighing you down and look forward to each hour of each day of this beautiful and messy life.


It’s your life, and no one is going to make it lovely for you.


So do you.

Dealing with an ex during any normal Wednesday can be a huge struggle, especially when the divorce or break up is somewhat recent, and there is bitterness and anger clouding everyone’s better judgment.

But even years later, holidays seem to bring out the worst in everyone. Here’s why:

  • Holidays come with their own set of expectations – Traditions built long ago are suddenly disrupted by the split of your family. And hopes always run high during the holiday season because we all tend to have Hallmark images of how we see the holidays going.
  • In-laws are still demanding or at least have their expectations ¬ You and your ex aren’t the only ones with plans. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even friends want to have time with the kids and have their own ideas of how the holidays should go.
  • Time is short ¬ There is so much more to do and so many more places to go during the holidays. There is a lot of pressure on the parents to make miracles happen – same 24 hours in a day, yet parties, gift buying, cleaning, family dinners, etc. put a lot of stress on parents.
  • Money is tight – Thought you were broke in November? Well December is really going to suck. Christmas puts a financial strain on the best of budgets. Cut that budget in half, yet keep all the same bills and responsibility and this is a recipe for anger, frustration and even fear.
  • Emotions are tried – Adults are struggling with loneliness and guilt. Kids are struggling with the same, plus feelings of anger and abandonment. As adults we shoulder the emotional burden for our kids, and end up working even harder to have the most picture perfect holiday ever.
  • We are dealing with our ex – No offense to anyone, but if getting along were easy, you would probably still be together. Take the most stressful (and often depressing) time of the year and add in the person with whom you have the most tension and voila: instant crazy town.

And in the end, we just end up angry or soaked in our own tears trying to figure out how in the world we even got here.

I have been divorced for over 10 years, and even though there are times that I want scream and yell and cry when trying to co-parent with my ex, there are strategies that really can help you have a calmer, less exhausting holiday season.

  • Stick to the plan – Hopefully you at least have a written parenting plan. I advise you stick to it. Often we begin moving things around to accommodate each other because we are having a good day with our ex. Then the other shoe drops and you are fighting again. A less mature person may take advantage of this situation and go back on the agreement. Now you are really mad! You promised the kids you would take them to see Santa, the North Pole or the White House for Christmas and your ex is taking it all back. If you stick to the plan, you are less likely to be let down, and end up in a battle royale.
  • Honor your word – This relates to the first point, but comes into play even more when a written plan is not legally in place. If you agree to a holiday schedule, you better honor it. I don’t care if your ex really yanked your chain. Do not use your child as a pawn, and do not justify doing this by telling yourself and everyone on FB what an ass your ex is. Unless the child is in danger, and you have involved the proper authorities, do what is best by your child and let them see their family. You can sulk on your own time.
  • Pair down your plans – If your time is cut in half, do not think you are going to have time to do it all. It is okay to say NO to someone and to turn down invitations. Your children will appreciate you slowing down and taking time to focus on them, versus trying to please every aunt, uncle and cousin from here to Nebraska.
  • Evaluate traditions – Not every tradition is worth holding onto with a kung fu death grip. Decide what traditions are worth keeping and consider starting a new one that honors the new dynamics of your family. Be flexible and remember the reason for the holidays.
  • Lower your expectations – Trash that perfect image you have of Christmas and replace it with simplicity and love. Remember to create time to read a Christmas book with your kids, to watch your favorite holiday movie (instead of trying to knock out ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas), or make a ginger bread house. Your kids will thank you for it.
  • Set a budget – The best Christmas I can remember was just my mom and me in 1985. It was just the two of us, and she told me that money was tight. She bought me a few inexpensive but thoughtful gifts. I was in love with the effort she took to choose gifts that reflected my personality. We had a small tree and a simple Christmas but I still felt important. My point is that just because your kids usually roll around like Scrooge McDuck on Christmas morning tossing around gold coins, does not mean that they really care as much about gifts as you think.
  • Consider serving – It is easy during the holidays to focus on everything that is going wrong and everything that life should be but isn’t. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself or your kids, consider serving alone or with them. They will enjoy feeling useful and helpful, and you will be glad you took to the chance to remember that life is still pretty dang good and worth enjoying.
  • Don’t include outsiders in your holidays – If you are dating and have a new boyfriend or girlfriend, now is not the time to play house. Focus on your kids. And be mindful of how they feel having near-strangers in their most precious family times. You will have plenty of time to hang out with your beau or love muffin when the kids go to your ex’s house. Don’t be so wrapped up in your loneliness that you make your kids uncomfortable.
  • Offer grace – Okay, this is the hard one. Anger, bitterness, sadness and frustration do not take a sabbatical during the holidays. Quite the opposite in fact. But even if your ex prefers cursing, yelling and name calling over adult conversations, you can still take a deep breath, say a prayer, remove yourself from the drama until everyone has cooled down and then start over. Don’t feed the dragon! No matter how your ex behaves this holiday season, you are still responsible for you and your behavior. You will be surprised at how far kindness and grace will go, even with difficult people.


Take care of yourself dear friend. Get lots of rest. Try not to eat every sugary snack you see. Go easy on the liquor. Take time to pray, and spend time with the Lord. The holidays are probably going to be hard. But they don’t have to throw you into a tantrum or full-blown depression.

Seek out healthy people who have been divorced and who are doing okay. Ask for their prayers and accountability. Give them permission to tell you when you are acting crazy. Reach out to people when you are struggling to get up in the morning. Seek counseling when too many mornings have swallowed you back into an abyss or when crying has taken over your life.

You will get through this. It will get easier. Life is hard, but it is worth it. God cares about your struggles and so do your friends. Don’t try to be a hero. Just take it one day at a time. And lastly, please forgive yourself when you screw up. You will. You are human, but you are awesome.

Keep crushing it. Santa and your kids are watching ☺

I could list a thousand things I am thankful for. I can also recall several times even recently, that I haven’t felt very thankful. It’s not that I lack a spirit of gratitude. There are just times when I crave something more, something deeper, something more connected.

The times when I feel a longing for what I desire, also allow me to reflect on the goodness of what I have. Desiring more does not mean we lack gratitude. Desiring more is part of our make up. It propels us towards goals, into prayer, and hopefully into personal and spiritual growth.

In my reflection of what I lack and still desire, I have also become aware of a few things that do not, on the surface, seem like things that I should be thankful for because they have brought me grief, heartache and even anguish.  But that does not subtract from a simple truth: I have been blessed through pain and even deep loss.

Here are 5 things that I should not be thankful for, but truly am:

  1. My youngest son’s diagnosis of autism – KG has long been diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety. It seems odd that I would be thankful for him to have yet another diagnosis. However, this diagnosis has allowed him to receive more help at school, especially in the social and behavioral areas where he has struggled so much.
  2. My oldest son’s trouble adjusting to high school – JC struggled when he started middle school too. In fact, it took him 2 years to adjust to just 3 years of middle school, but he did it. And by the end of middle school, we began to truly enjoy our son again (shout AMEN if you’ve been there!) But here we are again, low grades, poor decisions and low motivation. But I have faith in him and this process. And I have no doubt that he will find his way, in his own time.
  3. Struggles in my marriage – I do not enjoy any marital stress or discontentment, but our struggles have pushed us into talking, listening and compromising in unprecedented ways. It has also led us to serve other couples in blended families by hosting a small group (church) experience just for them. Through leading this group, we have learned something so refreshing: We are normal. And we will get through this.
  4. Problems in our business – Owning a business is really really hard. And after 7 years, sometimes we feel stuck and drained. This year was especially difficult for us. We got some bad press and it hurt us financially and emotionally. However, we have learned a lot from this process (and our mistakes) and in some ways it is getting us unstuck. We are making changes and plans that we had gotten too comfortable to make long ago.
  5. Good old infertility – The gift that keeps on giving. Two months ago, we experienced our seventh miscarriage. I never thought I was strong enough to endure this much loss, but it turns out that I can (with God’s help) get through unimaginable pain.  My husband has loved me relentlessly through this, and I never doubt his commitment to me. Also, I can’t imagine how in the world I could manage a baby right now with all of the time and attention my teenage sons need. Not to mention, God has opened up a steady stream of writing opportunities that I am blessed to have the time to pursue.

Sometimes, looking at the bright side just doesn’t work. Just like you, I cry, yell, curse and hide. Sometimes life is just too hard.

But then I crawl out of bed, throw away the Kit Kat wrappers and literally say aloud to myself, “Get it together. You – are – a – woman – of – God!” I put on a Christian podcast or crank up “Oceans” by Hillsong and sing my ass off. I put one foot in front of the other, remind myself of my blessings, go to the gym and cry three times during one workout (letting strangers hug me and pray for me), then do my job of being a wife/mom/writer/business owner, then pray to God that I can do it again tomorrow.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and you won’t start now
[“Oceans” – Hillsong]

Why bother being thankful? Because if we don’t we will drown in an ocean of self-pity, pain, what if’s, and longing. I can’t do this life alone. I must have my community of believers, prayer ninjas, and encouragers. But ultimately, I absolutely must have my God. For He carries me through the darkest times and so often saves me from myself.

I hope you aren’t drowning, trying to do this life alone. If you are, please stop. Reach out to someone – maybe a lot of someones, and ask for help, prayer and encouragement.

And if you don’t know God, or if you just haven’t talked to Him in a long while, He is here. He is listening. And even when you are struggling, He is not failing you, and He never will.

Even in my disappointment, loss and longing, He has yet to fail me once.


A recent sunset from my front yard, a colorful reminder of God’s constant presence.

Recently, my husband and I attended a conference for motorcycle dealers from all over the country. It was a 2-day event, held in a hotel with meals and speaking/training carefully coordinated.

I met the lady who did all of the planning on the way into the opening dinner and then happened to be seated next to her. Everyone was introducing themselves and their lofty titles with the company, so I asked her, “What is your official title?” She said, “Oh I’m just a receptionist. I’m no one important.”


I stopped her right there. I reminded her who planned this event: why everyone was eating a decent meal and staying at a nice hotel. I think she knew that she was useful. I just don’t think she knows that she’s important.

We are told that importance comes with the titles, or when it is crowned in recognition. We think that it looks like power and feels like obvious success.

But being important is not the same as looking important. And being important has a lot more to do with who we are than who we appear to be.

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 9:5-10)

Whether we are the CEO of the large corporation or CEO of our household, there is no “just” before our title. We are not just a mom, just a teaching assistant, just a nurse, just a coach or just a receptionist. We have been given a place for a time, and we are to rock it, not just wait to be “important” in the eyes of men.

This reminds me of one of my favorite people in the Bible. Her name was Deborah. She was a Judge and prophet, and she was an adviser to men who led their troops into battle. Deborah’s wisdom and God-given insight inspired great trust in her, causing her to be a highly trusted adviser.

But do you know what else Deborah did? She lit lamps, “The rabbis say she was a keeper of the tabernacle lamps.”*

So if the rabbis are correct, then Deborah just lit lamps. Then she became a Judge and a prophet, held in high regard and deep respect. Deborah’s hope was in the Lord. Her leadership was ordained by God. But first, she was a wife tasked with humble jobs and without a title.

But she was always Deborah. God’s Deborah. God’s servant. God’s child.

There may have been strength in her title, and there was much praise for her contributions to winning a battle, but her true strength came from her obedience.

A commander Barak, whom she advised, refused to ride into a dangerous battle without her. She was a prophet, not a soldier, but she was faithful, and she accompanied him without hesitation. The battle was won (read Judges 4 for how the story ends).

And in Judges 5:2, Deborah gives the glory of the victory to the Lord.

I don’t know what you are doing right now, or what you think you should be doing in order to be important. But I can assure you that you are already important, you are already entrenched in important jobs, and you are fully capable of an important purpose.

And I don’t care how important we think we are; if we are not living for the Lord, we are missing a life of true significance.

But whether you do your work from a stage, a boardroom or the laundry room, if you are doing it for God, and giving Him the glory, you are just amazing.

*Source: All the Women of the Bible, by Edith Deen, page 69

I was married at the tender age of 21 and by age 25 I had my first son. I went from selfish party girl to Martha’s alter ego in a matter of months. I baked, I breastfed, and I obsessed over my child. He became the center of my universe.

I can still remember our first vacation without him. He was a year old and we went to Chicago for a few days. I felt sick to death when I left him, thought about him throughout the trip, and dared state troopers to pull me over as I urged my ex to –d r i v e  f a s t e r- home. Being away from my child was hell.

I don’t ever remember taking another adult-only vacation after my second son was born. Nor do I remember date nights. If we ordered pizza, relieving me of my cooking duties, I felt like Cinderella at the ball. In fact, I remember winning a radio contest for a New Year’s Eve stay at the Opryland Hotel based purely on an essay I wrote on how pathetically unromantic my life was. Now that’s #winning.

After my divorce, we succumbed to a 50/50 parenting schedule which made a few days in Chicago seem like a walk in the park. I missed my kids so badly, my chest felt like it was being crushed. I cried. A lot.

Eventually I remarried. My new husband doesn’t have children of his own. As we learned to be a blended family, he still desired to date me. And I liked it. We have been together for 9 years, and I still like it.

It took time to release myself from the guilt of having fun without my children. We still took vacations with our children, but we made sure to have at least one trip around our anniversary that was kid-free. We go on dates, and we allow ourselves the right to privacy in our home. And I know many parents who do not have boundaries in their home for where the children can go/sleep and let me tell you moms, your husband might not be as thrilled as he pretends he to be.

My youngest still gets a little feisty about being “left behind.” “You always promise me that you will take us on your honeymoon (that’s what he calls it) but you never do!” “You are so right sweet son, I never will; and I am certain I have never promised you that. We love you, and we take trips as a family, but moms and dads need time to be adults too.” He quickly concedes each time, as I remind him of all the trips we take as a family and how we love him even when we are away from home.

But I see my never-divorced friends, and many of them have NEVER had a kid-free vacation. And I can’t fathom it, until I remember Chicago 2001 and a little mama with big fears that someone might drop or ruin or wound her child while she caught a Cubs game and wandered through Windy City. But he survived and so did I.

My ego survived too. See we would like to think that we are the only ones who can take care of our kiddos. But that’s not true. Grandparents, family friends, and even sitters can love our kids and care for them brilliantly! And what is better for your kids than to know that more people in the world love them besides mommy and daddy?

It’s actually been very eye opening for me, being divorced that is. I realize now how little of a priority I made my first marriage. The kids always came first (probably for both of us). And you can see how that turned out.

Is your marriage the priority it should be? If not, why? If it’s money, then save up for a night at a hotel an hour away. You will be amazed at what the change of scenery will do for your marriage…for your love life! If it’s the special needs of your children, then honey, you need it just as much or more than the next person! Your marriage needs extra TLC. Say YES to the friends and family who offer to help out a night or two, or even just for a few hours so you can grab a meal and talk about something other than the kids.

Don’t wait until your marriage is stressed to the max to take an adult time out. Every relationship is better with a little space from time to time. Even your kids need a little break from you to remember how awesome you are!

If you are one of those moms who never puts herself or her marriage ahead of her children, take it from me: NOW IS THE TIME!  You will wonder what took you so long!

Bon voyage sweet friend! Enjoy being just a woman for a spell!

Everyone who knows me, like really knows me, knows there was a time I couldn’t sit in the same room with my ex. I hung up on him no fewer than 1836 time during our PDRP (post-divorce recovery period). I broke at least two of my phones and at least three hairbrushes from just needing to “hurt” something after a very angry conversation with my ex.

Divorces are nasty, and mine was as nasty as they come. A bitter, broken marriage turned into an outright war during and after the divorce with my children being the most wounded in battle. We fought for the kids, around the kids and about the kids. The kids will need adult counseling. And we should pay for it. It’s our fault.

But much time has passed. I learned boundaries. I found God. I learned forgiveness. And I quit living under a storm cloud of parenting guilt. I quit operating as a wounded, bitter failure and began to find peace and confidence I didn’t know could exist.

I am going to keep this post short today, because I am not going to give you a list of how to’s or practical action steps in order to find peace and joy in your life again. I am not going to give you a step-by-step plan to teach you how to get along with your ex. I am just going to ask you one question: Do you want to get better?

You might be eager to say, “Yes! I want to find peace. I want to get along better with my ex. But it’s not my fault. He/she just brings drama to every situation.” And if you said this, I don’t doubt that you would mean it. But unless you actually want to heal, and are committed to having peace and joy in your life, it will never happen. And many of you (like me at the time) are comforted by the pain of the struggle with your ex, perhaps even addicted to it, carrying it around like a security blanket, then getting indignant when someone suggests you “let it go.”

So I will leave you with his today: Are you ready to get better?

If you are ready, start with this prayer, “Lord help me to open to healing. Amen.”

The road ahead will still be brutal on some days. You might even throw a few hissy fits and break a few innocent hairbrushes, but when you start praying for your own willingness to heal, you will be surprised at the results.

You might even find yourself and your new husband sitting with your ex and your kids in church on Sundays.

I never could have imagined that this day would come, but it has, and it’s all through the power of God working in each of us, and a point that came years ago where I decided, I was ready.

Are you?

What do I miss most about 100% parenting time (vs my 50/50 parenting plan)?

Relishing. Relishing the “before-moments” of getting ready, rushing around looking for shoes, butterflies and nervous silence for an important day. Relishing the “after-moments” of an event, a life moment, gift opening, a first race, a first dance. The easiness of knowing you have all day to casually say, “good job”, “I love you” or “you rock.”

It’s hard to be away from my kids when they are hurting, but it’s just as hard to be apart from them when they are changing before before eyes and they are celebrating “today.” Yes, I show up, cheer them on, hug them a little too long, chaperon when they will let me and otherwise be there as much as I can. But at the end of the day, the hardest moments for me are missing the relishing of celebrating my kids’ right now’s and milestones.

I make up for it by remembering that I have a lifetime to love them, and that other people  love them too. I get double the time to pray for them on quiet drives to work without kids arguing in the back seat. Seeing them when it’s not “my time” is like meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney but better. Small moments that aren’t milestone become BIG. Donut dates after school are better than a night on the town. Cuddling on Thursday’s before they leave on Fridays is better than ANY medicine.

I can’t say that I appreciate my kids more than other parents do. It’s not a contest. I just know that “50/50” has changed me. It has changed how I view 20 minutes with my kids, and the opportunity to drive them around town 5 times in one day. I still want them to grow up and move out someday (Lord please, I’m not kidding), but in the meantime, I am praising God for every tuck in, every minute on the porch swing and every “first” my children get to enjoy and that I get to relish in.

50/50 was never God’s plan for families. But I know that God can use whatever time we have and whatever circumstances we face to create joy, lasting memories, steadfast love, and unbreakable bonds. Today, I am praying for just that.

Today was Jackson's first cross country meet. I got to see him run and watch his bro sleep all the way home, before telling them "bye". Don't worry, I called Jackson and "relished" the best I could over the phone. Then Kaden called me later to tell me to tell the dogs "hi."

Today was Jackson’s first cross country meet. I got to see him run and watch his bro sleep all the way home, before telling them “bye”. Don’t worry, I called Jackson and “relished” the best I could over the phone (he rode the bus home with his team). Then Kaden called me later to tell me to tell the dogs “hi.” #lifeisgood

I never planned on having a step-family. But I do. And boy do I love it. But it isn’t always easy.

In fact, I knew that it would not be easy long before I ever married the first time at the age of 21, because growing up I had been a stepchild. My step-dad adopted me, and he is a great dad, but it still made for the same dynamics of a blended family. No matter the legal status of your family, when families form later in the game, there is much to learn and overcome!

I met my bachelor child-free husband in 2006. I had been divorced for a year; my boys were 3 and 6 years old. In 2010, we married, officially creating a blended family. My oldest read 1 Corinthians and our youngest prayed for us at our ceremony. It seemed quite unique among our friends, but these days, about a third of all marriages create a blended family.

Blended families are increasingly common, but they are not typical. There are unique scenarios and different struggles. Children have to learn new rules and to accept love and authority from a new person. Stepparents have to learn when to stand up and when to stand down and how to…Read the Rest of the Article

Check out more articles by Kris Wolfe on Clarksville Online