The Long Night – Part II

The police had come to my house and served a search warrant on my son and his friend shortly after arriving home from school. They were ordered to sit on the couch and not move, or use their phones while the police searched the house looking for more evidence.

After coming home I wanted to take my mind off things so I started cleaning the house well into the night. After picking up all the clothing that had been dumped onto the floor and putting back all the items that had been emptied out of boxes in the garage the night still dragged on.

I was desperate for information about my husband and called one of my longtime friend’s daughters that worked for the Sheriff’s Department.

My husband and I had taken her to my company picnic once when she was a small child and it was pretty embarrassing telling her my husband had been arrested. She was able to look in the system and tell me which jail he was in. She was very professional to me, and at the same time I could tell she was concerned.

I had told my father-in-law in an earlier conversation my husband better not call me from jail because I was so mad. Turns out I didn’t have to worry about it because he used his one phone call from jail to call his dad to come bail him out.

After that call my father-in-law called his siblings to see if they could help out with bail money. This ended up causing a huge division in the family. Mostly all of his siblings felt that my husband had caused this mess and he could get himself out of it.

These tensions affected almost everyone in the family down to cousins that were fighting with their own siblings. Some were of the opinion that what he had done was very wrong and still others had sympathy for him. These tensions still exist today, over 10 years later.

The next day when my husband came home from jail he walked in the house and grabbed his basketball. I said “We need to talk about what happened – I’m really upset” or something to that effect. He said “You’re upset? I just spent the night on the floor of a jail.” He took his basketball and walked out the door.

I sat in my car and cried so my kids wouldn’t see me upset. It seemed like he could care less about me, or even try to tell me what was going on. A million questions ran through my head, and I had no answers.

Sometime before I had heard of a Christian radio station and not having anyone to talk to I decided to call in. An elderly man answered and he sounded exactly like my grandpa that had just passed away the year before. He prayed for me and just like that hung up before I could say another word. His voice comforted me and his prayers strengthened me enough to face the day.

I dried my tears and walked back into the house.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Yeah, I had one of those days yesterday.

It all started when I went to the grocery store after getting my paycheck, spending my hard earned money on hard to find, overpriced foods.

I came home and immediately started unpacking while my kids unloaded the trunk. The next morning when I woke up one of my first thoughts was “I don’t remember seeing the meats get unloaded.” I went to my car and opened the trunk and sure enough a whole bag of refrigerated foods was sitting there, nice and warm from being in the trunk for 12 plus hours.

This started me on a downward spiral of thoughts of – why didn’t I get a better job that makes more money, why didn’t I finish my court reporting school when I was so close, why did I waste so much time being a waitress when I could have gone to school, why did I argue with my ex-husband that time and on and on and on.

I even had regrets going back to my earliest memories of being a small child. There I laid in my bed wasting a sunny Saturday crying and dredging up old memories until I finally decided to get up for dinner. Of course we didn’t end up eating until over two hours later because my garage door motor popped and smoked, but I digress.

Thankfully, today I woke up in a much better mood and repented to the Lord for blaming Him for my own decisions I made that created consequences that I am in today.

I know He doesn’t want me looking back at past mistakes, carrying shame and regret like a heavy blanket I’m way too comfortable in.

Luke 9:62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.

So, today I do the best I can do. I try to be patient with others, help others, and be the best mom and hard working employee that I can be and pray to the Lord to help me and give me strength and wisdom to get through my days when I’m tired and in pain.

We are all carrying heavy loads these days, and everyone could use some encouragement.

So, it’s ok to cry sometimes. It’s ok to have regrets. Learn from them. What could you have done better? Then get up, wipe your tears and carry on. Get out and see the day the Lord made for you to enjoy.

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

A Note to My Younger Self

With so much news going on in the world the Gabby Petito case has captured mostly everyone’s attention in the US. We will never know why Gabby chose to stay with her boyfriend, maybe she didn’t intend to. We don’t know exactly what happened yet that caused her life to end.

As I watched the Bodycam footage of the Moab City Police Officer it brought back painful memories of my teenage years.

I was in an abusive relationship from 15 to 19 years old, and on and off after that. I know, I know, I should not even have been focused on boys at that age, and I look back at regret at those years, and am thankful God brought me through those tumultuous times, and is healing me from the trauma. But as I thought about those memories, I wondered how did it start?

In my case I was raised in a home with two loving parents. Unfortunately, they did not love each other. Not with an authentic “healthy” love. Abuse and divorce go back generations in my family.

When they split up I was 10 years-old. My brother and I felt we only had each other to lean on. Their divorce was a terrible one. My brother and I went through a parental abduction, a parent being hospitalized for months, my parents dating, remarriages, and eventually separation as the judge separated my brother and I when I was 13 and he was 10. My brother went to live with my dad, and I stayed with my mom. Needless to say, there was a lot going on in my household, and I was a latchkey kid since my mom had to go back to work full time.

I suppose I was really flattered that anyone would pay attention to me, and show interest in me. It was also fun to get away from a lonely life at home. With no mentors or older siblings around to give me advice and being really immature for my age, combined with insecurity and lack of a structured home life I went down a really rough path that the Lord did not intend for me.

It was a path of self-destruction. Promiscuity, drinking, abusive behavior, and suicide attempts were all a part of my teenage years. I know God was always with me, and He knew eventually I would turn to Him crying out to Him because my very life depended on Him. He proved He cared and cares for me, even after I ignored Him year after year.

Romans 5:8

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

All of that to say this: If you are in an abusive relationship, leave. I know there are many reasons to stay, you would have to leave your home, what would it look like to others, how would you start over, you have no money…

This is not the path God has for you. It says in God’s word:

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Looking back on my teenage self I wish I could give some advice to the younger me:

You’re beautiful, you don’t need to be in a relationship, you are worthy of love, the non-abusive kind, don’t take being cheated on, spit on, or cussed at. Don’t rush things, focus on your education and most importantly, get to know Jesus. Because if you do that the rest will fall into place at the perfect time.

Matthew 6:33 — ESV

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

If you are going through physical abuse, or even verbal abuse I urge you to reach out to someone you can trust, someone who can help. You deserve better, and you don’t have to take another person’s toxic behavior.

Our days are not guaranteed. God loves you so much He sent His only son to die for you.

Psalm 109:26

Help me. Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.

When you are in a good place in your life and look back, you will be thankful to the Lord for what He brought you through. He is our refuge and strength. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself grace.

Oh, and one more thing I would tell my younger self?

You are stronger than you think.

Baggage Check

So, recently I decided to join a Jazzercise class. Ten sessions to be exact. Right before my first class started I was so nervous. I hadn’t been in a class since pre-pandemic, and certainly never a Jazzercise class.

I was certain people were going to be cliquey and unfriendly, and I would not have fun. Well, I got to class and to my surprise everyone was so welcoming. I had a lot of fun, and although I was winded and tripped over my feet once, had a blast.

It got me thinking, what other negative thoughts did I have in my head that I had convinced myself of?

Well, a lot to be exact. I had been stuck in wrong beliefs for years that prevented me from trying new things.

A wrong mindset, insecurities, negative beliefs about myself, fear, and how I thought others perceived me had trapped me. I felt so weighed down and like I failed at things before I even started.

So, at almost half a century old, I’m trying new things. I’ve taken a few drives and gone places I normally wouldn’t go, tried new foods, started riding a bike again, and have taken an art class.

Even though I did wake up slightly panicked this morning hearing “Single, single, double, double” in my dreams I’m still determined to keep going. If the lady that I met in class is 78 years-old and still jazzercising, what’s my excuse?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.