Posts filed under ‘divorce’

3 Ways I Made My Day Special on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day and even the whole week is hard for some. It can be hard whether you are in a relationship or not. For many there is rejection baggage connected to this festive day.

I know. For years I’ve had issues with this holiday. It was 14 years ago, the weekend after Valentine’s Day, when my (now former) husband told me he wanted a divorce. So for many years I’ve relived that rejection every Valentine’s Day. Now I don’t feel that pain.

I did three things.

  1.  I concentrated on telling myself the truth. I am not perfect but I am lovable. God, the Bible, and important, healthy people (in my current life) tell me so.  . . .  I have a list of Bible verses that I frequently read.  . . . I practiced believing people when they complimented me.  . .  .  I went to therapy and coaching to sort out the lies from the truth.  . . .  I also did the things mentioned in this post: 20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart (from divorce)
  2. I made different memories on Valentine’s Day and week. It helps that one of my nieces was born on February 14th. Each year we have an ice cream waffle breakfast and a family dinner that night. I also do special things for myself that week  . . .  craft . . . watch Oscar nominated movies . . .  and spend more time with folks who LIKE me.
  3. I made other people the focus. . . .  I sent kiddy Valentine’s cards – because they are silly people smiled when they opened them up. . . .  I did Random Acts of Kindness. . . .  I called up some folks I haven’t talked to in a while.

Read the post 5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day.

Your Turn

  • What is your attitude regarding Valentine’s Day? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
  • If it is thumbs down, what can you do to change your perspective and thus feeling about this week and day?
  • What action step will you take today?
  • Go read this Anti-Valentine’s Party post. This could be a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Related posts. 

 

 

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20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart

“I don’t think my heart will ever be whole again.”

Question from a friend: “My heart is broken and I wonder how I’ll be able to handle it. Any words of wisdom? I know you’re a single mom. How do you cope and go on?”

Long Answer: I did not accept my ex’s divorce decision very well. I became depressed and non-functional for a while. Because my kiddos were 17 and 18 when this occurred, I could fall apart and not endanger their lives. I am not proud of how I initially handled life.

There is not one thing that took away the devastation. It was a combination of grieving well, staying close to God, and doing the below.

1. I handled it one day at a time and sometimes 10 minutes at a time. I didn’t let myself focus on my fears for the future.

2. I went to my doctor and got an anti-depressant for about 6 months. I am not usually one for taking meds (hate to swallow things) but I needed to get a grip for my kids sake.

3. I went to my pastor. I went to a professional counsellor.

4. I stayed in the WORD (the minor prophets and Psalms).

5. I listened to praise music. I did not allow myself to listen to sad, secular music.

6. I went for prayer at church. I prayed and fasted on my own too.

7. I met with some Christian ladies regularly who prayed over me and talked to me.

8. I asked God to show me where I was wrong and what I could/should do (if anything) about it.

9. I read Bible verses that calmed me and showed me I was ok, loved, and cherished just as I was.

10. I cried a lot. I felt my feelings as they came up.

I wrote about my fears and pain, about what I knew to be true, and verses that calmed me.

11. I journalled.

12. I took the next step that God asked me to do. First it was move back to CA (from CO). Then it was find a college to get my BA. Then it was to get my MA. All through this time I never really knew if I would be able to finish. But I did!

13. I kept reminding myself that God sees me, has a good plan for me and that He’ll give me the grace and strength to meet the next step in my path.

14. I did my best to eat well, sleep well, and anything else I needed to do for self-care. This included curtailing my schedule to doing only what was necessary. Grief takes a lot of energy. As time went on, part of my self-care was to give to others.

15. I tried to limit my “useless” thinking because it got me further depressed.

16. I surrounded myself with people who loved me and told me the truth about myself and God. I repeated these truths to myself. They encouraged me to go to God. I accepted their help, love, and prayers.

17. I went to 2 divorce recovery classes. This was VERY helpful.

Prayer, going to church, reading my Bible, and listening to praise music were vital to my healing.

18. I talked with other women in similar situations.

19. I prayed for my ex. I tried to see life from his eyes. I prayed I would forgive and understand. I prayed for reconciliation between him and our children.

20. I let the kiddos know it wasn’t their fault.

Wow, I didn’t realize that  I used so many “tools.” I didn’t use all the tools all the time. It was a process. I used what worked. When it stopped working, I tried something else. Healing was a process. It still is at times.

You will heal, my friend. You will be different. Your “heart” will be different. But if you take the necessary steps and depend on God, you will heal. In your time and in your way.

Your Turn . . . If you’ve been in the same situation, what did you do that helped you cope and/or go on?

Related Posts . . . 

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5 Reasons I Love My Ex

Important relationships that end with pain, misunderstanding, mistrust, and/or hate can make it very hard to form new relationships without baggage. One way to lose the baggage is to look honestly at that relationship. Yes, there was trauma. Were there also some positive aspects? Sometimes there are. Acknowledging these can help in the healing.

In the case of my divorce it wasn’t all the fault of one person. It was a mixed bag. Seeing the good in my ex has helped me have a more balanced view of our relationship. It has helped me heal. I have learned about myself, my ex, and My precious kiddospeople in general.

Here are 5 things I love about my ex that our divorce cannot negate.

1. Our children. Having our children is something I will never regret. I will always be grateful for his contribution to their being born and to the type of father he was while they grew up.

2. Memories. Even though we no longer do life together as a couple, I am grateful for many of the memories we made together. We laughed, grew, prayed, traveled, and did ministry together. We influenced some people because of our parenting and relationship.

3. My growth. I knew him for about 22 years. My ex was a major influence in my life. Much of that influence was positive. During my wacked out hormonal times, he’d remind me that we were on the same team. When I was under the influence of fatigue, he’d remind me that it wouldn’t always be this hard and relentless (raising kiddos). He helped me find balance and God.

4. My mom. My ex and my mom had a tender relationship. They talked about all kinds of things. He didn’t mind that my mom would come visit us several times a year and stay for 3 weeks or so. He was good to my mom.

5. His grandparents. When you get married you also get your new spouse’s family. Two people I got were his grandparents. From the first day I met them until their deaths, they loved me, accepted me, and spent time with me. Of course they did the same with our kiddos too. We are better people because of their friendship. They were special, special people and I miss them soooooo much.

I wrote a bullet point list of things I am grateful for about my ex here. Two items on this list (#’s 3 and 4) are also on that list

Your Turn . . .

  • If you are divorced, what are some things you love about your ex?
  • Or what are some things you love about an ex-friend,ex-family member, ex-room-mate, or ex-boss.

This is the 11th post in the 5 Reasons I Love . . .” Series.  Go here for the original post which explains how this idea came about.  The next post in this series is 5 Reasons I Love Travel.

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“Becoming a Godly Wife” Group Begins Sunday, November 14th at the 9:30 Hour

Marriage, like any relationship, takes work for it to succeed. However, not all work is equal or intuitive. But when a wife works on meeting the seven specific needs[1] of a man, it can help him to feel deeply loved. “The power of a woman to complete her husband is immense and often controls whether he becomes all God intended him to be” (Becoming a Godly Wife, p 11). The book candidly discusses these needs and offers marriage exercises for the wife to complete. Implementing information gleaned from the exercises will draw the husband closer to the wife and visa-versa. This would obviously increase the level of commitment, intimacy and joy in their relationship.

During the 20 years of my marriage I read a lot of books on marriage and doubted that this book could show me anything new. However, I was wrong. While I’ve long known that a man values/needs respect and companionship, the chapters on these topics have explained the why and how in a way that makes me truly understand this need. I wish I had known about domestic leadership and attractive soul and body when I was married. Looking back I see how I let pride, insecurity and stubbornness interfere with meeting the needs of my husband, which is something that I truly wanted to do.

I’ve been practicing detached listening. It appears that women as well as men like/value this kind of listening. Since I am not married anymore I can’t practice most of my newly gained insights on a husband. But I have shared them with my mentee. As we discussed each chapter, my friend shared what she did with the information learned. And I’ve seen its good impact on her marriage.

In this class we’ll wrestle with these 7 areas and we’ll pray for each other.

Please sign up and pay for the book ($16) by October 31, 2010. We will meet at CNC in Room 8. If you have a question, contact Sandra Cowell or Susan Wright at 635-5992.

NOTE: I wrote this review 2 years ago. That is when my friend and I went through this book. She is still following some of the book’s suggestions with good results. BTW – There is a Becoming a Godly Husband book that also has great advise.


[1] These seven needs are respect, adapt, domestic leadership, intimacy, companionship, attractive soul & body & listening.

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10 Goals to Discover Who I Am & Where I’m Going

My divorce shook me up in every way imaginable. I lost my sense of balance and perspective. But I am now becoming who I am meant to be. I am finally okay.

This is due in part … to my family/friends … to deepening my relationship with God … to finishing my education (received my BA and MA) … to a supportive church and work environment … to working on the pain … and … to writing down and following wishes (a.k.a. goals).

Only four more months of 2010! Plenty of time to reach more goals. Ample opportunity to discover who I am now and where my life is going.

Here’s my list of putting things put back into my life.

1. Save money for a trip to NZ in March. Read books and watch movies that are based in NZ. Study NZ travel guides and pick 2-3 new experiences.

2. Upgrade my health: Prepare for walkathon in April 2011; Take vitamins, eat meals, and sleep on a set schedule; Lose 20 pounds.

3. Spend quality time with a friend each week.

4. Learn how to use MP3 and add current music to playlist.

5. Finish afghan (knit) for my office.

6. Read the Bible twice (in different versions).

7. Write a post for this blog 3-4 times a week.

8. Declutter 5 boxes. I’d like to say I’d do more, but it’s best if I make my goals ridiculously easy to reach.

9. Go on a silent retreat to meditate on work and personal priorities.

10. Cook/bake something new with Michelle and do something crafty each month.

Some of these items might seem frivolous or not that life-changing. But these are things that will help me focus, have fun, and stretched out-of-my comfort zone.

Your Turn

  • What will go on your list for the next 18 weeks?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What activities/events will give you a fresh sense of self and a new interest in life?
  • What do you need to do to heal your physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or intellectual self?

Related Posts

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What Kind of Reader Are You?

Check the numbers that apply to your reading style . . .

  1. Read everything in sight.
  2. Read only what is necessary.
  3. Avoid reading at all costs.
  4. Look more at the pictures than the words.
  5. Look for books with new ideas.
  6. Mainly read one type of genre to the exclusion of others.
  7. Children’s books are it!
  8. Comics, Cliff  Notes, Reader’s Digest – the shorter the better.

My reading style has been each of the above at various times in my life.  Mainly though I’ve been a “Read everything in sight” kind of gal with #’s 5, 6 and 7 all being equally true at  the same time. . . . I remember many times (in my 1st childhood) hiding under the bed or under the covers while in bed with a flashlight and book that I just had to finish that night! . . . .  I remember many times as a mom when I had to place my book in the trunk of the car so I wouldn’t stay up all night reading. . . . I remember when we lived in England my kiddos and I read ALL the books from the Children’s Section.

What kind of reader are you? And have you changed as you’ve grown older?

The past 7  years I’ve been a #2, “Read only when necessary” and even #3, “Avoid reading at all costs.” If I thought about it, I was sad that books no longer held a prime spot in my thinking. I was sad that I no longer enjoyed new ideas, learning for fun, or creative word usage. I thought it was my new norm.

But now I think it’s because my energies were going elsewhere: healing/grieving from a divorce + working outside the home for the first time in decades + earning my BA and then MA. It’s been 7 months since I finished grad school, and like the spring plants that are putting out their new shoots, I, too, am putting out new shoots of desire to READ again!

During Lent I read books about Jesus. If it had the word Jesus in the title, it was a candidate. But now what do I read? I feel overwhelmed with what to choose. I am soooooo behind in reading.

I am going to give myself a reading challenge to help me narrow the field. Maybe you’ll join me. Come back Monday for more info.

But before you go, be sure to comment on what kind of reader you are and if that has changed over the years. You could also tell us a book-related memory.

Related Posts

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Falling Into Place

9814_bs_05Falling into Place by The Afters could be my theme song right now. The divorce shook up my image of who I thought I was, my path in life, my usefulness, and my likability. Was I even any “good”? The world didn’t make sense; God didn’t make sense; I didn’t make sense.
 
God didn’t try to rescue me from this. He let me do the necessary. He let me wander. He let me heal. He let me discover Him. He let me see that the parts of me (and my life) that had gone to waste are no longer waste. He’s taken the broken pieces and is making something good from them.
 
And I realize now that all this time I’ve been in His Hand. Things (feelings, job, friends, kiddos, schooling) are Falling into Place. Starting to make sense. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.
  
“Falling Into Place” by the Afters (Click here for YouTube)
 
It was raining on the sun
The ground beneath my feet was crumbling
Day and Night had come undone
It was the season of my wandering
Somehow Somewhere
You found me there
It was the moment that it all became clear
 
I was on the edge
Of a distant world
A shattered life
With no where left to turn
Till I saw you there
And everything I thought had gone to waste
Was falling into place
 
 
It’s finally quiet in my head
As I lay the pieces at your feet
It’s finally starting to make sense
I guess I found the missing part of me
 
 
I was on the edge
Of a distant world
A shattered life
With no where left to turn
Till I saw you there
And everything I thought had gone to waste
Was falling into place
 
 
Oceans that I almost drowned in
I had to lose it all
Just so I could find out you were there to break my fall

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Almost-27th-Anniversary Thoughts

1153235_jaque_iiToday would’ve been 27 years married.

Instead it is 7 years torn apart.

But God is in it and God is good.

And my ex no longer claims my heart.

To mend a shattered heart is impossible.

To unlove someone is a difficult task.

But God is in it and God is good.

And it’s in the Lord’s miracles I bask.

I don’t deserve His miracles.

Quite frankly neither do you.

But God is in it and God is good.

His power & love will get us through.

Thank you, Lord, for this miracle of healing. I look forward to this next chapter where I  can live with my heart fully experiencing life, hope and joy.

 

Related Posts

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There Can Be No Trust When Perfection is Your Goal

888081_friends“A characteristic of a trusting heart is the knowledge that no one is perfect, including you. Therefore, there is no beating up another for his or her failures. No punishment to earn back your love. No testing to see if they deserve a second chance. There can be no trust when perfection is your goal. Perfectionism takes away all ability to trust.”

“When someone breaks our trust, we must ask ourselves if we contributed. Were we awake in the relationship? If the answer is no, we have some learning to do. . .

  • Putting boundaries in place.
  • Being present in the relationship.
  • Being willing to see and speak the truth.

If the answer is yes to being present and the trust was broken, there is healing work to do.”

“Never deny the love you had. Never act as if it didn’t exist or wasn’t real. It was. Love doesn’t guarantee that there will always be trust between you. People get afraid and they do things that do not represent their best. People lash out when they don’t know what else to do. People hurt other people because they are hurting inside.”[1]


[1] Rhonda Britten. Change Your Life in 30 Days.New York: Dutton, 2004, pp137-138.

So what do you think about this?

Since getting divorced I’ve noticed some things I’ve needed to change in my heart. Like . . .  no one is perfect (including me) and I can let that fact separate me from others or let it be just what it is . . . a fact.

I’ve also learned that being in a living, loving, growing relationship means I need to be present in the relationship. Be willing to see what is. Then either accept it or say something about it. No closed eyes hoping it will magically get better.  Be strong and stand up for good boundaries.

Finally, I’ve  see again and again that people do things that aren’t meant to be hurtful to me. It isn’t even about me. People get afraid or overwhelmed or so focused on their own stuff that they then do things, say things, that doesn’t represent their best.

I do the same. We all need grace especially when going through hurting times.

These kinds of thoughts are keeping me company while I also think about my divorce. June 17th would have been 27 years married.

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Don’t Say These 13 Things to a Grieving Person

624748_blond_woman_4Grieving is a disorderly process, unpredictable in appearance and manifestations. It is hard work and the steps to, and the time it takes to process are individual for each woman. It differs in expression, intensity, and time.

Because our society hasn’t (as a whole) taught us about the grief process: its wide array of feelings, its impact on our behaviors and body, and the fact that grieving is normal, many women struggle needlessly and far longer than necessary. People are also afraid of the intense feelings of others. So they change the subject, minimize the feelings and intellectualize the situation.

Below are things that should not be said to a person in mourning. Dr. Greg Harvey has narrowed them down to ten. While numbers 2, 8, 9 and 10 may be true, most people say these things way too early in the grief process. And even when the person is “ready” for such truths, only a few people earn the right to say them.[1]

Don’t Say This . . .

  1. I know how you feel.
  2. You’re never given anything that you can’t deal with.
  3. Time heals all wounds.
  4. Don’t dwell on it.
  5. Don’t feel bad – so don’t cry or emote in any way.
  6. It’s time for you to move on – so let’s replace the loss.
  7. It’s probably for the best.
  8. It’s in the natural order of things.
  9. He lived a full life.
  10. Be grateful you had him for so long.

 Three unhelpful things that are said to or expected of grievers (James, 28-36):

  1. Grieve alone.
  2. Be strong for others.
  3. Keep busy.

 It’s obvious that people don’t know what to say or when to say it. “The great majority of well-meaning people around us do not have successful grief recovery experiences to share. Therefore, they unwittingly encourage us to act recovered.” (James, 41)

Edited to Add: In the comments Theresa added this  One More Thing to NOT Say: “God must have wanted your loved one with Him.”

Let’s Talk About It.

  • Which of these 13 things have you heard? How did it make you feel?
  • Which of these 13 things have you said? Why did you say it?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the following sentence.  Why. “And even when the person is “ready” for such truths, only a few people earn the right to say them.”

Works Cited

Harvey, Greg. Grieving for Dummies.  Hoboken: Wiley Publishing, 2007. 

James, John W and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.


[1]For example, when I was new in my divorce grief, many people told me not to worry because God would be my husband now. I did not find comfort in that for two reasons. First, I didn’t have a very good view of husbands so having another one brought little comfort. Second, I was hurt and confused that God would allow such a thing to happen. So having an intimate relationship with Him was difficult for a time. Now I can appreciate God being my husband. A woman who has been through what I’ve been through is one I can more easily hear these types of truth from.


 Related Posts

  • Grief Affects Behaviors, Feelings, Thoughts (including memory) & Body
  • It’s Important to Grieve the Little Losses Too
  • Mourning is a Choice
  • Every Loss Can Bring Grief
  • Sometimes Nothing is the Best Thing to Say
  • Chronic Pain Brings Losses to Grieve
  • 4 Ways Grief Has Changed My Beliefs
  • This Grief Attitude Annoys Me
  • Loss Leads to Depression
  • Time to Pray Away Love
  • Dozen Ideas to Move Past the Blahs
  • Live Well Today
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    4 Things I Didn’t Know About Blended Families

    A blended family . . .

    • Is not a cohesive group.
    • Is combustive, exhaustive and difficult.
    • The husband and wife don’t cease to be single parents.
    • Takes a lot of prayer, humility, desire and perseverance to make it work.

    Is this true?

    Surely not. Surely blended families aren’t that much different than same parent families. Surely this isn’t the norm! I heard the above from the video in today’s DivorceCare class. I’ve also heard this from friends who are in blended marriages.

    832421_beach_silhouettes_1I have been ignorant about the dynamics of blended families. I have given poor counsel. Lord, help me to be a more faithful pray-er for those in such situations.

    Please, take a moment right now and pray as well.

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    This Relationship is Never Going Back to OK

    784103_throw_it_backGod recently told me through a friend that “It’s time to let go.”  Time to let go of my broken marriage. The divorce has been final for years. Time to move past the pain. My ex and I are never going back to okay (as far as a marriage relationship goes).

    And you know what? That’s okay. I am finally letting myself wake up and feel – even though it hurts. It’s time to step out into a world of my choosing. I’m waking up into a world where people love and like me.

    What do you need to admit? What are you holding onto that will never be okay?  Let’s pray for one another, shall we?

    (more…)

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