Faith

Seven Years Later…

7 YEARS LATER - YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOUR STORY WILL TAKE YOU...

 

I was looking at my calendar last week, and I realized that it was seven years ago that my world came crashing down around me. My mind wandered back to that awful night in November when I discovered the heartbreaking truth about my first marriage. I had been so busy working on exciting new things that I had forgotten about that particular anniversary.

 

Seven years. Wow.

 

Chapter 5

 

I’ve taken some time since then to ponder all that has happened in the last seven years, and I am in awe. I never would have dared to dream about where this story would take me.

 

Seven years ago…

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I was broken.

The future seemed hopeless.

I felt so alone.

I had three scared little faces looking up at me for reassurance.

I had to be strong… for them.

 

Seven years later…

Boys at St. Louis Arch

 

My heart has continued to heal a little more each day.

I have hope – wild and beautiful hope for the future – and now I get to share it with others.

I have learned that I’m not alone, and sharing the darkest parts of my story lets me help others know that they aren’t alone on this journey either.

There are three growing boys smiling back at me.

When I can’t be strong, I have my faith and the arms of my Beloved, family, and friends to hold me up until I can walk again.

 

Family at the Chicago Bean

 

The world which once felt so dark, scary, and lonely is opening up right in front of me! Somebody needs to pinch me, because I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you – 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year…

 

I’m going to KENYA in July!

 

And then I’m going to southern INDIA in September!

 

Everything has happened so quickly – but I am beyond thrilled to be joining our church in the work they are doing in both places. After years of learning about the situations and struggles that women and girls face in both countries, praying, and wondering what in the world a little mom from Kansas could do to help – I feel like it’s all getting plopped down right in my lap! I get to work with amazing women who are going through some of the very same struggles that we face. These women are just like us – they need to feel that they are seen, loved, and accepted for who they are. They need friendship, community, and security. Many of them are in abusive relationships. Many of them know the pain of their husbands being unfaithful in their marriages. These are male-dominated societies where women and girls are not valued, and my heart is aching for them.

 

My friend Joy told me stories of women who have to attend secret church services so their husbands do not realize that they are Christians. Sometimes the husbands will follow the wives to church – and beat them right in the middle of the church service. For their faith. It was when my friend told me about this that I immediately felt my heart drawn to these women. Seven years ago I didn’t have a voice, but healing, growing, and those who poured into my life were my voice until I found it again. My heart’s desire is to be the voice for others who can’t speak up for themselves, and to give them hope while they find their own voices again. Joy’s sister Elishba let me use her photo of one of these secret church services…

 

Madurai church - women

 

This is Nalini. She is one of these precious ladies. When her husband found out that she attended church services, he would beat her and lock her out of the house at night so she had to sleep in the street. Thankfully, her husband has been changing and she has been able to attend services without any trouble from him recently.

 

Nalini

 

Dear friends, these women and girls are our sisters, and I hope that we will all stand with them in support. We’re all on this journey together!

 

Joy and Ginger

 

Another exciting piece of news is that my lovely friend Joy is translating many of my blog posts into her native Tamil language – to be a book!!! Her father is the pastor of the church above – and they want to share our story with the women in their city. I am still in awe of how things are coming together! I have been busy editing and putting together our blog posts into a manuscript for Joy to translate – and then share with whomever can be encouraged by it.

 

This is what I’ve been doing lately – printing, playing around with the order of the chapters, and editing with my handy red pen…

Manuscript

 

*Sidenote – Isn’t my new African journal beautiful? My friend Toni from Red Pen Travelers did a fabulous job – and I can’t wait to take it with me on my travels! She will be making leather India journals in a few months to help support my trip to India! Check them out for yourself – her notebooks would make perfect Christmas presents!

 

African Journal - Red Pen Travelers

 

I am so excited to share all of this with you because you NEVER KNOW what the future holds. You never know how your story can be used to touch someone else’s heart. To you, my friends, who are hurting right now – when you feel like you’re being pulled under by the unrelenting waves of your own pain, please know that there really is hope. There’s no telling who you might help by sharing your story with someone going through their own storm.

 

Seven years ago I never could have dreamed that one day my story of feeling so broken and alone would help anyone – especially women in other parts of the world. I feel so humbled that this Kansas girl gets to take a message of hope to our sisters in India and Kenya next year. I can’t wait to throw my arms around them and let them know how loved they are. Just like you, my friends, I want them to know that they are seen, they are loved, and they are not alone.

 

I am so honored to get to spend part of your day with you. Thank YOU for going on this journey with me!

Love & hugs,

~ G

 

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When You Feel Alone – Part 2 – When His Words Break Your Heart…

2

 

Dearest Friend,

I can see the hurt in your eyes as you try so hard to be strong. I can hear you convincing yourself and others that everything is okay. I watch you hiding behind the mask of having it all together, when you really feel helpless and with no way out. I know that you feel invisible. I know that you wouldn’t dream of speaking up, but please know that you are not alone in this. I see you because I see myself in you…

 

I love you, but…

I never said that…

You’re crazy. I never did that to you…

You must be remembering it wrong…

 

You brace for the words you know are coming as he embarrasses you in public again. He must not realize how much it stings. He’s only teasing. You take things too seriously, he tells you. You feel yourself harden as layer after layer of his words threaten to squeeze the life out of your once tender heart.

 

You try to explain it all away – He doesn’t mean to be so critical. He just had a hard day. He’s under so much stress. If you hadn’t been so dumb. If you hadn’t messed up.

 

You try so hard, but somehow he knows just what to say to make you feel increasingly small.

 

 

It wasn’t always like this. Your mind drifts back to before – when it all began. Back when he first noticed you. Back when he showered you with attention. Back when he couldn’t get enough of you.

 

Being pursued was all so exciting in the beginning. You finally meant something to somebody. He said that you were the prettiest. The kindest. The sexiest. The smartest. The best at everything. You had wanted to take things slow, but things spun out of control. He had this urgency about your relationship – almost as if he were afraid that you’d slip away. You almost felt smothered in his affection, but this had to be love, right? This is what you’d been waiting for all your life.

 

You’re not quite sure how it happened. One day, when you were completely his – when you had fallen under his spell – something changed. A sharp word. A rolling of his eyes. Something was your fault. You were hurt by a joke he made about you to his friends. He said he didn’t mean it. You are too sensitive, he told you

 

Things escalated so gradually, and you’re not sure how you ended up here. You had found your worth in him, but now you feel like nothing outside of your relationship with him. You’re a grown woman, but in an instant he can make you feel like a small child. There is a sense of security in him. It used to be that he needed you, but now you need him. It kills you when he shuts you out. You just want to make him happy. You try so hard to earn his love and approval once more – but it just doesn’t come.

 

You get blamed more and more, and you rationalize to yourself and others how he treats you. It seems like you’re always explaining or making excuses for him, but for some reason you are the one who ends up feeling guilty. You start to wonder if you are going crazy, if this is all your fault…

 

Oh, how I wish I could gather you up in the warmest of hugs right now. I would make us cups of tea, and I would ask you to sit and talk with me. There’s something I want to tell you. Sweet friend, you are not crazy. Absolutely none of this is your fault. You have loved, trusted, and believed in this man. You gave him everything, and have received nothing in return. I wish I could help you see that you have given him your whole heart, your self-worth, and your life – but now you can take them back. You are so precious, and you DO deserve to be treated better than this life he has cultivated and has controlled around you.

 

I know that it seems so strange to even think about, but the first step in healing your bruised and broken heart is recognizing what it really is… Verbal abuse. Does this story resonate with you? Please take some time to really think about it. Once this sinks in, it feels as if a blindfold has been lifted from your life. You no longer have to accept the words he throws at you. Your eyes can finally be open to the truth.

 

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can find healing, acceptance, and your joy in life again. If any of this resonates with you, I beg of you to find someone you can talk to and who can hold your hand as you walk through this journey. I still have so much healing and growing to do, but I could not have come this far in my life without my counselor. She was truly a major key in me finding my voice and becoming who I am today. If you need any help finding a counselor, please READ THIS POST. I also could not have done it without the support of my close family and friends. Please open up to someone whom you trust and let them help you through this.

 

And I can’t stress this enough – if you are in a relationship where someone is hurting you physically or sexually, PLEASE SEEK SAFETY. Chances are that if those are happening to you, then you can relate to the other stories, too. I beg of you to take your children and find a shelter or a safe house where you can get help. Call the police – they are here to protect you, but they can’t help if you don’t go to them. It doesn’t matter what he said in the past. If it has happened once, studies show that it will happen again – and I just can’t bear the thought of one of you precious friends getting hurt again… or worse.

 

Would you please do something for me? If you know someone who is hurting and could be encouraged by this post, would you please share it with them? There is nothing I want more than to come alongside them and let them know that there really is hope.

 

If there is one thing that I may to leave you with – please know that even though not many people talk about these parts of our stories, there are so many of us on this journey together. Please don’t be afraid to reach out. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also email me at justoneoftheboysblog@gmail.com.

You are loved. You are seen. And you are not alone.

*Hugs*

 

More in this series:

When You Feel Alone

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When You Feel Alone…

When You Feel Alone (4)

 

Dearest Friend,

 

I can see the hurt in your eyes as you try so hard to be strong. I can hear you convincing yourself and others that everything is okay. I watch you hiding behind the mask of having it all together, when you really feel helpless and with no way out. I know that you feel invisible. I know that you wouldn’t dream of speaking up, but please know that you are not alone in this. I see you because I see myself in you…

 

 

I love you, but…

I never said that…

You’re crazy. I never did that to you…

You must be remembering it wrong…

 

You brace for the words you know are coming as he embarrasses you in public again. He must not realize how much it stings. He’s only teasing. You take things too seriously, he tells you. You feel yourself harden as layer after layer of his words threaten to squeeze the life out of your once tender heart.

 

You try to explain it all away – He doesn’t mean to be so critical. He just had a hard day. He’s under so much stress. If you hadn’t been so dumb. If you hadn’t messed up.

 

You try so hard, but somehow he knows just what to say to make you feel increasingly small.

 

 

Nothing is ever good enough. Life with him means walking on eggshells. You try so hard to please him, but you find yourself always coming up short. You try to brush it off when you’re with others, always covering and making excuses for him. He’s just particular. He works so hard. You’ll try harder.

 

So much of your life is wrapped up in him. You feel like you don’t deserve him or the life he’s given you. You don’t remember what life was like without him.

 

You’ve never done anything even remotely untrustworthy, but he seems to be jealous for no reason. It’s like he doesn’t trust you. He’s just being protective, you tell yourself. You always feel like you’ve done something wrong, but you’re not even sure what it is that you feel guilty about anymore.

 

 

He seemed so eager to meet your friends and family in the beginning, almost desperate to impress them. You’re not quite sure how it happened, but gradually things have changed. He says they’re trying to drive a wedge between you. They just don’t understand him like you do. You feel so torn. Of course you love him, but you’re starting to feel smothered and you’d give anything for just a tiny breath of air.

 

When you do get out of the house, it feels like he’s checking up on you. You don’t want to hurt his feelings or make him angry, but why can’t you have just this little bit of time for yourself? You explain it away to your friends – He’s just being protective. He just misses you. But when you get home, you will still feel guilty. The next time your friends invite you out, you might say no. It’s just not worth it.

 

 

You feel your cheeks burn as you ask him for money. He tells you where and when you can go shopping, and even checks your receipts when you come home. He says he’s making sure you aren’t wasting money.

 

You feel guilty for even questioning him, but it just doesn’t make sense. You thought the two of you would be a team, but now you can’t shake this horrible feeling that you’re more like a doormat than a partner.

 

Your new debit card never came in the mail, so you stay home most of the week to limit your spending. Later, you find your card in a stack of mail on his desk. Tears sting in your eyes as you realize that it has been here all this time. Maybe he forgot about it. Maybe not. Feeling helpless, you put it back on his desk. It’s not worth the fight to bring it up.

 

 

You don’t even want to bother with dressing up today. You’re really tired of his questions when you put on makeup or perfume. You just want to feel a little better about yourself, but he asks who you’re trying to impress. He says you don’t need makeup, so maybe you won’t even bother with it.

 

You gaze at the clothes in the back of your closet – the ones he won’t let you wear. You would love to feel pretty and stylish again, but now it doesn’t feel like you even have a style.

 

You want to treat yourself to a much-needed haircut, but he doesn’t want you to cut it. He says you get sassy with shorter hair. You’d like to cut it enough to make it easier to fix in the mornings, but that might rock the boat too much. Maybe you’ll just stick with a ponytail.

 

 

You thought things would be different. You don’t like going to church alone, but you wish he’d stop making hurtful comments. You hate feeling like you have to balance your relationship with him and your faith. This is important to you. Why can’t he understand that?

 

He found a way to use Scripture to make you feel beneath him. You work so hard to obey and be a good Christian wife, but you never measure up.

 

Or maybe he won’t let you go to church at all.

 

 

He said he was sorry… You gently run your finger over the bruise. He said he didn’t mean to. He promised it would never happen again…

 

 

You look at the closed door. You’ve slowly put the pieces together. Hurt and angry tears threaten to fall as you feel crushed by more overwhelming waves of guilt. You’re not enough for him. Not pretty enough. Not sexy enough. It’s just a guy thing. You hate it – all of those images invading his eyes and your marriage. You think to yourself, At least he’s not cheating on me… But you feel your heart break a little more each time.

 

 

Does he even hear you say no? Does he see the tears falling down your cheeks? Does he even care?

 

You long to feel safe – to be held tenderly, and not held down. To be caressed, and not fondled. To make love, and not forced. The dark, far away look in his eyes says that he doesn’t really see you. You squeeze your eyes closed, shutting out the world around you, and numbing yourself to what is happening. Agonizingly, you wait in the darkness for it to be over.

 

Frightened, your mind races as you roll over and wait for him to fall asleep. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. You feel dirty. Used. Betrayed in the deepest level of your being. Something begins to form in the back of your mind, but you force it away before you can say it. It’s your husband. Not a stranger in a dark alley. It can’t be… Can it?

 

You watch as he battles his demons. You pick him up when he falls. You drag him to bed to sleep it off. Once again you’ll make excuses to cover for him. You’ve tried to get him the help he needs, but nothing seems to stick. He needs you. You’re afraid of what he’ll do if you ever leave…

 

If any part of this is your story, Precious Friend, I want so much to give you a big hug and tell you that you don’t have to walk this journey alone. If any of these resonate in your own life, I wish that you will seek out someone to talk to – someone who can hold your hand and guide you through it. I still have so much healing and growing to do, but I could not have come this far in my life without my counselor. She was truly a major key in me finding my voice and becoming who I am today. If you need any help finding a counselor, please READ THIS POST. I also could not have done it without the support of my close family and friends. Please open up to someone who you trust and let them help you through this.

 

And I can’t stress this enough – if you are in a relationship where someone is hurting you physically or sexually, PLEASE SEEK SAFETY. Chances are that if those are happening to you, then you can relate to the other stories, too. I beg of you to take your children and find a shelter or a safe house where you can get help. Call the police – they are here to protect you, but they can’t help if you don’t go to them. It doesn’t matter what he said in the past. If it has happened once, studies show that it will happen again – and I just can’t bear the thought of one of you precious friends getting hurt again… or worse.

 

If there is one thing that I want to leave you with – please know that even though not many talk about these parts of our stories, there are so many of us on this journey together. Please don’t be afraid to reach out. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also email me at justoneoftheboysblog@gmail.com.

 

You are loved. You are seen. And you are not alone.

 

*Hugs*

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When You Can’t Forgive…

When You Can't Forgive

 

I hope that one day I’ll be able to forgive him, but I just can’t do it right now. 

 

I’ve been there.

 

I have felt myself drowning in overwhelming waves of hurt, betrayal, and anger. I’ve been engulfed by shame and loneliness, even when the storm that was raging around me wasn’t my fault. I felt so alone in my broken marriage, and desperately wished to feel whole again. It wasn’t until I learned to forgive that I discovered that this was how I could save myself from being pulled under, and ultimately drowning in my broken heart.

 

We’ve all heard the sayings about forgiveness:

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.

It’s the fragrance of a flower after it is crushed.

Forgive your enemy, but don’t forget his name. 

 

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But what we don’t hear is that forgiveness is HARD. Forgiveness is painful. Sometimes the journey to forgiveness, growth, and healing feels as agonizing as the hurt in the first place. Especially when they were the person you trusted more than anyone, someone who was supposed to love, honor, cherish, and protect you – and they betrayed that trust.

 

I realized something one day as I watched my boys play. Do you remember swinging on the monkey bars at the playground as a child? Forgiveness is very much like making your way across those bars, from one side to the other. Forgiving someone who hurt you deeply is one of the biggest decisions you will ever face because it requires you to let go. You have to let go of what is behind you in order to move forward.

 

Forgiveness- Letting go of the past to move

 

Think back again to those monkey bars. What happened at recess when you started reaching out for something ahead of you, and also didn’t want to let go? Your palms got sweaty, your arms grew weak, and it felt like you couldn’t hold yourself up for one more second. You were stuck. And then you fell to the ground.

 

But what happens when you get back up, brush the sand off your knees, and keep trying over and over again? You let go of what what was behind you, and you keep reaching forward. Eventually you develop little callouses on your hands, you get stronger, and you will get there. Letting go of the past so you can move forward – it’s the only way across.

 

There are times on this journey that you will feel paralyzed by the hurt, abuse, loneliness, or shame that you have been through. This, my dear friend, is completely normal. Remember when I said that this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever face? It is, but I can say to you with all of my heart that it is worth every bit of the struggle.

 

Can I tell you something? I wish that I could go back in time for each and every one of you and take away this hurt. As desperately as we might wish it – there is absolutely nothing that we can do to change the past. But I have the most amazing news for you – You can absolutely change the course of your future.

 

When you forgive, you in no way change (1)

 

Yes, some horrible and inexcusable things have happened, but we don’t have to stay crippled by the pain. We don’t have to be stuck for the rest of our lives as the victims. Forgiveness is not giving them power over you, but you are actually taking power away from them – the power to keep hurting you over and over again.

 

You see, forgiveness really is a gift that you give to yourself – a deep and painful gift – but it is the only way to freedom. When you choose to let go and reach forward again and again and again, you are setting yourself free from the pain that bound you to them. When those chains have fallen away from you, it is then that you are free to heal. Those wounds – physical, emotional, verbal, sexual – they will heal. They will always be there, but eventually you will look at the scar tissue and not focus on the pain – but you will be able to see just how far you’ve come.

 

Forgiveness

 

If there is one thing that I want to leave you with – please know that even though not many talk about it, there are so many of us on this journey together. Please don’t be afraid to reach out. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also email me at justoneoftheboysblog@gmail.com.

 

You are loved. You are seen. And you are not alone.

 

Just keep reaching forward and letting go…

 

*Hugs*

 

~ G

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How to Heal After Infidelity

How to Heal After Infidelity - Ways to cope, take care of yourself, and learning how to forgive on this journey to healing a broken heart.

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am always so touched by the messages and comments I receive here on the blog. I can’t tell you how much hearing from you has meant to me, and I am so honored to spend a little part of your day with you!

 

Today I’m sharing from my heart about a question that I hear pretty often… How do you heal after infidelity?

 

Each one of the messages that I receive about this pulls at my heart. I want to reach out and give each of you a giant hug. I would fix us some comforting tea, and then I would sit down next to you and share the ways that helped to heal my broken heart.

 

Just breathe.

 

When I found out about his unfaithfulness, my heart raced, my veins turned to ice, my stomach revolted, and I couldn’t breathe. Every time I discovered a new aspect of the betrayal, feared for my safety, or relived the hurt – it felt as if an elephant were sitting on my chest. I purposely let myself slow down enough to concentrate on breathing in for five slow counts, (1…2…3…4…5…), and then out for five slow counts, (1…2…3…4…5…), until the feeling passed. My world was crumbling and spinning around me, but when I spent a few minutes throughout the day on my breathing, I felt a little more in control of my situation.

 

Do the next thing.

 

Write out a list of routine activities you need to do today, and just concentrate on one thing at a time. Walk the dog. Read your little one a bedtime story. Take out the trash. Go to the grocery store. Pay the electric bill. Try not to focus so much on the unknown future – but continue on the little normal tasks in front of you. These might feel small and nearly impossible at the same time. You may feel easily distracted, but these will help to keep your body busy and your mind on track.

 

Take care of yourself.

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Shower. Brush your teeth. Fix your hair. Go for a walk at sunset with a friend. Eat something, even if you don’t fee like it. These might sound simple, but when you are truly wrestling with such devastating news, it can be hard to gather enough focus and energy for even something as routine as shaving your legs.

 

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but each time you do something to take care of yourself, it’s another step forward on your journey to healing.

 

Make an appointment to see your doctor.

 

I hate this part, Friend, but I can’t stress how important this step is in your healing. You need to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Call your doctor’s office and set up a time for you to be seen. Take a supportive friend with you, if you can. I was so lucky to have a friend there holding my hand, and a caring doctor who got me in that same day for a whole panel of tests.

 

Once you have the results, a large weight will be lifted off your weary shoulders. If the tests are negative, you can move forward. If something does turn up, you can be treated as early as possible, and then continue moving forward.

 

*I would also highly recommend requesting that your partner be tested for the same large panel of STDs, and have the results printed out for you to see. They may not like it, but you have every right to know if they brought anything concerning into your bed.

 

Allow yourself to grieve.

 

Be still and heal.

 

You’ve just been through so much, Friend. The news that your spouse has been unfaithful is one of the most devastating betrayals that you could ever experience. Take the time that you need to process what has happened. There will be so many moments when you will need to be strong, but it is okay for you to let yourself crumble sometimes. Just don’t stay down. Allow the tears to fall, but then get back up again. You really will smile again. You will get through this… I promise.

 

Explore healthy ways to vent your anger and frustration.

 

 

No good can come from taking, “a Louisville slugger to both headlights,” like the country song. As much as you might want to hurl obscenities or your wedding China at your spouse, I promise that it won’t help.

 

This is the time to remain calm – almost businesslike – around him. There are other ways to release some of the frustration, anger, and hurt that you are feeling. Write in a journal, write a letter to your husband or to the other woman, talk to a friend, go for a run, or join a kickboxing class. Lock yourself in a room and scream into your pillow. This way you won’t do something that you will later regret.

 

Surround yourself with love and support.

 

Seek out family and loving friends right now. Find a support group through a church. This is not the time to shut yourself off from the world. It’s hard to let down your guard and say the words out loud, but I think you will be surprised at the love and understanding that you will find. I will be forever grateful for the support of my family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Keep things as normal as possible for yourself and your kids.

 

Whether or not you talk to your kids about what is going on, they need stability. Keep your routine as normal as possible, and it will help you and them as you process and heal.  If your children know about the betrayal, please consider having them go to counseling where they can express and work through their confusion and hurt as well.

 

Chapter 5

 

See a counselor by yourself.

 

I’ve shared before how important therapy was in my healing. I grew so much during my time in counseling. Having someone comfort, guide, and challenge me on this journey was incredibly helpful.

 

I’ve also recently learned about peer counseling. Infidelity Counseling Network is a wonderful FREE resource for women who need to talk over the phone to someone who has been through it, too.

 

Attend counseling together.

 

Making an appointment for marriage counseling was one of the best things that I could have done, even though our marriage didn’t survive. A good couple’s therapist will listen, see through the hurt, and identify ways that the two of you can start to heal.

 

Your spouse will learn how to begin earning back your trust – cutting off communication with their lover, calling you throughout the day, being home when they said they would be home, reading books with you about healing and marriage, attending a support group for men with a lust addiction, and living transparently before you. This isn’t about punishing him – it’s about him respecting what you need as he works toward restoring broken trust.

 

Don’t rush. Work through healing slowly and intentionally.

 

As hard as it is right now, try to be logical and reasonable in your decisions without letting emotions get the better of you.

 

Don’t rush.

 

Don’t rush things back to “normal.” So much healing needs to take place, and that will take time, patience, and hard work by both of you.

 

Don’t rush into seeking separation or divorce either. Only time will tell if your marriage will survive. It takes two to tango, and to be restored, but you can do everything in your power to facilitate reconciliation. There is no rush when it comes to ending a marriage. Getting a divorce will not suddenly make everything better. Only healing, time, and forgiveness can do that – whether or not you stay together.

 

Don’t seek to get even.

 

You might feel desperate for them to know the searing pain they are putting you through, but do not look for comfort or revenge in someone else’s arms. It’s not worth it to bring more devastation into the relationship.

 

Forgive.

 

I believe this the most important way that you can heal after such a devastating betrayal. You can go down the list and check everything else off, but if you do not forgive, you will not feel whole again. Forgiveness is not a gift that you give to them – it is a gift that you are giving to yourself. Forgiveness releases you from their power over you. It frees you from the pain that bound you to them. Once those chains fall away, your heart will be free to heal once more.

 

Sometimes forgiveness is a daily practice – every time he comes to pick up your kids, when you see him with another woman, or even if he blames you for his affair – you can take in another deep breath and remind yourself that the worst is over. You have come so far on this road to healing, and you should be deeply proud of yourself.

 

And you are not alone… I promise.

 

Forgiveness

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any advice for our friends? Can you think of other ways that we can heal after such a dark time? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below!

 

Can I ask you for a big favor? Do you know anyone who might be encouraged by this blog post? Would you please consider sharing it with them? I want nothing more than to help others to know that they are not alone in this journey.

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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What I’m Into ~ May 2015 Edition

What I'm Into May 2015

 

Once again it’s time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and gab about what we’ve been into this month – (er, the past couple of months in my case)! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links for the best book ideas, movie and tv reviews, and more!

 

My Birthday ~

Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday. The thirties have been hard for me, but this year wasn’t so bad. I welcomed it – and somehow 34 didn’t feel quite as daunting. Maybe that’s because I’ve been working so hard to take better care of myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and finding out who I really am as a woman.

 

It probably helped that I had started an exercise routine 30 days before my birthday. I was feeling squishy, tired, achy, and self-conscious about how my clothes weren’t fitting very well. I had melted into a puddle of tears more than once, but I have a wonderful Beloved who pulled me into his arms and assured me that he loved me exactly how I was. I was inspired to stop moping and actually do something about it, so I began the 30 Day Shred exercise program, then progressed into trying PIYO.

 

I’m getting stronger, leaner, and more energized – which helped me to usher in this birthday with a smile.

 

Book Exchange Parties ~

 

I wish that I had snapped a picture from the other night! I hosted a white elephant book exchange party for the ladies of our new church – and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! My friend Kaila and I handed out invitations printed out on vintage-ish library check-out cards, and everyone brought snackies to munch on. We took turns picking out a wrapped book and finding out which books had impacted our friends.

Here are some of the AWESOME books that were shared:

The Chronicles of Narnia

For Men Only

For Women Only

The Pact

Sacred Marriage

Gods at War (I ended up with this one!)

Harriet the Spy

The Best Yes

One Thousand Gifts

Me Before You (This was my contribution to the evening’s festivities!)

 

And Speaking of Books…

 

Look at what my Beloved and our boys gave me for Mother’s Day!

 

Unfinished bookshelf

 

They really do know what speaks to my heart – a special place for my antique books!

 

Finished bookshelf

 

Future Hope ~

 

I am so excited about the work that my friend Katie is doing in Haiti with Future Hope Haiti! Her heart has been moved and she is working toward bringing hope to the people of Haiti! I love supporting them any way I can, and I won a t-shirt! One look at it, and my oldest son asked if he could have one, too. I’ll probably end up giving him mine. I love that he’s excited to spread the word of the work going on in Haiti!

 

Future Hope shirt

 

I love wearing my coconut earrings and bracelet from Future Hope! They go with absolutely everything!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I love mine so much that I gave away a pair of coconut earrings on Facebook last week for my birthday! The giveaway went over so well that we just might have another one! Stay tuned!

 

Future Hope Earrings

 

 

Celebrating Being Seizure-Free!

 

Our middle son is officially finished with taking his epilepsy meds! He was declared seizure-free at his last EEG, and has been weaning off the medication. Our family celebrated this HUGE milestone with him – and we couldn’t be prouder for all of his hard work! He helped me write this post:

 

5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

Crashing Into Grace ~

 

I had the unfortunate experience of backing into my Beloved’s car last month. I felt absolutely horrible about my mistake – and I managed to flog myself pretty well for not being more careful. It was my family who surrounded me with love and forgiveness that taught me the most important lesson of all:

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The End of the School Year ~

 

Quinn hat

 

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately! We finished up our school year, and it seemed even busier than in past years. My blogging took a back seat, but as life slows down a little this summer I’ll be able to share a little more of our story with you!

 

 

Books I’ve Read in April & May ~

 

I didn’t get to read as many books as usual. With getting up so early, I’ve found myself going to bed earlier and earlier – unable to keep my eyes open to read at night, but I did manage to get through a few!

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – LOVED IT! Can’t wait to finally watch the film!

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan – Another great book by Kelly Corrigan. This memoir focused more on her relationship with her mom, and it made me laugh and cry.

 

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford – I’m going through this one slowly and soaking it up… Convicting and inspiring at the same time, and it’s helping me to stop and really be in the moment with my family.

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – WOWZERS! I loved her book What Alice Forgot, but when I started her newest story, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I had pretty much given up, but I’m so glad that my friend Jeri encouraged me to push through and keep reading. I’ve shared parts of my story with y’all, and I could relate to each of the three main characters in some ways. When I clicked past the last page on my Kindle, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. I just sat and soaked it all in – there were so many memories and emotions flowing through me. It was a good thing, honest! A fascinating page-turner, it also nudged me to dig deep and face some painful corners of my past.

 

Reading in June ~

 

Do Over, by John Acuff

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos – and if I enjoy it, I have the sequel ready to read, too – Belong to Me.

 

Gods at War, by Francis Chan

 

The Marriage of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris

 

 

What About You?

 

What have you been into lately? Have you read any good books? Watched any must-see TV? Found any great bargains? I’d love to hear all about it! I’m always looking for good recommendations for books, movies, and more! You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

Wishing you an exquisite month of June, dear friends!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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Crashing into Grace…

So… My morning didn’t start out so great. I turned my head when something caught my eye, and I was not looking behind me when I backed out of our garage.

 

CRUNCH.

 

I felt my stomach drop as the realization of what I just did washed over me. I had just hit my husband’s car. Joe was still inside the house,  so I sent in one of the boys to go get him.

 

I put the vehicle in park, and I just sat there – still shocked by what I had just done. The sound of my own thoughts echoed inside my mind…

 

Look what you did. How could you be so stupid, Ginger? How could you be so careless? You know better than to get distracted. You’re so irresponsible. I can’t believe you just did that. Stupid!

 

Blame. Name-calling. Judgement.

 

That’s when my Beloved walked outside, and I saw him involuntarily cringe when he saw my predicament. That’s when my heart and my tears fell.

 

“I’m so sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. That’s why they call it an accident.”

 

GRACE.

 

“But I’m really, really sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. Really. It’s just a car.”

 

More GRACE.

 

Our oldest son climbed up next to me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. “Are you okay, Mom? Everybody makes mistakes.” 

 

No blaming. Just GRACE.

 

I ran my errand still shell-shocked, and returned home to my family. Aiden’s concerned face greeted me when I went inside. “Mom! Are you okay?” Our freckled middle child who doesn’t enjoy showing physical affection could sense what I needed just then, and he gave me a hug.

 

No judgement. Just GRACE.

 

Our littlest guy hurried up the stairs. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” He leaned his head against me and looked up as I explained what had happened. His brown eyes got even bigger, and then his face softened. “It’s okay, Mommy. Sometimes stuff like that just happens.” 

 

No name-calling. Just GRACE.

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

And my Beloved. His kind eyes searched my face and could tell that I was still beating myself up for my mistake. He stood there with open arms – full of the forgiveness and grace that I was denying myself… that I have become accustomed to denying myself over the course of my whole life.

 

It was then that I realized the only one pointing fingers of blame was me. My whole family had surrounded me with love and forgiveness. I could continue on in my shame spiral, or I could accept what everyone else was already handing to me. GRACE.

 

This certainly isn’t the last time that I’m going to mess up, but today I’m choosing GRACE.

 

What about you?

 

Have you found ways to give yourself a little grace when you let yourself down? Do you struggle with it like I do? I’d love to read your comments below. It means so much to me that you let me go on this journey of life with you! Thank you so much for being part of our Just One of the Boys family!

 

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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7 Ways to Help When a Friend is Hurting…

Dear Ginger

 

I am always touched by the messages and comments I receive here on the blog. I can’t tell you how much hearing from you has meant to me, and I am so honored to spend a little part of your day with you!

Recently I have received messages from women who know someone going through a hard time. They want to know how to best help and be encouraging to their hurting friends. I am so blessed to have friends who have been with me through the darkest moments of my life. I could not have made it through those times without their love, support, prayers, hugs, phone calls, and just being there for me. My friends have inspired and lifted me up more than they’ll ever know, and because of them I want to share with you some ways that we can all be there for our friends – even in the rough times. 

 

Reach out and let them know you care.

A phone call, a text message, an email – such easy ways that you can let your friend know that they are on your heart. Even better, a handwritten note is something tangible that they can hold in their hands and know that you are there for them.

 

Don’t pressure them to share details of what they are going through.

Some friends might want to vent or share with you, but others will not. Struggles may be intensely personal, and we need to respect their need for privacy during this time. Follow their lead, and don’t push them to open up more than they are ready to share with you at the moment.

 

Please don’t take offense if they don’t get back with you right away.

When you’re in a dark place, it’s hard to remember to thank or get back with the people who help or check in with you. A quick message from you may be exactly what your friend needed, but sometimes people forget to respond in the stress and busyness of that moment. And that’s okay.

 

Offer to help with something specific.

Sometimes we need to go beyond the generic offer, “Let me know if I can do anything.” Do they need a babysitter for an hour or two? Perhaps taking them a meal would be a huge help. Lend them your favorite comedy or chick flick to lighten the mood. Sometimes having a cup of coffee and talking about anything else is just what the broken heart needs.

 

Keep their story private. Don’t share it with others.

It really is a small world after all, and people can all too easily connect the dots. Be a true friend to them, and don’t talk to others about what was told to you in confidence. Not even in a vague concern or sharing prayer requests sort of way. This is not your story to tell unless you have been given their blessing to share it with others.

 

Go easy on the advice.

Many friends just want to vent or to know that you care. Don’t interject your opinion unless they ask for your advice. Instead, just concentrate on just being there for them.

 

Chocolate.

When in doubt, take her chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

 

What about you? ~

Do you have any other tips for our friends? What are some other ways that they can help and encourage their friends who are hurting?

Do you have any other questions for me? I aways really, truly, sincerely love hearing from YOU. Just leave me a comment here or email me at justoneoftheboysblog@gmail.com

Have you signed up to have my new posts delivered straight to your inbox yet? Just go to the JOIN THE COMMUNITY section above – and type in your email address. You won’t miss a thing, and you will make my whole day! It’s as easy as that!

Until next time,

*Hugs*

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What They Don’t Tell You… Parenting Over the Years

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

“Mom, what does @$*%!^ mean?”

 

I held a steady poker face to cover the horror that gripped my heart as I listened to the words that my curious fifth grader had overheard at school.

 

Uhhh… Wow… Ummm…

 

I did the best I could to answer his questions, explain why such a word can cause so much hurt, and warn why it would never be acceptable to use it.

 

Later I wrapped my arms around my little man-in-training, and felt him return my goodnight hug.

 

“Thank you for talking to me, Mom. I love you.”

 

I ruffled his hair and sent him to bed before I collapsed back on the couch, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had reassured him that he could always come to me with his questions, but I was silently cursing the parenting books that I’d read cover-to-cover twelve years ago as I prepared to become a mother. They never mentioned anything like this. 

 

Sure, everyone knows that the first year is going to be rough, and that the terrible twos can get dicey, but no one tells you that parenting just keeps getting harder and harder with each passing birthday party. I’m no longer worried that my little guys will put something in their mouths, stick a chubby little finger into an outlet, or tumble down the stairs. Now I get to worry about swear words, girls, peer pressure, social media, and Middle School.

 

Oh goody.

 

Makes me wish we could go back to when my boys were little and I spent my days just trying to keep them from killing themselves!

 

A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s touching story, Surprised by Motherhood. As I read each chapter her words took me back to those early days of being a mommy, and I started to remember a few surprising things that the What to Expect books left out…

 

You will never sleep again.

Bad dreams, croupy coughs, stubborn fevers, sleepwalking, and burning the midnight oil while you make four dozen school treats all get in the way of sleeping through the night.

 

You’ll discover how selfish you really are.

I love my boys more than life itself, but sometimes I want to eat the last cookie. I’m definitely not a morning person. And I’d rather have a root canal than listen to them explain anything Minecraft.

 

They will eat you out of house and home from now until forever.

Speaking of cookies, and food in general, be prepared for them to eat it all like a plague of locusts devouring everything in sight. I just realized that in a few short years, we will have THREE teenage boys in our house. Hold me.

 

Someday you’ll have THE TALK with your child.

If this one doesn’t put the fear of God in you, nothing will. Looking into their eyes while you explain the science of how babies are made is not for the faint of heart. Your breathing will become rapid and shallow, you will experience dizziness, there will be profuse sweating, and you will speak higher and faster than normal, but try your hardest to postpone your panic attack until after the big talk.

 

I had mistakenly thought that I was prepared for life as a mom. All of those years ago I read up on how to properly care for my baby. I studied swaddling diagrams. I weighed the pros and cons of crying it out vs. nursing on demand. I was a parenting expert before I had kids… And then I became a mother and realized that I didn’t know anything.

 

Those darn What to Expect books forgot to mention several other important things as well…

 

The journey.

Experiencing the world through the eyes of your child is an incredible gift. You get to discover dandelions and ladybugs and puppies and rainbows all over again. The world is such a magical place, if we will only pause long enough to see its beauty again for the first time through their wondering eyes.

 

The pain.

Having a child is like ripping your heart out of your chest and sending it out alone into the world. Their joy is your joy. Their hurts are your hurts. You will want to shield them forever from the pain, injustice, and darkness of this life – but what they really need is for you to take their little hands and guide them through it.

 

The LOVE.

The amount of love that you will feel for the precious gifts who are entrusted to you is undefinable, unmeasurable, and infinitely beyond what you had ever imagined.

 

I wasn’t prepared for this. I wish the books had warned me. But then again, I wouldn’t trade this adventure, and even the surprises along the way, for anything in the world.

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Take a Little Time ~ Forgiveness

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Happy Monday, Lovelies! I’ve been thinking of you all – and feeling so grateful to be on this journey with you!

 

How was your week? What are some of the ways you have taken a little time for yourself? Did you call a friend? Light a candle? Fix yourself a cup of tea? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

I was a bit vague about one of my goals last week:

  • ~ Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

This is a tough post to write, but I want to share a little more about what I meant…

 

I meet with my ex-husband after every 9 weeks of homeschooling for a progress report/parent-teacher conference. I dread it almost more than anything. It’s not that it’s difficult to write up report cards for our sons. It isn’t – in fact, it’s pretty easy because I keep detailed and organized records of our lesson plans and their grades. The reason that I dread it so much is that…well… My shoulders tense and my eye begins to twitch when I think of sitting across from the person who hurt me in so many ways, and I put it off as long as I can. Then I get even more stressed because life would be so much easier if I would just hurry up and get it over with.

 

I’ve shared with you how I’ve been hurt, how I’ve forgiven, and how I’ve healed – but I need to tell you something:

 

Forgiveness doesn’t equal amnesia.

 

Those memories and wounds are still there… even years later. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse what they did – but it frees you from the chains of anger, fear, and resentment that bound us to that person. Forgiveness allows us to heal. But it still doesn’t make sitting in a coffeeshop with that person a cakewalk. Meeting with someone who has caused me pain will probably never be enjoyable – but the passage of time, giving myself grace, and doing this for our children is slowly making it easier – a little at a time. And this week was no exception.

 

Forgiveness

 

I always breathe a sigh of relief when we finish our meeting, a little bit proud of myself for facing and overcoming something that I had filled me with so much worry just an hour earlier.

 

See, that wasn’t so bad. It was a little easier than last time!

 

My eye stopped twitching, my tummy quit working itself into knots, and I was finally able to relax after it was over. I did it. I crossed it off my list.

 

You might not be in my shoes, but I’m wondering if there are unpleasant things in your life that you put off, too? If so, please take this week to cross it off your to-do list. The weight of it being lifted off your shoulders is such sweet relief.

 

And forgiveness… I’ve shared before how forgiveness isn’t a gift that you’re giving to the other person. It’s a gift that you give to yourself. People ask me if forgiveness is a one-time thing – and I think it’s a specific decision that a person can make one time, but it is also a daily decision to live out that forgiveness in our lives.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t take away everything that happened to you – but it will give you the courage and strength to face what is in front of you. Forgiveness is still the best decision I have ever made, the best gift that I can continue to give myself and our precious boys, and the best gift you can ever give yourself.

 

Just know that you’re not alone on this journey of forgiveness and healing. I’m right there with you and cheering you on the whole way! *Group hug!*

 

Last Week’s Goals ~

 

  • Write down (or take pictures of) THREE things you are grateful for each daySome of the things I was grateful for over the last week:

Quinn’s laughter – makes me smile every time.

Hearing the words, “I’m sorry.” 

Forgiveness.

A good night’s sleep.

Orange juice. Copious amounts of orange juice.

The friendships we have made in our weekly small group. We love the range of ages and phases of life we are all in – but the feeling of community is so sweet! (And check out the pineapple parfaits we had this week. So thankful that they don’t mind being my Guinea pigs when it comes to trying out new recipes!)

pineapple parfaits

 

  • Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

  • Indulge in some quality time with my Beloved! It’s a kid-free weekend, House of Cards is coming back to Netflix, and we have more chapters to read in Love & RespectJoe and I both came down with colds just as the weekend began, so we spent most of our time on the couch snuggling through fevers, watching House of Cards, reading, napping, coughing, drinking orange juice, and blowing our noses. Not super romantic, but I actually enjoyed having that down time with my Beloved! Now that I’m feeling a little more human, I’m ready to attack the coming week!

 

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was pretty good at exercising Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but by Friday I was too coughy/sneezy/achy/fevery/miserable to work out. But I think I lost a couple of pounds from pretty much only eating grapefruit over the weekend. There had to be a silver lining somewhere!

 

  • Measure out and drink 60 oz. of water each day, and a serving of coconut water to keep my body hydrated. I probably drank my weight in tea over the weekend. I couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking chocolate coconut water over the last few days, so I’ll probably double up on that this week to make sure I’m staying hydrated.

 

 

This Week’s Goals ~

 

Our Group Goal ~

  • ~ Let’s take care of our nails this week! Trim, file, push back cuticles… Buff, polish, apply Jams… Whatever floats your boat! And I’d love to see them!

 

For My Head ~

  • ~ Now that my broken finger is mostly pain-free, get back to playing the piano every day (even if it’s only for a few minutes).

 

For My Heart ~

  • ~ Push myself outside my comfort zone and share a video blog with you!

 

For My Body ~

  • ~ Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 

For My Family ~

  • ~ Family Game/Puzzle Night! What are some of your favorite games to play as a family?

 

 

Will You Join Me? ~

 

I’m curious – as I’ve been thinking about all the things that have kept me from taking better care of myself, I’m wondering – What things are keeping you from taking a little time for you? Kids? Work? Crazy schedule? Are you like me and forgot how to take care of yourself?

One of the hardest parts of taking a little time for myself has always been coming up with ideas for how to take care of me. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 101 FREE (or nearly free) Ways to Take a Little Time for US! And I’d be thrilled to send it to you! Subscribe to the free email updates from Just One of the Boys – just enter your name and email address below -and I’ll send you your FREE copy!

 

101 Ways

 

I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week with the hashtag #takealittletime, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. And don’t forget to write out three things you are grateful for today! You can even share them here in the comments or tag me in your photos! Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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I’m Ginger ~

I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

Join the fun!

MY GIFT TO YOU!