Divorce

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

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

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

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

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*

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

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

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

Dear Ginger… 7 Ways to Help Answer Your Kids’ Tough Questions About Divorce

Dear Ginger... Answering Your Kids' Tough Questions About Divorce

 

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 answering another question that I receive pretty often…

 

What should I say to my kids when they ask me why their daddy and I are divorced?

 

First of all, I wish that I could give you a great big hug right now. This situation can pierce a mommy’s heart. Each time our boys have looked up at me with their dark eyes and asked me this question, I had to swallow the lump in my throat and send up a quick prayer for help in how to help them understand.

 

My boys were only 5 months, 3, and 4 when our marriage fell apart, and 1, 3, and 5 years old when our divorce was finalized. Because they were so little, and because of the betrayal and hurt that led to the end of our marriage, I had to find a way to help them understand without putting the weight of our circumstances on their little shoulders.

 

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I heard a story when I was growing up of when Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom was little girl, and she asked her father a deep question when she was still too young to understand the graveness of the answer. Her father’s analogy has stuck with me all these years, and I have used it when I talked to my own little ones about divorce in our family.

 

“Honey, I love you so much, and I know that you have so many questions. I wish that I could give you a better answer – but the truth is that the reason we are divorced is like holding a heavy suitcase. It’s just too heavy for you to carry right now, so I will carry this for you. And someday, when you’re bigger, if you really want to know, I will tell you more. Please know that I love you so much – to infinity and beyond! Thank you for coming to me. You can always ask me anything, and I will do my best to help you understand.”

 

Here are a few other tips in answering those hard questions:

 

  1. Take their questions seriously.

 

Look into their eyes and acknowledge their pain and wondering. As much as it hurts you, welcome their questions and keep that line of communication open between you both. This will help in your own growth, you can assess how your kids are coping, and help them with their own healing.

 

  1. Be honest, but guard your privacy and their little hearts.

 

boys

 

They don’t need to know all of the nitty-gritty details. They will never need to know ALL of the details that led to your divorce.

 

  1. Don’t bad-mouth your ex in front of your children.

 

Co-Parenting After Divorce

 

As much as you might be tempted to pull back the curtain on your ex’s character, please don’t. This is not the time to vent your frustration. Nothing good will come from it – only more hurt and confusion about loyalty to you both as parents. Instead, find a loving friend who will listen as you cry, yell, question, and process your own pain. And then you can be there for her when she needs it.

 

  1. But you don’t have to sugar coat things either.

 

You don’t have to pretend that everything is just peachy. It’s okay to let them know that you are sad about how circumstances turned out, but also let them know that you will be fine, they will be fine, and that you are working with their dad to parent them together as a team.

 

  1. Explain that it’s just too much for them to carry right now.

 

It isn’t time for them to carry this information. You’re not putting down their age by saying that they’re not old enough. You’re also not giving them a time frame of when they will get those answers. You may feel the need to carry most of this heavy information for them for the rest of your life. This isn’t just about protecting the other parent’s reputation. Children are much more perceptive than we give them credit, and over time they will see things about each of us as parents – good and bad – for themselves.

 

  1. Find ways to help them ease into this transition.

 

11 Ways to Help Children Cope With Divorce

 

Secretly tuck notes or funny cards into their bag when they leave with the other parent for the weekend. Give them a stuffed animal that they can take back and forth to remember you by. Take them to counseling so they can use play therapy and projects to work through their own pain. Keep a routine at your house that helps the children feel settled during this time of change.

 

 

  1. Show love for their dad.

 

Mommy, Do You Still Love Daddy?

 

Affection might be the last emotion you feel for the other parent, but it’s important that you maintain a civil relationship with their father. You don’t have to be best buddies, but I’ve learned that being at least casually friendly to their dad will go a long way to your children feeling settled, loved, and a jump-start on their healing after the divorce.

 

Offer him more time with your children on his birthday. Wish him a happy Father’s Day. Seek out his opinion when your child is sick. It might feel as if you are giving him more and more influence, but he is their dad. When you put the ball in his court, you are giving him extra opportunities to graciously co-parent together. He may or may not respond the way that you wished, but at least you gave him that chance, and your children will be better for it.

 

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any suggestions for our friends? Can you think of other ways to help friends who has found themselves in this heartbreaking place? I’d love to hear 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

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

Dear Ginger… Should I tell her?

Dear Ginger... Should I tell her that her husband is having an affair?

 

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 am answering questions that I receive often, but have been afraid to address here “out loud” until now…

 

Should I tell my friend that her husband is cheating on her?

 

Yes, I believe that she has the right to know what is happening in her marriage.

 

Infidelity is a malignant cancer. It will devour your relationship, your family, and you personally if it is not brought to light. When my Beloved and I discovered that he had a tumor growing on his kidney, it was frightening. There would be pain and a long road to healing for him, but we knew that we had to take action. After the surgery to remove his kidney, we learned that the tumor had been much worse than we had anticipated. It was Stage II cancer, and it was a blessing to have it removed before it spread to the liver, lungs, brain, and other parts of his body. Pretending like it didn’t exist was not a healthy option for us. In fact, it could have been deadly.

 

The same thing is true in relationships. I have also lived through the devastating effects of learning that infidelity had weaved its way into my first marriage. I had suspected his cheating, but I continued to bury my head in the sand of my own denial. A friend lovingly removed my blinders and helped me to see what was really going on. The evidence of his betrayal was crushing, but her friendship, engulfing love, and gentle way of guiding me to the truth was the greatest gift that she could ever give me.

 

Being aware of the unfaithfulness is the first step to your friend having a fighting chance to save her marriage. You can’t save what you don’t know is lost.

 

Should I write a letter? Or tell her in person?

 

Sadly, both my Beloved and I both have experience with this. While my friend told me over the phone, my Beloved’s friend gave him the news in person. We both agree that there really isn’t any one good way to tell a friend that their spouse is being unfaithful. Don’t stress too much over the method – but do realize that the most important thing is actually the tone in which you tell her. It’s all in the delivery.

 

I can’t stress this enough… Be kind. Come to her from a place of love. Your friend will soon find her marriage crumbling around her. Please be sure that your attitude is one of love, grace, and concern. Never slip into an “I-told-you-so” attitude. You may have thought this guy was a loser to begin with, and even if you had already expressed your dislike for him in the past, this time you need to approach her without any judgment. Just love.

 

Do I have to tell her? What if she doesn’t believe me?

 

No, you don’t have to tell her, but consider the analogy that I used before of infidelity acting like a cancer. If you knew that your friend had no knowledge of a deadly tumor in her body, would you tell her about that?

 

Not only does she deserve to know what is going on, it has now become a health and safety issue. This may not be the first time that he has engaged in an affair, and it might not be the last. She should have the right for the chance to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and to insist on him being tested. Please do not think that you are doing her a favor by not telling her.

 

I understand why you might not want to tell her – but I ask for you to consider what you would want if the situation were reversed.

 

What can I do to help her through this time?

 

Another way you can be there for her is to offer to help in any way that she needs. Offer to babysit while she goes to counseling. Be a listening ear when she needs to vent, and a comforting shoulder to cry on when it all feels like too much. Chances are that she won’t feel like eating, but you could bring her a meal or chocolate. Or flowers. She will need your friendship, love, and acceptance now more than ever.

 

Pray for her. Send her a card. A text message just letting her know that she’s on your mind will mean the world to her. One of the things a friend did for me was to let me borrow funny movies and TV shows on DVD. It was impossible for me to fall asleep in the beginning, but I was finally able to relax enough to drift off to sleep after watching a couple of her SCRUBS episodes each night. Eventually I smiled, a while later I could laugh again – and her thoughtfulness played a huge part in my healing.

 

I honestly couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my friends and family. They walked beside me, encouraged me, let me lean on them when I needed it, and celebrated my growth and healing along the way. I wouldn’t wish this devastating news on anyone – but it is my hope that through our willingness to stand in those dark places with our loved ones, that we can let them know that they are not alone.

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any suggestions for our friends? Can you think of other ways to help friends who has found themselves in this heartbreaking place? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

 

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 Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

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*

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

Yours, Mine & Ours: 10 Favorite Books on Remarriage & Blending Families

Yours, Mine & Ours- Blending Families

 

I’ve shared with you before how our family is going through a big change. After nearly 5 years of living apart because of my Beloved’s military career and custody arrangements with my ex-husband, we are finally all under the same roof! This has been a HUGE cause for celebration, but it has also been a time of transition and learning how to blend as a family.

 

At times the growing pains have been downright painful.

 

When I became a single mom, I had to fight to develop independence. I am not naturally independent or gritty, but as I protected my three little cubs, this mama bear had to dig deep to heal and find a strength I didn’t know I had. The learning continued as Joe and I married and the boys and I were not able to be with him in his military travels. Living alone, going through months of deployments, along with basically having to conduct my day-to-day life as a single mom meant that for the last six years I have been the boss. I’ve made the decisions. I’ve made the feverish middle of the night ER trips alone. I have fixed the leaky pipe and mowed the yard. I did it all.

 

One day shortly after my Beloved finished his military career and was able to finally move home, I was rushing around the house and stressed to the MAX. You know how it is… Wash the dishes, move over the laundry, let the dogs outside, fold the laundry, let the dogs back in, step on a LEGO, wash the shampoo out of a little guy’s hair, check if the big boy’s room is clean, vacuum the stairs, check the homework papers. Joe kept asking me how he could help, but I just brushed him aside and said I was fine. I would take care of everything.

 

He gently took my the shoulders. “Honey, please let me help you. You don’t have to do it alone anymore. I am here. And I want to help.”

 

I looked up into the blue eyes which were radiating safety and unconditional love, and my walls began to crumble. That’s when the tears fell. The weight of the world was being lifted off my shoulders.

 

I really didn’t have to do it all on my own. 

I don’t have to do it all on my own anymore.

 

This isn’t the only area where I’ve failed. It has been a big transition for everyone in our family, and I want us to continue to grow together. I want our home to filled with love, teamwork, commitment, and respect for one another… and I need help. That’s when I decided to call in the experts. I approached several of my friends who have also been through remarriage and the blending of their families. I asked them for their tips for a newlywed couple like us, and their encouraging advice has been such a gift to me. I know that we are not the only family who is on this journey of blending right now – so I wanted to share what I am learning with YOU!

 

While there are so many things on my heart right now, I thought that first off I would share with you 10 books that have helped us over the years to begin laying the foundation for our marriage and our family. We worked so hard over the last five years to build a strong bond with each other and with our children, and we couldn’t have done it without this list!

 

These are the TOP TEN BOOKS ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY that we read to help us get to where we are today:

 

The Remarriage Checkup

The Remarriage Checkup, by Ron L. Deal and David H. Olson – This is one of the first books that we read when we were planning to get married. It was an excellent help as we laid the groundwork for our relationship and future family! It’s on my list to re-read and refresh my memory now as we are finally getting to live together!

 

Saving Your Second Marriage Before it Starts

Saving Your Second Marriage Before it Starts, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott – This was another wonderful book that we read “together” while my Beloved was deployed. We would separately read one chapter each day, then we would write to each other or talk about it what we learned whenever we could squeak in a phone call. I read this again once he moved home, and it was a wonderful reminder of the things we learned a few years ago!

 

For Couples Only

For Couples Only, by Shauni and Jeff Feldhahn – Another one of our long-distance deployment reads, we really enjoyed talking about the things we were learning about communication in this book!

 

The Smart Stepdad

The Smart Stepdad, by Ron L. Deal – This is a book that my Beloved read while we were preparing for our new family. I haven’t read it myself, but I think I will at least flip through it now that Joe moved home and it’s sitting on our bookshelf. I’d love to see what he learned and how I can encourage and support him in this transition. I’ll go into this more soon, but whatever he learned was awesome!

 

Love and Respect

Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – We are actually rereading this book together RIGHT NOW! It really is helping to smooth over the rough bumps that we have encountered during our transition so far!

 

Sheet Music

Sheet Music, by Dr. Kevin Leman – This was a fun read that dealt with cultivating marital intimacy. We read it out loud on a road trip (without the kids). *wink*

 

The Smart Stepfamily

The Smart Step-Family: Seven steps to a Healthy Family, by Ron L. Deal – We went to a Successful Stepfamilies conference where we learned about this book. A-mazing. And I’ll be rereading it again soon.

 

Cracking the Communication Code

Cracking the Communication Code, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – Are you sensing a pattern here? Communication is big! Big! HUGE! Sometimes I can’t understand why he thinks the way he does, and I’m POSITIVE that he’s thought that about me *wink* and this is a great book on breaking down the differences in how men and women communicate.

 

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman – You can’t go wrong with this classic. Discover the different ways that you and your spouse give/receive love, and learn how you can keep their LOVE TANKS full! (This comes highly recommended by several of my blended family friends too!)

 

Living in a Step Family Without Being Stepped On

Living in a Stepfamily Without Getting Stepped On, by Dr. Kevin Leman – Dr. Leman is one of my favorite marriage and family authors. His practical advice and humorous commentary make it easy to fly through his books. I just put this book on hold for myself at the library again. I need the reminder, and it’s just that good.

 

More Recommendations~

I asked a few friends who have already traveled this road and blended their families to share their suggestions of books to read while blending families, and they gave me their awesome recommendations. I put these on hold for myself at the library, and I can’t wait to dive in!

The Smart Stepmom, by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge ~

Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family, by Susan Wisdom LPC

The Remarriage Blueprint: How Remarried Couples and Their Families Succeed or Fail, by Maggie Scarf ~

The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Ormartian ~

 

How About You?

Are there other books that have helped you in your own marriage and family? What would you add to the list? I’d just LOVE to see your recommendations!

Have you been through a remarriage journey of your own? If so, I would be thrilled to hear from you!

And lastly, do you know of someone who is also walking through a time of blending and transitioning? If so, would you send them a link to this post? It’s my heart’s desire to send encouragement their way as we walk this road together!

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ G

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

Be Intentional With Family ~ In the Midst of Trials

BE-INTENTIONAL-WITH-FAMILY

 

Today I am thrilled to share with y’all a video interview that I had with my friend Alysha from An Intentional Future! She has been hosting a wonderful series this month on living intentionally, and I was honored when she asked me to be part of it! She has such a wonderful message – and I am so grateful to have connected with her through this crazy world of blogging!

 

This is what Alysha wrote about chat our on her blog:

Ginger of justoneoftheboys.com is no stranger to trials and heartache. From being left a single parent of three young boys as she watched her first marriage dissolve, to being transformed into a caregiver as her husband was diagnosed with cancer, she is no stranger to incredible difficulties. Despite it all, she has managed to thrive.

I believe the key to intentionality is effort. Ginger is constantly reevaluating how she can not only better serve her family, but herself. I hope you’ll watch and listen as Ginger shares specific tips for being intentional with family. I also hope you’ll visit and subscribe to her blog!

 

I had such a wonderful time chatting with Alysha! I had been nervous about my very first video chat, but she made me feel right at home. She even made me cry a little as I talked about my boys – in a good way, I assure you! Click HERE to watch our chat – and don’t forget to leave a comment to enter her FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY!

*Hugs*

~ G

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter

Aloha, Friends!

DSC_0033

 

What a month it’s been! After being married for 4 years, my Beloved and I finally went on our long-awaited honeymoon! I mentioned on Facebook that the resort where we had planned to stay in Mexico had been wiped out in a hurricane this fall, and our hearts sank. Joe made a few phone calls, and we received a full refund! He found us a cabin in the Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, and we packed our bags!

 

DSC_0048

 

 

I really didn’t know much about the Big Island or Hawaii in general before we bought a book that was HUGELY helpful in our travels! The Big Island Revealed was written by a man who lives on the Big Island – and it a guided us to many amazing non-touristy places during our week in Hawaii!

We started out by exploring the shores of Hilo, gawking at the sea turtles, and finding nice people selling fresh coconut water – in the coconut! I can’t tell you how much better it is right from the tree!

 

Hawaii 1

 

We decided to head up to the beautiful Mauna Kea summit – more than 14,000 feet up – to see the international observatories that live way above the clouds. Wow. Just wow.

It was cold up there at sunset, and we were still wearing our shorts and flip-flops, so we made plans to go back another night to stargaze. When we went back a few nights later, our group was treated to a guide who pointed out constellations, stars, and stories in the sky. It was incredible!

 

Hawaii 3

 

The went on a couple of hikes one morning (6 miles altogether!) where we descended 400 feet through a rainforest, made our way over this frozen lava lake from when Kilauea erupted long ago, then climbed the 400 feet back up to civilization. It took years for this lake of once red-hot lava to cool and harden – and now you can walk across it!

DSC_0110

 

You can see the beautiful Mauna Loa looming in the background…

 

DSC_0167

 

The walk wasn’t an easy one – but it was breathtaking!

 

 

 

DSC_0136

 

We decided that we hadn’t punished our bodies enough after that hike, so we went on another trek to see a lava tube!

 

IMG_0762 2

 

We were sore and tired after our hikes, but I am so glad we went – and this Kansas girl learned that I love hiking!

 

Hawaii 4

 

The waves were too high for us to kayak during our stay, so we spent a couple of afternoons crossing off what I wanted to do in Hawaii – lounge on the beach!

 

DSC_0038

 

This is what we had waited four years to experience! I had a fruity drink in my hand, a book in my lap, my Beloved by my side, and a smile on my face! I even dozed to the sound of the waves. Happiest of happy sighs.

 

Hawaii 9

 

We also made the difficult hike to visit the hidden away Green Sand Beach near the southern tip of the Big Island. Wowzers – this was hard. It was three miles of climbing over sharp lava rocks each way, and we were only in our flip-flops! By the time we’d made it back to our car, I had 5 blisters on the bottoms of my feet – and sores where the rocks had poked THROUGH my shoes!

Yes, it was a bit windy that day…

 

DSC_0009

 

 

But seeing the gorgeous green sand was worth it!

 

DSC_0014

 

 

There were so many beautiful things to see and experience on Hawai’i – that one little blog post can’t do it justice.

Sunsets…

DSC_0092

 

Cliffs and valleys…

DSC_0038

 

An active volcano…

DSC_0049

 

Waterfalls…

 

Akaka Falls

 

My new buddy – King Kamehameha the Great (the first ruler of the Hawaiian islands)…

DSC_0046

 

And gorgeous black sand beaches…

 

Waipi'o Valley Beach

 

I am beyond grateful that I get to walk through life with this guy!

Hawaii 5

 

I have become obsessed with Hawaiian history since our trip! I’m reading a fascinating book by the last monarch of Hawaii – Queen Lili’uokalani – and eagerly looking for more stories of the Hawaiian past and culture.

Liliu08

 

Joe and I have even begun dreaming of one day moving to Hawaii! I could definitely cozy up to the idea of writing and sipping coconut water while watching the waves at sunset from my lanai! It did my heart so much good to just get away. We were able to finally relax, letting all of the stress of the last several years – broken hearts, divorces, deployments, custody battles, cancer, living apart – melt away. Ahhh…

Thank you so much for indulging me today – and for staying with me during my long absence this month! I can’t wait to get back to sharing together every week now that life is finally starting to get back to normal after the rush of the holidays!

I’ll be back later this week for the December Edition of What I’m Into!

Hugs,

~ Ginger

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on Twitter
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!