Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why are God's People Afraid to be Real?

In the past I thought being a good Christian meant wearing a mask. Projecting an image of happiness and wholeness to all those around me. I thought the mask would help others to see Jesus through me. It would keep my brokenness from becoming a distraction to others. I would wear this mask that I created and when the mask would slip, I would become overcome with guilt for failing as a Christian.

Through the last several years, I have found that sometimes people can see God most shining through the cracks of my brokenness. I was doing God no favors by being artificial. God wanted to use my brokenness. He wanted to heal my brokenness. He wanted to love me in my brokenness.

As a society we have things that are stigmatized. Things that go unspoken for fear of rejection and judgement. Sadly, this is not much more different in our Christian walk.There are some subjects that are uncomfortable and can make us feel vulnerable.

Top Three Things Christians Hide: (Some of these overlap)

1. Mental Illness- Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum, Bipolar, PTSD, Schizophrenia, ect.

As I struggle with depression I find times when I feel the need to fake a smile, even when I am feeling shattered. Sometimes it is to hide my struggle. Sometimes it is to not make someone else uncomfortable. Also, sometimes it is because it makes me feel like I can just make it through. I am one of those personalities where if I am on the verge of crying and a friend tries to comfort me through kind words or through even just a touch, I fall apart and have a hard time gaining composure again.

In our society, mental illnesses are seen as weakness. They are often misunderstood. As Christians we are one body. So why can't we be vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ? How is our pride getting in the way of allowing us to seek support and prayer? Are our expectations of others and attitudes keeping others from reaching out to us?

2. Addictions- Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Pornography, ect.

As I struggle with overeating I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I will have a nagging thought that seems to get louder and louder as I entertain it. I seek it for comfort. It makes me feel better, but the feeling is so short lived and I end up feeling defeated and worse than before. It is an idol that I have given myself to and that I felt could take away the pain. Food is not the only addiction I have had in my life, but at this time it is the one that I struggle with day by day, hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment.

If so many with addictions find help with support groups, how many more Christians could if we could be open about our struggles? If we could listen, support, and pray for them? Unfortunately, judgmental attitudes get in the way of showing love to each other. Imagine a brother or sister in Christ came to you and said, "Please pray for me. I am addicted to pain pills." How easy would it be to judge that person? It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, when really we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus.

3. Sexual Immorality- Lust, Adultery, Pornography, ect.

A little over ten years ago, I had an emotional affair that turned into physical affair. It had started as a friendship. Someone who I felt understood me and who made me feel better about myself, when at the time I felt I was in a loveless marriage. I quickly became emotionally attached to the person. My heart would start racing when I saw their number on the caller id. I would find reasons to go and talk. After having a fight with my husband, I went to my friend for comfort. The emotional affair became physical and I had committed adultery. I was so attached to this person that I was willing to break apart my family. My life quickly fell apart. It was soon after that I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life.Thankfully, God has worked so many miracles in my life and has brought healing and restoration into my marriage.

In the church sex and sexual immorality is often a topic that is brushed aside. We feel uncomfortable talking about it and it has become faux pas. So many families are or have been impacted by sexual sins. It seems almost like we believe if we ignore it, it will go away. Sexual sins are embarrassing, but they wont just go away. Jesus was a great example with the Samaritan woman at the well. 


John 4:15-19 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:39-41 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.

Why should we get real?

*Not only are mental illnesses, addictions, and sexual immorality similar in the way they are stigmatized, they are all very isolating struggles. They lead to others withdrawing and trying to handle it on their own. If we as a body can start communicating about them, it will remove some of the power of them. We can then lift each other up and encourage each other. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


*We are a light, even in our brokenness. The world is filled with fallen broken people. If we can be real with others, they can see that God loves us in our brokenness. We are unable to do good on our own, but God still uses us to bring Him glory. How cool to have a God that can use the very things that we struggle with, to help others. 

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, 
If you are struggling and you feel all alone, you are not! It may feel like the world is caving in on you and like you are just trying to survive. Even then, God is still there. He loves you so much and you are precious to Him. Please reach out to a friend, family member, a doctor, or a pastor. We are stronger with others at our side. Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! 
God Bless, 
Faith

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Exposing the Secrets- My Dyslexia Research Paper


Exposing the Secret

     Growing up I lived a life filled with fear and shame. For eight years I hid my deep dark secret from my parents, siblings, friends, and teachers. My secret came with self-hate. The self-hate began to fester and infect other areas of my life, leading me to fall into a deep depression. I sought relief from pain through drinking, promiscuity, and self-mutilation. What was my secret? I could not read.

     Dyslexia is a disability that impacts a large portion of young students. Robin Boda, the Director of Education at Hope Education, describes dyslexia by saying that “it is a brain difference, neurological brain difference. Often going hand in hand with that, are gifts and strengths” (Boda). Yale’s MDAI, Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative, posted “20% of the population is struggling with this hidden disability” (MDAI). Goldish, author of Everything You Need to Know About Dyslexia, wrote “It is further estimated that 10 to 15 percent of school-age children have dyslexia. Yet despite the large number of people with dyslexia, it is estimated that only 5 percent of dyslexics are ever properly diagnosed and given appropriate help” (Goldish, pg. 20).

      A Huffington Post article said, 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read” (Crum). When Boda was asked for her view of Huffington Post’s statistic, she was not surprised. She described how the majority of her adult dyslexic students made it to very high levels in their high schools, many even graduating. Dr. Greene and Dr. Forster did a study on high school graduates readiness to enter college. They found that “only 32% of all students—fewer than half of those who graduate and about one-third of all students who enter high school—leave high school with the bare minimum qualifications necessary to apply to college” (Greene). Dyslexic children are going undiagnosed.

The Stigma:
     When I was in third grade, I asked my dad to have me tested so I could be in the resource room like a couple of my friends. He responded by telling me that I was not retarded, because no kid of his was retarded. Then he told me that I was just being stupid and lazy to slack off with my friends. That is the moment I realized how disappointed my family would be if they found out just how stupid I was. It was my job to keep my struggle a secret.

     Dyslexic children are going undiagnosed due to the stigma attached with the term dyslexia. People with dyslexia are often seen as lazy and stupid. “Sometimes because dyslexic children are so bright and seem to have all the cognitive "equipment" necessary to read, their continuing struggles are blamed on lack of motivation or not trying hard enough” (MDAI). The MDAI also found that students, thinking that they are not intelligent, often give up on themselves and have no hopes for success or happiness. These false beliefs, lead many dyslexic children to keep their struggles a secret.

     John Corcoran is a dyslexic teacher and an advocate for education reform. When he was young, his teachers told his parents that “he was simply ‘unmotivated’ and ‘immature’ and would learn to read at some point” (Feeney). Corcoran went through life pretending that he could read and even got through college and became a teacher. “Still, he maintained the illusion of literacy, carrying a newspaper or book under one arm and listening carefully to conversations in the teachers' room” (Feeney). When a student does reach out for help, the parent does not believe the student. The reaction of those parent’s and my father was described by Boda, “The parent doesn’t know how to deal with it so they don’t exactly believe the kid. They say try harder and you’re not focusing.”

     While the common belief is that dyslexics are stupid, this belief is completely false. “Dyslexics are not stupid. Most have average intelligence. Many are above average” (Goldish, pg. 20). MDAI describes the talents of dyslexic students saying that they “usually excel at problem solving, reasoning, seeing the big picture, and thinking out of the box” (MDAI). Many teachers, parents, and even students believe the negative stigma on dyslexic students.

The Signs:
     When I would sit down and read, I would spend an hour trying to read the first few words. The letters on the page would begin to dance around and blur into and out of focus, often giving me headaches. I felt stupid and I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. All the members of my family are geniuses, and I could not even read a couple words. I kept my secret until I was seventeen years old. My Spanish teacher was the first person I felt I could tell without a fear of judgement. She supported me and inspired me to be an advocate for myself. She helped me tell my parents and fought for me to get tested.

     Dyslexic children are going undiagnosed because people are unaware of the signs of dyslexia. Dyslexia has many signs including: Speech problems when young, problems with handwriting, bad spelling, difficultly reading out loud, low reading comprehension, thinking out of the box, does not test well, headaches when reading, and even ADD/ADHD. Students often do not have the same signs. “[Dyslexia] appears as spelling errors, but it is far more complex than just switching letters like b and d. There is a huge range of dyslexia and it is on a spectrum” (Boda). Goldish describes the spectrum saying, “dyslexia can range from minor problems with spelling to complete illiteracy” (Goldish, pg. 19). It is important for teachers and parents to be educated on the signs in order to help students.

The Shame:
     Exposing my secret to my parents was one of my most terrifying experiences. To my surprise, my parents did not react as I had assumed they would. They were supportive and immediately got me tested. My parents were shocked to discover that I tested at a third grade level. They sacrificed their time and money to get me specialized tutoring. After a year and a half of intensive tutoring, my reading level went from third grade to high school, it gave me the coping skills I will use for the rest of my life.

     Dyslexic children are going undiagnosed due to their deep seeded shame. Clinical Psychologist, Gershen Kaufman, studied shame in adults and found that “adults who have not learned how to read and write feel acute shame over their deficiency” (Kaufman, 1992, 199). Boda found that fear and shame were so common that they were the two things she had to overcome with every student she has. She said, “They try to hide it, cover it up, don’t seek your help” (Boda). When John Corcoran exposed that he could not read it “marked the end of shame, anxiety, and ingenious evasions and the beginning of a crusade on behalf of literacy and education reform” (Feeney). 

     Sonya Bridges is another inspirational person. She is also a teacher and she also discovered that she had dyslexia when she was an adult. Even though she had to work harder than most of the kids in her class, she persevered and did well in school. Bridges was tested when she was an adult, after years of wondering if she was dyslexic and “when the results finally came in, Bridges was relieved, but embarrassed. She kept her findings secret for a while” (Graham). Shame is a powerful force that is very common in the life of a person with dyslexia.

The Solution:
      Five years ago when my oldest daughter was in first grade, I discovered she is dyslexic like me. I refused to have her live a life of shame, low self-confidence, and hating school. When her teacher and counselor at school said she was too young to test, we pulled her from public school and began homeschooling her. She goes to a tutor once a week and we work with her throughout the week. Over the few years, she has caught up to grade level reading, a passion for learning, and a high self-confidence.

      Dyslexic children do not have to go undiagnosed. While there is no cure for dyslexia, fortunately, there are ways to greatly improve the life of dyslexic people and to empower them to reach their full potentials. The first step is to educate parents on dyslexia. About thirteen years ago Mary Buchanan discovered that her teenage daughter could not read. Parents often do not realize that their child has dyslexia. “Unfortunately, teachers and parents do not always notice that a child has a language disability” (Goldish, pg. 9). Boda describes the reason parents don’t catch their child’s learning disability, “A lot of parents trust the school to take care of all of that. Parents go many years without listening to them read, or if they do listen to them read they will listen to them read stories that have been read to them many times that the student has it memorized.” (Boda).  I was able to catch my daughter’s dyslexia and get her help, because I was educated on the signs of dyslexia.

     Mary Buchanan described her feelings as shocked and saddened. She was shocked at how she could not have known and was sad to think of all the years and the lost opportunities. When asked about what steps her husband and she made to help their daughter, she said, “We went and got her tested and paid over $9,000 to get her tutoring.” She also said that it “would have been helpful to get info out to parents to know what to look for, signs to watch for” (Buchanan). The sacrifice she and her husband made have had a huge impact on her daughter. I know this impact because she is my mother. If it wasn’t for the way they responded and fought to help me, I would not be about to graduate from college and the cycle would not have been broken for her granddaughter. A parents love and support are key to a child’s success. “Because of the love, encouragement and academic help from her mother, Bridges endured the bullying and laughter of classmates, and worked hard to become an achiever” (Graham).

      The second step to helping dyslexic children, is to adjust their education to encourage their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses. In order to find the student’s strengths and weaknesses, it is important to test them young with a non-standardized test. Since dyslexia is inherited, it is especially important to test if any other family members are dyslexic. If a student is diagnosed with dyslexia, the school needs to find ways to educate within that child’s learning style. Many schools are trying to fit students into a box, and dyslexic students often don’t fit. For example, standardized tests might reflect the knowledge and understanding of many, but dyslexic students do not test well. Dyslexic students also need more time in getting the foundations of phonics and reading. To push the student along in hopes that he or she might catch up, will actually hinder the student. “The existence of other social problems does not excuse the public school system’s inadequate performance” (Greene). Boda believes that we have to do school differently. She describes the importance of having a high standard but a different standard for each student.

     While the tutoring helped me read, it was not a cure. When I became a student in college, I assumed that I would hate school and would get bad grades just as I had done growing up. I was shocked to discover that I was able to get onto the honor roll and even ended up being honored as an Emerging Scholar at a banquet. I will always struggle with my dyslexia, but I am now empowered to succeed. I am finally starting to break from the chains of self-hate as I am discovering that I am a strong, talented, and highly intelligent woman.


Work Cited
Boda, Robin. Interview. 21 July 2015.
Buchanan, Mary. Interview. 21 July 2015.
Crum, Maddie. "The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn't Changed In 10 Years." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 6 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 July 2015.
Feeney. "The Teacher Who Couldn't Read: John Corcoran." Biography 3.10 (1999): 82. Middle Search Plus. Web. 25 July 2015.
Goldish, Meish. Everything You Need to Know about Dyslexia. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 1998. Print.
Graham, Charlotte. "Dyslexia hits home for former local teacher." Laurel Leader-Call (Mississippi). (September 19, 2011 Monday ): 1305 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2015/07/25.
Greene, Jay P., and Greg Forster. "Public High School Graduation and College Readiness Rates in the United States. Education Working Paper No. 3." Center for Civic Innovation (2003).
"Illiteracy Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. 15 Apr. 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.
Kaufman, Gershen. Shame, the Power of Caring. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman Pub., 1985. Print.
"MDAI: Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity." Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Web. 29 July 2015.





Saturday, January 5, 2013

From One Mother to Another

Tonight my heart is heavy with concerns for mothers who feel insecure, scared, and alone. I don't think that personal struggles are expressed openly in our society and I fear that it is causing more mothers to feel alone in their struggles. For example, postpartum depression is not often talked about amongst friends and yet it supposedly affects 11-20% of mothers. Personally, I wonder if the number would be higher if women did not feel guilt when admitting their struggles. 

Let me start by saying that I truly feel that motherhood is an amazing gift from God. I am so blessed to have my children and wouldn't change a thing. 

Now that I have said that, I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret. Motherhood is hard... actually it is not just hard. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. It is overwhelming, stressful, tedious, frustrating, painful, and the toughest things I have ever had to do. There are times that I am so overwhelmed that I can't decide whether to yell or cry. There is overwhelming fear that controls you when you think your child is in harms way. There is frustration that can lead to your body physically shaking in anger when you have no idea how to get through to a disobedient and disrespectful child. There is the exhaustion of waking up through out the night with a baby or a sick child. There is the physical pain of trying to carry everything and care for everyone. Motherhood is hard. I am not saying all of this to bring you down or create fear if you are expecting a child. I am saying this to let you know that you are NOT ALONE! You are not a BAD mom for having these emotions! All of these things are completely worth it and can actually bring you closer to your child. It doesn't matter whether you have a newborn or if your child is already an adult, some of these feelings still apply... most of all the feeling of inadequacy. 

So often I will feel that I am not a good mother. I am not doing enough. I didn't respond the right way. I didn't do things like other mothers. We feel like we could have done more to help our child. I truly feel that my mother is an amazing (perfect if possible) mother. She is everything that I wish I could be. Yet, I know that through the years she herself has felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted. She is always wishing she could help us more, protect us more, and show us that she loves us more. Though it may sound twisted, it gives me great relief to know that my amazing mom struggles too. She understands me all that much more after facing it herself. Even though I am in adulthood, I know that my mom still worries about me at times. It doesn't matter how old we get... she is still a mother. 

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia defines postpartum depression as  "moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later." (If you click on the link the page describes some of the symptom.) After I had Abbie, I struggled with postpartum depression. I had heard of it before from my doctor but I had never heard friends openly discuss it. It seemed like it was a embarrassing secret. At first I would fear that others would think of me as a bad mom or that people would take my baby away from me if they knew. As I began to open up about it I realized how common it really was. This is my story...

After Abbie was born I didn't feel as connected with her. I loved her as I thought I should but I didn't feel attached to her. I was already battling with bipolar but something seemed different. My husband was working two jobs, one of which was overnight. When Abbie was only a few weeks old I went to give her a bath. As I was bathing her a terrifying thought came into my head. "I could just hold her under and drown her." As soon as the thought entered my head I grabbed her out of the bath and put her in her crib. I didn't even throw a diaper on her but instead placed her blanket over her and left the room. I sat the the recliner for hours weeping as she slept. I was so scared that if I told my husband, he would take her away from me. When he got home I told him what had happened. I also told my mother. I was so scared that I would harm my baby. What kind of mother would even think of hurting her child? We setup a plan to protect her. My husband and mother would give her baths and if I ever had thoughts like that I would make sure she was safe and physically separate myself from her. I held onto the guilt from that incidence for years. It wasn't until much later that I realized how common it is for some mothers to have thoughts of harming the child. The thoughts aren't what makes me a bad mother.. it was the actions if I had gave into the thoughts. I never had that thought again after that day but I still use the guidelines for myself. If I am angry or emotionally upset by something I do not punish my children. I separate myself until I am ok or until their father can handle it. 

It is ok to need physical and emotional space from your child. I call this a mommy timeout. When a newborn is crying and you are exhausted and feel like you are on edge, it is perfectly fine to put the baby down and walk away for a few minutes. Being hormonal, sleep deprived, stressed, and not know what the baby wants can be perfect setup for disaster. Another tip is to have a friend that you can be open and honest with during the situation. It is nice to have the extra help but even just venting can help. 

Being a mother is hard. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. It is overwhelming, stressful, tedious, frustrating, painful, and the toughest things I have ever had to do. It is also the most amazing thing I have been blessed to do. There is the times that they smile at you full of love and melt your heart like butter. There is the pride that comes with the times they do something new for the first time. There is laughter when they say or do something hilarious but have no idea what they did. There is the the peace when you watch them as they lay sleeping. There is the hope you feel when they realize a mistake a change their behavior without being disciplined. There is the strength you feel when they run into your arms for protection and care. 

I know that I am a good mother not because of what diaper they wear or what grades they get. I am a good mother because I do my best, I love them with every cell of my body, and because I point them back to God. 



Friday, October 26, 2012

Withdrawn... Isolated... Tired...

It isn't very often that my husband becomes concerned about me, but recently he was asking me about my blogging. I told him I haven't written anything in a while and he was concerned. It is not like me to not want to communicate, write, and process things openly. He has been telling me that I need to write a blog post and has even been trying to give me ideas, which slightly annoyed and confused me since he doesn't even read my writings. 

I have battled depression and anxiety since I was in high school. One of my first signs of slipping into it is when I become withdrawn... isolated.. and tired. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel depressed, but I do know that these are warning signs. The best way I have controlled my anxiety and depression is by being proactive. When I feel like isolating, I make myself get out. When I feel like sleeping all the time, I make myself wake up on a schedule. Things like this, along with recognizing my warning signs have made a huge difference. I can notice when I am slipping before I get in too deep. 

The last month has been filled with the mundane and the general life stressors. It has also been really good. 

Stresses: 

  • We have to go to the pediatric cardiologist on Nov. 7th for Abbie to see if she may need surgery for her Pectoral Excavatum.
  • The family's allergies have been acting crazy.
  • Having trouble sleeping with hubby working nights.
  • Having trouble keeping girls quiet during days when hubby is sleeping.
  • Feeling inadequate as a homeschooling mom. 
  • Concerns for family members who are dealing with emotional and physical pain.
  • We were all sick with fevers for about a week.
  • Financial stresses and bill collectors.


Blessings: 
  • Abbie is getting wonderful grades in school. 
  • We made it through first quarter of the school year. 
  • God has provided for all of our needs. 
  • Elizabeth did wonderfully on a developmental test.
  • The girls doctor listens to me and their meds for allergies have been amazing.
  • I have been cooking new recipes a lot more often. 
  • The hubby and I are about to get to spend some quality time together for the next two weekends.
  • Read a book about the life of George Muller and am moved at his faith in God and prayer life. 
  • God is teaching, molding, and growing me. 
  • Finding freedom from technology addiction... cutting out facebook games, cable, and limiting time with television. 
  • Have spent more quality time with my folks. 
  • Have been loving BSF... I am learning so much and connecting with my group. 
  • Husband went forward at church for alter call to say he wants to be Baptized. I have been wanting to tell everyone that he accepted Christ, but it wasn't mine to tell. Now that he has made a proclamation, I can share. Thank you all for prayers and encouragement. 
I am so thankful that while I might be feeling withdrawn, isolated, and tired... I have felt even closer to God. He has been the reason that I handle all the stressors. I am also thankful to have such a loving husband who knows me so well. Just as I wrote this I began to feel better. I want to write so much more. I have missed you all. 

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."- Psalm 34:4

Sunday, June 3, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 6


What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

There have been many difficult times in my life. My struggle with Bipolar, teen pregnancy, health issues, and friends betrayal. The most difficult though would have to be the separation from my husband. 

***To clarify ahead of time so nobody will be concerned, the things I am going to discuss have been resolved. We have had a healthy marriage for almost six years now. This passage, also, is not to bash my husband but to show what God has done in our lives since and to show what a drastic change both of us have made. I love my husband very dearly and could not be more proud of him, though I do complain from time to time.*** 

2007 was a year that was stained with my sins past and my husbands addiction. The anger from my prior infidelity had boiled up over the years and began to fester in his heart. At first he was just a little controlling. I would be asked where I was going and what I was doing. Slowly it turned into a state of isolation and complete control. I was not even allowed to go with my mom to the grocery store. He was very emotionally distant from our oldest daughter, Abbie. I would have to pay him to babysit her. I am very thankful that we were living with my brother and his wife. Even though they didn't know what was happening, it kept things from escalating and kept me from becoming completely isolated. 

When I went to stay with my mom for a week after she had a surgery, he moved out and left me in debt. I moved in with my parents at that point. We were separated for several months and he would not offer to help take care of Abbie. When we reconciled and he moved in with me I noticed that he was much more verbally cruel to me. I felt constantly attacked verbally and weak. I felt like a empty shell of myself. I wanted so much to be a good submissive wife, but at that time I didn't know that a submissive wife isn't a doormat. Someone had shown me a website with a verbal abuse quiz on it. As I sat at the dining room table reading it my eyes were opened. The pen in my hand checked off almost every box on the quiz. I was warned that often there is an escalation to violence if nothing is done, but I didn't care enough about myself to do anything about it. I continued to take it. I am very thankful that I was at my parents home during this terrible time.  

It was five thirty and I went to the store with my mom. To make things easier on the hubby, I put my daughter who had just turned three into her highchair to color and watch television. When we got back I asked him where she was. He told me that she was in bed for the night without dinner because she kept disobeying by breaking her crayons. I explained that you can't just leave a child alone in a highchair with crayons and not expect them to be broken. Trying to be submissive I just accepted her punishment and went on with my night. A few hours later, when he was in bed, I went to check on her. She had welts on her bottom from being spanked  hours prior. That was the point I decided to no longer accept the abuse. I didn't care if he hurt me, but I wasn't going to let him hurt my daughter. 

I sat down with him and had my parents there to mediate. I showed him the checklist and told him that he was abusive. I made a list of demands. He had to move out for at least six months. In that six months he had to get a job, get in counseling, get on medication, find a church, and financially provide for his daughter. He could not say or do one abusive thing, he couldn't see me, and he had to have his mother present if he wanted to see Abbie. If he did everything I asked then we would go to marital counseling for a period before deciding whether or not to reconcile.  

One night he put Abbie in bed and then didn't see or call her for over a month. This had a terrible affect on her. For several years she was afraid that her daddy would just leave if she went to sleep. Sometimes, she still sneaks into our room to check on him. 

I was extremely depressed, confused, and angry. I had felt lonely in a marriage for so long that being lonely by myself wasn't as difficult. I tried to focus on making myself a better person. I went back to school, got a job, made new friends, and became involved in church activities. I had assumed that since I was the main one taking care of Abbie, that being a single parent wouldn't be much more difficult. Unfortunately, I had a long time to realize that it is more difficult because you have to financially provide and there is no breaks. I am very thankful for the amazing support system God had in place for me then. 

I was looking through the poetry I wrote during our seperation... here are some passages:

Don't You See? (May 25, 2007)

Do you see me? Have you forgotten that I feel too? 
Do you see her? Her little cries missing you.

You don’t blame us for why you go,
But it is us you hurt when you don’t show.

You can hurt me, I am strong.
But with her is where you belong.

She doesn’t know why you aren’t here. 
To me your selfishness is very clear.

I’m glad you are enjoying your little break,
But letting you hurt my baby is my mistake.


Melting Away (February 1, 2008)
How dare you,
I am the snow in your heart.
You walked all over me as you watched me slowly disappear.
At one point I was pure and delicate,
I was beautiful. We were beautiful.

You trampled me into slush.
You stepped all over me.
You pissed on my purity while trying to mark your name on my life.
Your hot temper melted me,
I was beautiful but now I am ugly.

Will I ever be what I once was?
Can I regain what you took from me?
Why did you burn me like you did?
I don’t want to disappear anymore.
I was beautiful when you were ugly.

I blame myself for being blind.
I hate myself for still wanting you.
You made me weak and I began to believe your words.
I can’t heal if you are near me.
I am beautiful and you are ugly.

She too is as pure as snow.
I wont let you step on her.
I refuse to watch her disappear, melting into nothingness.
She is still delicate and happy.
She is beautiful. We are beautiful.



Dear Little One (February 15, 2008)


Thank you for loving me,

When I feel unloved.

Thank you for understanding me,

When I feel misunderstood.

Thank you for trusting me,

When I made you hero leave.

Thank you for smiling at me,

When I felt like crying.



I'm sorry I didn't protect you,

Before you got hurt.

I'm sorry you saw him hurt me,

Before saying goodbye.

I'm sorry I wasn't stronger,

Before he changed me.



I promise to love you,

When you feel unloved.

promise to understand you,

When you feel misunderstood.

I promise to be honest,

When you need the truth.

I promise to hug you,

When you feel like crying.




Why Goodbye (February 16, 2008)

You hurt me, leaving bruises on my soul,
Then dare to ask what’s wrong.

You trap me in my home, a cage with walls,
Then ask why I don’t get out.

You constantly lie to me and cheat on me,
Then ask why I don’t trust you.

You are killing me with each word you say,
Then wonder why my eyes cold.

You tear down my confidence in public,
Then tell me to smile.

You treat me like a hostage, not a wife,
Then wondered why Goodbye.

I will heal from the bruised soul,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will not be a prisoner in my home,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will learn to trust once again,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I someday will come back to life,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will have my head held high,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I refuse to let you hurt her,
That is why.



At the end of the eight months, I had no interest in reconciliation. I was having an emotional affair with a friend. I had become extremely angry at my husband and wanted to be free. I also had a lot of fear that when we would get back together the abuse would just resume. My father, being a very wise man, told me that I needed to go to marital counseling so that my husband wouldn't use my bipolar to fight for custody and because for Abbie's sake we would need to be able to communicate. So we went back to counseling but I made my stance clear... I wanted a divorce and even had the papers written up. 

Through months at counseling God softened my heart towards my husband. Alvin had made so many great strides and wanted to heal our family. He was repentant. We took things slowly and began to date. I had asked the counselor how I could trust that he wouldn't be abusive. She assured me that since we had a clean break for such a long period of time supported by medication and counseling, we would be fine. I am so thankful that God gave us a strong Christian counselor who could speak the words I needed to hear. 


Looking back now, I can see how God used the time apart to help us both grow.It is almost as if our marriage really did end and an entirely new one appeared. Alvin is becoming a strong godly husband and father. I love him so much and can see drastic changes he has made. I find it amazing that the entire time, though I was going through great trials, God was there and had provided people to help me make it through. 

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Psalm 46:10 
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

What has God brought you out of? What is the hardest thing you have gone through? Do you believe a person can change?

Friday, June 1, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 4

List 5 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.


1. Lose the weight now... You may think that you are obese but you are only slightly overweight. It would be a lot easier to lose the weight now then to try to when you are obese. 


2. The fibromyalgia pain is not going to go away... Don't feel defeated, but also don't let the pain stop you from doing thing. I know you want it to just mysteriously go away but it wont. It may sound weird but you will grow to appreciate it when you see that it pulls you closer to God and creates character. 


3. Be more active in school activities... I know you think it is cool to be one of the "weird" ones and to rebel against the system but you will regret not doing any activities with your free time. 


4. You are not stupid... The reason you have are having problems reading is not because you are stupid. Your reading level is definitely not where it should be, with help at Sylvan, things with be so much better. Don't wait to tell the parents and to get help.


5. Spend time with your brothers.... I know that you must be thinking "Whhaaatttt?", but trust me. In a few years you wont really see either of them except on holidays. One will be starting a family and be very busy, and the other will isolate himself from the family. You are going to miss them and maybe by forming a better relationship with them now you can keep the connection. 


Even though I may say all of this to myself, I know that 16 yr old be was hard-headed. I didn't really listen to anyone. Though I would recognize my own face, I would not recognize anything else about myself. I will become, what was at the time, my own worst fear. I became my mother... lol


Part of me wants to warn myself about friends that will deeply betray me, but I even though they caused me pain I would not give up the time I had with them. It was a good time. 


There are lots of struggles after I was sixteen (teen pregnancy, manic depression, shaky marriage, ect.), but I wouldn't tell myself about them because it would just make the younger version of me anxious, and because God uses it to build my character. Those things also are what brought me to making Jesus the Lord of my life. Prior to my struggles He was just Savior. 


Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."


Romans 5:2-5 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."


What would you tell your 16yr old self? Would you take back anything? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 2

Describe 3 legitimate fears and explain why you fear them..


1. I just realized today that I have a fear of my husband losing his job. In the last year my husband has shown up at home early twice unannounced. Each time I was hit in the gut with a terrible feeling. Just upon seeing his face after he opened the door, I knew that he had lost his job. I felt so overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. I feared not being able to pay the bills or provide for the girls. His new job has him coming home at random times when they are not busy. When he walks in the door my heart and thoughts start racing. I know in my head that God is in control and that he has and will provide for us, but my flesh pulls me into a place of fear. 


2. Depression, anxiety, manic depression, and other mental illnesses run strong in my family as well as my husbands family. Since my oldest daughter is so much like me, I fear her possible struggle with mental illness. I remember the feeling of being in the deepest darkest place ever. Being only seven years old, we have already seen a few red flags such as her mentioning suicidal thoughts. I so want to take away any possible pain she may have. I know that it is my job to teach her to trust in God, to control her emotions and actions, and to communicate anything that might concern her. 


3. Spiders... they are creepy, they are quiet, they have eight legs, they are spiders.. Need I say more? Little spider or big spider it doesn't matter. They all scare me.