22
Jul

i love this!

“When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.”
-GD lesson 28 D&C

This just jumps out to me and waves me down on the highway of life. Sooooo profound.

You know, a few years ago… maybe 5-6, this probably wouldn’t have caught my eye, much less my heart or mind. But lately, so many things are falling into place and making perfect sense to me. I am actually loving learning more about God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and my purpose here on earth. I am loving reading and studying. I am loving praying and listening and hearing. I am loving leaning in, leaning in hard. I am loving quiet reflection and pondering. I am loving the peace.

5-6 years ago I think I was just going through the motions. I think I thought I had all the time in the world to live and then get my crap together before I died. I think I didn’t know anything really important. I think I didn’t care about too many things that are really important.

Tracy got sick. I was in Stake Relief Society. I started going to the temple more regularly. I gained a little glimpse of real faith. I gained a little faith in the power of temple attendance. Leonard had a mid-life crises. I gained strength. Leonard started using meth and heroin, I gained strength. Leonard started using porn and seeing other women. I gained strength. Leonard totally went off the deep end. I gained strength.

Everything came crashing down, but then, over the next four years, some amazing and miraculous things fell right into place. And many of them were soooo miraculous and soooo timely and soooo obviously blessings, that I can never deny God’s hand in my life. His total intervention. Oh, my goodness, my testimony has been strengthened!

I always said I believed in God. I always knew I should. My mother taught me that. I knew that. But I didn’t actually feel that it was happening for me. I saw it in other people’s lives. I heard their words. But I just didn’t feel it for myself, personally.

And, now I do.

And it has been worth the trial. And the hurt. And the embarrassment. And the disillusionment. And the tears. And the loneliness. And the adversity. And the pain and difficulties.

In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation, but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us and strengthen us, not to destroy us. There is nothing that we are enduring that Jesus does not understand, and He waits for us to go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. I testify that if we will be obedient and if we are diligent, our prayers will be answered, our problems will diminish, our fears will dissipate, light will come upon us, the darkness of despair will be dispersed, and we will be close to the Lord and feel of His love and of the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
-Robert D. Hales

I can’t say quite yet that I am grateful for this trial. But I’m sooo grateful for the growth that has come because of it. I am grateful for my faith and my testimony and the clarity and understating that has been the result of all of this. I am grateful for knowing with all my heart [and everything that is in me!] that God knows me and has blessed me. I’ve struggled with that.

And, now I know.

 

21
Jul

betrayal trauma

Severe Betrayal Trauma. I first heard this term on Studio 5 and listened to the segment, not once, but twice. The guest spoke of ‘Betrayal Recovery,’ and I listened to him describe my life on public TV. I involuntarily glanced around my empty living room to see if anyone noticed he was talking about me.

I remember my friend, Jim, telling us at lunch one day at work, years ago, about a man who had a serious speech impediment. “He married the ugliest woman he could find, because he knew she would never step out on him.” As life goes . . . she did. She had an affair and they ended up getting divorced. At the time I thought it was one of the funniest stories I had heard in a while. We laughed out loud as Jim acted out the parts and talked as though he was his friend, speech impediment and all. He acted all indignant about the betrayal.

I also remember thinking, you know what, it’s one of the reasons I married Leonard. His mother assured me over and over that he would never step out on me. “We just don’t do that sort of thing,” she said. I remember thinking, he is so much better off with me, with us, . . . he should only be grateful that he’s not in jail or on the street.

Now who’s the laughing stock? Don’t get me wrong. I am relieved to be getting divorced. I’m relieved I don’t have to inhale his crappy smoke and listen to all his moaning and excuses and ridiculous rationalizing. I’m relieved I don’t have to sleep with one eye open in case he leaves something in a 400º oven. Or watch his downward spiral as he attempts to navigate a drug-induced life. I’m so glad I no longer have to witness insanity escalate.

And yet, there is, seriously, some humiliation. I’m embarrassed that I stayed with him so long. I’m embarrassed that the hundreds of red flags went unheeded. I’m embarrassed that I actually thought I could live my life and do the things important to me — things I love — and he could do his thing and we could cohabitate.

Was I ever wrong.

Now that I think about it . . . I don’t mind being wrong. Because I finally know what peace feels like. And contentment, and harmony, and joy and quiet, and leaning on the Lord. I mean really leaning.

I have had soooooo many manifestations of His help and His hand.

Help with the water, the ditch pump works!
Help with the mowers, they both work!
Help with a broken pipe and a huge flood!
Help with the car!
Help with finances!
Help with filling many many hours in a day!
Help with direction!
Help with scripture study!
Help with knowing He’s there!
Help with the locks!
Help with feeling safe!
Help with my calling!
Help with my church attendance!
Help with court!
Help with traveling!
Help with repentance!
Help with praying more!
Help with everything I didn’t think I could accomplish.

And so much more.

My life is faaaarr from what I thought it would be when I was looking forward at age 20. It’s been rough. It’s been disappointing. It’s been humiliating. It’s been gut-wrenching. But I can see miracle after miracle. I can see mercy after mercy. I can see God’s hand.

22
Jun

it’s been a little

and let me tell you why. First of all, I am going through a divorce. I have never felt so humiliated and ridiculous and stupid. I can’t even explain why I am embarrassed to show up here and talk about this. I know, I know . . I could talk about something else. Right? Wrong. I’m totally consumed by just how much this whole process has consumed me.

I seriously would have stuck it out. I remember having a ‘memory’ on FB pop up in January 2018 and it was from three years prior in 2015. At that time I realized Leonard was smoking meth and had several girlfriends, and yet I said something like, “28 years and we’re still together! It’s been really, really rough at times, but I’m in this for the long haul” … something like that.

I did not want a divorce. I did not want to go through a divorce.

I thought I could just live my life and he could do his thing. Indefinitely. I could find joy and happiness in the things I love: my family, my religion, my job, my friends, my hobbies and interests. There was much joy in all of those. I went to work each day and put on a smile. I enjoyed so many things. And then I came home and put up my guard, layered myself in lots of boundaries and protection, and somehow survived another evening/night.

I did not want a divorce. I did not want to go through a divorce.

Then one day, three years later, I said, “Leonard, you have got to stop smoking in the house. It is making me physically sick. My oxygen is low.” He said, “I can do whatever I want. It’s my house.” I said, “Then I’ll have to get a protection or restraining order because your smoking is killing me.” He said, “Fine, I’ll quit smoking in the house.” Two days later he was doing it again. Never mind that he locked his bedroom door, texted girlfriends day and night, had internet and phone s3x, smoked meth and now heroin, lied about going to CA, got arrested, drove off without paying Maverick, shoplifted at Shopko, totaled his truck and then drove through the back of the garage, then drove his unlicensed and uninsured car when completely impaired out on the highway and blew up the radiator. Never mind that he threatened me and bullied me and tried to intimidate, control, and manipulate me.

It was, in the end, the oxygen.

And now, after the restraining order, the search and seizure of drugs and heroin, the jail time . . . I finally have oxygen. Lots of it. I can breath. I can take wonderfully long and deep breaths. My oximeter registers in the mid to high 90s all the time!

And there’s been a measurable difference to my heart, as well. I am loving my life. The other day I felt like, for the first time in a long time, I am actually thriving. I am happy and productive and optimistic. I’ve been praying more and going to the temple, riding my bike, or taking a long walk, reading scriptures, listening to President Nelson’s 75 talks, listening to BYU devotionals, studying my Sunday lessons, working on my sacrament bulletin, working in the yard, cleaning up junk and more junk and, yes, even more junk. There’s been a whole lot of it around and I’m feeling like junk is a metaphor for my life. And now there’s not quite so much of it around here anymore.

It’s a start.

And I deserve it.