Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Joining the Land of the Living

Its amazing to me how life circumstances can take over your whole being and almost make one obsolete from the day to day. Even though my grief over several losses has been in my opinion minimal for my normal level of emotions, I still have felt like I have been living in another world for the past few weeks. I came to work and talked with people, all the while truly being out of it without my knowledge. I just feel like I've been living in the peripheral zone. Its a weird time of year to do so as Christmas is coming, but today I have begun to re-enter the land of the living. I am beginning to reconnect with work tasks and feel like I am a true human being interacting in the real world - still grief-stricken, but reality aware. I am remembering my to-do lists and working on accomplishing tasks, which feels really good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

How Does One Measure?

How does one measure the meaning of their life? Lately, I have been living in an Alice in Wonderland state where things are not always what they appear and do not coincide with my normal definitions in life. I wonder if I have been looking at things backwards or even upside down. Recently, as I have shared in a previous blog, an old relationship has discovered new meaning where past events are now viewed differently.

I have told my story on stage so many times I can no longer count. I have recited details of situations, both bitter and sweet, and discussed where they have led me in life. I have gained insight into myself through those experiences and what I feel God has done in me because of what I have encountered. What if my chronological recounting has missed meaning of events because I was measuring in a linear format? How can I measure specific circumstances or my life as a whole when each new day brings new meaning to who I am and why I am here?

I Corinthians 13 tells us at the close of the chapter that now I only know a part, but then (when Jesus comes and I go to be with him in heaven) I will know fully as "I am fully known." The older I become I really should have more questions than answers because new dimensions of myself and God's hand in events should be revealed. If I wake up from a nap with my head against a picture on a piece of paper, my eye close up will only see a glimpse of the whole, as I raise my head and have more focus to see it all, then I will know what I am looking at.

So how do I measure my life? The answer is I don't have an answer, but I will not limit my beginnings of an answer to my own knowledge or experience, but will be open to the possibilities of what God has in store and will cherish even the things that at first may seem bad. For I know that while living in an abusive home as a child was a horrible experience, it is now measured by the lives I encountered and cherished for those reasons. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to know someone even in dark circumstances. I can't wait to see how the rest of my life will measure up. Who's with me?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Life - The Movie

Have you ever wondered about your life in movie form? I have - often. In fact I've said as the credits roll at the end I'd like "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles to play. My sister said the other day that if my life was on the big screen she thinks Reese Witherspoon should play me. Not sure what that means but she's definitely cuter than me so I'll take it.

I love at the end of the day to sit and veg in front of the television. I joke I could write tv scripts - I've seen so many shows. My favorite are Hallmark movies. They are cheesy, predictable, romantic, sweet, and completely what I need when I am overwhelmed by life. Hallmark movies are exactly what I need to go to make believe land and find calm. The thing is if my life was a made for tv movie, it would never make it on the Hallmark Channel. My life is more suited for the Lifetime Channel - drama, cliffhangers, and climatic events.

I guess if that ever happens I need to start doing more writing. I have a ton of beginnings of my story written in a million ways without any endings to finish it off. The truth is life is interesting and I'm not sure a movie could fully capture all the nuances of what our lives mean.

There are so many layers to who we are. Each event has multiple meanings that sometimes are contradictary. If nothing else, facing some of my past recently has helped me to see that. Events can mean one thing our whole life and one simple change can help us see that it meant something else all along. The heart experiences life in an array of ways.

Who knows if I will ever get that book about me written or if I'll ever have a movie about my life? For now I will just enjoy it and face the bad stuff with confidence in God and who he has made me to be. I will continue to grow as a person and see what the future holds. Who knows maybe one day Reese Witherspoon will play the role as Carrie?

The Grief Process

There are seven stages to grief. Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, Depression and finally, Acceptance.

With my recent miscarriage, I feel like I quickly experienced shock and denial and passed by bargaining and guilt straight to anger. I have parked my car there with a quick trip to depression on the occasion. I find myself spouting off things I can and can't do now that I am not pregnant. Kevin asked me who I was mad at and I don't have an answer for that, but I am angry. Angry my life just can't be easy at any step of the way. Nothing has come easy for me and that is frustrating. I am not angry at God because I know he knows what he is doing. I just wish it could be easier than it is. I have no desire to ask,"why" I just want to know, "what now?" What should my attitude be? How should I approach my life? These are all questions I don't have answers for, and I'm fine with that for now. My emotional process has been interupted by the current physical pain. I had no idea a miscarriage would be so painful. I didn't want to have to have a D&C as it would remind me of my past abortion, and I am thankful that I had the miscarriage a day after discovering it was my envitable future, but I did not expect both the pain the reality of all that would happen. It was shocking and slightly traumatic, but it was nice to have a distraction from my emotions for awhile as I let my body heal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Continued Faith in the Midst of Grief

Faith is a powerful tool in one's spiritual tool box. Knowing what its used for and what it is and what it is not will allow it be the most useful tool out there. Today I was met with seeing what you hoped for not come true and yet still filled with faith in a God who is what he says he is. Its being able to thank God in the midst of sheer heartache and still hope in future dreams. I am sad because today I learned that this pregnancy isn't going to happen. The baby has stopped developing and we no longer hear a heart beat. While it is still partially in my body, its soul has gone to be with the Lord. After my dream last week, I have decided to name this miscarried baby, Danielle. I now have 2 babies in heaven and still hope to have one on this earth. I still long to carry a baby to term and hold it in my arms and watch it grow. I still believe that God will allow that to happen, but for now I grieve the loss I am experiencing and pray God will get me through it. Its easy to lose hope, but I choose to believe in a God that has all under control and has perfect timing. In Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that Gods thoughts and ways are not like ours and are higher than ours. God knows what he is doing, and I trust in that. I cannot know the mind of Christ for me in this painful situation and honestly painful time as I have faced a lot of heartache with others in my family and close friends. I can honestly say I am tired of death and heartache, but I don't have control over what I face, just how I face it. So I choose to walk in faith even in this time of sadness and grief. The tears will abound, but the heart will remain strong.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I heard a song at the beginning of a movie on TV this past weekend that I had to find. With some research efforts I was able to discover "Heartless" by Adrien Reju and successfully added it to my itunes collection. The ironic part is in a matter of days the lyrics in a song would become my heart cry with a simple phone call.

There is a part of my life I often refer to with accurate factual detail. Its a collage of events that are apart of my past and a part from which I have effectively become emotionally detached. However, those memories that seemed almost dream like awoke when I discovered someone who represented so much negative in my life is dying. My heart broke open with emotion that were neither expected or explainable. They weren't feeling of anger or self-sadness, but instead compassion and love. And the "hardest years I've ever known" have been right beside me for the past few days more of a friend than an enemy as "I may someday be friend to my enemy."

You see I love someone not because of what they have done, but just because. I grieve for the life that could have been and the part of my past in the hellish mess that were cherished and wonderful. I weep at the thought that my times of deepest pain was the greatest time in his life. Disfunctional as it may be I was one of his two only children even though I am not his. My heart is in pain right now and words seem to inadequately describe all that is happening inside. My past has met my present with quite a deal of suprise and I am not sure what it all means I am just taking it one day at a time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Faith Process

Hebrews 11 - Tells us that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This is sentence is easier to say than it is to live out. But today I began to see it bearing real fruit in my life.

I was married 4 years ago last month. I married a wonderful man who has experienced a lot of life, something I am very familiar with myself. It was God that brought two people together who are 16 years apart in age. Having been previously married my husband brought two almost grown children into our marriage. I came into the marriage with only an abortion in my past wanting desperately for children of my own.

My husband had a vasectomy in his previous marriage which would need to be reversed. We went into the reversal surgery already with 2 years of marriage under our belt and were only promised a 50% chance of success. I was believing God for a miracle as the surgery alone cost us the rest of our savings at the time, but with each month of a period my hopes for a baby was crashing. I told God I trusted him no matter regardless of his plan for me, and even though I felt I wanted a baby more than anything, what I most wanted was his will for my life.

Almost two years passed with no sign of pregancy. But I continued to persist in prayer and put my trust in God. Last month I discovered I was pregnant and was bewildered and excited all at once. It was something that didn't feel real, but it was in fact happening. I cried with gratitude to the Lord and called everyone on planet earth with the news.

The story now brings us to present day "Carrie Life" and a few weeks ago I began to have bleeding, something that can be normal with some women in pregnancy, but as a precaution I was sent to have blood tests and an early ultrasound. All tests came back saying things looked good, until yesterday. I went for my first official doctors visit and after the ultrasound the doctor told my husband and myself that he was 98% sure I was having a miscarriage. The ultrasound machine he was using was older so there was a chance a different machine would be more assuring and I could just be early in my pregnancy than suspected. So I was asked to go into get another ultrasound today.

I left the office last night upset but determined to have faith. I put it before God that I would always stand by Job 1:21 - "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, may the name of the Lord be praised." No matter what the outcome I would praise God because He is in control and He is Lord. He has a plan and I will always put my trust in that instead of what is before me in life. I chose, despite the thoughts that tried to bombard me with discouragement and doubt, to stand by God in faith believing that 98% "No" in human language was not too much for my God. I chose to walk in faith and trust God to do anything. As I slept last night a familiar song filled my head. Its called, "He's Never Failed Me," and the lyrics truly inspire confidence in God. I awoke and read about the Fiery Furnance in Daniel chapter 3 and decided to give all glory to God despite the outcome, and regardless of any news this morning I felt like I had been successful in having faith. I felt my believe in God permeate my being and live out in my actions. I was walking in the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

I went in for the ultrasound this morning and while I have not yet heard from the doctor, I know I saw a sack and fetal pole and heard a heart beat. The nurse said I appear to be more like 6 weeks than 9 weeks, and I am confident God provided a miracle for me. I receive this amazing gift not only of a baby, but also of faith.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ones We Love

This morning I got a waking call from my sister in Ohio. She called to inform me my mom had been in a car accident. A 17 year old girl had run a red light and hit my mom, totaling her car and sending my mom in an ambulance to the hospital. With my mom's neck and back trouble and past neck surgeries, we were concerned the screws in her neck would come out or that some damage would be done to her spine. I am on the other end of the country and I was worried. I hated that I couldn't rush to the hospital to check on my mom. I had no knowledge of the severity and was scared by the unknown. I was comforted by prayer and the knowledge that God is in control, but still hating the silence and lack of control on my end.

I was reminded by the situation about the importance of relationships and how we should not take each other for granted. I was reminded that we must be communicating love to each other and work out all our fights with friends and family, because we never know what will happen tomorrow. I was glad as I waited for a report that I had just returned from a love-filled visit with my mom and family, because in that moment I wanted my mom to know she was loved.

An hour later I received a positive report - the screws in my mom's neck were still in tact and the damage to her back was not permanent, and the only other damage was to her teeth - easily fixed. Praise God.

From Katie Love Carrie

Happy birthday Carrie
I love Carrie so much
Can you take to lunch again Some time
Where are doing tomorrow morning
Carrie love's me very much
Can you do Something on Next Birthday
I love Carrie so much
When are you doing on Next day or Other Week
Do you like Dogs so much
Can you Give me Money for Washing will your Gone you Went Ohio
May be can Buy you a StarBucks on your Birthday

(This was my birthday note from Katie)

Monday, September 21, 2009

All That Matters

Below is a little something I wrote a while back that never made it on the blog, so here it is:

Do you ever stop and ask yourself what your life reveals about your priorities? I got to take a deep look at this question over the weekend. My answer to the priority question has really changed. I believe one priority I did not recognize was fear. I was motivated by how others saw me or fear of getting emotionally or physically hurt. Those things kept me from my desired priorities like God, walking by the Spirit, loving people, and experiencing the wonderment of life and the moment. As I begin to experience freedom from fear I truly experience the life planned by God. Won't you join me?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I was reading a friends' blog recently and was reminded of what life can be. Its a fickle friend with Jekyll/Hyde tendencies, luckily its not life that is leading the train, but God. He's in control even when everything falls apart and nothing makes sense. Even though I am not through the rough patches, I have come a long way and started to wonder what did I learn and how did I make it?

Before I answer that question, let me tell you some of what I have faced since I said, "I do" to Kevin Eugene Guy. After 1 month of marriage I began a new job in addition to the job as youth pastor that I have had for almost 7 years. We moved only 3 short months later and less than a month after that my husband went away on business for 3 weeks leaving me with a house that started to show needed repairs, two new stepdaughters, and a lot on my work plate.

I was overwhelmed by it all and all too willingly accepted help from a trusted friend in getting household repairs done. It was months later we discovered he was molesting my younger stepdaughter, who had been acting out as a result of it all. We of course only first saw the acting out, not knowing where it was coming from. For her protection I will leave out the details, but part of the battle was with her diabetes care, which meant several trips to the hospital. It was nightmare for all of us. We had court proceedings and counseling sessions. This huge travesty was only compounded by the normal adjustments faced by any new blended family and my emense desire to have a baby, with no pregnancy in sight. How would we come through - all of us victors?

I am still in process and honestly the sermon I delivered this last Sunday at church really speaks the journey I have been walking because half the battle for me is just accepting that I am, indeed, in process. God is doing a work in me - I am the masterpiece, not the Creator. I don't get to direct my life and truly even on a bad day - my life is far greater than the prophet Hosea or Job :), but the truth is the first stage I faced (still coming out of it) was anger. I finally decided to allow myself to be angry (something I learned from situations much earlier in life). I have heard from everyone where I should be and I know where I need to get to, but I am not there and just telling me over and over again was not changing anything. I needed to do it at the pace that I could do it. When I accepted that reality things started to change for me.

Starting counseling 2-3 years ago was one of the best things I ever did. It has been wonderful to have a safe place to let it all out and find God through it all. I have learned that my life is not about me. I have learned that people pleasing is seriously overrated and doing things God's way always pays off - even when what I want most is my way. I am learning to accept reality and see God through it.

To answer the second part of the question for myself I would say I got through it with friends. Building a support network of people I could trust, talk to and just have fun with. Girls nights are paramount in facing life. You don't have to be 13 to enjoy a good movie and do your nails - 20-40 something works well too. I have also had to find what makes me happy - places I can go on my own to discover more about myself - the me God delights in. For me its been voice lessons and dance. Finding ways to express myself has been amazing. I also bought a chair - yes you heard me right - I bought a chair. Its not just any chair - its my solace chair. Its in my room. So when all is quiet or all have gone from the house - I can go in my room - curl up in it and pray, read my Bible, or just sit in silence. That chair has been such a gift, as crazy as it may sound.

So here I am still figuring it out, but hoping to learn from the road behind me so I can be prepared for the road ahead. Hope this was helpful for someone else out there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Time For Change

Its no secret that I have been unhappy lately with my life. I just didn't think I would be where I am today. I expected or hoped for so much more. Truthfully and unrealistically I expected God to give me more in my adult life because I think in a part of my subconscience I thought he owed me. I was so scared as a kid. Scared the money would run out and all those around me would be gone. I had reason to be scared, but I am no longer that scared little girl and God doesn't owe me anything. He already gave me the best gift out there - Salvation. There are people on this planet with far less than me. There are people with deeper sorrow and greater needs. Who am I that should get it all?

Its time I stop throwing a pity party and open my eyes to all I have. So each day I am going to see the haves in my life, not the have nots. I need to so I can recapture the joyess spirit I used to have. The blessing though in the pity party is that God exposed to me things about myself that I never realized or admitted. So now I can look at them realistically.

For now I can say I have:
A wonderful husband
Two beautiful stepdaughters
Great teens that God has allowed me to share life with
A job where being on the beach or on a house boat is just a day at the office :)
A beautiful house
Wonderful friends - actually some of the greatest on the planet
All body functions - legs, arms, hearing, sight, etc.
Some great side jobs to help make ends meat
A love for music and people
A running car
food in the house even when we are out of money until the next payday
DVR :)!
Lights and air on
A pool in the backyard
clothes to wear
A big wonderful family
A love of cooking and ability to put together great meals

So each day I will evaluate and recognize the positive - I'm sure I haven't had my last childlike fit, but here's to the road to recovery!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fighting Hard

Lately I have had some pretty brutal conversations with God. Conversations I have had to apologize for - let's face it - God could easily take me out. He is someone I need to respect, but the lack of control over my life has had me in fits. Its the only thing I can do as nothing will change as a result of my complaints. God does not operate like the customer service department of a major cooperation. He is supreme and my issues are not going to change his mind. He does care about the smallest issue in my heart, but my complaints don't dictate his actions.

Life is infact a process, one I am no doubt in the middle of - while a mulligan would be nice - its more like an art project where you use the mistakes to create your masterpiece - there is no such thing as do over - it is what it is. I must go from here - no turning back, no guessing what could have been - its what might be from this point. So I've had to come to God and face what is my life. I found a great book I am currently reading which has me facing what I want to run from. I want to have a baby, a new job, and my step kids to love me. Nothing is changing. I am not pregnant and with each period I am outraged at one more month that mocks me. I am working for a church with part-time pay where the volunteer leadership team treats me with comtempt and I slave over a plethera of odd jobs to make ends meet. My 18 year old stepdaughter dispises me and spends all her time with anyone but me. She has no desire to imulate me or enjoy that which is Carrie Guy. She seeks to be as far away as humanly possible. So at the end of the day my life looks at me and laughs knowing nothing is as it should be.

So what are my choices? That is where the book comes into play because the book by Jill Briscoe called, "8 Choices That Will Change a Woman's Life." So here I am choicing pain to purify me instead of running from it like fugitive. I must accept my lot in life. I must love it and even embrace it even though all of me wants to rebel and demand a refund for the emptiness I feel. If that were an option I would have a new life by now, but instead I must allow my crappy circumstances to change me into a better person. It kinda sucks, but here I come. I know I am not alone in my steps to acceptance of what I have. There is a world out there of unhappy people. People I hope will choose with me to be better for the stuff they live that they hate. Join me in acceptance of disappointment for the purpose of happiness, will you?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Emotional Box

Sometimes I wish I could explain to people what goes on inside the shell commonly known as Carrie. There is this whole other world inside my physical being. Its filled with emotions, undescribable that exhibit behaviors, unexplainable. Tonight after seeing, My Sister's Keeper (which I cried continuously through), I started crying. The plot had left, but the emotions remained carrying a personality of its own. My husband looks at me in bewilderment unable to comprehend what is happening or what I am even crying about.

Life makes me laugh and life makes me cry. Those two things are true. While I hate the emotional rollercoaster that is my life, I completely love that my heart is open to things most people desperately try to shut out. I allow the hurts of the world to visit my heart and stay for a visit. I allow people into places of my being that even I can't comprehend. Even though at times it tries to destroy me, I love it! I love the connection with the heart of people and humanity. I love being able to see past all the junk that I encounter daily - to see past the attitudes, addictions and caustic demeanors to see the essence of being stripped of all its embellishments.

So what is it? What is the shape of the emotional playground that lives inside of me? The answer is something that only emotion itself can answer. Its something I've passed on to a friend in heart speak and no other language can translate. As I left the theatre tonight I saw a poster for a movie coming soon. The movie is a children's book I read often. I loved the book and still have it in my livingroom on the bookcase. I got in the car and called my mom, sleeping three timezones ahead of me, to tell her the news that couldn't wait til tomorrow. As I told her I cried. My heart went back and took a trip through the time and life of Carrie Messinger, now Guy. It brought back with it a flood of tears. So here I am writing them down and sharing them with you. Even though tears are currently hitting my chest as they run off my nose, I am not sad. Hard to believe, but true.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Regret Trusts Women

In one of our recent podcasts with Life Report (ProLifePodcast.net), we discussed an article called, "Trusting Women" on RHRealitycheck.org - you can read the article here and listen to that episode here. I made some comments on the podcast, but was filled with so many thoughts I found it difficult to relay them all in that moment. During the podcast, I had mentioned writing a blog in response, and decided to do so. Reading the article again, I do now believe the author is sincere in her reflections, but I do not come to the same conclusions.

Yes, at first glance holding a sign on a street corner that reads, "I Regret My Abortion" is a highly personal statement to share with the public at large. So the question to answer is, "why would she put herself out there like that?" The author states that, "in no other area of our lives are women so freely permitted or expected or encouraged to express regret, much less put it on display in the public forum." It may be the only venue women are focusing on regret, but not the only area where women are being so emotionally exposed to the general public. Follow a walk for domestic violence or a breast cancer walk and you will see passionate women speaking up about the life experiences that have dramatically affected their lives.

There is no sign that can state regret for getting breast cancer because they had no choice in the matter, but they want the facts to get out of prevention and support. Women in violence may regret partner choices even if it’s not written on a sign, and their purpose of getting out there is to let others know this is not a road to go down. The message for all three groups of women are the same. They are all in some way saying, "This is something to avoid." The women having experienced domestic violence is a much better parallel than the woman standing at a McDonald's regretting her daily calorie overdose. Overdoing it in a fast-food restaurant is a much less life-impacting choice than the choice of abortion. This is where the author of this article and I begin to part ways.

I trust women to make good choices, but I also recognize with all the messages that we encounter in our daily lives we are set up for a possible misstep in the life we desire for ourselves. I wish we lived in a world where pro-choice agencies were doing all they could to ensure women were making the right choices and keep women being forced into abortions, but countless examples, studies, and stories would show that this is not the case. Otherwise, reporters like Lila Rose, wouldn't be successful in exposing the statutory rape cover-up that is happening in numerous cases across our nation.

As a post-abortive woman I do not trust any agency offering abortions to get me all the information I need in making a choice I could live with. My personal experience has shown me this, as well as the experience of most women I have encountered, these are women not brave enough to expose their regret, only able to tell me for the first time hoping I would understand their pain from their dark secret. If women were being exposed to the truth of what abortion can do to someone after the initial flash of relief, then I would not need to hold a sign or wear a shirt that identifies my past abortion, but women aren't going to get all the information, so the burden of truth lies on me and others in the trenches.

Bottom line: I trust women to make a good choice once they have all the information to do so, but I don't trust they are getting all the information they need unless those of us who have been there can share our experiences

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Ails Me

I have been a stress case most of my life. I take on a lot and then fall under the pressure of it all. It is something I have worked on, but hasn't changed. This morning it hit me. What stresses me most and what takes me out of the game is not the stress of all I do - its the stress of expectations behind all I do. That is what I want freed from. I have no desire to say "screw the world" and hold up a middle finger to all who come across my past in an effort to push against expectation, but instead to let those expectations fall off my back instead of letting them define me. The schedule is not the problem - or maybe not the main problem, but instead the pressure to perform and get by without harsh words of those around me. The truth - I can't change the harsh words, but I can change how they affect me. This death to the people pleasing process seems to be taking forever and I wish I could be done with it yesterday, but I will keep moving forward, for I know God will see me through. I just need a transfer from what I know in my head to go into my heart so that I act out of security in Christ instead of fear. It will be reality for me - someday :).

Friday, May 15, 2009

My IRMA Story

As a girl, I set a standard for myself to save sex for marriage. I was 18 and getting ready to graduate high school when that standard was broken. It was a devastating reality, but instead starting over and trying again to stay pure, I gave in and continued having sex with my boyfriend. While most of my life was spent living with my mom, I lived with my dad and step mom in Germany the last two years of high school. The summer before starting college at Texas Christian University (TCU), I stayed with my mom in Ohio. My boyfriend and his family relocated to Pennsylvania. After being in Ohio a short time, I discovered I was pregnant. I took several tests hoping the results were wrong, but I was, indeed, pregnant. I called my boyfriend to tell him the news and as if he knew what I was going to say, he asked me to marry him. I rejected his request because it wasn't the choice I wanted to make. His next request was that I have an abortion. I told him I couldn't because I knew abortion was wrong. My original plan was to choose adoption for my child. As a military dependent at 18, my doctor visits were both free and confidential. I thought I could go to college and carry the baby to term, then choose adoption; keeping the secret from friends and family. The idea of allowing someone else to raise my child became too painful and fear of exposing my sin mounted. I was scared of ruining my pristine reputation as the virgin and good Christian girl. Up until that point, I had been the victim in life; now, I was the one who had committed wrong. I also had plans of college in the fall; being a single mom was not apart of that plan. I wanted to go back in time, and prayed I would wake up and no longer be pregnant, but, of course, that never happened. Finally, I allowed fear and the voice of my boyfriend's request to control me. My boyfriend's mom made an appointment and I boarded a bus to Pennsylvania. My boyfriend, his mom and I went to the appointment. It was nothing like what I had envisioned. There were no picketers - no commotion at all. It was a quiet office in suburban office complex. The doctor performed other procedures besides abortion, so it just looked like a regular doctor's office. My boyfriend paid for the abortion. I filled out some papers and took a Valium before heading to an examination room. I got on the table, while the doctor looked at the ultrasound – I was not allowed to see. He thought I was about 6-8 weeks along. A nurse came into the room and held my hand during the procedure. The doctor started the sucking process and the pain began. The nurse told me to breathe, but I couldn't – the cramping in my abdomen was more than I could bear. When it was over, the doctor told me the pain would get a little worse before it got better. I was given milk and cookies to help stop the cramps, but I still recall crying in pain. The doctor attempted to lighten the mood by making jokes about a promise of my future fertility. I stayed a few days at my boyfriend's house before returning to Ohio. I went to college at the end of the summer. As I started a new life in a place where I knew no one, I was left alone with my thoughts. The reality of my choice settled in – I had killed my baby! I went to a place of utter despair and spent my first year of college an emotional wreck. I can recall people in my dorm hearing me crying in the bathroom and asking if I was okay, but the truth was - I wasn't. The pain didn't subside; I just got better at suppressing it. In my junior year, I confided in a Bible study leader about my past abortion, and she suggested I attend a support group at the local pregnancy care center. I decided to join the group and began my journey of healing. The pain from this experience never completely disappears, but as I worked through the grief, I was able to function without suppressing memories. Now, at times, certain places or circumstances stir up emotions within me, but I am able to see a baby, talk about abortion and hear people's opinions without getting defensive and distraught. It was important for me to not only understand that I was forgiven, but also deal with the grief that was in my heart. I needed to allow my heart to experience the pain of that choice so that I could move on with life. It's a journey that takes a lifetime. While I regret my choice of abortion, I will never regret facing the pain.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Time Machine

Yes, it is true that things change over time,but it's also true that somethings don't change...at least not for a long time. This Saturday was my Aunt Abbie's 100th birthday. She has seen a lot change since 1909. I can't even imagine all the changes she has lived through. But one thing I enjoyed seeing was the familiar. Aunt Abbie is extremely spry for her age. She still lives at home with an active life. One of my favorite things as a kid was the eating experience at Aunt Abbie's -she always did love to cook, still does, and no meal was ever simple. There are always a good 10-20 dishes on her table and more food in a meal than one could eat in a week. Dinner Saturday night was a plate full of Aunt Abbie's cooking that made me feel I'd just entered heaven. The good food was surrounded by decor that has been the same since I was a kid and suddenly I was back in time flooded with fond memories. It was a wonderful day with loved ones, celebrating a wonderful woman (who I suspect could live to see 200).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 10th

Our original plan for this day was to drive to Huaypha and stay the night there at center then head down to Chaing Mai on Wednesday. However, Elaine suggested I get down to Chaing Mai so I could see a doctor. So we drove to Huaypha, spent time with Lacheah, and went to the school before continuing our drive to Chaing Mai. On our way to Huaypha we stopped at Huaiya school, where Praweet is, the kid Kevin and I sponsor. They were having a graduation for all the 9 grade graduates. It was fun to see what was happening there as I had been to that school the first time I came. We then took food to a family. The family wasn't there, but when we were stopped I noticed they had the coolest little piggies. I know I took way too many pictures but I was just having a Charlotte's Web experience. Then we continued on to Huaypha.

Huaypha is where I have spent a majority of the time on previous trips. This center is primarily sponsored by members of my church, so it is the one we are most invested in. It was fun to see it and the things that have stayed the same as well as those things that have changed over the years. It was great to see there were now cement walkways between buildings. I was also glad to hear the kids helped in the efforts. The ground is a red clay dirt so especially in rainy season it is very hard to walk in. The kids now have walkways! Lacheah is more than 9 months pregnant as her delivery date had passed when we arrived. It was cute to see her pregnant belly. For those who don't know, Lacheah was sponsored at Musekee as a child. She then went to college and felt God calling her to start a similar center in Huaypha, the village she was from. She and her husband spend their lives working with about 50 kids each day. When she started she wasn't married, doing it primarily on her own (obviously a lot of support). I have always respected her so much for her life of sacrifice.

I also enjoyed going to see the kids at school, though we all were sad not to have time together that night. Even though all I wanted was to lay down, I so loved seeing the kids that I mustered up the strength to sing songs and play heads up 7up with them. Before taking off, Kevin Turl showed us a new building by the church that they will use in the village for events. I am so glad to see all they are doing.

We then got back into the truck and drove to Chaing Mai, Don dropped Kay and I off at the Ram Hospital so I could see a doctor. It was a great experience. The whole thing cost me $70 (for a doctor visit and 4 prescriptions). All the staff was nice and worked at speaking to me in English. After I saw the doctor I was given a number to go and pay as well as pick up my prescriptions. Kay and I were paying attention to the screen where the numbers were being shown, as I didn't know what my number would be as they announced them in Thai, but when they got to my number, the computerized voice had been changed for me, and it said two hundred seventy eight. I was so impressed that they were able to change it based on the patients language. Kay and I then went to a mall close by to eat at the food court so I could take my pills. I went to bed early that night so I could let my body rest.

Monday, March 9th

Unfortunately, up until now I have been getting sick and using at least a travel pack of Kleenex a day. Today it really hit me. I woke up and knew I was not doing anything. Kay allowed me to rest in their house for the day. I had a fever and really felt awful. I was sad to miss out on the school. Elaine, the woman I went with, was able to go see her sponsored child and play with the kids for the day. The group received some tooth brushes and toothpaste that my friend, Cresta, brought over for me take just before I left.

That night I did go to dinner and night worship. The kids looked at me in a way that said, they knew I was sick. After a wonderful time of worship (singing the banana song again), the kids gathered around us to pray for us and lay hands on us. Experiencing their prayers is a wonderful thing. When its time to pray everyone prays outloud at the same time. I think its great to hear all the voices going up to God at once. They know God in a way that is intimate and unheard of for kids their age in our country. It is a beautiful thing to behold. I felt so honored to have each of them pray for me and Elaine. I was humbled.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday, March 8th

We got up and had breakfast at Siami's, then headed to the Jamuleng Church. It is a Karen Church and was filled with beautiful people. They had a guest speaker, an American, who is apart of a ministry in Thailand. He spoke with what he said translated into both Thai and Karen. The terrible part was - he sucked and embarrassed me as an American. I am sure he is a great man, but not only was his message not applicable to the Karen people, he also broke every cultural rule in the book. This is something I could harp on for hours, but I will spare you, except just to say that sometimes a well intended heart can insult if not paired with understanding for your audience.

Afterwards we were invited to lunch at various huts. The rest of the group went with a former Musekee student and I went with Wantacom, who's daughter is sponsored by my sister, Alex. I gave her the picture I had in my Bible of Stephanie, Alex, and I from Thanksgiving and she clung to it. The Karen tradition is when a woman marries, she moves into the hut of her husband's family. So there were several of us crowded around the table that sat a few in off the ground. No one spoke English so I did my best to be kind without saying a word (well besides Deblut, which means about 10 different things in Karen). The food was brought out and my fear came true - there were foods on the table I knew if I ate I would throw up soon after. So I kindly took the veggies and fruit, and when they passed me the plate of fish heads I declined. I didn't want to be rude, but I knew the food wouldn't go to waste. It would have been nice to talk to them, but maybe I can prepare a few Karen phrases for my next visit.

As I left to join the others at the truck, I took the family's picture. It was cute to see the grandpa get all dressed up again like he had been for church. Everyone was waiting on him to take the picture. As I left I said, "Deblut," which in that instance meant "thank you" and "goodbye." I do have to chuckle about one thing. As poor as these people live , they almost all have some of the modern aspects of life like a cellphone or satallite mainly because these things are so cheap. It was humerous to see a cell phone on top of a bag of rice in the hut I had lunch in. It just felt so out of place in those surroundings.

That afternoon after returning to the center, I spent time with the kids helping them write letters to their sponsors. It was a lot of fun. I had a great time! I then got a shower (midday is the best time because othertimes its too cold to pour water on your body). I then went with Siami to have a womb massage (if you want to know more about this, just let me know). We then had dinner and again night worship with the kids (this is my favorite thing). I asked who remembered the "I like bananas..." song. A few hands went up and I saw Pitak in the back sheepishly putting up his hand. So I retaught that song and so enjoyed their faces during the song - they really get into that one. We sang a few other songs and then I taught them another game. I headed to my room above the medical clinic and before the kids went to bed I could hear them walking around saying, "I like bananas" or "Papayas." It just made me smile. I so love these kids...they have the greatest hearts.

Saturday, March 7th

So we got back in the trucks - we've spent more hours sitting than anything else, and headed up to Musekee. We took a stop in Pai, a city I think any farong in Thailand should check out. It's like the Santa Cruz/Austin/Boulder/Yellow Springs of Thailand. Then we finished the journey to Musekee in Ban Wat Chan. It was great to be in a familiar place where my heart dwells in Thailand, again with the Karen people. We settled in our rooms, bought some things from their shop and went to dinner at Siami's house. We got to meet Ahkom, Ahtid, and Tanneen - 3 wonderful young men who help out with the kids at the center, all wanting to be pastors. Then we went to night worship with the kids! I remember a few kids from Huaypha, who are now in Musekee. I asked Pitak if he remembers me, and he says yes (heart melt moment). I taught the kids a game and roared with laughter as they played. I got to see them having fun and see their cute personalities! I could stay forever just to get to know each of the kids. They are so special. Afterwards we went to bed.

Friday, March 6th

We left Mae Sot early and stopped North of Tak for brunch. It is cool because the gas stations along the road have outdoor cafes where you can order coffee and take a break, as well as use the toilet (obviously, a porcelain hole in the ground - flushing is done by using a bowl and pouring water from a bucket down the hole til your tp goes down (tp not provided)). We got into Chaing Mai that afternoon and got some needed supplies, as well as some girl time with tea at the tea house and then a $6 massage - nice! We had dinner with Claire and one of her friends. I had heard a lot about Claire and it was great to meet her. After dinner we checked email, walked the night market, then headed to bed. Don rested after all the driving and geared up for another day of driving on Saturday.

Small World Story

The farong (foreigner) behind us on stage were from Pismo Beach/SLO, CA only 2 1/2 hours from where I live in Visalia. One girl, Betsi, was the college roommate of a girl I know named Whitney. Whitney's ex-boyfriend, Alan, came with me to Thailand 4 years prior to this current trip. When we went to the Agape Center and signed the guest book, we saw those 3 ladies names above ours, and when we showed up to Dave's for dinner Betsi, Lauren, & Sarah came in too and we all got to know each other better at dinner. It was a great day! We had a great time.

Godly Wife

I had a humbling experience when I spent time with Pastor Winai and his wife. The time that we visited with Pastor and drove around, his wife and daughter (and another little girl), sat in the back of the truck so we could sit inside. She never complained as we had her husband's attention. She also gave each of us purses seh made as we left. I thanked her for her example of a Godly wife, because I know I would not have been so gracious. I have so much to learn. :)

Thursday, March 5th

Don came and got us for breakfast and the 4 of us headed to breakfast at Dave's. Then Elaine and I met someone at 8am who took us to the refugee camp. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us into the main part of the camp. We were however allowed into the Bible school at the refugee camp (each of the 7 camps along the Myanmar/Thailand border have a Bible school!) When we arrived the students were assembled and we were escorted onto the stage where Dr. Simon was speaking and where other farong (foreigners) were seated. Dr. Simon, a teacher at the Bible college and fellow refugee, tells us about the Karen (Kah-wren) history (I will share more about this later). He also says something that makes my jaw drop. I was told about a resettlement program with 9 other countries (United States, England, Sweden...) that would allow some of these refugees start a life in another country other than Burma or Thailand. This really excited me to get involved because I wanted to see these people "without hope" get an opportunity to start a new life and have a future, but as Dr. Simon talked about this program his viewpoint was much different. He didn't talk about the possibilities of a new life, but instead the opportunity to finally be apart of the Great Commission and share the gospel around the world. I was instantly humbled. I had gotten it all wrong. These people, at least at the Bible school, had Jesus and that was all they needed. No amount of human rights could give them more. They just wanted God to allow them to share the gospel. How amazing! I can't wait to share more about the story of the Karen. They are a wonderful people. Before we got off the stage all the Bible students sang for us. They were amazing! The voices were beautiful.

We were able to tour the school. I met a man named Hello in the handicap living quarters. He is blind, but had a great spirit. We prayed for him and loved on him and even now as I think of him tears are in my eyes. We also got to go to the different classrooms and play with the children. We taught them songs and played Heads Up, 7Up with them and before I left and I taught them, "I love you" in sign language. My heart almost fell from my chest as they all raised their hands to say, "I love you" as we left. I told them I was taking them all home with me in my heart, andI know they are all nestled there right now. As we walked to the car one of the teachers, Gloria, followed us and we talked. She thanked us for coming and praying with the kids. She said, "I hope I see you again." I told her I didn't know when I could come back, but if not here, she was my sister in Christ and I would see her again. What hope that sentence held for me! They will be in heaven some day with some of the greatest rewards because they possess incredible faith.

The second have of our day was to see Pastor Winai and all he is doing near Mae Sot. We first went with him to a village to pray for a woman. She had fallen into a fire and no one could take her to the hospital, so she lay crippled in the floor of her small bamboo hut. We prayed with her, and again I was touched by her faith and beautiful smile. While we were there we saw one of the churches Pastor Winai planted and prayed with a guy who is helping out there.

Next we headed to the Agape Center, started by Pastor Winai. One one side of the road is the new home for the elderly he has started where he and his wife and small daughter live. On the other side of the road was the center for children. His oldest daughter and her husband, Briti, a Musekee graduate, live and work with the children, at least 30 (maybe 50). We sang songs with them in worship and as they headed to bed all of them gave us a hug and a "God bless you." Some practiced their English and even said, "I love you," or "I miss you." It was so sweet - totally melted my heart. I then played the guitar with Briti. I was really impressed with his English and he had great guitar skills. Pastor Winai then took us back to Dave's where we had dinner. Oh and while we were gone Don was able to get the truck because the protest had ended.

Wednesday, March 4th

We got up (I took a hot bath! Last one in 2 weeks) and had a buffet breakfast before heading to the airport. After an hour flight on Thai Airways (my favorite airline) we arrived in Chaing Mai, where Don and Kay whisked us away to Mae Sot (a six hour drive - more of the "Sore Butt Tour"). We ate lunch along the road from food packed by Kay - arroy (delicious). Every few miles we were stopped along the road by Thai police. Apparently they check cars in search of those without papers trying to come over from Burma. As we got closer to the city of Mae Sot it became apparent the police were trying to communicate a warning to us about something up the road, but our limited Thai didn't give us any indication aside from the warning. But just 2K's outside of the city, it became clear. We noticed all the cars were parked along the road and people were sitting around the road, one man had pulled out a mat and was sleeping under his truck. We pulled over and Don set out to discover what was going on.

We contacted DK Guesthouse where we were staying and they were going to come and get us. Apparently, some locals in a sign of protest (to what I have no idea) decided to park their trucks along the road to block it from anyone getting through on either side. They had been there since 10 in the morning and no one knew when it would break-up. The people reacted differently than those here. First of all, the police did not get involved. Which here the police would have already gotten them off the road. And Americans would have been engaged in outspoken protest of the protesters demanding our rights to get where we needed to go. These people just accepted it, even though some of them could lose their livelihood if the trucks didn't move soon. I almost loved the way the police let them work it out, and the acceptance of the people - its a lot less stressful and forces people to work things out (not that I am proposing a change in our country...its just different).

When employees of DK Guesthouse arrived, they helped Don park the truck at a friend's house on our side of the blockade, where they would watch our truck and stuff. Elaine and I, who haven't changed clothes in days, grabbed stuff we would need, and we all walked past the blockade to the truck from DK and we drove some back roads to the guesthouse. We checked in and got our stuff situated then headed to a recommended restaurant by the guesthouse, which was wonderful. It was a restaurant owned by a Canadian named Dave. Then we went to bed at 7pm (which was 3am CA time). Elaine and I woke up around 3am and were ready to go for the day so we just sat there til breakfast at 7am :).

Monday, March 2nd/Tuesday 3rd

Pretty much the 2nd (and the 3rd due to our 15 hour time change) consisted of sitting on a plane, which started the "sore butt tour." We were able, by the grace of God, to get our seats changed, as we were not given seats together at first. We met some sweet people in the airport in Tokyo, Japan.
One woman told us of her life and how she was coming from Colorado, headed to Bangkok, to see her husband in the military. I couldn't believe how sad to only see him a few weeks every 6 months. We arrived in Bangkok to discover our bags were taken straight to Chaing Mai, so we were free (after a line of 4's) to get to our hotel Novotel. (Okay, so every person we went to with a question gave us an answer that involved a 4. It was humorous because we heard 4 about 20 times...comical really :)). Novotel was a beautiful hotel with great accommodations. It actually cost the same as the Hacienda in LA and was much more luxury accomodations.

Light Bulb Moment on the Plane:
To say I enjoy the trek from LAX to CNX would be a complete lie. Somewhere between the 15 hour time change. Long hours sitting, switching planes and customs makes me a bit insane. I feel homesick already just from the journey, but in the midst of this madness God spoke something amazing to my heart.
As timing would have it two days after I return to California, I am singing at church. My first song choice didn't pan out, so before leaving I chose a second song that I love called, "Held" by Natalie Grant. I brought the words and song on my ipod so I could practice. As I read the words on the plane, God used the song to answer some questions for me.
Before heading on my trip, many questioned why I was going and why I wanted a visit to a refugee camp to be apart of my trip. The only answer I had was that I felt God wanted me to go. It was on my heart, but I had no human reason to give (not that I needed one). As I sat on the plane with the lyrics before me I started to cry because I knew that this song was for the refugees and its lyrics held the purpose of my trip to the camp. The song talks about devastation people experience and knowing in the midst of it what it means to be loved and held by our Savior - that no matter the circumstances we face, being loved by God and held in his hands are what is most important. I want to walk with my brothers and sisters in Christ showing them love because that is what matters most. I want to extend my heart to my Christian family around the world. By extending the love of Christ to those with circumstances less than appealing is a true extension of hope.

Thailand Trip - Sunday, March 1st

Elaine and I headed down to LA around 3:30pm. We had wonderful conversation all the way down to the hotel. We got our room, parked the car, then after lugging our stuff to our room, we walked down the street searching for a place to eat. We found a sports bar and restaurant called Sticks & Steins and had a very filling meal. Then, of course, we headed to bed (though neither of us got much sleep).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hong Nom???

Sawadee Kaaa. So there are some parts of my trip that I am not to share until I get to US soil, so I have not written because I want to keep it all in order, except today. :)...I head to Bangkok in a few hours, then to LA in the morning. If you are reading this in America you are about to start Thursday, but I am finishing it 14 hours ahead of my destination in LA. It was 15 hours when I left but Daylight Savings ate one up. Today has been humorous because if you have heard from me you know I have been fighting a throat and sinus infection, and because of that I am drinking water faster than I can buy more bottles. Everywhere we go my standard question is, "Hong Nom?" (not sure about spelling), which means toilet. Using the bathroom here can be an interesting endeavor as most are porcelain holes with feet tracks instead of the western toilets. In fact today I wore my fisherman pants which I had to take off in one Hong Nom because I couldn't figure out how to go with them on. Fisherman pants are huge pants that you wrap around your waist and tie. Okay so more than you probably wanted to know. I am sad to leave as this trip has opened my heart more than ever before, but I am also happy to get home. I have no clean clothes, out of shampoo and my hair is ready to see a blowdryer and straightener, not to mention I really miss my friends and family. If I could leave an image for you as to a summary for my trip, it would be a heart with little pockets filled with people that are leaving with me in my heart. If you want to hear more, check back in a few days and I will add all my journal entries. I have so much to share. Kupp Koon Kaaa

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thailand Adventure Begins

Even though this is my third trip to Thailand, I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. It's official nerves have set in. Today we drive down to LA so we can board our plane and start our 20something hour flight. I think I am all packed, though I have yet to pack my carry-on or decide what carry-on to even take. Ha! I love to travel and do it a lot, so can someone explain to me why getting ready to go somewhere overseas always invokes anxiety? It never ceases to amaze me. But I am excited for this adventure because we have things planned that I have never done before, and that will be amazing. Thailand here I come!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Free by Faith

This summer I took a group of teens to an adventure camp in Northern California. On our week there we were able to apply our theme verse and it has been something that has stuck with me ever since. Our verse was 2 Corinthians 5:7 which tells us to "walk by faith, not by sight." Sounds simple enough, but that one short phrase meant so much more as we rafted down Class III rapids and scaled a steep ridge with no harness. My words were tested as I had to walk out what I was teaching the teens. My fear of water was tested that day on the raft, but I knew my only choice was to show the group how to trust those who are trustworthy. Despite my inclination to run from this opportunity, I embraced it as not to be a hypocrite before those I was attempting to teach. It was a wonderful rewarding experience for me.

As I said, this verse wasn't a one time lesson that got left back at camp, but one that has stayed with me as a sacred companion. Last night in my time with God I was reminded, not of this verse, but of this truth. Faith is what is counted to us as righteousness. Faith is what marks our journey, not merely our actions. We read in I Corinthians that our works will be tested by the fire and it is our heart, that only God sees, that tests these actions. Some of our actions seen to others as "righteous works" will be consumed and come out as worthless.

I look at a generation of teens that are consumed with busyness. They fill their calendars with afterschool activities, sports, and clubs. They try to find their identity in the groups they busy themselves with, and that aren't alone. They have taken this cue from the overworked, stress cases they call their parents and mentors. They see adults fitting a new activity in each night of the week and running from one activity to the next. Why are we doing so much and what is the purpose behind it? Are we stopping to ask God before we step?

I propose of new way of life, even for those of us in full-time ministry. I propose we begin to "walk by faith and not by sight." I am suggesting that each step we take in our life or our daily planner gets put before the throne, because it is God's job to direct our steps. Even good things may not be what God has planned for us. Some of us (I live in this camp) try to save the world, but it wasn't us who came to save, but Jesus. We are mere servants doing his bidding, and in that we must acknowledge that He is the one with the daily planner for all. Sometimes some of us who do it all are taking the joy God has planned for others to get involved in the process, and when we take their job, we stand in their way.

Think about the stressfree life that could await you if you only took a moment to ask God what his direction was. Learn to tune in with the voice of God and not just the voice of ministry. Be free from obligation because you are doing the work God has put before you, not what others demand of you. Let your belief in Christ been seen in the way you live your life, for that is the true test of what you believe. Ideas in the head are just that when they aren't acted out in our lives. Faith needs to be more about action and direction of Christ then a philosophical point of view. It is practical application. Be free through faith.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Dose of Family

After spending the weekend in Jackson for my grandparents anniversary, I realized just how lucky I am to have the family I do.

We are all wacky and heck were family so of course we each have our own dash of dysfunctionality, but we have a great time. We know how to enjoy each other's company and I always have a fabulous time. My cousin Conor and I played on Hilary's computer making funny pics, this one is more sweet than funny, but I loved it.

We started the weekend out at dinner to celebrate my grandparents. It was lots of fun, just ask Uncle Mike. My dad made this great slideshow and it was wonderful to reminiscence (at least for the ones that were taken in my lifetime). We celebrated and ate then we just went back to the hotel. Saturday was wonderful bonding time with board games and then the guys went to see Gran Torino and all the gals went to see Bride Wars (12 of us ladies laughing). Then it was back to the house for a family dinner.

Sunday we all went to church (took 3 rows) and then went to my dad's favorite restaurant (Taco Bell) for lunch before heading home. Having time just to catch up with everyone was fantastic. I have such a great family. I am truly blessed. Both my mom's and dad's side of the family are big and love to be together. It couldn't get any better.

The bottom picture has all the female cousins and my stepdaughter, Stephanie.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Plan of Redemption

I am one that believes in healing of the past. I believe in being real about who you are and where you are. I believe in transparency within boundaries and safety. I am always at work, not to be perfect, as perfection is not attainable or desired. Perfection is boring and impersonal. Instead I seek to be the best me possible. I seek to be the person God has made me to be. I desire to be free from past pain and the expectations of others. I say all this because, yesterday, as I met with a local couple in ministry, I had a perspective change, not in the above mentioned, but in how that plays out in my everyday life.

You see, thus far I have seen my choice to marry my wonderful husband as a result of past longings. My parents divorced when I was young, and despite their loving attempts to make me feel accepted and loved, I never felt like I completely belonged to anything. I felt I was a fraud and an outsider always looking into someone else's full existance. I always knew my step mom loved me, but felt lesser to my half siblings that were hers and my dad's. Going from one parents' home to the other meant missing out on what was going on in the other home. I never felt like I fully belonged anywhere on this planet.

One day earlier last year, it hit me, that when I married my husband, with 2 children from a previous marriage, that I had unknownly placed myself in the same emotional outsider situation, and my husband's attempts to prove otherwise had been futile. This fact felt depressing to the progress I had hoped to make. I am working on my internal struggle and working at correcting the wrong thoughts and feelings I face, but it just seemed futher compounded.

Yesterday all of that changed. The struggle is still present and real, but the perspective is different. You see now I see that though I made the choice that brought me back into a place of emotional pain, God allowed the choice to bring redemption into my life. As I continue to correct my feelings of pain, I am redeeming the past. I can't go back and relife it (nor would I want to), but I can heal deeper places in my heart because they overlap. That is such a freeing perspective. It makes me want to sing at the top of my lungs and dance around the room. Because what Satan intends for evil, God will use for good. Joel 2:25 says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you." I love that God has come to redeem the gnarly parts of our past and wishes to not only heal them but make us spiritual giants through the process.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plight of the Stepmom

Don't get me wrong, I completely love my husband and stepkids, but being a step mom is a hard. My circumstances are compounded by the fact that I don't yet have my own children. Our blended family was just blending me into the mix of a pre-existing family. Truly difficult. Oh, and did I mention that my husband is 16 years older than me so my step kids are closer in age to me than my own husband. We have full-time custody and while their biological mom has visitation the girls don't really do so on a regular basis. While my husband tries to consider my point of view, I often am seen as the one who doesn't get it because they aren't my blood.

Yes, I know I walked down that aisle. I signed up for this, and let me repeat, no regrets. A lack of regrets does not equal a lack of difficulty and frustration. A day in the life of my stepmother experience includes tons of looks. People often ask me if I am my stepdaughters' sister, because I look young. My older stepdaughter is special needs and is 7 years younger. So while she looks adult-sized, she acts child-sized and that adds to the looks. I love it because she calls me mother. She is full of energy and adds to my life. When I tell people they are my stepdaugthers I usually get an, "oh..." Its like they aren't really sure how to react.

I Feel Like a Phony

When women ask if I am a mother and I say I have 2 stepkids. I often get an "oh, you don't have your own children," as if I am fake or phony. The fact is I do all that biological moms do, and at the end of the day I get no credit. At the end of the day "she" will always be mom and I will be the "step." Let me tell you that fact alone, sucks. Especially considering I don't have children yet, and its not that I don't want my own children, I do, desperately. Mother's day has become an awkward experience for me because I really don't know what I am, especially considering for many years my husband was both dad and mom for his girls. I really feel like he should be honored.

Learning the dance is taking some time. Learning when to step in and when to step back. Its difficult, but worth it. Because at the end of the day those girls need someone in their corner and it keeps me humble, because its not about me. I just wish that more people got it. Its often a lonely journey, and that's with great girls and a great man. In the process, I am learning to be myself and learn to have my own life. I am really enjoying a life outside my family and that is helping me enjoy more of life with my family.