no story too ugly…

01DB519F-2AEF-4517-A617-1AEA4B1588BEGod has used the pain of these past six years to develope in me a heart for other women—-especially moms.

I believe that as women, we need each other, and that we need to be IN each other’s lives and not settling for the answer, “I’m fine.”

i was the master of “I’m fine”.

For years, i would put on a smile, and go through the motions, and no one was ever the wiser.

at times, I don’t even think that my husband was aware of the pain i was holding inside.

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Our struggles with our oldest daughter began around the time she started junior high, and before that time, I didn’t know that it was possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by other people.

and yet, i did.

aside from my husband and i, very few people  had any knowledge of the turmoil in our home.

and even those few that knew of our struggle were unaware of the oppressive behavior that i was dealing with day in and day out.

to be honest, i think that i had just accepted that “this is just the way it is”, and i had no hope that life this way would ever change.

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There were seasons where i felt so alone and to be honest, i also felt judged.

judged by well-meaning friends and loved ones who would suggest that we parent “this way” or that we “loosen up”, and yet, they had no idea why we had to keep doing things the way that we did.

they didn’t realize that with every inch of freedom we gave our oldest came more rebellion and more attitude of entitlement.

and they had no idea of the amount of manipulation and lying we dealt with, and how mistreated our younger kids had been when my husband and I weren’t around.

There were so many things that people didn’t know and that my husband and i felt we couldn’t share.

F53220DB-A724-47C7-8FEA-F68FA99DE64FAs I’m now somewhat on the other side of that season, my heart aches for all the moms out there who are lonely and who feel that there story is too ugly to share.

and i grieve with those moms who have lost their kids—- either to physical death or to this world; for i am convinced that there is no greater pain than the loss of a child.

i wish that back in that season of my life i had felt safe enough to share the darkness that was then my life.

how i wish I could’ve opened my heart to someone, and know that they’d accept me with open arms and no judgment.

and more than anything, i wish I would’ve ran to Jesus more and would’ve allowed him to comfort me and give me hope.

God has used those dark years to grow me and to make me the strong woman that i now am.

if you remember anything about this  post, i hope you remember that Jesus loves you, and that no matter how ugly your story is, you are not alone.

much love,

patty

mothers day God’s way….

15C3321C-7302-45EA-BFE4-7483AC60990EMother’s Day.

A day that took on a whole new meaning six years ago when our oldest daughter—18 years-old at the time—chose the world over our family.

That was six Mother’s Days ago.

those first few Mother’s Days following that horrific time were filled with both tears as well as joy.

on the one hand, i was grieving the loss of our daughter, while at the same time adjusting to our “new norm” and learning how to give myself fully to my younger four kids.

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those first few years after my daughter left were filled with unending sorrow, as she made one poor choice after another, each one resulting in terrible consequences….and us left picking up the pieces.

The amount of emotion and heartbreak i experienced during that time is indescribable.  I never imagined walking through something so painful, and feeling so hopeless.

there were days when i would give anything to just hug my daughter, to feel her in my arms.  And yet, any and all encounters with her were beyond painful, leaving me crying for days at a time.

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As the years have gone by, God has brought me to a place of total surrender; causing me to realize that my kids don’t belong to me—-they belong to Him.

He helped me to see that I can’t change or control the horrible things that have happened in my daughter’s life since the day she left home, and that surrendering her to Him is the only way i will find true peace.

i can not begin to tell you how freeing it’s been to fully trust God with my kids.

i’m no longer paralyzed with fear and the need to “control” everything that happens in their lives, which frees me up to fully enjoy them.

36C97BC9-1759-4E2E-912E-9C51296FFF51Trusting God with my kids includes trusting Him with their futures as well as with the unknowns.

we haven’t heard from our oldest daughter in almost two years, and it’s been even longer than that since we’ve seen her.

to be honest, we don’t know where she lives, nor do we have a way to contact her.

There are times when i wonder if she’s even alive, and if she’s not, would we ever find out?  I have to be careful not to go down that road because it’s too easy to let fear take over.

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There was a time when i wished that things had been different and that we wouldn’t have had to walk such a painful road,

and yet, when i look at how God has made beauty from the ashes of that time, I wouldn’t trade what we’ve gained for anything.

we currently have three teenagers and one preteen in our home, and i have to say that they are the most amazing and pleasant people i know.

not only that, but we have a sweet relationship with each one of them, and our home is filled with a peace that could only come from God alone.

Maybe this isn’t the life i would have chosen, but I’m so thankful that God had other plans!

Blessings,

Patty

from chains to freedom…

FBEC8D0F-3EB7-42FD-AD87-592CB7B20EB9For years, I was in bondage and didn’t even know it.

I struggled with feelings of shame, unworthiness, ugliness, failure, dirtiness, self-loathing, inadequacy, and the list goes on…..

the thing is, I knew I was struggling with so many areas of my life, yet I didn’t know the root or cause of my struggles.

i had been this way for so long that it became my identity—- the definition of who I was.

A3FDC414-B13A-4C6C-8A15-96779525C536It wasn’t until i opened up and shared these feelings with a dear friend and pastor that my eyes were opened to the truth.

he helped me to see that certain events from my past had left me filled with shame, and that even as a young kid, I unknowingly allowed that shame to define me.

Not only did it define me, but it held me in a bondage that i felt sure I’d never be free from.

360A19FE-E0E7-4AEC-A5B1-67C3344EBE5BGod, in his kindness, orchestrated a series of changes in my life that would eventually lead me to the freedom I so longed for.

after thirteen years in our former church that we had loved dearly, God led us to a different church.  Believe me, this was not a decision that we made lightly; God made it very clear that he was leading us to make this move.

God was so kind to reaffirm to us time and time again in those first few months that it was indeed his will for us to be at this church.  I would sit in church services and literally cry through them because the messages or the songs would speak of God wanting to give us freedom from the chains that bind us, and it was during those first few months that God spoke to my heart and told me that He was going to lead me to a place of freedom that only he can give.

E77CF80A-5A3B-4101-A1FE-C4294605B6C5Last fall, I became aware that our church offers an intense counseling program for members.  I asked my pastor about it and he hooked me up with the gal who leads that ministry at our campus.

after meeting with her and sharing my story, she submitted my application to the church, and within a month my counseling started.

And can I just say that this counseling has literally changed my heart as well as my life?  Not. Even. Kidding.

I could spend all day telling you all the things i learned, but I’m guessing you have better things to do than read my blog all night!

AF212BD9-FEC8-43A0-A185-5F910B76F0CFBasically, through my months of counseling (did i mentioned that this was Bible-based, Bible-saturated counseling?!), God used his Word as well as the curriculum we went through, to totally change the way I think.

He showed me that my past does NOT define who I am now, and that with God’s help, I can take my thoughts captive and not fall prey to the enemie’s constant lies.

God totally took me through the Ephesians 4 process of putting off my old self, and to be renewed in the spirit of my mind, putting on the new self.

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

Through much time in the Word, I also began to really see the depths of God’s amazing love for me.  I was able to finally see past the shame, and actually see thatI am a beautiful, precious child of God.

I learned all that and SO much more!  But the bottom line is this: I AM FREE!

having this new knowledge and understanding of God made this Easter my most amazing Easter ever.

I only have one counseling session left, which is bittersweet for me, but I am so thankful to God for using this precious ministry to change my life.