I never thought I could run a business and handle everything by myself either. But when I got over the initial fear, step by anxious step it was wonderful to discover myself capable of so much more than I ever imagined.
I am still amazed at how much my confidence continues to grow. I guess the more things I do, the more meetings I have with business people etc the more I realize how easy it is and how capable I actually am. People like me, which shouldn’t be a surprise. I know how to treat people well and I’m friendly. It’s not hard for me, it’s natural, even more so since I feel better about myself and I’m not apologizing for existing anymore. God has been so good to me, has given me so much and yet he wants to give me even more. There is no limit to the blessings he wants to pour out on me and mine. He is not a stingy God, he is generous. Jesus came to give me life! And life more abundantly! Not to make me unhappy with rules and regulations and expectations that I could never live up to. That’s the devil who binds us up with that. Jesus came to set us free and who He sets free is free indeed! It is so good to be alive and doing what God wants me to do. To be guilt and worry free and I believe that is what he desires for us, for me. I hope he doesn’t stop working on me until that’s my reality all the time, not just sometimes. With the ‘big picture’ in mind is where I want to live, with no hidden dark places of my soul that shy away from the light. No fear of anything in me or outside me either. The Lord reigns and he will do what he will do. He is in control of my life so it will be better than okay, it will be amazing, no matter how it looks sometimes. God reigns and I’m so thankful for that.
God is so good to me and with him I can really do this! I have had that reconfirmed to me today. I have been worried about a couple of things with my business and was scared to ask the person involved about it. I was full of fear of their reaction so I haven’t said anything and just pushed it to the back of my mind. Anyway, today I thought I really need to do something and I felt God prompt me to confront the situation and not be afraid. ‘ I have not been given the spirit of fear, but of power, strength and a sound mind’ 2 Timothy 1:7. I asked God to help me, committed my way to him and told myself to not be afraid because God was with me so who could be against me? I made the phone call and bought up the things that had been worrying me, and it couldn’t have gone better! The person involved was not at all offended as I feared they would be. They were great and even showed their concern for me about some other things that have been going on. It was just a wonderful conversation and certainly nothing to be afraid of. When I got off the phone I burst into tears. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for my awesome God. I REALLY don’t need to be so fearful. God loves me and everything I do is going to prosper one way or another. I know it’s coming true in my life and it’s going to do so on a larger scale when I put my hand to more things. I also love the way God understands and is concerned about all the little stuff that worries me. Nothing is too small for him to bother about. Thank you God, I am humbled afresh by your unfailing love and your kindness to me.
Diary Entry 43
Soon, and it will not be very long, the wilderness will be a fertile field again, a lush and fertile forest. Isaiah 29:17
It was New Year. My first since my husband had left me. I received a txt from a lovely Christian friend. She simply said, ‘May the coming year astonish you’! I had no idea what the year would bring but I knew that txt was significant. The word ‘astonish’ resounded in my spirit for some reason so I tucked it away and remembered it as the year progressed. And astonished I certainly was. Nothing huge and startling happened but I had a collection of smaller realizations that really blew me away. The first one I experienced shortly after the year had started. We had a family tradition of going camping for a week in January every year. We would go to one of two regional parks that were close to where we lived and ones that we loved. I am not much of an outdoors type but I had done it for the children and after the first few years (when I would secretly count the days till we could go home) I really enjoyed it. It was a lot easier as the children grew older and was very relaxing and fun and we all loved it. But my husband would always pack the trailer with all the gear that we took and we would help him set up the tent etc but he was very much in charge and I was happy to leave it in his capable hands. He always made such a big deal of it all, how much work it was, that doing it by ourselves was a scary thought for me. I had bought us a new tent etc, as my husband had taken our original camping gear with him. It never crossed his mind that we would consider going camping without him, he didn’t think I was capable of it and I wasn’t completely convinced that he was wrong! But the children assured me we’d be fine so I thought we’d at least give it a go.
It was EASY!! I couldn’t believe it! It was the easiest most stress free relaxed camping trip EVER! I had always done the food buying and preparing; baking lots of goodies to take, packing of the clothes and kitchen stuff etc, so that part was no different. We didn’t have a trailer anymore (my ex had that) so we took our two cars instead and I packed all the gear into them, which was no big deal! Then setting up the tent was no problem and even fun! There was none of the usual stressful, ‘poor dad, it’s so tough, we’re not helping right’ atmosphere that we used to have. Setting up the inside with the beds and kitchen etc I had usually done anyway so that was fine as well. We were all ready and relaxing in an hour or so and to say I was surprised was an understatement. I was truly astonished! By the end of that camping trip, (after finding that packing up was so much easier as well) I realized that I had bought a ‘bill of goods’ so to speak. My ex seemed to find a lot of things pretty hard going, acted pretty burdened by life a lot of the time. And I had believed him that things WERE hard when really it was often the attitude he was bringing with him that was the burden, not the actual events. Not only could we do things like this without him, it was actually easier!! I would NEVER have believed it had I not experienced it first hand.
You owe it not only to yourself but to your children to move on. To accept the situation as quickly as you possibly can and move forward with your life and make it a happy one for you and your family. It really is up to you, you set the tone for your children. This is not something that you will be able to pretend either; they will see through any falseness. You have to REALLY find your joy and peace. REALLY give your life to God every day and let him make it a good one. REALLY decide to be happy. See your children as the miracles they are, how much love you still have in your life and to realise it’s the best kind. No one has more unconditional love for you than your children, or you for them. It’s worth noticing and appreciating and celebrating every day. Decide to do it and do. Don’t waste another day, they grow up so fast. Don’t make what they have been through worse than it has to be.
I realise that it is so hard to watch them being hurt. I did what I could to ease their pain; I tried to make my ex see things from their perspective but there wasn’t a lot I could do. Their relationship or lack of one is between him and them, I really have no control.
But if the pain has been good for you as far as making you press into God, making you stronger, more compassionate and wise, then the same must apply to your children too. I wasn’t sure about this initially; everything in me wants to save my children pain. But I have seen first hand that God has done amazing things in their lives as the pain of our situation has caused them to draw closer to him. And the eldest three are old enough to say already that because of how they have changed for the better they are even glad it happened. They have grown up in more ways than one. They are so much more mature spiritually as well as mentally and emotionally. I don’t think they would have been ready, willing or able to take on what they have done if they hadn’t been through the last two and a half years and all that has happened, and they don’t think so either. They have gone from just knowing about God, being saved, to being real friends of God. To hearing his voice and obeying him, knowing him and following him in a much deeper way. And that is worth any amount of pain.
I heard someone on tv talking about their childhood after their father had left their mother. They were saying how devastated their mother was and that she never really got past that, and as children they were hurt by the fact that they weren’t enough for her. They wanted her to see that they were still there, that they were enough reason for her to be happy with her life. That spoke to me so much. Because it is so logical and reasonable and true! Children often see the simple truth of a situation while we are complicating things and missing the obvious. I am determined that my children are not going to say that about me when they grow up. I was very hurt and have had a hard time for a couple of years but I have pulled myself together or rather I have let Jesus pull me together and I love my life now. Having my children is more than enough for me to be happy. And they are not the only reasons my life is good; there are lots of family and friends that make me happy. I refuse to be a miserable woman, mother and friend because one man treated me badly! That would be ridiculous; I am not letting this experience ruin the rest of my life and more importantly my children’s lives. No one is worth that amount of destruction I don’t care how great the person is, and my ex on his best day was never THAT great, it could never be worth it.
Our eldest son is now 22 and he sees his father very rarely. Our youngest is now 10 and he has dinner with his dad every week and stays with him every second weekend. Out of all the children I believe he has suffered the most. He is the one who has had to adapt to his father’s change of lifestyle, he has had to accept that he has to share his dad with another family, which has been a struggle for him at times. His heart seemed to stay the rawest; the mere mention of how he feels about the situation would bring tears to his eyes even after a few years. I have since given more time to praying about healing for him and he seems a great deal better now but it is still very sad for us all to see.
If I had known how to spare my children this experience you can be sure I would have. But as going through it all has changed my life and especially my relationship with God for the better; so also has it changed my children’s lives and their relationship with God. A Christian friend of mine told me very early on that she had a vision of ‘God pulling the children and me so close into him that it was a wonder we could still breath!’ That is certainly how it has felt. As I followed God they followed me and though it didn’t seem a fast transition in the beginning, it really was! Within about 18 months my eldest daughter was the Pastor of the youth group at our church even though she was only 17 at the time, and my youngest daughter and eldest son were heavily involved in helping her. I have had the pleasure of watching them all grow so much in God, in fact the following me that it was at the beginning very quickly become them sprinting ahead and me struggling to keep up!
I didn’t make them come to church with me; I didn’t make them do anything. I didn’t nag them (I don’t think) I just let them make their own decisions. They knew I wanted them there and they were used to coming along anyway, they were brought up in church. But the dedication that I was now living in was new to them at first and it took a bit of time for them to adjust and follow me into that. But I do feel very blessed that it wasn’t long. God told me he would ‘pour out his spirit on my children’; I had no idea at the time what a fantastic promise that was!!
Because of where they were and are in God they have been an amazing support to me. I tried not to lean on them but that was pretty much impossible, especially in the beginning when things were still very raw. But they seem to have come through it all amazingly well. Yet another miracle that God has blessed me with.
When my husband left our children’s ages were 18, 15, 12 and almost 7. The seven year old had quite a different experience to the others. He was devastated but he clung to his father and wanted to be with him as much as he could. The others were devastated too but had different reactions. Our 12 year old daughter refused to even see her dad for some weeks after he left. I eventually talked her into spending some time with him but she was reluctant from the beginning. Our 15 year old wanted to see him but was very in his face about what he was doing, and how his relationship with God was way off track etc. Our eldest son wanted to avoid conflict as much as possible so agreed to have dinner with him occasionally. The older children wanted to be kept informed of what was happening as we went through the process of separation and it was often very painful for all of us when my ex would behave in a really hurtful manner, which seemed to happen a lot in the first couple of years. The 7 year old we protected as much as we could from the proceedings. He wanted to believe his dad was an awesome guy who could do no wrong and I wanted that for him too. I felt then and I still feel that at his young age he needed that assurance, fantasy though it may have been. The others though refused to be left out of the loop and I would have had to lie to them to keep them from knowing the truth of what was happening and I wasn’t about to do that.
My ex often seemed frustrated at the children’s anger towards him. In his head their feelings were caused by me because I didn’t hide his actions from them. It didn’t seem to occur to him that the real problem was the actions themselves.
As time went on and my ex’s girlfriend was revealed after the first few weeks it made it more difficult for the older children to want to spend time with him. They felt he had betrayed them as well as me which I know he didn’t expect or understand. He seemed to think that nothing should change in his relationship with them; but this was so unrealistic because apart from anything else, he had changed so much. I think perhaps he didn’t notice the changes in himself but his children certainly did. There were periods in the first year of his leaving that all the children were seeing him fairly regularly but the way he treated them while they were with him they found increasingly hard to handle. Because he didn’t think he had done anything wrong in leaving us he would often try and convince the children of this as well, which in my opinion was a mistake. If he had shown some remorse for the pain he had caused us all, accepted some guilt regarding his actions instead of trying to justify himself all the time I am sure he would have had more chance of a decent relationship with them all.
Our daughters pretty quickly decided that their lives would be better without seeing their father at all. This concerned me in the beginning as I wondered how it would affect them. It’s not politically correct to abandon a parental relationship, no matter what, and it was very unkind to their father as well. But to be fair they were following his example. He did what he felt was right for his life with very little concern for their feelings. They did the same back to him. To this day my ex blames me entirely for this. He has no idea of the times I have questioned our daughters on whether they have made the right decision, that maybe now they would feel better having their dad in their life again even in some small way, meeting him for a coffee occasionally, anything. But they politely tell me that it’s none of my business, that it is their decision and not mine; and they are right. I have no idea what it’s like for them, I’ve never been in their situation. All I can do is make sure that they know that whatever they decide in regard to their relationship with their father is okay with me.
I will pour out my Spirit on your children – God
Deut 32:10-12 He found them in a desert land, in an empty howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. The Lord alone guided them; they followed no foreign gods.
Sometimes I feel my children and I are like the ‘tight five’ in a rugby scrum. My eldest two are my props, I have my arms around their shoulders because I am in the middle of the forward pack. I’m in control of the ball, hooking it in (getting God’s direction and presence in and on our lives) and they are helping hold me up, supporting me. My youngest two are right behind us, holding on, pushing us on, giving us even more reason to keep going and push into the future hard. And we are tight. We are all in this together.
But it occurs to me that in a game of rugby you don’t stay in the scrum forever. You push the opponent back as hard as you can. Then there comes a time when you get the ball out and you let go of each other and run as fast as you can helping each other get the ball to the try line. Still together but separately. And others are involved; in helping you score the tries. Rugby is great but you get battered and bruised playing it, just like this experience. But I’m hoping it will be worth it all in the end.