Category Archives: Identity

I Have Borderline Personality Disorder

An open letter to those with questions…
I have a mental illness. I’m not crazy and my illness doesn’t define me. I have borderline personality disorder. I’ve struggled with self harm, bulimia, and suicidal thoughts. But I’m still alive and I’m still fighting. 
I know that many of you have wondered where I’ve been over the last few months…so here’s the truth – I’ve been in and out of the hospital since January. I tried to take my own life in April. Thankfully, I was unsuccessful. 

  
Every day is a battle for me. I wrestle with myself and my own thoughts – thoughts that I cannot control. I try, with every fiber of my being, to not let my mental illness effect those around me. But the truth is, if you care about me, my mental illness will effect you. 

  
You see, I don’t view the world the same way you do. I obsess. I worry. I isolate. I cry. I over think. I panic. I hide. Sometimes, I wish I could just run away. 
Borderline personality disorder is a living hell. Those of us with BPD have an extremely difficult time regulating our emotions, an unstable sense of self, and a hard time maintaining relationships. It’s been said that people with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. I didn’t choose to have BPD. According to the doctors, BPD most frequently develops in children who have been abused, neglected, and/or abandoned before the age of 5…circumstances that’re beyond the control of a small child. BPD develops as a way to cope with a world that makes no sense. It’s our brain’s subconscious way of helping us deal with the chaos in our lives. 

  
I might not be very good at being a friend. I don’t know how to talk to people. I’m terrified of rejection and abandonment. I don’t do small talk. I hate talking on the phone. Most days, I would give almost anything to just be able to interact with the world like a “normal” person. My family often walks on eggshells around me, not knowing if I’m having a good day or a bad day. 
I constantly feel guilty and ashamed for the effect that my mental illness has had on those closest to me. I wish I could give my husband and children more of me, but BPD takes so much from me that I don’t have much left to give. 

  
The biggest thing you need to understand about BPD is that I struggle with emotions. I hate emotions because they scare me. I feel things on a much deeper level than most people. I can feel extreme joy and happiness. But I can also feel terrifying depression and anxiety. I don’t understand emotions. I don’t know how to cope with them. Even when I feel extreme joy, I am overwhelmed with fear about what to DO with that emotion. 
So to sum it all up, if you take only one thing away from this post, please remember that I love deeply and, just like everyone else, I long for love and acceptance. I am only human. You many not understand me – don’t worry, I don’t understand me either. But I ask that you please be patient with me. If I don’t answer you calls, don’t take it personally – sometimes I just can’t find the strength to talk on the phone. Sometimes I don’t know the right words to say – don’t take offense to it. 

  
I love fiercely and deeply. Next time I frustrate you, please understand that it is not intentional. I’m just trying to learn how to cope with this world and handle a life that often makes no sense. 

Advertisements

To Run or Not to Run…

Why is running so important to me? – That’s a really good question. I’m not sure if I can fully answer it, but I’ll try.

IMG_0010.JPG

I was never a runner in my child or adolescent years. In fact, I hated running. Running was the bane of my existence. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in most things I did, and running only backed up that thought. I always said I “couldn’t” run. I didn’t know how to breathe and I didn’t know how to handle the ache in my muscles. So I just stuck to swimming – I loved swimming. Being in the water was, quite possibly, one of the best feelings to me. I was not, nor would I ever be, a runner…or so I thought.

Then, one day last May, I decided I wanted to run. The thought was insane. I hated running, why did I want to run? But I gave in to the thought and I ran. And you know what, I fell in love with it. Even at 240 pounds and even though I could barely run a quarter mile without thinking I was going to die, I fell in love with it and I kept trying.

Running was the first thing in my life that was hard for me and I knew would be a challenge, but I kept going anyway. You see, I’m my own worst critic and I’ve never been very confident in my ability to do anything. When confronted with anything that might be hard or challenging, anything that there was even a possibility of me failing at, I would quit. Quitting was easier than trying and failing…or so I thought at the time.

So back to why running is so important to me, running taught me a very important life lesson. Running taught me that, if I was willing to try, I would find out that I was capable of much more than I thought I was – both mentally and physically. Running became a release for me. When I had a bad day, I ran. When I had a good day, I ran. When I was sad, I ran. When I was happy, I ran…you get the picture.

Then, running became an addiction and it took over my life. I lived and breathed running. I got injured, but I kept running.

Now, as I’m recovering from surgery to remove the sesamoid bone that I shattered…from continuing to run on an injured foot, I am reassessing my deep desire to run again. Last month, I was told by my rheumatologist that I should NEVER run again. I have a rare disorder called Elhers-Danlos Syndrome that effects my joints (and many other parts of my body). Because of this disorder, my joints are very loose and I have had frequent dislocations and sprains of my joints, throughout my life. My ankles and knees are some of my most unstable joints and, obviously, running is not very productive when then joints in the legs are weak.

But running brings me so much joy. I can’t really just STOP running altogether, can I? I mean, running does not define me. Whether or not I run is not the most important part of my life, and I do recognize that…but to be totally honest, I’m just not ready to give it up. So I’ve been doing some research. My joints will never be as stable as most peoples joints, but there are things I can do to protect them. There are things I can do to run again.

I’m not going to give up on running. I will protect my joints and I will be smart about it. But I will still run. It may not be much, and that’s okay.

Being a runner is so much more than running. It’s the determination and the drive to want more for myself and my life than I ever dreamed possible. It’s the willingness to dream big and do the work necessary to achieve those dreams. Being a runner has given me to confidence to also face struggles in other aspects of my life because if I can run, I can do anything. I am an overcomer!

I refuse to let this disorder control my life. Some of the most joyful times in my life have been during a good run and I will not give that up without a fight.

IMG_0019.JPG


Mama Called the Doctor and the Doctor a Said…

“No more running.”

Those were the words Dr. Madden spoke that brought me to tears. As I sat in the exam room and we discussed my options – cast, boot, surgery, rest, crutches, I found myself so lost in my emotions. He held up my x-ray to the light and showed me the very clear image of my foot and the fibular sesamoid bone that is in two pieces. Then he pulled out the report for the bone scan. I knew all of this before going in to his office, but somehow I had hoped that maybe it wouldn’t be THAT bad.

20140706-223748-81468967.jpg
I sat on that exam table, tears and snot dripping from my face (I am not one of those women who cries cutely) and I asked him the same question every runner asks, “when can I run again?” He, of course, laughed at my question and then explained the recovery process to me.

I will run again one day. I will start back at square one, but I will run again. Running is something I have grown to love. I am a runner. Running is what I do. When life is chaotic – I run. When I am upset – I run. When I am happy – I run. When I need quiet time – I run. The answer is always “go for a run,” no matter what the question is.

20140706-223845-81525810.jpg
So here’s where I realize I have a problem. I was presented tonight with the question, “what is it about NOT running that is so terrible?” And boom! That’s where it hit me – I’ve idolized running. I’ve stopped trusting God for my salvation and I’ve been looking for it on my own through my success in running.

I never thought I could run, but once I started running, I took off and didn’t look back. So when I started having an achey pain in my right foot last August, I ignored it. When I finally went to the doctor they said it was a stress fracture. Then another doctor said it was just my shoes – I liked that answer better, so I bought new shoes and kept running…even though I was still in pain.

Then, as I was training for a half marathon I hurt my left foot. The initial diagnosis was stress fracture. Then it was osteochondritis defect lesion. Now, it’s tendonitis.

20140706-223932-81572376.jpg
Now that I’m seeing a podiatrist, I’m finally getting accurate care for my feet. It’s hard for me to accept that I cannot run right now and I’m literally grieving the temporary loss of my ability to run. It turns out that achey pain in my right foot from last year is a broken bone. So now, I am having surgery next month to remove my fibular sesamoid bone and 3-4 months after that I will be able to run again.

Running is wonderful. It’s good and healthy and freeing. But just like any other good thing in this world, when it becomes more important than God it is no longer a good thing.

My biggest problem though doesn’t even have anything to do with running. My biggest problem is that I’ve put God on the back seat of my life and let running take the wheel. Now, I look back to the cross.

In church this morning, my pastor said something to the effect of – when I’m having a hard time trusting God, I need to look back at what God has done in my life in the past. Which also reminds me of something a very sweet friend of mine told me about 2 years ago, “look at what God did then. He will do it again.”

I’m thankful for sweet friends, a great small group, an awesome pastor, but mostly for a loving and faithful God who has given me more grace and mercy than I deserve.

I am scared of surgery. I am scared of not running again. I am scared of all the “what ifs”. But what I know is that no matter what, God is in control of it all. He already knows.

Yes, I am currently struggling to trust God because this is not how I want things to go. But in the midst of that struggle, I also know that He is helping me to trust Him more each day.


7-in-7 Day 7: Who am I?

I’m posting this early. Day 7 isn’t actually until tomorrow, but God laid this on my heart tonight. It’s not my usual style of writing, yet every word is deeply true.

Who am I?
Really, who am I?
I could tell you my name,
But that doesn’t answer the question.
Who am I?

I am not my age
Nor my name or my weight
I am not my past
Nor the reflection I see
I am not my mistakes
Nor the things I’ve seen

So who am I?

I am a princess
A daughter
I’m loved by a King

I am an artist
I like to create
I’ve seen hell in my life
But I’ve also seen glimpses of Heaven
I feel deeply
And I love passionately
My skin is too thin
For the hate in this world
I spew words onto paper
And empty my heart
Express how I feel
In stanzas and lines
My favorite color is purple
And there’s something about a yellow rose
That just captivates me with it’s beauty

Who am I?

I’m human
I’m a sinner
I need friends
Not a lot, maybe just one or two
To help me through life
But I’m awkward and scared
Insecure and intimidated
Too afraid that you’ll reject me
Just as soon as look at me

Who am I?

I’m not where I have been
But where I am going
I am not what I’ve done
But what I am doing
I’m learning to give love
And also to accept it.

Who am I?

I am worthy of love.


The Socially Anxious Introvert

In a world that seems to be dominated by extroverts (of course, because introverts don’t generally have as much of a desire to fill the limelight) it is hard to be an introvert without feeling like there’s something wrong with me.

Let me start by explaining what an introvert is and what an introvert isn’t.

An introvert isn’t just someone who is shy and doesn’t like people.

An introvert is someone who very much loves people, has a great deal of compassion and affection for others, but who also is physically and emotionally drained by spending time with other people.

An introvert isn’t a shut-in who avoids the world at all costs.

An introvert is someone who, although he/she enjoys spending time with family and friends, desperately needs to spend time alone to recharge and relax.

An introvert isn’t a rude person who simply doesn’t want to talk to you.

An introvert is bad at small talk and finds small talk tiring and uncomfortable.

I am an introvert and I also have social anxiety.  Social anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, dread, or apprehension about social interaction and presentation. Introversion and social anxiety, when combined, can be a toxic mix.

The weird thing about me, even though I am a socially anxious introvert, is that I enjoy public speaking and performing. I love talking in front of people (as long as it is planned out and practiced) and I love performing worship on Monday nights at Celebrate Recovery. But as I say I enjoy these things, that doesn’t make them any less emotionally draining on me. I need quiet, alone time to emotionally recoup from this level of interaction.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I HATE talking on the phone. If I don’t answer my phone when you call or I don’t call you back, don’t take it personally. If you text me, or contact me any of the other 10 ways I can be contacted through my iPhone (technology humor, lol) that don’t actually require me to talk to you, I’ll probably send you a pretty speedy response.

Here’s another thing about introverts, we communicate much more effectively through writing or other non-verbal forms of communication. I have some friends and family who get frustrated by this, but what you need to understand about me (or whoever the introvert is in your life) is that I love and I care about you very deeply, but I will never be able to express that in the same as my extroverted counterparts.

Due to my social anxiety, I also find it hard to make true and lasting friends. I get anxiety at the simple thought of making a phone call to someone I don’t know…and sometimes even to people I do know. I have anxiety about going to the grocery store, going to church, attending Bible studies, taking my daughter to school, going to family events at my husband unit…you name it, if it involves being around other people (especially people I don’t know) it causes me anxiety.

Now, combine my introversion and social anxiety…what you get is a lot of anxiety attacks and tears.

So we’ve already covered that introverts have a desperate physical NEED for quite, alone time…away from ALL other people. Let’s talk about how hard this is as a wife and mother.

As a wife and mom, I spend almost all day, every day with either my kids or my husband. I have very little, if any, time to tune out the world and refocus myself. What happens when days, weeks, or even months, pass without being able to find that quite time to recharge? Anxiety skyrockets and tempers soar. Social anxiety becomes exacerbated and social interactions become fewer and fewer.

An introvert who isn’t able to fulfill the very deep need for alone time becomes a ticking time bomb. My husband, and most of my family, has seen this side of me on many occasions. I try to hold it together and do things like normal, but with each passing day, my heart beats a little faster and my head pounds a little harder. I can, physically, feel the effects of it in my body. An introvert CANNOT be expected to function like an extrovert, at least not for very long.

It’s hard though, to explain to the people I love the absolute most – my husband and children, that sometimes I just can’t be around them. Sometimes I need them to just leave me alone so I can pray, cry, write, think, read, take a bath…just recharge my heart, mind, and soul. But one BIG lesson I’ve learned in recent months is that it’s better to apologize to them for retreating to the back of the house or out on a run for an hour or so than to have to apologize for angry words that cannot be taken back. You are not a bad parent or spouse just because you take time off to take care of yourself – in fact, that makes you pretty awesome!

Introverts, my advice to you is to accept who you are as an introvert. We cannot be extroverts, we never will be. God made us this way for a reason and the world needs us just as much as it needs extroverts. Take pride in who you are. Learn to know your limits. Know when it’s time for you to spend time alone, but don’t use it as an excuse to shut out the world completely.

Extroverts, don’t try to pressure your introverted loved ones into being an extrovert. Acknowledge that we have different personalities and be okay with that. The world needs us both.

But whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, that’s not your identity. Although your personality is one or the other, our identities are still all found in Christ…after all, that’s what truly matters.


7-in-7 Day 5: Struggling Artist

This poem is exceptionally hard for me to share, simply due to raw emotion and truth behind it…but here it is anyway…

The Struggling Artist
The words in my head
Don’t come out how I like
It’s just one more line
That doesn’t sound right
I beat myself up
For the lacking perfection
And I seem to forget
That’s my own expectation
I can pour out my heart
Use words to empty my soul
But if the rhythm’s not right
I won’t be so bold

The rawest emotions
The most bitter fears
Will be revealed into words
Through my falling tears
So please understand
When I can’t share my art
That it’s not about you
But it’s a piece of my heart

I’m a struggling artist
Struggling to find peace
Between my imperfect writing
And my own critique


The Socially Awkward Christian

Have you ever walked into a room filled with people and immediately thought, “Nope, never mind. This is NOT going to happen.”? You know that feeling where you feel like everyone in the room is looking at you? Your pulse starts racing, like your heart is about to beat out of your chest, you suddenly become violently nauseous, and you can feel the beads of sweat forming on your forehead? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone, even extroverts, have experienced that at least once in their lives. But for the socially awkward/socially anxious person this is a daily, sometimes constant, feeling.

I don’t remember how far back my social awkwardness goes, it seems like I’ve always been this way –the simple thought of social interactions often makes me want to throw a blanket over my head and say, “Nope, not today. Sorry life, but people scare me.” That’s the life for the socially awkward individual. It’s a constant battle of longing for friendship, love, and companionship while at the same time being terrified of it. The constant battle in my own mind, and I’m going to assume in many others’, has led me to a deep confusion of my own feelings of wanting something and fearing it at the same time. But one thing I should point out is that, very often, we don’t even realize that this battle is taking place in our own heads. We just constantly feel like we don’t fit in, like no one else is like us. We long to understand why we feel so awkward in social situations and we don’t even realize that there is a battle raging on in our own minds. I know that I was unaware of my what was going on inside my own mind until recently.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am an introvert. Joy and peace in my life is the greatest when I am alone with a good book, a paper and pencil, or with just one or two close friends. I am no good at small talk and I don’t know how to strike up a conversation with a stranger or sometimes even with an acquaintance. Every Sunday morning at church, you know that time where you’re supposed to shake hands and say hello to the people around you, I always briefly contemplate whether or not anyone would notice if I hid under the pew or took off to the bathroom. Now, I feel as if I should elaborate on that a little bit because, if taken out of context, someone might drastically misunderstand what my point is. It’s not the other people that I have a problem with; in fact, I love other people and I love making new friends, but it’s my own brain and voice in my head that totally terrify me.

I was a painfully shy child who learned how to put masks on as I got older. I learned to adapt to my environments by donning a fake personality, never really showing anyone who I was. I’ve always taken my cues from what the people around me are doing, which has led me to have a really jacked up perception of how people interact. I never really learned for myself what my personality was or who I was, so now, as an adult, I am confused and torn.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned how socially awkward I am, how my social anxiety often seems to control my interactions (or lack thereof) with other people, and he seemed to chuckle at first, not believing me because he couldn’t see it. But that’s the thing about those of us who struggle with social awkwardness, most people would never know. We’ve gotten really good at masking our awkwardness. As for me, some people question my introversion because once they get to know me well and I am in an environment where I am free to be me (I should say that there is a very small number of people in my life who know me on this level), I tend to be more on the goofy side, I let my guards down and I have fun and enjoy the company of other people. But the people who know me on that level, stuck with me through the beginning of our friendship, which was, for me, painfully awkward. I enjoy public speaking and I am actually rather good at it. I was 11 years old when I won my first public speaking competition and for me this was a HUGE accomplishment that would prove to be the beginning of me emerging from my shyness. But coming out of my shyness would not mean also becoming less socially awkward. In a sense, I believe that it increased my social awkwardness. As I emerged from my shell, I began to see and feel like I was not like everyone else and that feeling of being “different” drove me to hide myself behind layer of lies and masks.

As an adult, most social interaction is filled with anxiety and my own insecurities. I often leave a conversation thinking, “why did I say THAT?” or “wow, I wonder what she thinks of me now,” or “why can’t I be more like that?” Or, if I had a wonderfully, positive interaction with another person, I find myself questioning their motives and what they may want from me. Even in conversations with some of my closest friends (and maybe more often with them because I care more about what they think of me) I find myself over analyzing everything I say, wondering what they are thinking of me because of the what I just said and wondering if I need to explain myself more because maybe they misunderstood me. I have one very close friend in particular, who I seem to do this with all the time – and it drives me bonkers that I do it to myself. This friend has always shown me more love than I could’ve ever asked for and definitely more than I deserve (God blessed me immensely when He placed her in my life), but for some reason, I often walk away from my conversations with her condemning myself for what I said and how I said it and what I didn’t say and the list could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture by now. It’s often in this process of over analyzing my words and actions that God will, quite frequently, give me a gentle shake and tell me to just chill out (and let me tell you, without that gentle reminder from Him, I would probably drive myself completely insane with worry over my conversations with other people).

I’m sure that my experience with social anxiety and social awkwardness may not be the only explanation out there. I’m sure that other people may have their own reasons or explanations as to why they are the way they are; but I’m convinced that I am not the only person who struggles in this way.

So the next thing I want to know is, will I always be this way? Will I ever be able to look at social situations without being filled with anxiety? I think so. I think that God has given us a pretty solid description of what love and life should look like, and His description doesn’t include debilitating anxiety.

I have a lot of fears, some rational, most irrational. One by one, I am learning to give them over to God. And while I have not yet been successful in turning over my fear of social situations, I take great comfort in Psalm 34:4 – I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. He WILL deliver me from my fears, I know that, but I think that it requires some hard work on my part first. I will have to walk, with Him, through the suppressed pain of my past in order to be who He made me to be. All He asks is that I trust Him and seek Him and He will deliver me (and yes, I know that this is often much easier said than done because I like to avoid the pain at all costs).

Isaiah 30:18 – Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Don’t quit before the miracles happen…I’ve heard that somewhere before…

1 John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. I need to remember, and I think all of us who are socially awkward, need to remember what God calls us to do. God has called every one of us to love each other; He doesn’t narrow it down into categories for the socially awkward and the social butterflies. We are called to love and to share His love with others. I think it’s important to not let my own awkwardness and anxieties stand in my way of loving other people with the love that God has given me.

I know that I will always be an introvert; that IS how God made me and how He will use me. There is a desperate need for both introverts and extroverts alike. But I do think that one day I will be able to look at social situations without as much fear and anxiety as I do now. I will probably always have some social awkwardness about me; I don’t think that will ever go away completely. But what I do know is that there is hope.


Am I Too Independent?

Independence is generally considered a good thing in our culture; to be able to do everything on your own without the help of anyone else is generally praised. But let me explain why I have a problem with that.

I spent most of my life not asking anyone for help because I thought I had to be independent. I thought I had to do things on my own if I wanted success. And where did that get me? That got me no where except filled with anger, bitterness, and sadness. I never felt like I could depend on anyone, nor did I ever feel like anyone cared. Trying to do everything on my own got exhausting and at a young age I was stressed and weary. But at the time, I had no hope or faith in an all-powerful God.

Isaiah 40:28-31 –
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

I can’t do life on my own. I wasn’t created to do life alone. First and foremost, I need to be dependent on God. This world is a scary place and it’s a constant fight. The more I fight to be independent, the more I throw myself into self destruction. God will give me everything I need to make it through this life, if only I’m willing to suck up my pride and ask him for help. Who am I to say that I can navigate this world better than He can, when I’m the created and He’s the creator?

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

A few weeks ago, in a conversation with a dear friend, out of the blue she said, “You need to depend on God more.” When I heard those words, I lost it. The day had already been rough and emotional, and her statement had me bawling like a baby because she is right. I depend too much on myself and on other people. Without even realizing it, I fall back into the “I can do it” train of thought and I don’t realize it until I crash and burn or someone points it out to me. I get so frustrated and angry with myself when I realize how little I depend on God because I know better. I know the miracles He has done in my life. I have seen His power before my very eyes. I have felt His love and grace in every area of my life. And yet, like the Israelites, I still fail to trust Him even after all I’ve seen Him do. I am all too human.

Psalm 18:2-
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I want to put God first in every aspect of my life. I want Him and my relationship with Him to be the number one thing on my priority list. But I all too often fail Him. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy when I do fail Him; He continues to still love me and pick me up from the mess I’ve made of my life and guide me in the right direction. He is so faithful to me and has given me way more than I will ever deserve.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God didn’t create us to go through this world on our own and He often shows us His love for us through other people. I know that’s what He did for me. I had never seen true, Christ-like love until I met my Celebrate Recovery sponsor. She was the first person to show me what true love looked like and because of her I have been able to receive the love that others have shown me and love them in return. We need each other. We need to love each other and walk through this life together, serving and caring for one another.

John 13:14 – If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

My point in all of this is that we can’t do life alone. We can’t live independent of God and one another and expect to still live a happy, fulfilling life. It just isn’t possible. That’s not how we were made. I know, for me, I have to, daily, confess my dependence on God. Daily, I remind myself that I can’t make it through this world without Him and thank Him for the people He has given me to walk this scary road with me. Quit trying to be independent. Suck up your pride and admit your dependence on your Creator – I promise you won’t regret it.


The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife

I love my husband and I love my family. I love being able to be a stay at home mom and raise our young children. But here’s the thing, I have grown up in a culture that diminishes the worth of men as weak or inadequate; and I know that I’m not the only one who has been shaped by these thoughts without even realizing it. You see, although I love my husband, I have not necessarily acted like it because I have bought into a lie that marriage is all about me and making me happy.

We have been married for four years (so clearly I am not an expert on marriage). In those four years, I have diminished my husband’s feelings, devaluated his opinions, and treated him with hostility and contempt when I didn’t get my way. Now, some may be reading that thinking, “Wow, she’s a pretty crummy wife. Her poor husband.” But I think we all do it in one way or another, and unless we make it a point to lift our husbands up, we will continue to bring them down.

I am currently reading a book by Dr. Laura called, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. This book has given me more insights about what he needs from me and the kind of wife I need to be, than anything else. I’m not even done with the book and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have cried, been convicted, and gotten angry with realizing how much negativity I have brought into my marriage.

Men are simple creatures. All they want is know that they are appreciated and respected and in return they will show us, women, the love we have been searching for. I nag and I complain and I tell them that he has hurt my feelings…but did I ever stop to consider how he’s feeling? I’ve known many women, along with myself, who get upset that “men don’t have feelings.” In reality though, what we’re really getting upset about is the fact that men don’t feel like women. Men DO have feelings, they just simply don’t need to talk about them and process them and want to get input on them the same way women do. Men are simple and we often just can’t understand how their brains would possibly work that way because ours are so complex.

Men need to feel appreciated. So often, we think that we are entitled to put our feet up and do nothing once our men come home from work because we’ve been working hard around the house all day cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. What many of us forget is that he has worked hard all day too. Just like I have spent my day caring for the home and our children, to ensure that the family is nurtured and the home taken care of, he spent the whole caring for and nurturing our financial wellbeing. So guess what, he’s tired too!! I am a stay at home, I chose this job and I chose to be with our children and I can’t ignore the responsibilities that come along with it. Just as my husband chose his job and he needs to fulfill his responsibilities and actively choose to do his work, even when the days are hard, he’s tired, or he’s sick. Unless he wants to lose his job and thus lose the inability to provide for his family, he has to do his job whether he likes it or not. Many times, I complain about his job to him, he works too much, his boss is rude, his company doesn’t give the right benefits…whatever the complaints may be, complaining about is job is, to him, an insult on his identity. Instead of minimizing what he does or how he feels after a long day of work, how about praising him and thanking him for his hard work in providing for the family. Thank him for all he does. A little gratitude goes along way with men.

If he quits helping as much around the house, can I blame him if, when he does do things I criticize everything about the way he does it instead of thanking him? I’d quit helping out too if my actions weren’t appreciated. I can’t blame him at all!!

They feel loved when they feel appreciated and respected. The more appreciation and respect I show my husband, the more love and affection he will show me. I can’t assume that he feels loved the same way I do. We’ve bought into the lie for too long that men who aren’t like women are wrong. Men are men and women are women. We are different, even though many in our culture would try to convince you that the only difference is anatomical.

Men are more geared toward provision, protection, and respect, while women are more geared toward nurturing, relationships, and love. We need to live in such a way that we accentuate and support these qualities in each other, rather than tear down natural, God given desires. The Bible tells men to love their wives and tells women to honor and respect their husbands. Why is that? Because men are geared towards respect and women towards love and that is what each of us needs to be able to feel in our heart that we are loved. Just because I think he should feel loved by my words and actions, doesn’t mean he does. We speak different love languages and I need to becom fluent in his.

Marriage is NOT about our happiness, but rather our holiness.

My challenge for myself is to praise my husband’s strengths. Praise him for all that he does for our family and show him that, no matter what, I will always be on his side, through failures and successes. I love my man more than anything on this earth, and it’s about time my actions begin to show it…and show it in a way that he will respond to.

The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife
I’ve bought into a lie
That I’ve heard for too long
Marriage is about me
And my happiness alone
I’ve forgotten about him
His needs and desires
But if he challenges me
I call him the liar
I’ve diminished his feelings
And pushed my own agenda
No realizing, my words
Leave him lonely and bitter
In my ignorance, I’ve belittled
And stolen his dreams
I won’t look into his eyes
And see his soul scream
You see, he’s very simple
As all men really are
He longs for my acceptance
To feel my love in his heart

My role as his wife
Give praises, not grievance
But complaints leave me looking
Like a constant annoyance
How long can he stand for
Hearing he’s not enough
When his heart’s crying out
“Just like you, I need love.”
I’ve subconsciously assumed
He’s a man, it doesn’t hurt
But neglecting his needs
Has only made it worse
I’m just a well meaning wife
Never knew what I was doing wrong
But I see now I wasn’t giving him
What he needed to feel strong
You see, he’s very simple
As all men, he just endures
He wants to be my hero
And he needs to be assured

So now I have a choice to make
Now that my eyes are opened
Love him for the man he is
Or keep trying to change him
Why did I choose to marry him?
Because of who I thought he could be
Or was it because of his kind heart
The love shared from him to me
For me it was the latter
He gives of his life for mine
It’s time that I give him some room
To let his greatness shine
It’s time to quit complaining
Of all that I want done
Accept his heart and who he is
Praise all the things I love
It’s time to get back to that spark
We felt when it all began
Let go of control I think I need
And simply let him be my man
You see, he’s very simple
As all men tend to be
A little love goes a long way
In letting him feel free


Weekly Writing Challenge: Life Change in a Split-Second

The moment he told me he had always loved me, my life changed forever. After that moment, I could never go back to life as it was before.

As a kid, I loved standing on the shore of the ocean. The unknown out in front of me; a beautiful, open expanse of water that could take my life easier than I knew, or cared, at the time. This unknown caused my stomach to turn and my heart to flip, but I always dove in head first. I was ready for the adventure that the crashing waves would provide for me, or so I always thought. The adventure, on more than one occasion, had proven to be more than I could handle though as massive wave crashed against my small frame. Several times, I fought against the waves, always thinking I was battling for my life. One wrong move, one slip of the hand, one missed kick of the foot, and the wave would win. But this vie for life, this rush of adrenaline, this risky chance, is something I enjoyed taking, as summer after summer I ran into the water, at the mercy of the waves. Little did I know this would become a metaphor for my life.

Let me explain. My life has brought me through a series of waves that I have continuously battled against. Waves of shame, anger, depression, guilt, frustration (you get the picture) were constantly telling me I was not good enough, that I would never amount to anything, that no one loved me. And I battled these waves for as long as I can remember. I thought if I was stronger, if I could fight harder, if I could find the right “weapon” to fight with, I could win. But I spent most of my life struggling to keep my head above water. The waves always seemed to be one step ahead of me and I was slowly drowning.

I was almost 24 the first time I understood that my dad loved me; and once I knew that, I was done fighting. I gave up and let the wave of love take over me. I succumbed to honesty, truth, and faith. This time though, the wave was not trying to pull me under. Instead, it washed me onto the shore and landed me on my feet.

You see, not knowing my dad for 23 years of my life had taken its toll on me. I was torn, battered, bruised, and broken. Just a few weeks before my 24th birthday I talked to my dad and he shared some of his life with me. But the moment he spoke the words, “I have always loved you,” I felt secure. It was that moment, that exact second, that my life changed forever. Knowing how my dad felt about me was freeing and I exposed my hidden heart to him. I confided in him things I had never told another person. All my life, this is all I had ever needed – to know that my daddy loved me.

Sharing my repressed and forgotten hurts with my dad spurred me onto an emotional journey of healing. That is where I found Celebrate Recovery. Through the CR program I found healing, love, acceptance, peace, joy, and belonging. I discovered who I am – I am not my past, I am not what I have done. I am a loved and cherished child of God and NOTHING can take that away from me.

 

This post is written in rsponse to the Weekly Writing Challenge.  Check out the link to see more about it or to join in.


Best Race Signs

A collection of the signs that inspire us when we run races.

Bald Runner

My Journey In Ultra Running

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

running in circles

it's more fun to run together

Breaking the Chains

Moving Forward in Life

Faith4TheJourney

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~John 17:3

Our Life On The Border

Our life and ministry on the Border, The Baja & Beyond!

Jesus is for Losers

Really Random Thoughts From a Crazed Follower of Jesus

liveworship

ˈliv ˈwər-shəp - The collision of life, God, and the church.

ONE MOUNTAIN AT A TIME

Sharing stories. Encouraging hearts.

Grace Bible Church - Killeen, TX

Trust God's GRACE. Submit to the BIBLE in community. Be the CHURCH.