1. to pull apart or in pieces by force, especially so as to leveraged or irregular edges. Synonyms: rend, rip, rive. Antonyms: mend, repair, sew.
2. to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force
3. to distress greatly: anguish that tears the heart. Synonyms: break, crack, shatter, afflict.
4. to divide or disrupt: a country torn by civil war. Synonyms:disunite, split, splinter. Antonyms: unite, reunite, join, bind.
5. to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate. Synonyms: cut, mangle, slash.

Yesterday was my birthday. Yesterday was also the day I received divorce papers. I knew they were coming…I’ve known they were coming for almost three years. That didn’t change the deep sadness I felt when I saw my name on that attorney’s envelope.
No matter the reason for the end of our marriage, this is not what God intended. When we stood at the altar in July of 1999, the three of us created a covenant that was not designed to be broken. The end of a marriage is a tearing of that covenant that feels very much like a physical tearing, but one that can’t be mended with stitches or an antibiotic and a bandaid. It’s a deep wrenching of soul and spirit, inflicting pain that is not quickly healed.
The first year of our separation, I was a basket case. I cried at the drop of a hat, because for years I had put up a wall that was not easily breached, erected to protect me from the pain of a relationship that desperately needed healing. I woke up each day for weeks feeling my stomach drop seconds after my eyes opened, realizing that it was not a dream…he was not home, the bed was empty and probably would be for years, maybe forever. I counted my blessings on the nights when I actually did sleep, since once I turned out the lights (some nights I didn’t bother doing even that), every sound was seemingly magnified by loudspeakers.  I felt varying degrees of anger, sadness, frustration, rejection, devastation, shame, guilt, furiousness, relief, hopefulness, hopelessness, depression, exhilaration, exhaustion, worthlessness, yet gratefulness and so blessed. The body of Christ came alongside me in so many ways, both physical and spiritual. My heavenly Father used my earthly father to meet many needs. At one point I remember realizing that if I made a list of every problem I had before my husband left, it would no longer apply – He had met every need. I just didn’t have my husband.
The second year of our separation I began to accept it was over and tried to begin figuring out who I was without him. What were my likes and dislikes? How did I want to decorate what was now my home? Who did I want to spend my time with? What relationships were important to me? What were my goals – physical, spiritual, financial? Where did I want to go to church? How was I going to provide for myself? I wish I could say I had succeeded answering these questions. Many of them are still unanswered. I had so disappeared into the relationship that at age 38 I’m now discovering who I really am.
Since March, I’ve been marking time…counting the passing weeks and thinking I was ready, beyond ready even, for those final papers to arrive. I just wanted to put it behind me, to try to move on and stop living in the limbo of being single for all practical purposes, but not actually single. It’s kind of hard to join a singles group when you are in fact still married. I wanted to get the name change behind me, get past those inevitable questions…”oh you have a new last name. Did you get married?” “Well no…I got divorced.” Is there a graceful way of answering that question? I don’t want anyone to feel badly for asking, they have no way of knowing. I’m in no way ready for a new relationship, I just desire to put this behind me and begin living what is now my life.
Yesterday when I pulled that envelope out of the mailbox, I kept waiting to feel the joy, the relief that they were finally here. But I didn’t feel that at all. Just a sadness that this is where we are, so far away from what we intended and promised each other and our Lord on that hot summer day. How did it all go wrong? How did we get so far from the dreams we had? When did we cross the line from love and passion to dread and disrespect?
I don’t have the answers. All those feelings of anger and hurt and sadness that I thought I’d dealt with have come bubbling back to the surface, and I knew they would. Several friends warned me this would happen. I do know that Jehovah Jireh has provided for me over and over again. He has become my husband and He is the best husband a woman could ask for. There is great relief in that reality. And great comfort knowing that He will make beauty from these ashes, and He will use this death for my good, according to His purpose. After all, ‘many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ (Prov. 19:21)

it resonates…

i’m not really an oprah fan. her disregard for my Savior means I usually don’t give too much credence to her or her show. But since it’s her last season and you always miss what you can no longer have,  i’ve jumped on the ‘it’s the end of the Oprah show’ bandwagon and i’ve been DVRing her show each day.

Today Shania Twain was on the show, discussing her life and her biography, which was published today.

I couldn’t download it on my kindle fast enough.

oh how what she said resonated in my soul. what it feels like to be betrayed by someone you love and trusted. how she learned her husband had an affair, and with her best friend. how she had been confiding in that friend about her marriage, only to learn her suspicions about an affair was valid, AND that the other woman was her best friend.

Now I can’t relate to the specifics of her story. But i can relate to seeing the warped relationship my husband has with his parents/family, and having him deny it. I can relate to being as low as i think is humanly possible…to wanting to go to bed and not get up again. I know what it’s like to wake up and wish you hadn’t, because it means it’s not just a nightmare after all. to swallowing all pride and begging your husband to come home, or in my case, begging him not to leave. to losing yourself in a relationship, completely, so that you don’t even know who you are as a person because everything revolves around your spouse. swallowing any feelings and experiencing so much fear, but not realizing that’s what you’re experiencing. thinking there is something wrong with you, that you aren’t good enough or he wouldn’t have left, that there is something you could have done that would have made him love you more, and made him stay. wanting him to at least be honest and explain why he left the relationship, but never getting the answers or the honesty.

i’m still struggling with a lot of these feelings. like she said, i will always be sad that my marriage failed. it is not what i wanted. i meant it when i said ’til death do us part.

but i was so grateful to see how very happy she is now, remarried and secure in herself. she is such a beautiful woman. she deserves to have a man who is worthy of her love.

and so do i.

spring is here

you can always tell that springtime in Arkansas has arrived when the sky turns green (which I learned this week is actually hail in the clouds) and the tornado sirens are almost constantly heard.

Last Thursday night was a late one, with no sleep until after 3 AM when a line of storms had gone through my area. Just as i had decided it was probably safe to go ahead and go to sleep, a tornado warning was issued for my area. I’ve learned that signing up for one of those WeatherCall services really is worth the $7 a year. They only call if a tornado warning has been issued for your specific address, and it does give me a peace of mind that I wouldn’t normally have.

Then Tuesday night was a repeat of the same, but earlier in the evening and much closer to home.  WeatherCall seemed to be calling every 10 minutes.

There really is something about being home alone during storms like this that I don’t like. Normally weather like this doesn’t bother me in the least. I LOVE storms – the lightning, hail, wind, thunder, rain on the roof…i love all of it. But it’s a super eerie feeling to have herded the dogs into the most interior room of my home and turned the TV volume up as loud as it will go, so I can hear Ed Buckner on KTHV tell me exactly where the rotation is showing up on the radar…until the satellite cable goes out, and the lights keep dimming, and the sky is green, and the wind is blowing, and the last thing you heard is a funnel cloud was spotted three blocks away.

Yeah, this is one of those times that I wish i didn’t live alone.

I realize in the grand scheme of things that having someone there wouldn’t make a bit of difference if a tornado actually hit my home, but there is a measure of comfort in just having someone else there in a time like that.

Thankfully the funnel clouds stayed in the sky, and there were no reports of anything touching down. But this season is particularly active, and I don’t think we’re in any way finished for the spring storm season.

I finally finished my second quilt, a super simple patchwork of layer cake squares sewn together in Kate Spain’s Verna line, and backed with a sheet from Walmart. I wasn’t sure how the sheet was going to work out, but I really love it. And I LOVE the bias binding of the stripes…first time I’ve done a continuous bias binding and while it seemed to take forever, it all worked like magic, just like the instructions said it would, and I really liked not having to sew all the binding strips together or deal with seams. I also tried free motion quilting for the first time with this quilt and while it wouldn’t win any ribbons, once it was washed, you really couldn’t see my multiple mistakes.

Now I’m working on a quilt for my dad, to celebrate both his 70th birthday and also his Christmas gift. I’m incredibly late on this gift and really have no excuse; I need to get it finished and move on. I”m not crazy about the fabric, but it’s something I think he will like, and I found it on clearance so I could actually afford it. It’s a simple layer cake pattern, out of McCall’s Quick Quilts, called “Mom’s Bouquet.” I’m planning on making it for my mom for Mother’s Day out of Verna again…if I ever finish dad’s quilt.

My other challenge is that I was blessed with an incredible, can’t pass up deal on a new sewing machine, but I am terrified of it. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever used and I’m just really not confident with it at all. I know will love it when I gather the courage to sit down and use it. And the large throat will make quilting so much easier. i just need to get over it and do it.

Personally I’m still figuring out who I am as a single person…well, not really single. Still really very much married, since I’m legally married until this time next year (we have a covenant marriage, which doesn’t allow for divorce unless you’ve been separated for two years with no reconciliation). I don’t mean that I’m in any way functioning in ways a typical single person does. But I am figuring out who I am without a husband, and really who I am period. I was with my husband for 17 years, since I graduated high school, and I really disappeared into the relationship. Everything revolved around him and his wants and desires. I don’t even really know what my wants and desires are, but I am learning.

And praise Him for new beginnings, and a new life in Him, made possible by His incredible sacrifice for us and the gift of new life in Christ! We will celebrate this gift tomorrow, Easter, and I’m praying that I will be mindful of new beginnings daily, not just once a year.