Lord, please forgive me…

…I responded in anger.

Someone decided they would do our family a favor and tell us how we should operate. An attempt was made to rip each layer of our family apart… from our heritage to the great grandchildren. (What this individual doesn’t know is that this is just going to make us stronger. But that’s another blog post…)

And I digress, but I have to say it: WHO DOES THAT?!

I consider this type of behavior to be “below the belt”. It was an underhanded attempt to what? Knock our feet out from underneath us?! That’s just downright unsportsmanlike.

And what did I do?! I got angry. My heart turned black. It was ugly! I wanted to hop in the car and drive to his house (even though I’d have to drive through a few states to get there) and … um, I wanted to STEP ON HIS TOES.

OK – in all reality I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to respond in anger and maybe even slap him (I’ve never done that before… is it a relief to finally do it?!). The response in my heart was ugly… but it’s the truth… it’s how I felt.


And yes, I know I’m crazy for showing my ugly dark side. Here I sit and type… sending this ugliness out into the blog universe. And I’m doing my best to be authentic… to be real… to be genuine…

Lord, as I meditate on the first chapter of James, please correct my attitude, heal my stretching and heaving heart and protect me from bitterness.

I know you created me in your image… and I won’t beat myself up over this for too long. But I’m still learning how to honor you and your sacrifice, how to put aside my sinful nature and focus on your glory as mentioned in the eighth chapter of Romans.

 

Thank you for loving me anyway… I sit at your feet and worship your holiness…

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My life flashed before my eyes…

It happened several weeks ago. The day was August 28, 2010…

Heading south on the 15 freeway, on the way to day #2 of a ridiculously fun weekend with a great group of girlfriends! It was early on Saturday morning… and there were few people on the freeway. I was in “still-waking-up” mode, sipping on my iced coffee and probably singing along to some tunes. My SUV was “flying” down the freeway (however I will not admit to my speed on the grounds that it might incriminate me).

And then … the truck in front of me changed lanes.

::: we’re going to take it in slow motion from here :::

As the driver hit a bump in the road the ladder in the back of his truck popped up off the rack and was airborne! I heard a crash, a scrape and the sound of metal crunching against metal.

And the driver kept going… no brake lights… no nothing (yes, the driver was a “HE” – how do I know?! because he was clueless of the problem happening behind him!)…

Still parallel to the ground, the ladder flew into the front grate of a work truck in the lane to my right… I had just passed the truck next to me, so it was slightly behind my right bumper.

It all happened so fast, but it looked like the ladder flipped, and then got run over by the truck. Immediately the driver hit the brakes and veered off to the shoulder of the freeway. How he didn’t hit someone else in the process was a miracle… thankfully few people were on the road so early in the morning.

In my mind, as I replayed what had just happened, I watched that ladder fly by my passenger window. It dawned on me that IF it had flown out while that truck was still directly in front of me it would have hit my vehicle at a higher elevation than it hit the truck next to/behind me. Could it have potentially gone through my front windshield?!

Thankfully, there are only a few times in my life that my livelihood has flashed before my eyes. But everytime that “flash” happens, well… I thank the Lord on High for not taking me home to Him yet. (Not that I’d complain if He did… selfish me just wants to stick around here a bit longer.)

I love my life. I love my work (on most days). I love my husband (except when he … well, enough said). I love how I’m finally meeting some of the goals I’ve had for a long, long time.

When it comes down to it, while I believe I would “be ready” when that day comes … this was yet another reminder that my days are numbered (as if the time the door flew off the minivan while I was waiting to cross a busy intersection downtown San Diego wasn’t enough… or the time I stopped on the side of the road to stop a man trying to choke his girlfriend, to death… or the time… well, you get the idea).

Am I living how I’m supposed to live? Will I leave behind the legacy meant for my life? What else does God intend for this life before He calls me to His side?

Caught unaware…

Over the past 6-8 months I have been slowly pulling boxes out of storage in order to rid up and organize/sort. As a task-oriented person, this has been a task I’ve enjoyed, so far… but I wasn’t prepared for this… I was caught unaware…

Last weekend I pulled 4 boxes into the living room. They were marked “kitchen”, “Lori’s old school stuff” (2 boxes) and “reminiscence stuff”.

The kitchen box was easy enough. I pulled out the apron that was packed among an empty recipe box, some candle holders and a hanging basket for fruit. Hey – I’ve been looking for that!

The school stuff box was fun. Too bad I didn’t have these school pics and awards when I was scrapbooking a few months back. Hmm… maybe I can add a few pages to that edition of my history?

And then I opened the reminiscence box. It was full of smaller shoe boxes and stationary boxes full of cards and letters. But this next box was unmarked.

This is when I was blind-sided, bushwhacked, caught unaware, hit unexpectedly… (yes, I hit up the thesaurus this morning).

It contained what I had considered “the junk” from my first marriage and subsequent divorce in 1996. First I went through a large pile of engagement, bridal shower and wedding cards. But when I opened the box of pictures I got sick to my stomach. There was a picture of me standing in my miniature living room. Our apartment was built over my brother-in-law’s garage. I was surrounded by our hand-me-down furniture and the men of the family who had just moved us in. I could see the anxiety on my face and in every muscle of my body…

Why do the faces of these men still turn my stomach?! But the bigger question is, why do I feel a sting hitting the back of my eyes ever these people?!

Today… looking over these pictures, numb, crying on the living room floor…. but more so SHOCKED by the sadness I am experiencing for the first time in 14 years. Am I really feeling SAD over the loss of myself and this marriage?

That’s a new one… I haven’t felt sad over this before.

But back to moving day…
Prior to the divorce, at the time of moving into the apartment over the garage, I was experiencing regular anxiety attacks. I was experiencing 3 or 4 attacks a day. Looking at the picture in my hand, I had been married for about 8 months… and our marriage would last another 6 months or so.

I didn’t trust these men standing in my living room. I didn’t trust my own response to them. I couldn’t sleep through the night. I couldn’t keep up with their expectations on my life. And I had felt forced to take on a full time job (and drop all my college classes) so that my husband could take an unpaid sabbatical because he was stressed. Why was he stressed? Maybe because of his family’s expectations on his life?

All the while I was torn. My faith told me I had to do my best to be a woman of integrity, faith, honesty. And if I lived up to their expectations on my life I couldn’t be those things also.

Fast forward to the Fall of 1996…
Immediately following the divorce I felt FREE. I had worked so hard to keep those people happy all the while trying to keep to my morals. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I became sarcastic and jilted about that period of my life. I had a popular saying: “It sucked to be a Hoover!” (Yes, my married name had been Hoover and I loved playing up the whole “suck” factor in light of the popular vaccuum company. I even took on a theme song “I Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”. Thank you Carly Simon! You were a big part of my life for a long time.

Being honest about it now… I knew our marriage was over before it ever began. Literally, I almost called it all off 6 weeks before the wedding. It’s a bittersweet thing to say… but I’m glad I didn’t. Through this time of my life I was blessed with a “sister” and niece who I still consider family. Many friendships were strengthened through this period of my life… and God gave me a ministry in talking with other women about the devastation of divorce and healing from such a tragedy.

Still I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I gave it all I had to give. I did my best to make our marriage work. I did my best to honor my husband. In fact, I gave more than I had to give. And in the end their expectations are what caused the marriage to crumble. Their expectations on how my husband should control what his wife says, how she acts and why she does what she does caused him to leave me one day while I was at work. They talked him into deception. And deceive me he did.

And I’m here to report that I sat on the living room floor last week for nearly 30 minutes… the tears kept coming. I cried more tears than I thought were still there. My heart broke… and healed in those same minutes. I am ready to say a final goodbye.

Fast forward to healing…
I rose from the ashes of that marriage/divorce with a stronger integrity, a stronger faith… a renewed sense of speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

To this day I celebrate my own personal FREEDOM DAY… every October 20th. I take some time away to think about the lessons learned, the bittersweet times with that family, the renewal that God brought about in my life. And the woman He’s created me to be.

And I think this year I will have another bonfire to “rid up” the rest of this junk.

Anyone have a fire pit I can use?

Edited note from author:
To the credit of my ex-husband… several years after our divorce he called me to apologize. Whether or not he truly meant it, or if it was a ploy prior to asking me to consider giving him another chance, I truly believe he recognized how horrible he allowed our life to become. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us were perfect in this marriage. But we did have the opportunity to clear the air.

Fast forward to today. This month I celebrate a 7th anniversary with my wonderful husband, Lee. I am blessed beyond BLESSED to have found a man who loves me, encourages me, supports me and wants the best for me. We have weathered some pretty tumultuous storms and come through them even stronger and more in love. I love my husband!