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better days

As 2014 drew to a close, I was more than ready to be done with it. It was a hard year, a challenging year, and I wanted nothing more than to kick it to the curb.

But that thought was always quickly followed by this one:

January 1st doesn't bring with it a clean slate and a fresh start like we imagine it does.

I know, I know, I know... My cynicism is flaring up big time. But it's true, isn't it? When the ball drops at midnight on the 31st, the troubles and horrors and heartaches of the year don't miraculously vanish like the monster under the bed does when we turn on the bedroom light.

Nope. Waking up on the first morning of the first day of the first month of the new year is really no different than waking up on the last morning of the last day of the last month of the old year. Nothing really changes when we start the new calendar.

Sad. But true.

Yet we hold fast the idea that there is hope and promise in each January 1st. There's a symbol there that we refuse to let go of—a symbol of change and do-overs and redemption...

And maybe the mirage alone is enough.

Maybe the symbolism carries a sort of placebo effect. Maybe it's exactly what we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The hope of better days burns brightest at the start of the new year, and the warmth and light it provides is genuine...even when it comes packaged in a sugar pill.

The new dawn doesn't necessarily signal the end of our Dark Night, but it hits an internal reset button nonetheless. So I'm allowing myself to embrace that, and not letting my jaded heart disregard the sacred significance of the moment.

For all of us who were ready to scrap 2014, I'm shaking off my cynicism and raising my mimosa glass:

To new beginnings, necessary endings, unexpected joys, light breaking, dreams realized, hope restored, and unforeseen love.

But mostly... To better days.

Originally posted on A Deeper Story »

i'm too much

“I feel so betrayed.” 

Ironic and painful words to hear from the mouth of the one who left his family for a new chosen “other.”

His refusal to engage in even one honest conversation about the massive elephant sucking the air out of the room was met by my refusal to simply engage in surface-level banter — our relationship warranted more than that. While processing through my own feelings of betrayal, I couldn’t even wrap my brain around him uttering that word.

What he couldn’t see — what he still refuses to acknowledge — is that what he calls “betrayal” is me being the woman he raised me to be.

He raised me to be brave and independent and loyal and even quite a bit stubborn.
I desire truth, openness, authenticity, and trustworthiness because he taught me to value those qualities.
Following his lead, I stand my ground, I use my voice for what I believe, I fight for justice and mercy, and I love fiercely—through the hurt and the hard.

I’m tenacious, loyal, persistent, and strong-willed because he modeled what it means to stand up after falling—bruises, scraped knees, bankruptcies, lost homes, failed ministries, and all.
He taught me to dream big; to start something from nothing, and believe it can become something amazing; to try again and again and again and again.

He raised me to be generous with second chances, liberal with apologies and forgiveness, abundant in humility, and rich in grace (even for myself).
He raised me to cry and laugh and, yes, even scream—to not be afraid of my emotions.
He raised me to be unashamedly me.

And now the me that I am is what he calls a betrayal.

Too much need for truth. Too many questions. I’m simply too much for him right now.

So the one man who has always been in this only-daughter’s corner effortlessly walked away. I’ve reminded him that regardless of my age or my season of life, I still need my dad, but it hasn’t made a difference. I’m more work than he feels it’s worth right now. More work than he feels I’m worth right now…

I’m too much and not enough all at the same time.

So, for the first time in my life, Father’s Day came and went without a gift, or a card, or a phone call. And I felt like I was simultaneously being true to myself and betraying myself, in equal measure—which is an awful feeling actually.

I sit here, fighting to wake up as I relive my nightmare. I sit here, fighting to not lose hope in the entire male population—or in all humanity for that matter. I sit here, fighting to keep my heart open, to be brave with trust, to risk and risk again.

All the while hearing his voice saying that he’s the one who’s been betrayed.

Originally posted on A Deeper Story. 
Read the comments there »

just a girl

I'm just a girl.
Standing in front of a boy
Asking him to love her.

We were watching Notting Hill again, this time with our staff team on a getaway weekend. It was near the end—of both the movie and our marriage.

After over a year of him denying the relationship I knew existed, he'd grown brazen and shameless. All day, among our small group of friends, he'd been laughing, joking, whispering, and ostentatiously flirting with her. He couldn't walk by her without touching her arm, flipping her hair, making some flirty remark. I kept looking around, hoping to catch someone else's look of surprise, shock, or horror at what was going on, but he'd long since established that this was just their level of friendship. No one even questioned it or raised an eyebrow.

And then that night, we all sat there, crowded into the rented bungalow's living room, watching Notting Hill. And when it got to that scene at the end? I lost my stuff.  Tears came. And they just kept coming. I finally excused myself and left the room.


I'm just a girl.
Standing in front of a boy
Asking him to love her.

But he refused.

After a decade together, he'd chosen someone else to love instead. His "I do" became "I don't," and he cruelly went so far as to say "I never really did." He turned words into a weapon and declared that he'd never loved me at all, but I know that can't be true.

For all our challenges, and all the hard times, and all the disastrous ways things went wrong in the end, there was a hell of lot of love between us for a hell of a long time. The love had undeniably been in his eyes, in his laugh, in the way we held onto each other through frightening and heartbreaking times. There was love, this I know. So I refuse to believe the hurtful, hateful sentiment he threw at me on his way out of our marriage.

Try as he might, our history could not be rewritten, discarded, or ignored. Whether he likes it or not, he's taken it with him into his new-now and into his surrogate future, just like I have. And I know I am (mostly) better for it.

I'm just a girl.
Standing in front of a boy
Asking him to love her.

With a terrifying sense of deja vu, I find myself there again—looking a man-turned-boy in the eyes and pleading to be loved. What is it that makes me grovel for what should be freely given? I'm still working out that equation—and many more—but I'm not sure I'll ever find the answers despite my best efforts at long division.



I finally excuse myself and leave the room.

Originally published at A Deeper Story. 
Read the comments there >