I Keep Holding On

It's been a while since I've been able to write about anything happening in my life. It's not that things haven't been happening - it's just that I didn't know how to deal with it or talk about it.

My husband and I are in marriage counseling. That's a hard thing to talk about. I get people out there telling me that it's okay to leave him. I get people out there who want to constantly judge him and make sure I remember what a terrible person he's been. I also get people who pray for us and want to help us make this better.

I like to surround myself with the people in the last category. While marriage counseling was looking hopeless for a while (too expensive), I once again reached out for help. It's really difficult to find help if you don't ask for it. My uncle knows a LOT of people and happens to know a couple from his old church who offers marriage counseling. We weren't sure if they would have the time to help us, but thankfully one of them did. We've been meeting every Tuesday evening for the past few weeks. And knowing our financial situation, he isn't even asking for money. He is helping us because that's what he loves to do. We've been reading the book "Love and Respect" along with working through our issues.

I admit I am really proud of my husband for trying to be a better man. There is a lot he has to deal with, but he is trying to make it better. That's all I can ask.

As for me, I've learned a lot about forgiveness. I'm not sure I've ever talked about forgiveness with anyone until last night. J asked me for my definition of forgiveness. I told him I couldn't really give an official definition, it's more of a process. I explained to him that I know what Jesus did for us a long time ago. He died on the cross for our sins. It wasn't just for MY sin... it was for everyone's sin. That includes my husband. That includes my family. That includes my friends. That even includes strangers. People make mistakes in their life. I certainly have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I've learned from them - the biggest lesson being forgiveness. Who am I to say that Jesus died for my sins and that I am forgiven but think that others don't deserve the same forgiveness? Whatever bad things have happened, I forgive him because God did. He deserves that forgiveness as much as I do. I will not judge someone by their mistakes. I have done a lot of bad things in my life but I have grown up from those mistakes. I am not the same person I used to be. I trust God that my husband will not be the same person he used to be.

I believe God deals with each of us in a unique way. God is certainly dealing with my husband right now (and me too) and I am holding on to all of God's promises for us. I am exercising patience. I am exercising forgiveness. While there are still days I want to give up, I keep holding on.

"take away the cause of pain
by showing her were all the same.
have no envy
no fear
every day we try to find
we search our hearts and our minds
the place we used to call our home
cant be found when were alone"
-Joshua Radin

Even If It Means Asking For Help

The girls and I stood in line today for a back to school event at New Heights Church in Owasso. No, this wasn't like meeting the teachers or visiting your kids' classrooms. This was a back to school event for families who are struggling and need relief with the cost of kids going back to school. Call us poor people if you want, but whatever the title, this type of event was meant for us this year.

My desire to give back (and blog, The Generosity Project) comes from those who have given to us in our times of need. Today was another one of those times where we've had to be the recipient of the help.

I used to not be okay with that. After all, we once were financially stable. My husband had a great paying job, I was able to stay home with the girls. We were doing alright and expected to always be alright.

Then something happened and our finances flopped. I can't pinpoint a moment or event that caused our financial downward spiral, but the point is that it happened. Bad things can happen to good people and it's often harder to get back on your feet than most people think. We do what we can to get through it and keep praying for that moment where everything will be alright again.
Sometimes the struggle is our fault and sometimes it's not. But I can't be ashamed of our life. No one should be ashamed of their life.

You know why?

Because these are the things that strengthen us as individuals. These are the things that we learn from. These are the things that cut through pride and knock us off our high horse - and we all need that from time to time. Sometimes it's hard to admit that you need help, but you shouldn't ever be ashamed of your situation. There are still really good people out there who want to help - and they don't even care if you're a complete stranger. For me, meeting these generous people is a bigger blessing than having them meeting our needs.

Today, the girls and I stood in line for help. They all received a backpack of school supplies. They were also given brand new underwear, socks, and brand new shoes! That alone was a blessing to us. In addition to those things, we all received free haircuts and clothes. Also offered at the event were free scoliosis tests, dental care, and eye exams.

It's hard enough (and stressful) wondering what our next meal will be and knowing that it probably wouldn't come at all if it weren't for the help my parents are offering us right now. It's hard having to budget our meals through the week and having a growing child in the house who is always hungry and you can't feed her between meals. But I also have these smart girls who I know I've raised well and they just want to look good for their first day of school. Their school has a dress code and many of their clothes don't meet the dress code. So that means trying to pay for new clothes for school - especially new shoes (since they mostly own flip flops and open toed shoes). To receive some clothes and shoes today had me choking back tears.

Normally I don't go around seeking out someone to pray with, but today was different. I asked a prayer counselor at this event to pray with me and the girls. We prayed for a great school year for the girls and for a financial turn around for our family and to continue to be able to give back. We gave praise and thanks for these gifts today.

While it's hard and can sometimes feel embarrassing to admit that we are struggling, I hope by admitting these things and showing everyone that we're all turning out okay, that someone else out there who could be struggling in the same way would swallow their pride and just accept help. Even if you think your story "isn't that bad", a stressful life is NOT better than a peaceful one. That peace is out there waiting for you.

God gave us all a life of being able to make our own choices. You can choose to suffer through your life or you can choose to do what it takes to make it better - even if it means asking for help.

"And you think I'm weak.
I think you're wrong."
-Matchbox 20