The truth sets you free

It’s time to be real. To be honest. To lay it bare.

Fear. Shame. We all have it and shy away from anyone who may hurt us by exposing us. The people in our life can be split in half right down the middle by two types; those who love us anyway and those who love to hold us back.

When I sit and ponder my life and my purpose, I know it well within the deepest core of my soul – that I’m supposed to write. But, I also tell myself that I am disqualified, undeserving and a fraud. Someone will surely expose the events in my life that hold the most disappointment – and I will be publicly reminded of my worthlessness and be humiliated.

Each time I began to write the excitement floods in, maybe this will be the piece that hits someone, maybe this will be the one that goes viral. It ignites my soul and once the piece is done – it feels phenomenal. But fear still visits.

When we succumb to fear we give in and find other ways to sabotage ourselves by disguising our fear in a respectful manner. Posing it as something outside our control.

Korie Robertson’s advice to her children, shared by Sadie Robertson.

People read my words and tell me that it makes them feel good too. Shame reminds me that there are parts of my life I’m not prepared to share, and if I continue down this path, I must be prepared for battle. I let fear consume me like a kudzu vine, and kill the dream.

It is a harsh reality when you must own up to the fact that you are not courageous enough to be fearless. That in the face of challenge, adversity and judgment, I was a coward. Can we be real for a minute? Do you understand the amount of courage it would take to write my story? …for me to say to the world I’ve messed up and I am strong enough to stand proud regardless. About everything.

Do you understand that if I write my story, if I share my truth, the world will need to know my faults, my hardships, and my demons before they could understand my triumphs? Do you realize that in order to be accurate in my personal accounts, I would have to bare my weaknesses and give my enemies permission to use them against me?

To write my story, I’d have to go back to where I first got stuck. I’d have to tell you the why’s and how’s before the gratefulness of the now’s!

How many times I’ve been married and broke my vows. How many times I’ve been divorced. How I met a criminal who almost killed me. How I met a man who was kind and good, and I hurt him. How I cheated. How I lied. How I got fired. How I stole. How I almost loved a lost man so much that trying to save him, almost caused the loss of myself, and put my children in indirect danger.

How I have a daughter I did not raise, and that I fear I’ve failed. How I have a father that couldn’t and wouldn’t choose to love me, and a mother who’s addictions replaced her desire to want me. How to this very day there is a man who daily attempts to break me. I’d have to share about the time I was on assistance. The times we had no money & no food.

You’d learn that I have a brother who’s an addict, in and out of prison for the past 20 years. And, I’d have to tell you about the time I attempted suicide, and woke up angry at God that it didn’t work. And, how each and every one of these instances were the broken ground on which a more firm, stable and loving foundation was formed – and where I found Jesus met me each time.

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The answer Mack was given when he asks Papa why she brought him back to the Shack where Missy died.

Do you know how much power is in all this truth? And how much courage it took to even write these truths down? And, guess how much fear I feel having now released it? None.

Sharing my stories, will be painfully honest, and to be honest it will have to be dark at times, and I have to be willing to share these stories with people I love, people who’s respect I would want to keep, and whose judgment I am now ready for. Because their judgement has no bearing on me any longer.

I choose to share my truth with complete strangers who may attempt to tear me apart but won’t succeed. Because there is one person, the same person who built me for struggle, who built me to share my story, who gifted me the desire and ability to write out my inner most personal feelings in a way that enraptures people’s souls.

Today, for the first time in my life, I can say wholeheartedly that with God within me, and above me, that anything below can never break me. Because the truth is there is one person who knows my story, one person who loves me anyways and the only person who can justly judge me, and it’s not the person who sells the story, it was the person who co-wrote it beside me. God.

God didn’t answer my prayers to change my circumstances, because he needed me to be in those trenches, to be in the lions den to allow me to escape unscathed. And, the first step is facing the fear of those lions, facing the fear that they may bite, they may intimidate and they could easily devour me – but God protects me. My faith has to be stronger than my fear.

This is my story of a past that built me. A beautiful story mixed with that of a tattered reputation and an inspiring redemption. No one can tell my story for me, but me.

And, I AM READY.

Always the bad guy…Divorce sucks.

“There are two ways to get on my bad side pretty quickly and pretty permanently. Accusing me of doing something that I am not, or telling me the kind of person I am because you think it are the two ways.”

The truth is, being divorced is sometimes harder then having just stayed in the hellish marriage. Many times the reason we leave is because there are irreconcilable differences – what we don’t realize, is those differences follow us into Divorce-land as well. They saying “there are always three sides to every story” was coined for good reason – because there is. There is your side, their side and the real side – which only the two of you honestly know, unless of course one is mentally handicapped – which many of us may claim the other is! Either way – it can be a mess. According to my ex- I am the reason he doesn’t have his kids, I am the reason for everything wrong in his life. When the truth is – he is wrong.

Yes, there are those relationship where the split is amicable, the divorce right down the middle, no one screwed the other, the kids are peachy keen happy, one got the cat, the other gets the dog and rainbows fly out of everyone’s ass – I’m not a member of one of those!

We divorced after six years of marriage, with children age three and six months. The first year was utter hell – for everyone involved. Then things got better – pretty great actually for about three years. Then add in school, and sports and one side not being as involved and you find yourself being summoned to court for a Status Quo Order. If you are not familiar with this, it is an order that forces the parent making any change, to halt any change pending a Judge to hear the case and the other parents arguments against it. In our case, I was trying to change Schools and he was not in favor.

As quickly as I was standing there in court facing him, discussing our points and reasons for and against, I will never forget for the rest of my life what our Judge said next. Pointing at me he said ” you go get your documents, your dirt on him and all your people  and then pointed at him and said the same following with “You both have a custody battle on your hands – one of you is leaving here next time with Custody and the other without” – my heart fell into my stomach. I was terrified I would lose, I hated my Ex – because he couldn’t just work with us, and he had to bring us to court and now I was going to lose my children.

For the next month or so, I did my research, I met with an attorney, documented the “dirt” I had, contacted friends, family any witnesses possible to be on my side. Sleep never happened because I was sick to my stomach the entire time. Our lives had been thrown upside down and all because of a school choice.

Fast forward to court – walking in, I had my witnesses, my family, documentation, all my ducks in a row. In walks in my ex-husband alone, with not even a pen in his hand. Looking at him, I was confused – this didn’t make sense – what was he doing. He brought forth no witnesses, he used his same argument he has used before – which was repeatedly overruled. Within 15 minutes, the Judge gave me Sole Physical Custody of our children, and with my first breath of what felt like months, I wept instead of jumping with joy. Losing would have killed me, but winning killed me too – because it killed part of the children.

Later that night, he would call me crying saying the kids could to the school, and just go back to what it was – I don’t think he even understood that the court took that right away. My anger at him exploded, and I asked why the hell he hadn’t tried, why hadn’t he fought, why didn’t he say this thing I did bad, or that thing I did bad, where was his wife, his family – Seriously what the hell were you thinking. He just cried and said he was done fighting.

We went  a year without speaking, I was the one that took his kids away, making him a weekend warrior and no longer a father. School conferences would go without his attendance, anything about the kids on our time he didn’t care about – even if it was serious – he would say he didn’t have a say – so why tell him. It was hell on him, and them, and truthfully for me too. He never went to our daughters games, or practices – he would sabotage her by making her miss a game, or not allow her to go to practice. She would try to share things with him, and he would push her away saying she was like my husband now, and that she was choosing a life without him. For a year, he repeatedly did this, to where now she doesn’t spend time with him, unless she is forced. During this time, I wrote him multiple times, to get him to snap out of it, before it was too late, to not make the same mistake with her, that our parents had made with us – and he would just ignore me.

During this time, my husband and I would argue, because I was trying to fix things for my ex with the kids – because in my husbands opinion, I wouldn’t allow my ex to fail in my children’s eyes – I didn’t feel he should fail. Both kids during this time got closer to their step-dad. Which is to be expected, my husband was stepping in, where their dad had stepped out. As time passes, and things progress both kids are closer to their step-dad than their father and little by little, they pull away from him more. The middle is where I find myself constantly, trying to smooth things over, talk the kids into a visit, or the ex out of my evil accusations. I thought things would get easier as the years passed, and I was wrong. I’m not even sure who I am battling anymore, because its just a mess.

I never tell him, he is the reason  we got divorced, or that he is the reason he lost the kids – I never remind him of all the reasons or the facts – I just try to encourage a relationship with his children. But to be honest, who children are they really when he just keeps letting them down?

Some days, I just think I can never win – and my kids will pay the price.