To Count Or Not To Count

90 Days.

The early morning text from my husband, followed by a picture of his 90 day chip.

I haven’t been counting the days this time. I’ve counted them every time. I always have to start over.

If I don’t count, I don’t have to start over.

Thankful he shared the news over text where he couldn’t see my face or hear my voice. Sense my hesitancy in how to respond.

I find the right gif, hit send, tell him how proud I am. I don’t stop and think of what today’s date is. I don’t try to catalog the date in my head so that I won’t forget next month.

I’m not ready to start counting.

I’m thankful he sleeps during the day. Grateful I have a busy work day that will keep my mind on other things.

Then it’s the afternoon and he is awake and texting about coming home this weekend. He’s been talking about it for a few days now and I never seem to get the words right.

I don’t know how to walk this road we’re on. Living in separate states. Separate lives really. Visits to see him for Father’s Day. Talking about him coming home to visit. Visiting his home. Our home.

Not ready for that to be a reality.

Wondering if he remembers the conversations we had while he was in rehab. Replaying them in my mind over and over.

Talking about how we – me…the girls…need time. That we can’t do this again.

Remembering how I said that in December. 6 months ago. Only. He just got his 90 day chip. Not his 6 month chip.

He got to 89 days the last time.

89 days before our world fell apart again.

89 days after I said…not again…we can’t do this again…we won’t do this again. We were doing it again.

What does that make it? 96 days since our world crashed down around us again?

How is he counting his sober days? The 23rd of March – he was in the middle of his worst relapse yet.

I have to say “yet” because I thought the one last July was the worst…then I thought the one last December was…

Nothing could have prepared me for the March 2017 relapse.

I can’t go through a worse relapse than this last one. I can’t even fathom what a worse one would look like. I cannot imagine that we would all survive another one.

Even more…our girls can’t.

We are still in the very beginning stages of trying to heal. Our wounds are still tender, still open, they still bleed almost daily.

Our timeline doesn’t fit his. Our timeline hurts him.

I know my words today wounded him. I know he takes my uncontrollable sobbing when he leaves as a sign I want him to come home, and then must be confused when I say we aren’t ready.

I want to remind him we didn’t make this choice. I didn’t make this choice. Our girls didn’t make this choice. He made this choice. His decisions…actions…Our decisions….reactions that followed…

I remember that we made a plan.

I remember him changing the plan.

I remember not putting up a fight. Because I remembered the last time I put up a fight about his plan…I remember how quick the relapse was. So I stayed quiet this time. I let him make the plan. I didn’t cry. I didn’t protest. I put his needs ahead of our family’s. Again.

Now he wants to change the plan again. His plan. The plan I had to accept and am living.

The plan that breaks my heart daily, leaves me lonely, raising our girls on my own again…

The plan that gives my heart time to heal…our girls’ hearts time to heal…makes our home a safe place again – a place where our girls don’t live in fear of the next relapse and what that might look like.

There is nothing easy about this separation. Not for him. Not for me. Not for our girls.

Not easy doesn’t mean not necessary.

Sometimes the paths that are the most difficult and seem the most impossible are God’s way of protecting our hearts from the path that may seem easier but will ultimately end in a bigger heartbreak.

“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18 (ESV)

Surely there is a future…

My hope will not be cut off…

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Alcoholism, Celebrate Recovery, Communicating in marriage, Dealing with relapse, Family, First NLR, Marriage, Mom of girls, Our Life, Proverbs, Proverbs 31 wife, Recovery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Silence

Sometimes it’s a lack of words…other times a too busy season…maybe just a season of life…

Then there are the silent times when you have all of the words but you can’t use them because to speak them…write them…is to admit….to share…to expose…what happened in the silence.

Sometimes weeks…months even,  go by, and the silence, at first haunting, becomes a welcome reprieve and what began as a short break turns into a crutch that you lean on to avoid admitting….sharing…exposing…

Breaking the silence after so long leaves you at a loss of what to share – even how to share – where to start – what is important anyway?

Wondering where your story ends and another person’s story begins – trying to decide how to be true to your story when so much of theirs in tangled up in yours – and so maybe not even yours to tell.

Trying to break the silence sometimes makes the silence longer.

Silence

When I first started writing, it was to share my story so that someone…just one even…would know they are not alone….as I had felt so alone…

How do you pick it back up when you’ve hidden yourself away for so long. When so much has happened and it doesn’t make sense to write in any kind of chronological order because your heart is so burdened by the now and the most recent past….but everything that happened in the silence has led up to this moment.

If I could show you my tears…what I have wept over…if you could just read my heart…

The words, when spoken outside of my heart, often seem cold and distant.

You can’t see my tears so maybe you can’t see everything that is hidden in the silence.

I’ve written a silence breaking post in my head a thousand times over.

Every time, it starts by asking forgiveness…grace…because I know once I share these months of silence, so much will be disjointed and jumbled and possibly incoherent to anyone outside of my heart.

So where do I start?

By sharing my heart with you? It’s shattered and trying to heal and find…peace in this new place. I started to say joy…hope…but if I’m nothing else in this space, I am transparent and peace is what I am searching for today.

I think I’ve almost found it and then…the moment fades and it almost feels like my search has begun all over again and any progress I had made is lost.

Then I think…I could just share the events of the last few months…tell you how we got to this particular point in time…start with the outer edges of the puzzle and slowly fill in the inner pieces…

Neither of these ways seem to bring words to my fingers…both ways seem to encourage more silence…

The only way I’ve been able to tell about the last year has been in cold facts…facts which do not tell any of the story of my heart. Facts that only build taller fences around my heart…a heart which is so hesitant to open itself up to any more breaks…

A heart which has cracked in so many places and left whole pieces of it somewhere so far away I can’t seem to find them to put them back in place.

So this is my start. I won’t ask for your forgiveness or patience or grace….instead I will assume all of those things….an assumption I made long ago before ever sharing my heart.

Breaking the silence may bring more silence….it may bring more words than I know what to do with…it may bring a mixture of both…hopefully it also leads me to find the peace that has been just out of reach for what seems like the longest time…

This journey of silence has been a long one…formed out of a broken – and often still breaking – heart.

Perhaps breaking the silence will begin the journey of recovering the pieces of my broken heart.

 

 

Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Alcoholism, Dealing with relapse, Family, Marriage, Our Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Made Well

It can’t be coincidence that Jenny Simmons published two books, in two years, both at a time when I needed to hear the exact words she wrote.

About a year ago, I was reading The Road to Becoming and learning to realize I was still on that road…that it was okay to still be on that road…that I was becoming something more even in the middle of feeling like I wasn’t becoming anything.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I found out I got to be on the launch team for Jenny’s newest book, Made Well…Finding wholeness in the everyday sacred moments…

I got the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy – book launchers get the coolest acronyms!) soon after that, opened it up and the tears started rolling…

“We live in the heartbreaking tension of the now and the not yet.”

When your husband goes to a 14 month rehab so he can come home and never drink again…except…that isn’t your reality.

madewell-quote1

“I longed for a miracle, and yet I knew enough about the way this broken world works that I also wanted to protect myself. I just couldn’t figure out how.”

When you tell yourself this is it, this is what is going to work…because you can’t prepare yourself for it not working….because it’s been too many times and you are too broken to go through this even one more time…when you need this to work…to be the last time…all the while trying to decide what you’ll do when it isn’t….knowing there is no way to make that decision before you’re living it…maybe not even while you’re living it.

madewell-quote2

“The pain was too great and I was too broken.”

When you told him before he left…I can’t go through this again. I don’t want to. I will….but I don’t want to…and then….there you are…going through it…all over again…

madewell-quote-3

“The miracle we prayed for hadn’t happened.”

When you trusted that this time was the last time. When you prayed for his recovery and dealt with all the things alone…made all the decisions while he was gone…were careful not to burden him with financial or parenting struggles when he came home because you worried that putting that on him would be too much for him to handle sober…

madewell-quote4

When you do all of those things…alone…and he still relapses…

When your miracle doesn’t happen….when the answer to your prayers doesn’t look the way you need it to look…when the answer is silence…when the answer is not yet…

You can still be made well.

God is still good.

God still chooses you.

God still sees you and loves you and cares for you and wants good things for you.

Check out Made Well by Jenny Simmons…available on Amazon and all major book retailer websites.

Go…click…buy…read…highlight…keep an extra copy on hand for the friend who is still waiting for her miracle too….

 

 

 

Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Addison Road, Alcoholism, Amazon, christian books, Dealing with relapse, Jenny Simmons, Marriage, Mom of girls, Prayer, Recovery, the Road to Becoming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Do the Next First Thing

3:48 am

I think I’m almost tired enough to fall asleep but he’s awake now, turning the TV on.

I try to cover my head with the sheet but it doesn’t help. I try a pillow, but it’s already so hard to breathe I’m afraid I might suffocate.

I ask him to turn the TV down but either he doesn’t hear me or he’s asleep again.

I turn over and let the tears fall on my pillow again, start to wipe my eyes and remember I didn’t take my makeup off.

My suitcase lays beside the bed, still packed. Knowing I’m only home for a few days. Thinking if I don’t unpack the days will go by more quickly and I’ll survive them.

5:14 am

He’s awake, out of bed. I hear the familiar sounds of him getting ready for work.

I want to get up and tell him we can’t just pretend life is normal again, but I can’t move.

6:25 am

I hear him walking up beside me to kiss me goodbye. Like he does every morning. Like this is a normal morning. I protest his leaving. It falls on deaf ears as he walks away.

8:22 am

I must’ve finally fallen asleep. I am awakened by a text message. I pull my laptop onto the bed. The world hasn’t stopped. I still need to work.

A friend who knows this world I live in first hand texts me. Prays me through surviving the morning. Reminding me to just do the next thing.

I can’t. Not yet.

So she tells me to remember to breathe. She tells me I can do that.

She has no idea how important that reminder is right now.

Eventually I make it from the bed to the chair in the living room. Make my coffee.

The tears won’t stop.

More texts.IM’s. Emails. Work.

Offers to come here. To pick me up. But I can’t face people right now.

I need something out of my bag but I can’t manage to get up and get it.

My phone is at 9% and I am sitting here waiting for it to turn off. One less way for anyone to reach me.

11 am

I join a conference call for work and I have to say hello. I hit mute as quickly as possible. The call goes on and the laughter is just more evidence of life going on around me and I can’t control the tears.

But I can control who hears them.

I don’t even hear them myself. Silent tears. I don’t allow myself to make a sound.

11:52 am

I keep expecting a text from him. I try to decide what I will say to him when he gets home.

Nothing is all I can think of. I think maybe I could just hide in one of the girls’ bedrooms this weekend.

He kept telling me last night I can’t blame myself. It’s all I do.

blame

This is happening to me. I know it’s happening to him too, but I am not an active or willing participant. I am just a casualty with a front row seat and with no say on what happens next.

I try to imagine how this weekend will go. A dozen scenarios if he keeps drinking. A dozen if he doesn’t.

They don’t matter. It’s all outside of my control. My needs are second. Always. My wants…I can’t see that they even matter.

I play this song on repeat in my head.

Thy Will Be Done (Hillary Scott)

“I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

 

I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store”

That’s the only next thing I can do.

I try to remember how I survived this the last time. I think I must have been stronger then.

Or maybe just not broken in to so many pieces. I remember telling him the last time that I couldn’t go through this again. Then quickly changing my words to – I will, but I don’t want to…

I try to remember feeling like I couldn’t pick up the pieces but always managing to find a way.

I can’t remember yet. I can’t remember what the next first thing is.

Except writing. Writing is healing to me. So I sit here and write.

And breathe.

I can do that.

 

Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Alcoholism, Dealing with relapse, Marriage, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Saturday Thoughts

My husband is at a men’s retreat so I thought I would mow. 

When Rob mows, the yard is so pretty. Nice straight lines…

When I mow…curves…yep. That’s the word that comes to mind. 

I think when I mow. My mind is apparently pretty curvy. 

  
My neighbor started mowing his yard too. His grass is greener. No. Literally. 

Also. He mows in straight lines. 

I wonder if we’ll go get a spreader and some seed after church tomorrow. I think it’s supposed to rain in a few days and we should do it the day before it rains. 

I should write a blog post about the thoughts I think while I’m mowing. Wait. Who am I? Jen Hatmaker? No. I am not. Everyone wants to hear about JHat’s thoughts. Me. Probably not so much. 

I should’ve worn something with pockets so I could have my phone with me. 

I should probably move the grill so I can mow that little section. 

Is that line from 2 seconds ago or the last time Rob mowed? 

I should probably mow in between the lines just in case. 

I should really move the grill. Where is the handle to roll it?

I should probably figure out what to make for dinner. It would be nice if I actually cooked. The girls won’t eat anything I pinned on Pinterest this morning. 

I hope I’m getting some sun. Maybe I should go back to tanning beds. I don’t have time to lay out. But tanning beds = skin cancer. And they are not free like the sun is. 

Maybe I can start coming home at lunch and laying out. 

Do I need to move the grill?

Whoa. The property line is way further over than I thought. Is that a new wheel line or old wheel line? 

We need a fence. 

And a pool. I can see myself jumping in the pool after mowing. 

I wonder if I’ll finish the yard before Rob gets home. 

How is it a retreat when it’s less than 24 hours?

I need a retreat. 4 days. In a hotel. By myself. Preferably at a beach. 

Rob should take the girls camping soon. Then I can have a retreat at my house. Alone. 

I can’t  forget to put the gas can back. 

I need to move the car before Rob gets home. And the tetherball. 

I really need to work this weekend. Maybe I can just get up really early and go into the office early Monday and get some work done before anyone gets in. 

I really don’t like getting up early. I’ve been getting up really early the past few weeks. I’m ready for that to be over. 

I wish the girls liked spinach. Spinach dip would be good for dinner. 

I wonder what time it is. 

Yeah. I’m not moving the grill. 

Don’t forget to put the gas can back. 

I need to move the car. 

Oops. Guess I should’ve moved the tetherball first…

  
Wonder if anyone will notice?

Yay! 44 minutes and 4,982 Fitbit steps just for mowing! 

  
We need a pool. 

Happy Saturday y’all! 

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Growing Up Fast

My baby went to her first formal tonight. 

We did makeup at Sephora (they’re amazing btw)…

 
Hair at Cosmetique (even more amazing!)

   
  
  
Went home and she got all dressed up. 

  
  
And I’m sitting here wondering when she grew up…

Happy Friday y’all! 

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Silent Sunday V Day

    
 

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Friday Night Party 

The girls are off to winter retreat with our church youth group which means it’s just me and Buddy until 3:00 tomorrow. 

  
I can’t remember the last time I had the house to myself for 22 hours. 

Yes. I am counting. 

Since the house is clean, dishes done and the laundry is…washed and dried…close enough to being done…I decided to throw a party tonight!

First, I stopped and got fancy food…otherwise known as food my kids will not eat. Also known as pretty much everything. 

  
I thought about eating on a real plate. But the dishes are already done…So out of the box it is. 

  
Since I live on the edge, my DVR is currently at 100%. I don’t wanna brag, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it down to at least 60% before the girls get home. 

Around 9 is when the real fun begins! I’m going dancing with some new friends who have awesome moves! 

  
I may even stay up all night. 

I mean. At least til 10. 

No one parties like a momma with an empty house! 

Happy Friday y’all! 

Posted in Family, Marriage, Mom of girls, Our Life | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Devotions from the Front Porch

I am so excited for my friend, Stacy! Today is release day for her new book, Devotions from the Front Porch.


I’ve had it for a couple of weeks and it quickly became my new favorite morning read!

I fell in love with the cover before I even had it in my hands – and when I showed the beautiful hard cover book to my husband he had the same thought I did – THAT is the kind of front porch we need!

I consider myself an honorary southerner. I’ve lived in the south more than half my life now.

I make sweet tea that would give a northerner a toothache after one drink.


“Y’all” has replaced “you guys” in my everyday speaking. And writing.

I wear flip flops more months than I don’t.

I don’t make blackeyed peas and cornbread, but my husband does!

Also. I married a southerner. And we’re raising three southern girls.

So I completely relate to Stacy’s southern front porch devotions.

She mixes in a lot of southern front porch living with even more living in The Word.

You’ll read a devotion and remember a moment you shared with your own family.


You’ll see one of the beautiful illustrations and bug your husband to get busy making that swing for your front porch. Or build a front porch so he can build that swing. Whichever.

You’ll read verses that know exactly where you are right at that moment and you’ll snuggle back under your blanket and talk with Jesus like you talk with your best girl friend.

When you finish the book because maybe you read more than one or five, whatever, devotions in one sitting because obviously Stacy has been sitting on your porch and not her own and somehow knew exactly how to join God’s word with the reality of southern living and you can’t even put the book down…then you’ll set it on your coffee table because it is so beautiful and a great conversation starter.


Then one day…ok. The same day…You’ll pick the book back up and start it all over again and you’ll read it with fresh eyes and something you can’t believe you missed the first time will jump out at you and you’ll start reading it through again.

This is a book you’re going to want to grab a few of and share with your sister-in-law and best girlfriends and pastor’s wife.

And as luck would have it, you can head over to my Facebook page and enter to win a copy for you and a friend!

If you can’t wait, click over to your favorite online book retailer and order one or ten to be delivered right to your own front porch.

Also. Check out Stacy who writes on Facebook  at Servant’s Life – you’ll want to read her series on Living Unafraid or Mom Talk Monday over on her blog at Servant’s Life!

I’m linking up!

Literacy Musing Mondays

Small Victories Sunday Linkup

Tuesday Talks

Inspiration Thursday

Posted in Bible Study, Book Giveaway, Book Review, christian books, Facebook, Mom of girls, Our Life | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Raising Grateful Kids – Review and Giveaway

I found Kristen Welch’s blog, We are THAT family a few years ago and have been an avid reader ever since. Her book, Rhinestone Jesus was the first book I had ever read and then immediately bought multiple copies to share with friends and family. Kristen writes about real life, the good, the bad and the wedontreallytalkaboutthisbutwearetalkingaboutitnow…

Because I was on the launch team for Raising Grateful Kids, I got an advance copy of the book and have been devouring it for a few months now. I started highlighting immediately and several pages possibly border on highlighter abuse….because this book is that good.


To be completely honest with y’all, I did not start this book thinking our family had a good grasp on the whole grateful thing. I expected to be convicted. I expected to feel some serious mom guilt.

I did not expect to find myself…my family…our struggles…

There are some amazingly practical tips at the end of each chapter, called “Going Against the Flow” that are broken down in to parents, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary and tweens/teens. Ways that we as parents can guide ourselves and our kids, no matter what age, to put others first and be more grateful.

But…This is not an instruction manual on how to get it right all the time.

Kristen shares not just her successes in parenting, but the failures too. Isn’t that what we need as parents? Not someone telling us what to do or judging us for getting it wrong, but someone to come along beside us and say, for as many things as I think I’m doing right, here’s twice as many things I’ve done wrong…


You’ll find your favorite story to relate to…mine is the sand story in chapter 9, Where the Rubber Meets the Road. “We know hard work not only teaches kids to be grateful for what you as a parent do all day long, it also creates a work ethic in them that will carry them into adulthood.”

Like most of what Kristen shares in the book, this is not an example of her getting it completely right. It’s a mixture of good intentions, kids being kids, and a mom wondering “Whose ridiculous idea was this anyway?”


What resonated with me the most though, was “Parents who want to raise grateful kids need to start by living grateful lives.” I have never thought of myself as an ungrateful person. By society’s perspective, maybe I’m not. But when I started intentionally choosing gratitude…over entitlement…over how I wanted things to be…over how I wanted my life to look…I realized that my whining over having to clean the house…complaining about other drivers…wishing out loud we had more of this or a better that…ALL of those things look and sound like (and are) symptoms of an ungrateful heart.

The beauty of this book though is the grace. No one gets it right all the time. Most people don’t even get it right most of the time. Reading this book though will remind you that it’s ok. Because you do get it right sometimes. Sometimes in small ways…sometimes in big ways that you won’t even know are big until your kids are at school and make a decision on their own that goes against the flow – because you got it right.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will see yourself and your kids…you will find new perspectives and get confirmation that you are doing things right and you will be convicted and change some things you’re doing.

Raising Grateful Kids is full of humor, heartache, truth, perspective and hope.

Today is release day so if you haven’t pre-ordered Raising Grateful Kids by Kristen Welch yet, you can buy it at your favorite bookstore, online retailer, or at http://www.raisinggratefulkids.com.


You can also win a copy! Head over to my Facebook page and look for the #RaisingGratefulKids giveaway! Winner will be drawn Tuesday, February 2nd.

More chances to win this must read book:

You know it’s a great book when multiple people are giving the same book away at the same time! Head over to the links below for another chance to win!

We are THAT family

Leslie Ann Jones

Life in Lape Haven

I’m also linking up with other launch team members at #LookInABookClub

I’m also linking up at Tuesday Talk! and #LMMlinkup

Here’s where you can find Kristen:

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  Blog  Pinterest

Here’s where you can find me:

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter  Pinterest

 

 

Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Review, christian books, Raising Grateful Kids, Uncategorized, we are that family | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments