Category Archives: forgiveness

what horses taught me

I had counseling this morning. I knew it would be big based on my last blog and the realization that I do not know how to dream and believe for myself. my body knew it was big too based on its reactions all morning leading up to counseling. I was running to the bathroom constantly, I chose a big comfy sweater to wear so I could use it as a shield, I stopped for coffee on the way because I needed the comfort of something warm to drink. all signs to me that my body was telling me that is was anxious for what I was going to process. I remember all these reactions from early on in counseling. then I was so UNaware of my body’s preparations or foretelling of what I was doing was big. today, however, I recognized each one. and smiled in understanding. and breathed deeply in anticipation.

I told my counselor straight up here is what I know I need to process: I don’t know how to dream a future for myself nor believe I can make it happen. not only that but somehow my ex is involved. and my horse. I have been missing my horse tremendously the last few weeks. his smell. his touch. his power. his majesty. his strength.

so out came the EMDR tools and the picture of my horse and the absolute grief I feel over missing him. my grief was at a 10 on the scale of 1-10. the tears were streaming down my face.

the journey of EMDR is always amazing to me. beautiful. freeing. I am in awe of my body’s ability to lead me back to move me forward. the sweet touch of Jesus as He takes me on a journey of emotions. to bring me to self belief and love.

this was no different than the many hundreds of EMDR journeys I have taken over the years. it was sweet. beautiful. healing. freeing. profound.

I realized that my time with our horses taught me so much about myself otherwise unknown. un-touched. un-experienced. I came into ranch life with no knowledge of horses. their care. their needs. their abilities. their life giving touch. I learned under the tutelage of a wonderful, knowledgeable, loving woman. she taught me the ins and outs of daily care. she believed in me. when I didn’t believe in myself. she watched. listened. guided. laughed. and taught. repeatedly. and I listened. and learned. and appropriated all she gave. I got it. I lived it. I loved it.

the horses accepted me. rallied around me. I heard their hearts. and proved to them that I was more than capable to care for them. I felt their love and gave them love in return. they showed me I had more physical strength than I ever knew.  business strength yet un-tapped. I had an insatiable desire to learn and do well. and I did just that. I could stand in their midst and be at peace. I could feel their pain. and their freedom. I appreciated them for all they are. I was not your typical horse woman. I had no desire to ride them although I took a few lessons. my role was on the ground. in their world. I downplayed my horsemanship because I wasn’t a rider. but now I can see I was still a horsewoman. and I still am.

I was struggling because I was thinking that my ex had stolen this from me. he lives on the property where the horses are so I cannot go out there. and then in my “holy shit” moment of counseling I realized that he CANNOT take this from me! he doesn’t have the power over me. not anymore. I had my moment of closure in counseling. I saw the gift the horses gave me. the lessons they taught me. the wings they gave me. I saw it and i accepted it. in all its abundance and beauty.

I ended with this word from God. as I reflected over the fact that at the same time that we walked onto our first ranch, my marriage was hitting the apex of chaos. I had the juxtaposition of the sweetness of all the horses gave and taught in the midst of all that I had believed in falling apart around me. and I asked God why did you give me such a sweet time just to take all that away from me? and this. this is what He told me

“I gave you that sweet time in order to give you freedom and move you forward”

He didn’t take something away from me. He gave me something sweeter. a knowledge that I can do. and learn. and become. more than I give myself credit for. more than I can imagine on my own.

that is amazing grace. that is abundant love.

that humbles me. overwhelms me. bathes me in un-imaginable grace and mercy.

I see a future. it is becoming clearer. I know I can do it. I can learn. I can become. I can take the next right step. and then the next.

I got  this.

because God has got me.

romance

feeling incredibly contemplative today. surprisingly, I am considering romance, the lack thereof, the possibility of it in the future or the possibility of it not being there in the future.

wait.

perhaps you are not surprised that I am thinking of romance on valentine’s day. but I am. I have never considered myself a romantic. I never engaged in that type of thinking while married. romance was not entertained in my marriage. so I figured I was not a romantic

so the fact that I am contemplating romance on the biggest romance day of the calendar year IS surprising to me.

I am still not sure if I am a romantic. that remains to be seen. or developed. or not. who knows at this point.

what I have experienced today though is God’s love. in His word. in my Bible study. in church.

the big picture view of a Holy God who takes me by the hand and  shows me His sanctuary. never leaves me alone. promises me that His economy, although in complete deference to this world’s economy, is fuller, richer, more trustworthy. reminds me that He is enough in this world and in heaven.

I have been reminded of his answers to spoken and unspoken requests along the way. new friends. mentors. comrades in single-ness. quickly found items. a cat that keeps me smiling. a sister that opened her home graciously and lovingly. another sister that was and is always available to listen when I need to talk things out. a mom that listens, respects even when she may not agree or understand fully.  a counselor who has created a safe space to grow and learn. friends that have been faithful in loving me while I struggled and railed against God. an absolute knowledge that I am loveable and loved.

actually I know. I know. and believe. that I will not be alone forever. there is a love out there waiting for me. a love that is true. and safe. and respectful. and fun. I know this.

I can wait. I will embrace each day. each step towards this reality. I will continue to learn. and grow. and become. and believe.

maybe I am a romantic.

instead of  denying it. or being embarrassed by it (now there’s a honest take on it) I just need to embrace the reality.

I am a romantic. I believe in love. in flowers. in sappy happily ever after’s

hmmmm. ok.

hello, to my sappy, romantic side.

I accept this reality. if I am being honest, being sappy seems soft. weak. vulnerable.

I pride myself in being strong, capable, independent

so the question becomes can I accept both sides of myself. the romantic, soft side alongside the strong, capable side. it may sound easy but to wrap my brain around this takes effort. it requires a shift in beliefs. a breathing in of new-ness. an accepted change of reality. a softening to myself. a letting go of long held beliefs. a recognition that I am more than I give myself credit for. a releasing of old to embrace truth

I am both strong and soft. weak and capable. vulnerable and independent.

I am more than I knew

 

looking back. moving forward

I forgot how exhausting counseling can be. in a good way. but exhausting none the less. I had plans for this afternoon but seriously spent all afternoon in bed, talking with a few friends, trying to nap. it wasn’t until about 30 minutes ago that it dawned on me why I was so tired.

processing takes work. requires it. what I processed today was good. I looked back at the decision to get married. the fear and impending doom I felt at the time. but the reasons behind it. I am finally able to see the truth of those decisions. the truth of what I lived. and I have compassion for my young self. today I could put her to rest. quietly and peacefully.

and I recognized my new self. stronger self. I recognized the little baby steps that happened along the way in counseling. from the first time I even considered loving myself. to the beginning actions to do just that. to really settling into loving myself.

I saw the root of the fear of losing my ex driving me to always give in to his demands in order to keep peace. of the absolute understanding to say no to him was to open myself up to something big and horrible in retribution. to the little beginning beliefs that the big “what if” was not too big for me to handle. to finally one day saying “to hell with it” and facing whatever he might throw at me. because my freedom, my self, my heart, was worth more than anything else. the quiet understanding that there was never the opportunity within the bonds of marriage to love both him and myself. it was always an either/or choice in his book

to recognizing I have survived. I am surviving. I will survive.

nothing he throws at me can or will destroy me. nothing life throws at me will destroy my spirit.

I will never be controlled again. fear and impending doom are not my captors anymore

I am free. and processing those truths, those emotions, those fears, has released me even more.

I am breathing. thriving. at peace. full of hope. ready for the future.

bring it on!

wilderness

God often protects His people by leading them into situations of lesser comfort but greater dependence on Himself. Are you in an uncomfortable place you would not choose? Would you rather have a different spouse, live in a different city or pursue a different cause? God’s protection surrounds His people; His wise and good purposes can be trusted What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

I read my notes from Bible study last week and was stopped in my tracks by this paragraph. I have been in the wilderness before. but somehow this season of my life I had missed the signs of wilderness.

In times before, my wilderness had the look of disease, chaos, destruction. I cannot say that about this wilderness experience.

this time it looks quiet, restful….but the aloneness is real.

so, as the realization dawned on me that THIS too is a wilderness experience, I was stunned. Stunned that I had missed the signs. Stunned that I was missing the blessing in the midst of the experience. because I didn’t realize the reality.

the blessing?? yep. it’s in that last sentence of the paragraph.

What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

I cannot deny that I am finally safe. finally free. finally at peace. but also, sweeter, quieter in refrain, is the fact that in being separated from all things family somewhere in that God is saying “THIS is the safest place for me”

I didn’t think it was possible to live in a place of non-communication with my kids. to be a mom with no real relationship. I thought my heart would stop. burst. die. that somehow I was “less than” in oh so many ways.

what I have found is I am still living. still breathing. still thriving and purposeful. my life didn’t stop. I miss them but I can rest assured that THIS place is the safest place for me right now.

I long to create safe, trustworthy, respectful relationships with them. but that is a two person process. a learning. a changing. a growing. we have never experienced healthy engagement with one another. it will take time. need counsel. and lots of practice.

for now, I am safe. I am protected. I am learning all I need for the next season in my life.

I will not always be in this wilderness.

until then I can rest in my Savor’s protection and care in this wilderness. I can look around with eyes that see the daily encouragement along the way. and the knowledge that the wilderness never lasts

 

 

 

 

recognition

it’s no surprise that on new years eve morning I spent time in reflection over the past year. it’s that time of year when most folks do some sort of reflecting. it’s also no surprise that I found myself in tears, in humble adoration of my Lord, this morning as I reflected

its hard in the moment of day to day living to really see your growth. the changes you have made. how each little turn to the right makes HUGE strides in the overall course of your life.

so today I took time to see just that

last year this time I was 6 weeks newly divorced. 10 months out of my home. numb. exhausted. scared. overwhelmed. living alone. working. managing life. really well all things considered.

this year as i look back I see the ripple effects of learning to extend grace and forgiveness to myself and to really love myself. there have been huge moments of clarity in counseling along the way this year. there have been small turns to the right. but all of them have added up to tremendous growth and change from the inside out for me.

as I have learned to extend understanding, acceptance, grace, forgiveness and love to myself, I have seen others through newly clear, wise, open eyes. I have been able to love others as they are, understanding they too have wounds that i cannot see or even understand. that they too are doing the best they can with the tools they have. I have learned to care for my needs and not look for approval from others. I can take damn good care of myself. because  truly only I know what I need. it is not up to someone else to fix me. I tend my own wounds. and it is good.

I have learned the art and the need for strong boundaries. to hear what others are saying and recognize their actions really are backing their words up…and I have protected myself accordingly. not ending my love for them but keeping my heart safe while they do their own stuff.

I have seen I have courage. big courage. and I intend to practice that a lot more this coming year. I will move again. I will have my own place again. I will hold my head high in the courts knowing I have nothing to hide from, be embarrassed by or run from. knowing I have always carried myself with integrity and honor.

I will engage in new relationships. with grace and respect. I will not tolerate mis-treatment. I will make new friends, find new interests. I will not run from life, nor will I hide from it. life is to be embraced

I will practice embracing new things. trusting my gut. trusting myself because I alone know myself. I alone show others how to treat me.

I will do this knowing I am loved deeply by my Savior. that He never leaves me nor forsakes me. That He always goes before me. and He never leaves my side.

I will do this with grace. and courage. and integrity. and peace.

and in doing so, I will continue to become all that I have been created to be.