Comeback Time

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Happy Saturday, friends! My best friend passed this podcast along and I wanted to share it with all of you. I encourage you to grab some coffee (or wine), go outside, and give this a listen! The episode, How Do You Turn a Setback Into a Comeback, is from Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. On this episode, she talks to Tim Storey, author, motivational speaker and ordained minister, about how to transform a setback into a comeback.

I think we can all relate to the feeling of wondering if you’ll ever come back from certain setbacks, divorce being one of them. This podcast gives you encouragement and practical tips for not letting your setbacks define you, but rather transform you.

Go somewhere peaceful and take in these life-giving words. Enjoy your weekend! ❤

 

My Latest Obsession

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If you’ve talked to me either via social media or real life during the past month, it is very likely that I have brought up, Girl, Wash Your Face. To say that I am obsessed with it would be an understatement considering you can find me relistening (yay Audible) to my favorite chapters on the daily.

In short, this book helps us counteract the lies we believe about ourselves. Each chapter is a different lie that the author, Rachel Hollis, has at one point believed about herself, the story behind it, and then what she did to help it. I related to every. single. lie. she voiced in the book. Every single one. What this tells me is we are all so connected in ways we don’t even realize and that really is beautiful. And with that connection comes the responsibility of sharing our souls and our secrets. Sharing how we worked our butts off to come out on top. How we conquered what has been weighing us down for years. Rachel did this. She shared her dark times, she shared her triumphs, and she shared the powerful truth that we are the only ones in charge of the outcome.

Divorce teaches you this if you let it. You have zero control of circumstances, other people’s choices, or how life pans out. What you DO have control over is how you handle it, how you grow, and the strength you gain in the meantime. We are in charge of this. And as Rachel discusses in her book, we are in charge of combatting all of those damn lies that come our way. Divorce will attack you with every lie in the book. You were a bad wife, you are not worthy, you failed your marriage (and your kids), you are not attractive, you won’t find love again … and they go on. Rachel has not been through a divorce personally, but she does talk about trauma and experiencing something hard (which, hello, is the D word). She gives life-giving advice on how to get through the ruts and how to get the lies out of your head.

Motherhood, self-worth, sex, following BIG dreams, body image, marital issues, judgment, hard work, mental illness, therapy, adoption … she goes to ALL OF THE PLACES. And she does it in a beautifully raw fashion that makes you fired up to conquer it all! I wholeheartedly want all of you to read this goodness. I know it will change your life. And I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the honest truth. It will change your life for the better. Who doesn’t want that? ❤

Your Sunday Will Come

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Happy Saturday, friends! This post will be a two-part piece. One part anticipating the hope of Easter and how symbolic it is for those of you in a hard place right now. One part co-parenting reminders if you have the littles.

First, I think a lot of you can relate the pain and suffering you’ve experienced to that of what Christ went through for us. With that, it’s the hope of how the redemptive story ends that gives us hope for our own story. In reflecting on Good Friday, I found this gem. Joseph Wirthlin wrote this goodness on the anticipation of Easter and it realllllllly spoke to me. Claim this Easter as YOUR Sunday. The one that will come and bring light to the despair in your life.

“Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.”

YOUR Sunday will come. The day that you wake up and life is bright and hopeful. The day where there are more happy moments than sad ones. The day when you feel whole again. That’s your Sunday, and it will come.

Now, read on if you have the little ones … here are some reminders on how to interact with those you co-parent with. It’s Easter, after all! We must love all of the sinners Christ died for (even your ex …ugh).

Swallow Your Pride. Prepare your heart in prayer for the interactions you’ll have. Pray for your parenting example to be one of unconditional love, forgiveness, self-respect, humility, and kindness regardless of the circumstances.

Focus On Your Child. There’s nothing more magical than children during holidays. Nothing should squash that excitement. Let their pure bliss take over your situation. Encourage the joy and stay in that place with them. Your child will always be the brightest of all silver-lining in the heartache you’ve experienced.

Check the Trash Talk. Venting is important, but not meant for holiday gatherings. It is meant for the ears of close friends where children are not present. Remember your child knows that he/she is made up of both parents. If you are talking negatively about half of them, they will start doubting their worth and self-esteem. Give your child the gift of holding your tongue.

I am praying you can get through these interactions like a champ and that you’ll keep your focus on what the hope of Easter means for YOU and YOUR Sunday.

Reckless Love

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In my prayers for you this morning, I have been searching for words that communicate what I want your hearts to gain from these next days as we approach Easter. Reading through favorite commentaries and well-known prayers of saints, nothing felt like it fit my thoughts exactly. For me, this Lent has been a bit of a personal failure. Relying on my own self-discipline failed me real hard this time around. Trying to go through the motions of giving up something tangible or saying an extra daily prayer without seeking the help of God or making it a spiritual practice has made my weakness all the more pronounced.

However, what this Lent revealed was deeper than my normal sacrifice of giving up social media. What God made an extra point to show me this year was His love for me. The depths of God’s love for humanity is something I’ve always had a difficult time wrapping my mind around. My logic takes over and the self-loathing of how many times I fall short gets in the way of fully experiencing God’s love. In looking back, I can see God’s love for me in my life. I saw His care for me when my heart was broken into a million pieces, I saw His love when he gave me supernatural peace through devastating times, and I saw/see His love as he pieces me back together time and time again. It’s in the day to day that I’ve had to learn to accept the love though. Not only in the monumental sorrow, but in the newborn feedings and cooking dinner.

Whether you’re in a place of trauma today and or simply in your daily routines, I am praying that you too will experience this love on a new level as I did. During this season of Lent, I had the song, Reckless Love, on repeat most days. Give it a listen as it really spoke to me. I like the word reckless in this sense because it describes how you can’t escape the nature of His love. It finds us wherever we are and is here to stay.

On a separate note, if you’re familiar with the Easter story, then you know the infamous roles Peter and Judas played. I’ve really connected this week with Jesus on a level of the betrayal and denial he experienced from his closest friends. They denied and betrayed him during such a pivotal time. Most of us who’ve experienced an affair or deep betrayal in our marriage know how devastating it is. I encourage you to unite this pain with the same disappointment that Jesus felt. Head over to Blessed is She and read their piece on 3 Saints to Turn to During Times of Betrayal. Connect with those saints, knowing you’re not alone. I am praying you experience the essence of God’s love and find peace knowing that even Jesus experienced the sting of betrayal by those closest to him. As always, my love and prayers are with you. 

Holy Week

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Happy Holy Week, friends. I am praying you all have a rich week preparing for Easter.

If you’re in a place of suffering, I encourage you to think of your suffering in a way that will unite you further with Christ on the cross. During my divorce, God taught me that many of life’s richest blessings are the fruit of sorrow or pain. He showed me that some blessings will never be ours unless we are ready to pay the price of pain. Look to the cross and you’ll see the world’s greatest blessing is the fruit of the world’s greatest sorrow.

Praying for your hearts and your peace. Stay with God this week. Let Him quiet your pain and cover it with His deep love for you.  

Love, Lent, & Baby

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I’ve seen this Letterfolk message on my social media feed a few times this week and have cracked up every time. I hope it brings you that same laugh. Every year on this day, I love to share a piece I wrote a couple years back. It can be a hard day, no doubt, but I want you all to stay in a good and prayerful place. If you’re dreading what the day holds, READ THIS. I am praying for all of you and hope you are able to take a non-Hallmark spin on the day ahead.

For my readers who observe Lent, how great that it starts today! Take this time to spiritually prepare for the season to come. Every year for Lent, I pray for the intentions of all broken marriages to be healed and all single people desiring a healthy and loving marriage to find that. I love lent so much because it brings us to a place of suffering. Even if in the smallest degree, it unites us to Christ on the cross. If you’ve gone through the suffering of a destroyed marriage, you know that although the hardship is there, much of suffering brings a part of our character that is so rich. It’s hard to focus on that in the midst of the pain, but when you see the glimpses, it guides you toward that stronger version of yourself. This notion is much of what Lent is all about, giving up something that seems impossible, but finding that supernatural strength to power through. Suffering and sacrifice peeling away to a core you never knew you had. I read a great article this morning from Blessed is She reminding us not only of the sacrifices in Lent but the healing God wants to do in us.

God is asking for us to return to Him this Lent. Our best offerings are the very hearts He Himself set within us. He wants those hearts back. He will heal us. He wants us back. He doesn’t want my chocolate or your Dr. Pepper. Those are our reminders. He wants us to return to Him, hearts in our hands, sharing our joy, our love, our sorrow, our brokenness. Everything that we are pondering, holding within, regardless of its beauty or ugliness. He wants it all.”

Annnnd on a completely separate (but happy) note, YES our baby boy, Everett finally arrived! 8 days late. He will be one month old tomorrow. He’s the sweetest boy and we are overwhelmed with gratitude to God for how beautiful new life is. Thank you to everyone who reached out with well wishes, congratulating us.

As always, my prayers are with your hearts not only on this day but during this entire season of Lent. Please feel free to send me specific intentions and I will be happy to pray for them! ❤

“God Gave Her to Me”

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This past week I went to an adorable celebration at my daughter’s school called Moms & Muffins. I don’t say this to sound like mom of the year nor to be cliche, but one on one time with my daughter is gold. My daughter and I spent four years, just her and I. And now, with our present day blended family, I share her with three other parents. Are there perks to sharing in the parenting of this beautiful little girl? Absolutely (another post I am working on)! Qualities, attributes, and love shown to her by four parents instead of two is not all bad, folks. Okay, let’s stay on topic here … I am convinced the days and nights we spent just the two of us created something real special. She was my drive to keep my shit together when I was on the verge of losing it. She was this insane beauty beaming through the ashes of my dead marriage. That bright bond we created through such darkness will always be there.

Our morning together, celebrating Mother’s Day at her school is a time I will always treasure. We ate muffins, read stories, and she showed me all of these insanely cute projects she had been making for me. When her teachers asked her why I am special, her response was: “God gave her to me” and then of course, what I was good at: “sweeping the floors” … Oh my, I freaking love her.

Her first answer really did make me want to weep on the spot. “God gave her to me” … I think as mothers we can agree that this is how we feel about our children. God gave them to us. They are our gifts. For divorced mamas especially, they are this silver lining that came from so much heartache. And here I am reading her words, God gave ME to HER. ME? Ugh. I am not sure how many of you are with me in that I feel like I fall short as a mommy more often than not. Yet through her eyes, I am this amazing gift. Humbling, no doubt.

I read this really great piece about the Good Shepherd last week and it spoke to my mama heart pretty hard:

“You know yours, and they know you. Just like the Good Shepherd, you rise every morning to lay down your life again. Even in small ways the world never sees. But the Father sees you and loves you. He knows your heart longs to be like the One who is Love.

If you listen, you will hear His voice. What you long for will lead you.

He promised you this. His promises do not fail. He is the Good Shepherd.”

What an incredible encouragement for mothers. Knowing our shortcomings, our sin, and the stuff we lay down morning after morning is made whole through His love and promises. God’s good grace fills in the gaps of our mommy fails. And our little ones? They have hearts eyes for all that makes up our beautiful mess. We are their gift and they are ours. Let us not forget this truth!

Divorce and single motherhood can really magnify the ways we think we are “failing” our littles. Promise me this, if this Mother’s Day greets you mid-divorce or as a single mama, read some advice I wrote when this too was my reality. As most of you know this will be my first Mother’s Day in four years that I do have an amazing husband to celebrate with (there’s hope!). However, I feel deeply for you ladies on the other side. Give my words a read from last year describing past Mother’s Days.

I pray that ALL the mamas out there will feel loved by their little ones, peace from our Good Shepherd and overwhelming gratitude for the many amazing ways they’re raising these incredible gifts we’ve been given. ❤

Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry

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Today is the feast day of my favorite saint, St. Padre Pio. His life magnifies the beauty that can come through suffering. I clung to his words many times when I felt that my pain was too deep to handle. I have shared my favorite quotes from this incredible man that will hopefully encourage you to find peace in the trials you face.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

“My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.”

“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”

“Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

“The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.”

“The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.”

All Your Strength

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Here’s some inspiration for your Wednesday! Even if your strength level is low this morning and you are feeling burdened, you can still put all of who you are into the tasks before you. I have been praying for all of your hearts, whether freshly broken or on their healing way. Even though my blogging has been less in these summer months, my prayers have not stopped for all of you. Keep sharing your stories with me. We are in this together, pouring whatever strength we have into the beauty of continued healing.

I Said Yes

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I was weary about sharing this exciting news with the Her Soul Repair community. I know the range of fragility that is out there and I wanted to be respectful of where you all stand. When you’re freshly separated or divorced it’s hard to even stomach the idea of marriage (at least it was for me). You launch into thinking of how this could all happen again and how much more could you possibly handle and so on and so forth. However, here I am to show you that there is hope at the end of the healing tunnel! One broken marriage does not have to equal a forever broken view of this sacred partnership. The cynicism will lessen and you will see the beauty in a forever love once again. Here I am, living proof of this.

One of my favorite bible verses and one that God repeatedly promised to me during the hardest times of my life was, Joel 2:25. Verse 25 says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—  the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]—my great army that I sent among you.” The version of the verse in New King James uses the word, restore in place of repay. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” I believed God when He told me this, but my belief had a skeptic undertone. There were years of the locusts eating up every part of my life. And there God was acknowledging that He had plans for restoring these very years.

Fast forward to my recent engagement and here I am sitting back, watching God’s promises revealed. And not only revealed, but better than anything I could have ever imagined. When you can see God’s hand in a promise that was at one point just a nice idea, it’s unbelievably humbling. The whispered promises I heard are now being shouted from the rooftops. I am overwhelmed by how much He protected me from what the locusts had destroyed. Patience is rough when the locusts are destroying every facet of your life, but God’s promises are always true. My prayer is that if you’re waiting for God to repay you for those years that were destroyed by infidelity and divorce, you’ll find hope in my story. The years may feel long now, but God’s plan for your happily ever after is worth the wait.