The Mind Spiral

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I’ve started a weekly showcase of the book on Insta. Quotes, reviews, favorite lines … look for it every Wednesday! If you don’t follow me on there, go ahead and find me at @lcmckinley.

Today’s post I felt extra strong about so I wanted to put it up here as well. The quote above is from the chapter in my book titled, The Blame Game. In this chapter, I talk about the downward spiral your mind can take when something goes wrong in your marriage. It’s so easy to assign every personal flaw or insecurity to what landed you in this mess.

However, that is not a healthy place for your mind to stay. Keep your mind fixed on what will help you today, in the exact place you’re in right now. Remind yourself of five things you love about who you are. Play those thoughts on repeat. Make those thoughts be the ones that take up all the space. Or memorize a favorite quote or bible verse. Repeat it again and again, partner it with some deep breaths, calming scenery, and work at it until you feel better. You guys, it’s not easy. It takes practice and discipline, but it will be so worth it. Start the habits today. There’s no better time to start healing your mind.

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! ❤

 

Family Guilt

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Any This is Us fans out there? I am talking about the kind that excitedly looks forward to Tuesday evening only to sob their way through the entire hour. I was crying extra ugly during the Season 2 finale. If you don’t follow the show, first, I recommend binge-watching the entire thing pronto. Second, bare with me and do your best to read between the lines to connect with the point I am trying to make here.

Before I go any further, I am well aware that I am comparing real life to an NBC drama. However, one of the reasons the writing of this storyline is so genius is its relatability. So even though I am comparing real-life events to that of fictional characters, I still feel strongly about connecting our stories to theirs.

As a fellow daddy’s girl, I can completely relate to Kate and the closeness she feels to her father. Now, I am fortunate enough to have my father still living, but that flashback scene to when Kate was young talking to Jack about the guy she’ll marry had me all weepy … “The guy that gets to marry you, Katie-Girl, he is one lucky guy,” 

Now, fast forward to Kate and Toby happily married and then a year in Toby deciding to up and leave. How disappointing would that be for not only Kate (of course, Kate), but her entire close-knit family. They gave Kate fully to this man, trusting with 100% of their being that this man was going to care for their dear sister/daughter. Almost like it is partially their responsibility for who she ends up with. We’ve all had friends who have dated douchebags and we’ve felt like it was our place to speak up before god forbid it goes any further. Now, magnify that feeling times a billion and that’s how a father feels about their daughter. I imagine entrusting them to someone in marriage is an unreal experience.

If you’re close to your family and you’ve been through a divorce, you know that it affects evvvvvvveryone. Each family member goes through the divorce with you. And it’s easy to take other family member’s pain on yourself. I remember thinking, I can’t believe I am putting my parents through this. I felt so much guilt for so long that I caused my family this pain.

Even though I was the victim of our divorce and did all that I could to stay married, I still felt like it was my fault that my parents and family had to go through this. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone in my close circle was concerned for me, not blaming me. In hindsight, I put a lot of extra stress on myself, feeling guilty for what I had put my own family through. I know it’s natural to place blame on yourself at some point, but while the load is already heavy, let’s do what we can to make it lighter, not add to it. If you’re in this same boat I was in, remember your family cares about you and are devastated for what you are going through. Think that guilt out of your mind and focus on what will help you grieve today. Let your family experience their pain the way that helps them. Don’t take on the extra losses when you have so many as is. Your family will get through these painful times and come out stronger.

As always, please write in with any specific questions that may have come to mind from reading this article. My prayers are with you!

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? ❤

A Strong Woman

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Good morning, all! I am stoked to feature a writer I connected with recently who’s heart is all about helping others heal after divorce. Alexandra Hoffman is the founder of Divorced at 30. She’s a mental health advocate, motivator, and an optimist who loves to speak her truth. Follow along with her on Insta as well, @divorcedat30. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy her words this morning.

A Strong Woman… listens to the stories and wisdom of others.

A Strong Woman… is proud of her successes even if others are intimidated.

A Strong Woman… stands up to injustice and aligns herself with others who seek to make the world better.

A Strong Woman… falls in love, but always loves and honors herself first.

A Strong Woman… makes mistakes, but learns from them.

A Strong Woman… treats the janitor with the same respect she pays the president of the company.

A Strong Woman… speaks her truth.

A Strong Woman… knows how to say goodbye to a job, a friendship, or a relationship that no longer serves her.

A Strong Woman… adventures but doesn’t lose sight of home.

A Strong Woman… knows how to manage her finances and how to live independently.

A Strong Woman… has a past filled with both joys and sorrows.

A Strong Woman… isn’t afraid of a challenge or of change.

A Strong Woman… puts others before herself, but not at the expense of herself.

A Strong Woman… shows gratitude even when it feels like there’s nothing to be thankful for.

A Strong Woman… lends her voice to issues she is passionate about, even if others disagree.

A Strong Woman… knows how to mend a broken heart: hers or a friend’s.

A Strong Woman… can be sassy, can be shy, can be outspoken, can be funny, can be smart – can be whomever SHE chooses to be.              

A Strong Woman… knows when she should speak her mind and when she shouldn’t.

A Strong Woman… celebrates other strong women, and honors their struggles and triumphs.

A Strong Woman… stands up for herself.

A Strong Woman… knows how to engage in difficult conversations without offending the other side.

A Strong Woman… knows when to say sorry and how to give a genuine apology.      

A Strong Woman… empowers those around her.    

A Strong Woman… knows where to go to recharge and who to turn to for comfort.

A Strong Woman… makes her mental, spiritual, and physical health a priority.

A Strong Woman… knows when to say no.

A Strong Woman… may lose her footing and get lost, but is able to find her path again.

A Strong Woman… has stories only she knows.

A Strong Woman… knows how to take care of herself, all by herself; however, knows when to ask for help.

A Strong Woman… loves passionately even though there are no guarantees.

A Strong Woman… isn’t afraid of the effort and time required to make her dreams come true.

A Strong Woman… acknowledges the amazing possibilities that each new day offers.

A Strong Woman… is in charge of her own happiness and her own destiny.

A Strong Woman…

knows she still has lessons to learn.

 

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.  

Everyone’s Favorite Question

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When to start dating again? The million dollar question. I posted an article over on Divorced at 30 about dating after divorce. I wrote this one a while back when my now husband and I were just dating. If you’re ready to take the plunge into dating after the big D, I suggest giving this a read. There are a lot of triggers and emotions that go into starting at square one in the dating scene, the more prepared you are the better.

I’ll be doing a Q&A follow up to this piece. If any of you have more specific questions about discerning dating and what my experience was, I would be happy to share! Send me your questions and I will answer them in a post next week.

Praying your burdens are light today and that you’re feeling hopeful about all the goodness that’s yet to come.  

Image by Rachel Hollis 

Close the Door

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I recently discovered a blog that I am enjoying quite a bit called, The Catholic Woman. One feature of this site showcases letters that women write in about a variety of topics. A couple weeks back I read one about the story of one woman’s annulment and how the church was her safe haven when she decided to leave her marriage.

It got me thinking a lot about when the decision is made to leave a marriage what keeps you from re-opening the door back in. The process for me was a cumulation of realizing I was worth much more than my ex’s deep disregard for our marriage, accepting the joys in my new life on my own, and through completing the annulment process.

Some may remember reading about my initial resistance to my annulment, but in the end, it provided a type of closure I didn’t know I needed until it happened. So, I am curious, what have been those nails in the coffin that have kept your door to a damaging and unhealthy marriage closed? If you are unsure of what is keeping that door closed for you, or if it’s possible to stay closed for good, I encourage you to reflect on your worth and how much more you are worth than a broken marriage, that doesn’t want fixing.

I always love hearing from my readers. Celebrating your victories or mourning your losses, please keep sharing with me! Peace and prayers to all of you on this Wednesday. ❤

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! ❤

Welcome, 2018!

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Hello, all and Happy New Year (one weekish late)! I write to you starting this new year with a heart of gratitude. Not because this is always my natural outlook (although it should be), but because it is a focus of mine for 2018. I want my life to be consumed with more gratitude and less of the compare game. If you’ve followed my writing for awhile, you know I am big on making gratitude lists (even when it’s hard to muster up). This has been my biggest weapon against bitterness and comparison. Comparison is one of my worst vices and I am working extra hard to squash it this year.

With each new year, I lose some of who I was and find who I want to be all at the same time. I just love how we are constantly changing as humans. These changes are refining and humbling. I want to embrace them and find contentment in the in between.

Speaking of changes, I have some changes coming at me any day now, as our baby boy was due on Sunday. With this, I am still committing to invest in this community and my writing. However, it will look different. Not because of the baby, but because my life is vastly different from when this community started.

While my heart/priority is always to help women through the trauma of betrayal and divorce, you will see a shift in the content on the blog. This shift is because I want to share my present-day life with you. I want to share the co-parenting wins, the hope of an incredible second marriage after divorce, and the triggers that still surface. I want to share the rich blessing of starting over and the benefits that come from going through that raw healing I speak of so often.

As always, wherever you find yourself in the journey of betrayal, divorce, and moving forward, search this place for what will help you today. Use the categories of my writing and find what will speak to the current state of your heart. This is always the prayer I have for my readers as there are so many pieces to put back together.

I thank you for your continued support and look forward to this new chapter of the blog and the hope it will reveal to your future.