Confessions of a Superhero

Confessions of a Super Hero

Other possible titles:

If I tell you what I really think, will you call me a bitter divorcé ?

Words you write when you are out of Xanax.

There is not enough Botox in the world to hide the fact that I feel tired and old.

Misguided Musings of a 30 something single mom.

 

In just two years I’ve become a real life super hero, this is my story:

We don’t have to talk, we are not friends”.

That was all I could manage to say. That was the last thing that I said. I didn’t look at him again. I didn’t look at her either. I just rolled up my window and drove away. I don’t know where they went. Maybe to celebrate his new found freedom, or to revel in the fact that they had won some great prize in an out of court settlement that included very little time with the kids and even less financial support. I don’t know where they went, and does it really matter? He had made his choice and I would make mine. And so I closed the door on ten years of my life.

Ten years of hopes and dreams.

Ten years of joy and laughter.

Ten years of fighting and strife.

Of contention and hurt and more heartache then our marriage was capable of withstanding.

I closed the door behind me and stared out into a world full of terrifying possibilities, armed with only the tiniest glimmer of hope that somehow, in the end, all the wrongs would be made right.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

It’s important to note that by this time I had been a single mom for over a year. Gone were the nights of holding my children as they cried themselves to bed and then slipping into my own bed to do the same. Gone was the fear and worry that my former “stay at home mom” status would prevent me from ever getting a good job, or a good job that I liked. Gone was the fear that I would never be wanted, and that what I could offer would never be enough. And the loneliness that once threatened to rob me of all future joy; was more of a dull ache only noticeable when I focused on it, and I never did.

 

At this point in my life I tried to date. I use that word “try”, about as loosely as you can use any word, because in hindsight, I did not “try” at all. I got out of these “relationships” exactly what I put into them, basically nothing. To be fair, I’m not sure I was ever good at dating… I mean, I was married at 21 so that leaves only my high school boyfriends to chime in… but please don’t because that would be insanely uncomfortable.

The point is this; it is extremely awkward for Christians to date after a divorce. Call me a hopeless romantic, but still hard to forget how, “the one” turned out. And while I totally agree there are a lot of someone betters out there for me, I am plagued with the reality that there is also someone worse, and that guy makes being single seem pretty stinking wonderful. And so, I am content to wait. On time, healing, confidence, hundreds of cats to take over my home and drive me out into the street where I am forced to make new friends, God, anything… I am just waiting. And trusting that when it is right, I’ll know.

Things that steal my joy:

Not having enough time with my kids.

Watching them miss their dad.

Knowing that my chances of marrying Bradley Cooper are basically non-existent.

Seeing them disappointed.

Knowing that even at my best, I will never be both a mother and a father.

Seeing them disappointed again.

Being so tired my body aches.

Seeing them disappointed again and again and again.

Commuting 2 hours a day and then coming home and feeling like a zombie.

The road map of wrinkles that line my forehead.

Things that bring me joy:

Being able to provide for my kids.

Daydreaming about sharing a front porch and a double rocking chair with Bradley Cooper.

A community of friends and family who held my arms up when I was too weak to walk.

Disco dance parties in my daughter’s room.

The way my son looks at me with such gratitude and pride when I come home from work.

All of the things that make up Elly’s world.

All of the things that make up Nicky’s world.

Knowing that I am building a legacy in them, and they will always be my proudest accomplishment.

Interesting work.

Cute clothes.

Knowing that I am not alone, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Feeling loved every day.

Having a front row seat in the lives of two really cool little humans.

Remembering that this is only one chapter and that the rest has already been written and is just waiting to be read.

 

In truth, some days are awesome and other days suck. I can appreciate that I am not a conventional superhero. An argument can be made that there is nothing super or heroic about me… get behind me Satan.

Although it may be fair to say there is nothing spectacular or even particularly interesting about my life right now. I’m trying to do the best with the cards in my hand, like all of the other amazing parents I know. Still, there are seasons of motherhood that seem more trying than others. This has been mine. And so, you will forgive my bold self-proclaimed superhero status, and just remember sometimes I need to be reminded that I am more than a conqueror.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Love,

Shaena

PS,

This blog is for moms like me. Your lives are not perfect, but you wake up every day and you do the best with what you have been given. You are beautiful and your story matters.

 

Regarding women who think they can’t get along with other women

Image

I was sitting in a coffee shop yesterday when I overheard a woman across from me say very matter-of-factly,  “I just don’t get along well with other women. I never have. I’ve always gotten along better with men”.

Hands raised if you are a woman who has ever heard that comment before.

Okay, hands down.

I hear that comment all the time and my reply is usually something like:

“Wha??” Followed by a head nod. Nodding my head when I am completely baffled, seems to put people at ease and make them think I can totally relate.

Confession: I cannot.

Here is why:

  • I am a woman. I don’t often find myself in conversations with people who I do not get along with. So when another woman tells me they don’t get along with women, the statement leaves me confused and unsure of the status of our relationship. I want to lower my voice a bit and whisper, “we’re cool right?”
  • She is a woman. I don’t know if it’s a weird byproduct of a patriarchal society, but I’m pretty sure, in every other context, blanket statements that imply disapproval of an entire people group are called discrimination. It’s 2014 ya’ll, that is not cool. Even if you are a member of that group. I am sad that women have been so well branded that even other women don’t want to associate with them. Ya’ll, each woman is unique and different! God hasn’t typecast or branded women into a single group and neither should we.
  • God is a woman. Oh relax. I know God is neither male nor female. But He does encompass all the wonderful characteristics that make men men and women women. In fact, He made both men AND women in His image.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

I whole-heartedly agree with that woman in the coffee shop and other well-meaning friends that say women are difficult to get along with. But I won’t stop there. Men are difficult to get along with… and don’t even get me started on children.

People in general, God bless them; are sometimes very difficult to get along with.

Try anyway.

Women have a unique and beautiful opportunity to change the world by how we minister to each other. No one says, “I don’t get along with women because they are too kind and encouraging” and yet, that is exactly the kind of woman YOU and I have the opportunity to be.

As women, we can be teachers of good things. Things like self-control, love, kindness, purity, respect (Titus 2:3-5). Ladies we cheat ourselves of this amazing opportunity when fail to “strive to keep a spirit of unity and a bond of peace” Ephesians 4:3 (to get along) with all of God’s children.

Radical love is not easy but it’s worth it. Take a chance on someone this week, you just might make a friend for life.

xoxo,

S

Are you a woman who doesn’t get along with other women? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions. I value you and your contribution. Look forward to hearing from you.

In the image of God, NOT mom

 Image

My kids are so different!

 I often marvel in the fact that children raised in the same home, parented in the exact same way, can be as different as night and day?

And it’s not just that they are different from each other, they are different from me!!! Try as I sometimes do to shape my kids into perfect little replicas of my ideal self (you know, the one who prefers celery sticks to gummy bears), my kids still do things their own unique way.

And I was thinking…maybe that’s okay.

What if, as a parent, I worried less about teaching my kids “the right” way to do EVERYTHING, (as if I even have a clue what that is), and focused instead on the REASON to do things.

What if I encouraged them to solve problems, think creatively, and value that THEY are made in the image of God and NOT in the image of Mom!

Things might take a little longer, but it could be fun to see what solutions they come up with.

We are all different. Made uniquely and distinctly in the image of God, and EVERYONE in our family has something unique to offer. Even our kids!

Is it scary to think your kids might possess skills and abilities that you may not have?

“A godly leader has the humility to allow his kids to shine and doesn’t have to be the resident expert.” Parenting By Design

 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans

12:4-5

Question: How do you encourage your children to be who God created them to be?

My life out loud

Image

I’ve been meaning to tell you a story.

I love stories.

I collect them like little jars in my heart. Each one filled with a secret, a memory, a treasure, a lesson, and a gift. I’ve been wanting to share one of those stories with you, because I hope it will challenge you to collect stories of your own and share them with others. And that in doing so, you’d come to realize the richness of our lives is preserved through our stories.

My story is this:

I grew up in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town. I went to an ordinary school. Lived in an ordinary house and ate ordinary food. I honestly don’t remember most of my childhood except for it was pretty ordinarily wonderful. Fascinating, I know.

In high school and the start of college I did the ordinary thing, with the usual amount of compromise, and suffered the ordinary amount of regret.

And then, something extraordinary happened.

I met a Christian. Just an ordinary Christian, from an ordinary town, who ate ordinary food, but lived an extraordinary life of faith and dependence on an extraordinary God. And he lived that life out loud.

And because of that, I heard Him, and I saw Him, and I knew Him.

And I realized that we were never meant to be ordinary, but image-bearers of an extraordinary God.

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them.

And when we realize this, and purpose to live our lives out loud, the people we meet along the way hear Him, and they see Him, and they can know Him. And that knowledge makes them image-bearers too. And lives that were once ordinary become extraordinary.

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released. Jean Houston

My story is simple: just an ordinary girl who met an extraordinary God. And everything: my husband, my children… my stories… are evidence of Him. And those stories are catalyst to a life that is lived out loud.

So what’s your story? Would you be so bold as to live your faith out loud so that others might see, and hear, and proclaim, that our God is extraordinary!

Praying for you sweet friends.

xoxo,

S

Amazing Grace

Image

“You’re like God”.

His words took my breath away.

I had heard of kids saying similar things, but this was my kid and, well…quite frankly, he knew better. He had to be confused…or maybe I misled him. Man, did I ever mislead him!

My mind flooded with memories of all the mistakes I’d made in his short life. The time when I fed him sweets and then forgot to brush his teeth, and the time when I forgot to feed him at all. The numerous times he’d seen me lose my temper, raise my voice, or storm out frustrated.

He’d seen me rude.

He’d seen me impatient.

He’d seen me unkind.

Unloving.

Unforgiving.

He had to know I was imperfect in every way.

And I was his, “like God”?

In that moment, it was hard to imagine a less suitable comparison. This picture of an imperfect God my son had painted over a lifetime living with an imperfect mom had to be corrected. Still saturated from the flood of emotional memories, and barely audible,  my own voice somehow managed to reply simply:

“How so, babe?”

His answer challenged me.

“Well, you always love me. Even when I sometimes don’t listen, or I throw a fit. Or even if I have to go to time out, you always love me the same. That means you are like God. That’s the same as like he love’s me”.  And suddenly I understood.

Grace.

Favor unearned, undeserved, and inexplicable apart from a holy God.

It was grace.

My son wasn’t confused, nor was he misled into thinking his mommy was something more than what she was. He understood God was perfect and he wasn’t trying to create Him in my image the way I’d sometimes done when I loved something. To him, I am “like God”, because I am covered in grace.

And my love for my children is just a reflection.

If you do everything else wrong sweet mommas, do this right. Teach your children about grace. Teach them that it was by grace that they are saved (Eph 2:8-9), and that their confidence is found in it (2 Cor 1:12).  Tell them God is able to make all grace abound in them, that always having all sufficiency in everything, they will have an abundance of grace for every good thing they do (2 Cor 9:8). Teach them grace was given to each of us (Eph 4:7), that we are justified by it (Titus 3:7), and stewards of it (1 Peter 4:10).

Look, I know you have a lot of things you need to teach them. Teach them those things too! But teach them to value grace above those things. And if you do that, precious friends, your children wont just receive grace, they will distribute it.

And THAT has the power to change the world.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 1 Peter 1:2

Did this blog encourage you? Why not share it with a friend? And while you are here, you might also enjoy, Surviving Elly’s World.

Praying for you! That you will walk in grace, and that the world will know from where your confidence comes!

My heart is not the boss of me.

Image

FICKLE: likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable: fickle weather (Dictionary.com)

 

Yesterday I realized something very important about myself.

My heart is fickle.

Look, this isn’t always a bad thing. It usually means when I get upset about something, it is rarely for very long… that’s really good right? (Rationalization is an awesome form of denial)

My heart is fickle.

One day I want to climb the tallest mountain and scream out for revival and then go door to door splashing people in the face with water until they wake up to the reality that they are on a merry go round going no where! (Side note: I don’t recommend splashing ANYONE in the face with water as a form of evangelism or…pretty much… ever.)

And the next day, I don’t even want to go outside.

My heart is fickle.

Before you start handing out the Zoloft samples (which btw- I’d have no problem taking if I thought it would help), let me reassure you, I am not depressed… or bipolar… my heart is just fickle.

Which is why, my heart is not the boss of me!

 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…who can understand it” Jeremiah 17:9

When I let my heart do the driving, my life becomes a scattered mess of confusing emotions that can go from 0-60 and then back again in no time at all.

That is why I let God direct my steps and not my heart!

My heart is fickle, but God never changes!

“I the LORD do not change!” Malachi 3:6

Um…can I get an AMEN!! He never changes!

What that means for you and me is this:

  • When my heart is fickle, bouncing from being broken, to bewildered, and then absolutely thrilled by what He has called me to do- His heart remains the exact same.
  • When nothing around me is constant or sure, He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8.
    • His love never changes
    • His mercy never changes
    • His goodness never changes
    • His ability to provide never changes
    • And… His will for my life never changes!!!

My heart might be fickle, but my God is constant.

An encouragement for girls like me, with fickle hearts that make life a little unpredictable: Your heart is not the boss of you, God is. No matter what else changes around you, and no matter how you feel about those changes, God in all His greatness will never change. Don’t follow your heart, follow Jesus.

 Praying for you, that you’d have steady hearts that rest in a God who never changes. 

 What about you, is your heart fickle? How do you encourage girls like you? Leave a comment.

 

The Marriage Race

A high profile divorce made headlines again yesterday, and I prayed for you. I prayed for you and for me, for anyone who is or will be married in this generation or the next. I prayed for the future of marriage in general because sometimes it seems like the gates of hell are set against it.

The gates of hell, will not prevail. Matt 16:18

So I prayed for us, and then I wrote this blog.

A marathon is a long race. I’ve never run one. The closest I’ve come to a marathon is a 5k and it nearly killed me, but the two races share a common goal, just keep running, and finish the race. Even if it hurts, even if you are tired, just run.

When I ran my first 5k, my friend Janae ran the entire thing with me. You should know, she could have ran circles around me, but chose instead to serve as my own personal cheerleader. It was 19 degrees and there were many times I wanted to quit. But each time, there was Janae, smiling next to me encouraging me to just keep running. Her boundless energy drove me to insanity, but I knew she wasn’t going to let me quit. I venture to say had I tried to quit, Janae may have thrown me over her shoulder and carried me to the finish line. By the end of that race, I was running better than at the beginning, and all I really remember about it was how great it felt to finish, and how thankful I was Janae hadn’t let me give up.

During the race there were moments of joy and excitement, but it was at the finish line when I realized it had all been worth it, that I received my reward.

Marriage is like that. A race. For some a marathon, for others a 5k, only God knows the distance you’ll have to run but the principle remains the same.

Just keep running.

The reward of marriage isn’t realized instantly, although there are so many moments of great joy, the reward comes when we realize it is worth it… all of it. We cheat our spouse and ourselves when we lose sight of the reward and drop out of the race.

Just keep running.

Run past the hurdles. Few go into marriage blind, assuming there won’t be any trials, they assume instead they will be strong enough to jump over them… most are wrong. Truth is, we aren’t that strong. On our own, our flesh is the only strength we have, and like it or not, our flesh hates marriage.

Don’t be fooled, your flesh can’t love your spouse; it can only love the way your spouse makes you feel. Your flesh is dangerously narcissistic. Once that feeling of love is gone or challenged, a heart ruled by the flesh is ready to quit the race.

Just keep running.

Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. You have everything you need to push through life’s hurdles. Submit to the spirit in you and let Him fight for your marriage.

Just keep running.

Submitting to the Spirit might mean lightening your load (Heb 12:1), getting rid of anything that threatens your race. Look, the message of this world is this, “if it doesn’t work you can always get divorced and there won’t be any consequences”, drop out, quit the race. This message weighs down any marriage! Each time a trial comes, you’ll find yourself wondering if this is your marriage not working or thinking it might be time to bail. Have you heard that message? It’s everywhere. If it’s in you, ask God to clean it out, and run.

Just keep running until you finish the race.

How long is the race? Until death separates you. That’s what you promised. That’s what you agreed to when you said I do, on that day when forever didn’t seem long enough.

You don’t have to run alone.

There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave you or forsake you. He knows each tear you’ve cried. He is your ever-present help in times of trouble. He will bind any brokenness, and carry your burdens. His name is Jesus, and He knows your name too. Hold Him close to your heart, and He whispers in your ear, “keep running. I am your reward”.

I haven’t finished this race; I’m only eight years in. But I am still running. When hurdles pop up… and they always do… and when sin weighs me down, and it sometimes does, by God’s grace and strength I choose to keep running. Every time I have a chance to quit and choose to run instead, I grow stronger; we grow stronger, faster, better. There is great reward in being faithful.

Just keep running.

I don’t know what kind of hurdles you will face, and maybe it seems overly simplistic for some scenarios. But ask anyone who’s finished and they will tell you it is worth it in the end. God won’t give up on your marriage, and He is willing to carry you across that finish line, if you need Him to. However you make it across, He is cheering for you every step.

Believing God for radical marriages that change the world. Praying for you this week.

You can read how death saved my marriage here.