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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Looking in the mirror

Do you ever look in the mirror and think “yikes... not what I’d like it to be but hey, it’s me, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Maybe you even have some of those days where you look in the mirror and think “Hey, not too shabby... woo hoo!” Or even the opposite where you catch a quick glimpse, keep on walking and before you know it, there are tears rolling down your cheek as you think “Who the heck was that? That is NOT me!”

Basically, do you have your good and bad days regarding feeling peaceful about who you ARE?

The last few years, I have had the “Who the heck is that?” when looking in the mirror of my soul. I do not recognize the soul starring back at me these days and I am not sure how to fix that... just yet.

Hence my reaching out to you all. This post will mean revealing what I find “ugly” about my soul these days which means some of you may not feel comfortable with what I will be sharing. Having said that, I am reaching out in that vulnerability seeking your help through prayer or advice on how to beautify my soul so that our Father may look upon it and be praised by what He sees.

My sister (whom I think is oh so wise) shared with me the wisdom she has learned over the years. She has reminded me that God is in ALL things, even our enemies. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that God is perhaps MORE in our enemies than in our friends and loved ones... after all, when He asked us to love one another, He did not imply only those whom are easy to love! Even Jesus in those moments of being hated by those whom He had come to save... knowing even that Judas would betray him... He never once treated Judas or those who would condemn Him with caution or edge. He was loving, forgiving and willingly exposed to those who would hurt Him the most.

Even the symbol of the crucifixion is an incredibly visual representation of that vulnerability. What position leaves you more exposed than that of having your arms spread apart revealing direct access to your heart?

Once upon a time, I knew that position. And the beauty of “knowing” it was discovering that there was NO VULNERABILITY after all! In fact, the position of loving from a strictly “giving” standpoint meant that it never, ever felt “taken” or “robbed” or “violated”. It went forth from my heart and no longer belonged to me but rather to those whom I directed it to. So if it was neglected, discarded or even mocked, it could not hurt me because what these people were harming was a gift that already belonged to them. And in my eyes, they were robbing themselves and that just left me with sadness for them and never hurt.

Somewhere in the last few years, for some reason, I have started guarding my heart (as though it actually belonged to me!). My patience and grace towards others seems stretched thin and rather than look for what may be “the other side of the story” I just assume that others are being unfair, unloving and/or cruel.

What happened???

I have particularly noticed this where my ex-husband is concerned. I do not know what history I can reveal here that would allow me to share my heart without stepping into what is also his truth and what he might prefer to keep private. But I will do my best to share what I think is fair and hope that I do not cross a line anywhere.

Suffice it to say that I ended the marriage due to nearly ten years of frustration from the same issues over and over and over again despite reading books, attending therapy sessions, seeking out my soul through desperate prayer, surrendering to things as they were, etc... Now in my ex’s defense, I am sure the poor guy was frustrated that I couldn’t just love him for the way he was, but in my naiveness, I agreed to marry him under the condition that things would CHANGE. We had had Melina when I was sixteen (he was nineteen) and although my heart had believed in a “soul mate” somewhere out there, it seemed more and more evident that marrying him was just the “right thing to do” and that my convictions of a soul mate was merely the fabrications of a desperate heart that belonged in a fairy tale.

Years of unhealthy tendencies (on both our parts) yielded to years of exhaustion, basic survival, just going through the motions of living, and finally growing resentment. It dawned on me at last that I loved him too much to head down this road any further, that we could be better parents if we were only friends. And I was right!

But we have to deal with each other on a weekly basis, touching base on Isabel’s doctors’ appointments, recent seizure activity, daycare & school needs, medical supplies needed, Melina’s after school activities, shared expenses, negotiating special occasion dates, etc... We seldom agree on anything and we are left with two VERY different households! Where is the middle ground when it feels like that middle ground is two worlds away??

The result is a heart growing colder and colder in revealing God’s grace and unconditional love. Each situation is approached with a heavy history and I am quick to get angry and defensive. I struggle with isolating the current issue at hand without pointing out the repetition of it in our history and the question of “why can’t this stop?” And even if those occasions can arise when I am isolating the issue at hand, it seems that my efforts are thwarted by his struggle with leaving the past in the past, also... we just can’t seem to win.

I am often exhausted from trying to word things properly, approach topics diplomatically and even in trying to prepare myself mentally for possible misunderstandings but I would much prefer to spend that time in prayer, in gratitude that we have children resulting from our union and thankful that our intentions ARE to work together for their sake. I would prefer to shed and be rid of any time spent pushing away feelings of anger, resentment and even hatred at times.

It is such ugliness in my soul and it does not belong where God’s light is meant to shine! Perhaps reaching out and saying to him “James, I am sorry for where I fail you in loving you as a child of God” would be helpful. After all, God has called us all to be SERVANTS to one another. This means that we should not be seeking to meet OUR requests and OUR desires but rather striving to meet those of others!

But how do we balance “giving” without letting it feel like a “taking”? Perhaps I answered myself earlier... if I am truly giving (without condition) than that gift of giving no longer belongs to me and there is nothing left to “take”. Obviously I am struggling with giving unconditionally where my ex is concerned and perhaps this is where I am needing your prayers and your wisdom.

So after this very long winded confession of my failure as a child of God towards my ex-husband, would you be kind enough to send forth what your heart compels you to share, whether through silent prayer or direct advice? I am open to hearing all criticism and encouragement.

And perhaps I need to also ask for your forgiveness... because where I am weak in my own faith, I am weak in my prayers for you. So may I beautify my soul for the sake of God and for the sake of my prayers reaching Him more directly. And may I walk by my soul mirror and be thankful with what God has made of me... stretch marks and all!

With all my love, in all its strength and weakness, I send you a deep “God bless!”


Anonymous said...

Rita, I think you are being way to hard on yourself. No mater who is to blame for what part, it is never easy dealing with ex-loves.

You are only human to experience and express frustration from time to time. However for the sake of the children, it is a good thing to try and keep things civil. So I really admire you in your quest to maintain and improve this situation. Peace and God bless!
Your Cousin,

Anonymous said...

moments and times like this are what shape us to be stronger in both faith and in mind. I know all that you do you try to do in a way to please God, but don't forget, we all make mistakes and get frustrated and that's ok. Talk to him about how you feel ( both God and your ex-husband) and youll find your way through