Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fearing the future

I don't know why, but whenever I try to reply to people's comments lately, it won't work. So, consider yourself thanked if you have commented recently. I receive such sweet words from you, and they certainly don't go unnoticed.

I've been thinking a lot. Because my relationship with Ben is doing so well, it's easy to melt into the idea and desire that things are "fine." I don't want the mess of the addiction. The hurt and betrayal can feel free to stay long gone. I want to keep what we have right now.

But. There is a fear lurking underneath all this good that everything bad could come back. The lies. The pain. Everything. I don't anticipate that happening, and I don't prefer to live in fear. However, that is a valid concern. Addiction has patterns.

And the thing is, I'm pregnant now. The addiction coming back will bring a new set of problems and trials.

I'm hopeful. Because we have found this good place, I am hopeful that we can work through anything that comes our way. I am hopeful that I can be healed from the pain. I am hopeful that I can still be the kind of mom I want to be, even when suffering through trauma.

But still. I'm seeing little warning signs pop up. I feel like God is warning me (whether it's for me or to help someone else through trauma, I'm not sure). Regardless, I feel like I need to write myself a letter. So...

Dear Kilee,

If you're reading this, it's because the addiction has come back and you are a wreck. Whhyyy?? I know. I know, it's painful. It probably hurts even more now because of all the complete happiness you have felt since you moved to TX. That's okay. It's okay to let yourself hurt. In fact, please let yourself hurt. Don't bottle it up like you have in the past. Find friends to reach out to (you have a great list of friends in your emotion first-aid kit) and ask for help. You're always willing to help a friend. I can guarantee you that they will be willing to be there for you.

If you're reading this, you might not know what to do. You might be wondering what to do with yourself, much less Ben. Stay close to God. He has always guided you and led you to do what is right so you can find the path to healing. It might be so easy to abandon God, but don't. He is there. He has always been there. So, if you feel alone, it's because Satan wants you to feel that way. Find God. I promise He is there. 

Remember boundaries. Remember God. And remember who the real enemy is. 

Ben isn't the enemy: the addiction is. I know that is kind of confusing, but try to find the difference between the two. And maybe you can't because they are so intertwined. If that is the case, try to be patient, and don't give up on Ben. You know what he is capable of (which may make the situation all the more frustrating, but can also give you patience and hope). You also know what you are capable of with God by your side. 

Remember all the other big disclosures and discoveries? Remember all the times you have felt so lost and alone in this? But remember the pure joy you felt during that summer after moving back in with him? And remember the healing that took place? Remember there is opposition in all things. And you can feel a greater joy after you have felt that dark pit of despair. Maybe that doesn't really help because you'd rather not be in that pit right now. But, the light times are what make the dark times worth it. So just hold on a little longer. Hold on to what you know. And if all truth seems to be confused, hold on to God because you know Him. 

You are strong and you are brave. Wear your Togetherness necklace every day as a reminder of the warrior women who stand by you. I know it sucks. It royally SUCKS. But you will heal. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The brightest of lights

I have so much to say. So many thoughts rambling through my head, and I'm not quite sure how to express what is going on.

Two completely opposite emotions are raging inside me: joy and depression. I've written about my depression a little bit (last week), but I'm wanting to be more specific. I'll probably have to split this into multiple posts.

I'm experiencing a tremendous amount of joy. That's because I'm pregnant! And because my relationship with Ben is in a crazy high place and trust is flooding back in.

Now we can all cheer because, holy crap, I'm pregnant! 

I haven't written about it on this blog because now that my recovery and healing is mixed with my "real" life, I couldn't bring myself to discuss the matter here. Too much at stake. I've had a lot of fears about miscarrying, which would take a huge toll on both Ben and me in a lot of ways, and I didn't want everyone in that business. Some things just need to be my business for a time.

However, once I was able to bust through those fears, I decided I wanted to share this part of my story even though I'm only 10 weeks. Because this is huge. This is a significant part of our story, and I felt very strongly over the weekend that now is the time it needs to be shared.

I've written a little about my faith crisis. I'm still struggling, and I don't expect it to be resolved or go away very easily. That's okay because in reality, I'm finding that working through a faith crisis is a beautiful thing (or at least, I keep telling myself that). Anyway, when we found out I am pregnant, it came as a complete shock (and has provided some healing to parts of my faith crisis).

I mean, seriously. We reached a LOW this year. A major low. Divorce became an real option. Damage had been done, and there was much to work through and sort out. When I quit my job early and moved to Texas, it was on complete faith in God. I loved my job. I still miss it. But I felt that taking care of us and paving the way to healing, not only for us, but for our future family, was the most important thing we could do.

People knew of our situation. People knew we had also struggled with infertility. I was warned by a handful of people to be careful not to rush into baby-making when we were so fragile (I even experienced that advice after knowing I was pregnant, while no one else knew). I had that mindset of warning and care-taking. And I was careful, but I also followed the spirit.

When I had the idea that we needed to start over to heal our relationship, I know it was revelation from God. So we dated and took physical intimacy off the table for a while. We gradually worked our way to intimacy and were eventually led to a point where we both felt fairly safe. I knew we would not be divorcing any time soon (or ever...hopefully). Divorce was no longer on the radar. Family was. Family and healing became priority, and they seemed to come together. 

I took the matter to the Lord. After all, He had not let me down. And eventually (or quickly), I was pregnant.

It did come as a shock. After all this time, after all the battles we have faced, I was not anticipating this one being resolved so quickly and with no medical intervention. Tender mercy. God's timing.

Being pregnant has been really hard. I thought since my life has had so many challenges anyway, I deserved to have an easy pregnancy whenever it should eventually happen. That has not been the case. Pregnancy has not been easy, but that's okay. I've seen God's hand in all of this. And maybe that's why it's not easy. Because if I didn't have to pay attention to that kind of stuff, I wouldn't actually know what God was doing with my life.

For one thing, the timing on this is amazing. I mean, words cannot even express the joy both Ben and I feel with the fact that we are welcoming in a little one soon. That joy has brought us so much closer together, and the timing on that is perfect because we need this. We need this joy and this love we are experiencing after all the hell we have been through. Some people say that having a pregnancy and baby will cause more problems, and I know that is true in its own way. It will be hard. I am positive of that. But it's taking a positive emotional turn on our relationship, rather than a negative one.

Here's why:

Ben has been given countless opportunities to serve me. And, I just feel weak and pathetic because of how sick I am. It's been hard and kind of a shot at my ego and pride to have to lean on him for everything. But he does it, willingly and graciously. He listens to me complain about having no food to eat because I have thrown up most of my options. He does dishes. He holds me when I cry because it's so hard being so sick. He makes an effort to spend time with me when he is stressed about work and could be spending that time working. And he lets me eat all the ice cream.

I'm seeing the Ben I married emerge. The Ben who has been lost because of the addiction. The kind, gentle, selfless man who I was lucky enough to snag. The guy that every girl would be jealous to have because he is that great. That's the guy who is present in our marriage right now.

I'm learning to trust him again. I mean, I already trusted him enough to carry his child. But there are different kinds of healing of trust that needed to take place, and they are. They are.

While I'm sick and feel icky and gross much of the time, this pregnancy has provided much emotional healing. And I feel so grateful for it.

I know it's God's timing. I see it. I see it manifested in so many ways, and words cannot even express what that does for me.

I know I needed to leave Arkansas when I did. At the time, our relationship was only getting worse, and we needed to heal. Had I spent more time there, it would have gotten way worse--to what point, I'm not exactly sure. But I know it would have gotten worse, and the road to healing would have been much harder to bear. I know I would not be pregnant. And this joy we both feel, and the peace we are experiencing in our marriage right now, would be nonexistent. I know that. And that is how I know God has had His hand in all of this. The entire time. He knew exactly when we needed a child. He knew exactly what we needed to grow. Our trials are not over, but as I put my trust in God and see how perfect His plan is, it gets easier to trust Him all the more.

This is beautiful to me. The challenges Ben and I have faced have been horrible. Yet, from the darkness and horrors can emerge beauty. I'm keeping my eyes open to the beauty. I am trying to be find things to be grateful for every day, and I'm finding that my life is not at all what I imagined. It's better.

I know that sounds so cheesy and silly. And maybe to people who are in the thick of the hell the addiction brings, that may feel like, "Yeah, yeah, let's see how things are in a year. Maybe it won't feel so beautiful." And maybe that's true. But I have found that when I face the darkest of darks, I eventually experience the brightest of lights.

I have so much hope for the future. The addiction isn't resolved. It will always be a problem. But because of times like this, I can see the true potential of my eternal marriage, and I know that somehow, no matter what, things will be okay. [Even if it were to end in divorce some day. No matter what, I know God is guiding me.]

ANDDD I'll get to the rest of what I was going to write later. After writing about and reminding myself of all the joy, I no longer feel inclined to write about the depression. Plus, this post is pretty long anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

God has not abandoned me

I want to thank everyone who reached out to me yesterday, and for the comments you left for me on my post. Yesterday was emotional.

After writing my post, I reached out to a few people. I talked to them about the basics of what I was feeling, and they helped me identify some underlying problems that I wasn't recognizing.

One friend told me to lean on God because "He will never abandon you."

I've been experiencing a faith crisis. I'm really struggling with my testimony of certain things, but I'm trying to hold on to what I know and let that guide me. I don't feel like going into detail, but it's similar to what Ben wrote about on his blog today.

So while I've been experiencing this faith crisis and feeling like I'm going through a funk, I've been withdrawing from basically everyone around me. Including God.

Friend: "Turn to God. He will never abandon you."

Me: "But, I feel like I'm abandoning Him."

Bring on the sniffles and kleenexes.

I have felt like I'm abandoning God. I've had major trust issues with Him, which I think is understandable, and I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about it. I know He is there. That is one of the things I hold on to in my faith. I know I can be healed through Him. But when everything seems so hard, well, so do the things that bring me closer to God and help me feel peace. So, I take baby steps every day (I study my scriptures, thought it may not be as intently as I feel like it should be. Or I study my scriptures and feel really good, but when I'm finished, all the things I pushed aside during scripture study come back with full force, as if I never even tried to bring the Spirit in to my heart.). I study my scriptures. I pray. Sometimes my prayers are, "Heavenly Father, this is really hard. I hope you can see that, and I'm sorry I feel like I can't say more."

But while I take these baby steps, sometimes it's more of a robotic, "I must do this because it's right," rather than an actual heartfelt effort. And then I spend much time wallowing in self-pity or questioning God.

I guess that's not total abandonment, but I have just felt like I am abandoning Him. And with that feeling has come the fear that maybe He will give up on me. Maybe He will get tired of my little games (I don't think they are games, but maybe He thinks they are) and whining and give up. Maybe He will give me space to teach me a lesson, and I'll reach out to Him and will have lost my chance.

Fear. Lots of fear.

I've definitely felt Satan tugging at me. I've actually seen a clear image of Satan tugging at me. I know this negativity is not me. I know Satan is trying to bring me down. I've got some things on my plate that He would love to trash. So I'm feeling a constant battle going on.

Last night, I asked Ben to give me a blessing. I've actually asked a few times in the past month or so, but then I get scared and say nevermind, or I don't remind him if he forgets when he gets home from work. Last night, I told him it had to happen.

Beforehand, I said a little prayer asking God to build on the faith I have to help me find the peace that I need from the blessing. I asked for clarity and strength.

The blessing was beautiful, and it was certainly one of the most sacred experiences I have had in a long time.

The thing I want to share from it was the promise I was given that God has not abandoned me, nor will He ever abandon me. And He understands. He understands the fears I have. He understands my faith crisis. He understands my trauma, my depression, my "funk." He understands my pain. And He has promised to be there for me when I am ready for Him. And He has promised to heal me.

God has not abandoned me. Even when I feel like I am abandoning Him, He loves me so much that He is still there for me. I'm so grateful for that love.

And I know He has it for all of us. He is always there for all of us. He understands your pain, your suffering. He understands your crisis of faith. He understands it all because He has felt it. He knows exactly what we need to succor us. And He is there with open arms.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm going through a funk

I haven't written in a while. This is not like me.

I guess I just don't know what I'm doing right now.

I'm going through a funk. I kind of know why. But I can't explain why.

Part of this funk is that I went from an extremely busy kind of hell to...this. Whatever this is. Not working. Working on "healing." Trying to piece myself back together. Anddddd. I guess I don't know if it's working. I'm definitely seeing changes. But they aren't changes I really expected.

For example, I used to be very self-motivated. Now, I think I'm getting lazy. I hate any kind of work. It's such a battle. Every. Stinkin. Day. Laundry? Ben, can you help me? Dishes? I hate dishes. Ben, can you help me? Picking up crap around the apartment? Ben, I can't do this by myself--can you help me?
[but it's not lazy, more of just an effect of trauma, right??]

Except Ben does pretty much all of it. That's not really true. But I think he does more than his share. Because guess what? Kilee has no job. But Ben does as much or more housework. And that feels not fair to him, but he is a great sport and doesn't complain.

I had all these plans to draw closer to God and serve people. I had these ideas of what it would take for my "healing." And it's just not going according to plan. Granted, we are still experiencing major life changes. Things are happening that are stressing me out. And I think I was stretched so thin that I can't figure out how to slide back together and function properly.

In my head, I should be getting a job (and I started the application to be a substitute teacher this morning. So that is something). We could definitely use the income I would bring in. But, the idea of working stresses me out. So badly. It sends me into this spiral of anxiety and depression that I had when I was working.

I'm afraid being a teacher is ruined for me. Kind of like when you throw up and that food is forever ruined. Because of the life stress that happened and the pain I experienced while being a teacher (not to mention the added stress and anxiety I had from being a teacher), I'm afraid of teaching again. Even subbing. But I'm trying to push through that because it is what works best with my schedule.

I don't really know why I'm writing this. I guess to just sort out my thoughts and figure out what is going on in my head.

I am struggling. But this isn't a call for help. I'm just telling it like it is because this is my blog.

I'm struggling with a lot of things, and I haven't figured out how to piece my life back together.

And that's okay because I know I will figure it out. I know that God will help me.

I even know some of the things I need to do to piece my life back together. I just have to do them--and that is hard.