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There’s always more to the story.

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There’s always more to the story.

Dear friends and family,

You know how “they” say, “there’s always more to the story?” Well, if I didn’t believe that before (which I did), I certainly do now.

There’s no easy way to tell you this except to just spit it out.

Due to the recent discovery of my husband’s sinful choices, he and I have entered into a season of therapeutic separation. Our marriage is very broken. I’m sure many of you are stunned but no one could be more stunned than I.

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Red paint will never be enough but red blood will. #endit

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Red paint will never be enough but red blood will. #endit

Someone once told me that she wished everyone in the world would feel like she felt about adoption. That if everyone would adopt a child, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore. I told her that we should all do our part to care for orphans, but we’re not all called to adopt. I also told her that even if every orphan in the world today had a home another would be born tomorrow without one.

Because of sin, orphans will always be longing for a home. It’s a sad situation, for sure, but it’s a situation that is not without hope.

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Who Are You Waiting For? (A Lenten Reflection)

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Who Are You Waiting For? (A Lenten Reflection)

The 2018 Lenten season begins tomorrow. While stricter Lenten observers might not be so keen that the two days collide, I find irony in the season beginning on the day in which we celebrate love. The day that many will focus on romantic love. However, I can think of no better love to focus on than the eternal love that was given to us on the living cross.

As it has been every year, my approach to Lent is organic. There are no Lenten police officers out there making sure we are not logged into Facebook or hiding in the closet with a chocolate bar or ticking the right number of boxes and doing the right things. No, that would be legalism and not at all what Jesus is about. There must always be a measure of grace. At least for me.

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Love is a verb, not a day.

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Love is a verb, not a day.

In the earlier years of our marriage, Valentine’s Day (aka Love Day) loomed in the horizon when the calendar flipped from January to February. We waited for the day clunking aimlessly around with our unspoken and residual unmet expectations. For years, we bought into the commercialization of the day. The 15th of February came with sadness, disappointment and hurt. Our “Love Day” wasn’t always a flop but I must say that chocolate was sometimes one of the few things that turned out right. Can you relate?

My husband and I have been married for nearly three decades. Over these years, we’ve learned a thing or two from the truest form of dumb luck, some things from wise counsel and even more from the school of hard knocks. Throughout the years and tears, one thing we have learned is that love is a verb, not a day.

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When Does Healing Begin?

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When Does Healing Begin?

This post originally published on TheCourage.com.

“Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide.”

(The Hurt and the Healer, MercyMe)

There is so much brokenness in our world today that is hard for our hearts to digest. Devastating storms, mass shootings, the sex-trafficking epidemic, sudden loss of loved ones, life-altering illnesses, marriage betrayal, prodigal children, … the list is long.

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Bridging Transitions – Part 6 {Living in Truth}

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Bridging Transitions – Part 6 {Living in Truth}

Carolyn is a truth teller. I remember when she told me that my decision to pursue emotional health could cost me an awful lot. She wasn’t lying. She warned me that it could get ugly and that I had to be completely sure I had counted the cost. We talked about how desperately someone who struggles with narcissism requires a codependent partner. We discussed what the journey could typically look like. We talked about how me making the decision to stand in my truth meant I would have to let the Lord fight for me. We talked about how hard that would be. We talked about how my decision to chase emotional health would require my husband to do the same. OR it could very well mean that if he did not join the party, he could choose to bounce altogether. She held nothing back. I knew what was on the line. So, I pondered. For about 2 minutes before I confidently declared that I was ready.

My codependency had already been exposed. I had already acknowledged my ugly and had called it like it was. It was too late to go back. After months of research and self-diagnosis, I had uncovered some significant issues that I had disguised well. I knew if I had any hope at all of ever living in peace, I would need to go to war with myself. So, I armored up. I battled.

The battleground was familiar. I had been there before, many times through the years. I had been there in many relationships, both romantic and not. I had gotten very good at enabling, fixing, covering, rescuing, and stuffing. It was clear the armor had to change.

I had to stand in truth.

Boldly.

Completely exposed.

I had to watch as someone I loved dearly made choice after choice to turn away. I had to watch my family crumble and there was absolutely nothing more I could do to save it. So, I stood still. I allowed Jesus to fight for me. I didn’t rescue or cover or fix anything that wasn’t mine to own. And boy, did Jesus expose the kinds of truth that only He could. That’s the thing about Him.

God is Truth. He can’t be hidden. In the end, it is all blown wide open-whether you like it or not. (tweet this)

 

What I learned in that time of transition was that I could trust Him. Like, on a for real level. Not that Christian cliche´-ish type “trust Him”. I had to lay my head on my pillow each night knowing I couldn’t even defend myself to my own children. I had to earnestly believe that He would keep His promises. That the Lord would fight for me, I only had to be still. Just like in Exodus 14:14. I had everything I held dear to lose. LITERALLY. Yet, I couldn’t fight for it the way I had been fighting for my whole life. It was foreign and new. It was a whole new world to completely trust outside of myself.

It was an intense realization to sit back and evaluate how deep I was living in deception for so long. Even worse than that, it was a deception I had helped create. Not intentionally, but from a very genuine heart in pursuit of the things of God. It took the better part of two years to read, examine, expose my heart to a Biblical Counselor, attend Celebrate Recovery religiously, and research just how desperately wrong I was getting it. It was humbling and hard. It is a heartbreaking journey to transition from a woman who carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and called herself strong to a woman who walked in weakness, yet in complete freedom -resting in the sweet, tender arms of Jesus -as she became the fiercest warrior her world had ever seen.

So, here I am. Still standing in truth almost 3 years after this journey of healthy transition began. Having spent a whole year recovering from the kind of loss I never imagined experiencing.

Completely broken, yet perfectly held together.

Walking in weakness, yet stronger than I have ever been.

Deeply exposed, yet safer than yesterday.

Looking in the mirror and seeing the reflection of a warrior.

 

 

*This post originally appeared on Giggles, Laundry, and the Cross and is shared with the author’s permission.

 

Marie JacksonMarie is a single mom. She has eight children. Her kiddos range in age from a 24-year-old (who was recently married) to twin 3rd graders. She gave birth to four of her children and gained the other four through the gift of adoption. Her beautifully, chaotic home is in Reno, NV. Marie works for her church leading the children’s ministry. She is passionate about children and families. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women of all ages with love and truth.

Marie was raised by a mentally ill mother and a grandma who is head over heels for her savior. She knows the value of encouraging words and what it looks like to fight for someone you love.

Marie is in love with Jesus and cute shoes. Coffee is her beverage of choice and she can make a mean dish of enchiladas. No dish is ever the same, because she never follows a recipe, and don’t ever ask her to bake ANYTHING. She is a Netflix binger and can still belt out all of the words to Rappers Delight. She never passes up an opportunity to chat about parenting, crafts, or sex. She is addicted to Bikram Yoga and loves to hike the Sierra Nevada’s. She worries too much and laughs at all of her own jokes. Her life is messy, but it’s beautiful.

She’s a giggle lovin’, laundry hating, Savior needing girl, trying to keep all the pieces together. Read more from Marie at Giggles, Laundry, and the Cross.

Bridging Transitions Marie Jackson

Read more from this series:

Bridging Transitions – Part One by Andrea Stunz

Bridging Transitions – Part Two by Dana Herndon

Bridging Transitions – Part Three by Courtney Ellis

Bridging Transitions – Part Four by Ellie

Bridging Transitions – Part Five by Andrea Stunz

Bridging Transitions – Part 5 {Traditions}

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Bridging Transitions – Part 5 {Traditions}

As the flurry of activity settles from the winter holidays and I catch my breath, I reflect on how different our family’s traditions looked in the face of a transitional season. Navigating traditions during a time of transition can feel like trying to put your makeup on without a mirror.

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Bridging Transitions – Part Four {Working Transitions)

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Bridging Transitions – Part Four {Working Transitions)

Picture it- 10 am on a Thursday morning. Most people my age, somewhere between no longer young and senior citizen, are at work. Not me. I’m sitting on my back deck wrapped in a blanket and drinking coffee.

It probably looks relaxing, and it is. The sounds of nature on a cool morning are a great way to start a day, but there are things no one can see- the blinding pain in my right hip, or the waves of nausea and dizziness. The only thing visible about my many illnesses is the weird walk my hip has given me and the falls from the dizziness. There are many more symptoms. So many that it breaks my heart, but they just sit there silently torturing me. Invisible.

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Bridging Transitions – Part Three {Giving Birth}

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Bridging Transitions – Part Three {Giving Birth}

I don’t usually yell at my husband. I’m not a yeller. But in this instance, I was screaming my head off just inches from his ear.

“WHY IS NO ONE HELPING ME? I NEED SOME HELP!”

Daryl patted my arm and looked around in dismay.

“It’s transition,” mouthed one of the nurses. “This is totally normal.”

I’m one of those crunchy-hippie-granola folks who willingly chooses natural birth. It’s funny because I’m not that much of a hippie in real life. I wear black pencil skirts to work and I eat way more Skittles than granola.

But birth I do the natural way.

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What is MY brave?

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What is MY brave?

I admit it. I have mixed feelings about the topic of being brave.

Phew, there it is. I said it. This declaration might make you feel as uncomfortable as I do with anything that smells like status quo.

It seems to be a trendy buzz topic these days and I tend to rebel against trendy anything. This is proven by my love for comfortable shoes regardless of the fashion statement I might be making – although I do try to keep it classy. My aversion to “trendy” is also made evident by the fact that my marriage survived hell when most in the world would have thrown it away. I also never bought into trendy parenting techniques, quick weight loss schemes, and Reese’s Pieces. Aaaannndd… some of you stopped reading at Reese’s Pieces.

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