The girl that used to be mine.Β 

Some days, I kind of miss her. The person I used to be. She was light hearted. Funny. Like really funny, although most people outside her inner circle didn’t necessarily get to see it. She was quiet, except for with those she felt most comfortable, then you could hardly shut her up. 😏

 She was independent and smart. She was silly. Easily amused. 

She was laid back, rarely anxious. She honestly couldn’t even understand what an “anxiety attack” was. I mean, like everyone else, she had her issues that she had to deal with in life and in marriage, but mostly she believed that things were good, and were surely going to get even better. She didn’t really know what pain and heart ache was. Not really. 

She was hopeful. When times got tough she always tried to believe for the best and know that everything would be ok. She could find at least a little something good in everyone. She certainly never despised or hated anyone. Her heart was fairly shiny still. The bright pink color of it only dulled slightly by the normal wear and tear of the few real issues that life had dealt her.

And sometimes, I really miss her. I miss the girl that didn’t know that feeling of anxiety. That ‘heart racing, knot in your stomach, can’t sit still but also can’t move, just need to escape but there’s no where to run from this feeling’, feeling. I miss the girl that had never held hatred in her heart. I miss that kind, joyful, easy going, funny girl. The one who’s heart wasn’t broken. 

There’s a song whose lyrics describe so accurately what it’s like to go through something, and realize how it changes you, and the struggle of coming to accept this new and different existence.

“She used to be mine” by Sara Bareilles:
“It’s not simple to say

That most days, I don’t recognize me.

It’s not easy to know

I’m not anything like I used to be

Although it’s true

I was never attention’s sweet center

I still remember that girl

She’s imperfect but she tries

She is good but she lies

She is hard on herself

She is broken and won’t ask for help

She is messy but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up

And baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine
It’s not what I asked for

Sometimes life just slips in through a back door

And carves out a person

And makes you believe it’s all true

And now I’ve got you

And you’re not what I asked for

If I’m honest I know I would give it all back

For a chance to start over

And rewrite an ending or two

For the girl that I knew”
But there is no rewriting. And the me that I am now, the me after all that pain and heartache…well, I like her too. She’s not as quiet. She’s more open, easier to connect with. She is bold. She is brave.  She refuses to let fear win or keep her from doing the things she is meant to do. She’s still independent and smart. Although sometimes because of that independent streak she tries to handle too much on her own.

 She is stronger. She has strength, SO much strength, that she never imagined she had.  
She can still find the good in most anyone….ok, if she’s being honest, maybe there is ONE specific person in this situation that she has yet to really find the goodness in. The jury is still out on that particular resolution. Definitely lacking closure in this department I suppose. But alas, that’s a blog for another day. πŸ€”πŸ˜•

There is almost always a heaviness, like someone placed a concrete block right in the center of her being. It’s less heavy than it was at first, and some moments it’s heavier than others, and there are even a few blissful moments now occasionally where it’s light enough that she almost forgets it’s there. 
She knows all too well now what anxiety feels like. How there are certain triggers that incite anxiety, and heartache as if it was all fresh again in just a moments time. But she pushes past it. She has hope that over time, that concrete block will crumble and get lighter and lighter, and those triggers will fade and lose their power, to some extent at least. She has a stronger faith. A closer relationship with God. And she’s still funny. Just ask her friends. Or her coworkers. Or her family. They’ll tell ya. 😜😘 She’s still quiet at times, but certainly not because she’s afraid to speak. She has a husband that no longer takes her for granted, that loves her in a way she’s never known before. She has the capacity to forgive. She has hope, and faith, and knows exactly how surrounded by love she is. She knows the countless number of people that showed up for her in her darkest days. The girl I was before had no idea just how well loved she was and what a large network she had of people that truly cared. The woman I am now, bears the scars of betrayal and brokenness. The woman I am now still has some wounds that aren’t fully healed. But she also sees so much goodness. So yes, I do like her. I am thankful for her. I wish sometimes that becoming her had not come at such a steep price. But I really like her. 
The more I think about it, I know that the person I was and the person that I am now, are not all that different. The qualities and the imperfections of both have all been there the whole time somewhere inside of me, hiding beneath the surface. The things we go through are sometimes just the necessary tool to bring those things out of us. The qualities and purposes that we hold back, and the ones that we weren’t even aware we had. And sometimes…no, most times, the price of getting there, to that person you are meant to be in it’s fullness, comes at a price. 
As that song says: Would I like to rewrite it all, and create a different ending for that girl that used to be mine? The answer is, yes. And the answer is also no. 
Yes, I would love to take a giant magical eraser and wipe out all that heartache, and erase all of the unbearable grief. To live without that heavy concrete block of pain and sadness. A million times yes. But it’s made me into who I am now. And this new me , she has qualities that I wouldn’t want to give back. 
This new life I have has blessings that I wouldn’t want to give back. It brought me a better husband and a better marriage. It brought me a heavier hearted me, but it also brought me an improved and more authentic me. This story that I didn’t want, has also brought me purpose. This story that I didn’t want has allowed me the ability to bring hope to others. So the answer, yes or no? The answer is both. In a perfect world I would write myself a story where I get all the goodness of this new life without any of the heartache. But then I wouldn’t know what a treasure this new life really is. I wouldn’t know the depth of love and relationship I have in my marriage now. And I wouldn’t know the tenderness of the way God loves us through our heartache, and that is a precious, precious thing to experience.

So, the answer is really that there is no answer. The answer doesn’t matter. The question doesn’t even matter. Because I can’t rewrite any of it. And honestly, God can write my story immensely better and more beautifully than I ever could. He writes a story for each of us that can be more than we could ever imagine or dare to hope for, but we have to let go and let Him write it. For any of us that are going through a tough season in life , the only question that really matters is:
Will you let this situation take the very best of you, or will you let it make you your very best? 
We can’t rewrite our histories, so for every one of us, perhaps the biggest question is: 
 Do you want to keep trying to rewrite your own story, or are you going to let God do what He does best and write you a masterpiece?
Let’s choose wisely, my sweet, sweet friends. 
Amy Thurston Gordy

It’s a process

I told y’all in my last post that I had come to the realization that I wasn’t giving enough attention to my own healing process lately, so over these last couple of weeks I’ve made an effort to get back to that. 

I think part of the reason I was shutting down was that I just needed a break. The emotions involved in working through the healing process can be overwhelming at times and both mentally and physically exhausting. Jeff knew I wasn’t in a good place. I was quiet. Withdrawn. Distracted. My family noticed. My sisters said, “We’re a little worried about you. You seem different, and not in a good way.” Ouch. Yikes. Those sisters of mine. Y’all know they don’t miss anything, ha. And they have a gift of being able to say things to you that are harsh but necessary, but at the same time deliver it in the sweetest and most caring way. 😜Anyway, I knew I was spiraling, but that honesty coated in love and concern was part of what I needed to snap me back on track. So thanks for that. 😘  

There comes a time when a part of you just wants to shut down and shut it all out. You just want a minute. An hour. DARE you hope for a WHOLE blessed day…one day that this isn’t what your life is now. A day to pretend it never happened. A day to just feel normal again. And that’s fine. It’s fine to take a break. 

But in reality, you can’t really take a break from it. You can pretend all day long, but it’s there. It can never un-happen. (Yep, I just made that word up. Writers can do that and get away with it, right?) πŸ˜‰ 

So yes, a break is ok, but I’ve found its best to take your moment, then take a deep breath and jump back in. So I got my focus back and got back to working on me and things have gone so much better this week. Jeff and I have had some really good talks, and through those I’ve been able to come to terms with some of the things that I needed to clarify or resolve in my mind. 

I think we are both feeling a lot more peaceful this week. And hopeful. It’s not an easy process y’all. But we definitely believe there is even more goodness ahead of us. There’s been a whole lot of baby steps. There’s also been a couple of leaps, and even more steps backwards than I can count. But we are moving forward. There is progress. And it is good. It is so, so good. 

I have learned a lot. Lessons that I never wanted to be in the position to learn. Lessons that I wish had come about in a different way. But I am so grateful for them. Grateful for the changes they have brought. And especially grateful because I can share some of them with you, and hopefully that will mean that you can learn from them and apply them in your life without having to go through what I have. Or if you’ve already been through it, hopefully you can use what I share to help you move forward too. 

Thank you all for encouraging us. Thank you for showing Jeff grace and forgiveness. Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give to me. There is always a moment before I hit that publish button when I second guess myself, and I pause and think,”Am I sharing too much? Should I really put all this out there?” But the answer I get is always the same. People need to know the truth. The truth about how an affair affects everyone around you. The truth about the pain it causes. And the truth about a loving God that is full of forgiveness and grace and mercy and can walk with us through the darkest of places. The truth about just how good He really is. 

 So thank you for reading my blog, and thank you for sharing it with others. I’m still blown away when I see the far flung places my words have reached. Just blown away. I never would have imagined it and just thank God that I can use it to share His goodness. And y’all are a big part of making that possible. 

So thank you, thank you all for being goodness and love and light. I just love ya. ❀️
Amy Thurston Gordy

Finding my focus

I’ve started trying to write something over the last couple of weeks on several occasions , but for some reason, the words just weren’t coming. I’ve just felt a little off.

These feelings started a couple of weeks ago when we had our first real argument since Jeff’s been back home. This may sound somewhat silly, but it actually kind of took me by surprise. I guess I thought somehow we wouldn’t fight over things anymore. I thought that if we survived the biggest fight a couple can have, then there was surely nothing else important enough to fight over. And I guess truthfully, a part of me thought he didn’t really have the right to get mad at me for anything. Ever. Because I’d forgiven him the biggest hurt he could have possibly inflicted on me. And he was surely so grateful that he would never find a reason to get upset with me. Of course I realize now that all those thoughts were ridiculous. Of course he’s allowed to have his own opinions and feelings. Going through this didn’t somehow make us some super couple that is so exceedingly wise and hopelessly in love that we could never disagree on anything again. There are going to be disagreements and for me to believe otherwise was just completely unrealistic. But still, I don’t think I was prepared for it just yet, and it set the stage for some insecurity to take hold.

That brought about more moments of struggle. More flashes of that imaginary movie reel that plays in my head of the affair. It happens when I least expect it. I don’t try to think about what happened. I try very hard not to think about it, but sometimes I’ll just be sitting there, and suddenly an image of them together will play through my mind. I immediately get up, and find something to do. Try to push it out of my mind with some kind of busy work. But that’s all it takes, just that one flash of a thought, and the pain settles in.
So I let the thoughts and memories get to me.Β I held on to them a little too long this time, trying to pretend I was ok, trying to spare Jeff from seeing my heartache. I put on my “I’m perfectly fine” face, which I’ve told y’all before never actually fools him. But I still insisted I was fine. I don’t want him to feel like he has to relive his mistakes day after day. I don’t want him to feel like I’m trying to punish him for it by bringing it up. If I just let the tears come and talk about what’s bothering me with him and get it out of my system, I’m ok again. But sometimes I want to protect him and anyone else around me from it, so instead of letting it out, I hold onto it , and it grows. And before I know it, I’ve been enveloped by it, and the thoughts start racing, and the questions come. The same unanswerable questions. And I finally reach the point that I can’t hold it in anymore, and I start asking those questions. The ones he can’t answer. The ones there is no good answer for. Although he’d much rather forget it all than ever speak of it again, he patiently talks me through it. But I can sense the frustration. And I don’t blame him for feeling it. Yet seeing that frustration scares me a little. And that fear brings more questions. If years from now, these bad moments still happen from time to time , will he reach a point where he can’t handle it anymore? Will he eventually tire of having to take care of my broken heart? Resent me for it even? Will he decide it’s just not worth it? Of course I know the fears that brought that particular set of questions to mind aren’t real. I know that he would do whatever it takes , until the end of time to help my heart heal. I know how sorry he is. I know it doesn’t feel good to watch me feel the pain that he caused. I know it doesn’t feel good to go through the same questions and answers that we’ve rehashed a dozen times. He hates what he did, and of course he doesn’t enjoy revisiting it.
I know these things are all normal. I know the healing process is complicated, and that sometimes we are going to feel like we are doing so great, only to feel in the next moment like we’ve taken 3 steps backwards.

But I can also see the progression. I know that it only gets better. Despite the occasional setbacks, I know we are taking steps forward, and into the amazing things we have ahead of us.
I know why I’ve not felt quite right the past couple of weeks. I know why the thoughts popped up more and I know why I had a harder time letting them go. I know why I couldn’t find the words to write. It’s because I was stuck. I lost my focus. I was letting the busyness of my days keep me from some important things. I wasn’t reading my Bible or my daily devotionals. I let my current self-help book sit by my bedside collecting dust. I haven’t spent enough time talking to…or listening to God. While I was gladly investing some of my time in trying to help other people in their healing process, which is definitely important and worthy of my time, and something that I feel blessed to do, I wasn’t investing that same amount of effort into my own healing. And Jeff and I weren’t spending enough time with each other. I could feel a disconnect of sorts. Which in turn brought about some feelings of fear and insecurity, and no doubt gave those negative thoughts I had been having room to grow.

The good thing is that when I stop to figure out how to get back on track, I know exactly how I got here. I know I have to take control of my thoughts and my focus, because these are the things that happen when the focus isn’t where it should be.
I have to remind myself to purge the bad thoughts as soon as they come. I have to remember to allow myself to release the pain they bring. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to protect anyone from those feelings, and that nobody expects me to. If I let it go right then and there, the flood of those unanswerable questions that those moments bring with them stays where it belongs… in the past.

So today, and every day, I have to remind myself to focus on the here and now. To focus not on the hurtful things that Jeff did, but on the person he is now. I am so proud of who he has become and I am so thankful for it. I have to remind myself to read my daily devotions, to spend time talking to and listening to God, and to take care of this marriage, this second chance at real love that we’ve been given.

I have to remind myself to focus not on the painful moments of our past, but the beauty in the moments we share now. I have to remind myself that I can’t change the past, I can’t change the fact that those things happened. I can’t control the pain that thoughts of it bring. It’s inevitable, and no amount of healing seems to make the thoughts of what happened hurt any less. But I can change my focus, and learn how to let that pain go when those thoughts come instead of staying there in that moment and allowing it to control me.

I can’t change yesterday, but I can choose how to spend today.
I’ve said before, that when you focus on the good , the goodness grows. So, I’m resetting my focus. Do you need to reset yours?

Philippians 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Amy Thurston Gordy