Sweet summertime

Happy weekend y’all! Today’s blog is just a quick little hello and an update on our daily life. 

Today is Saturday and it looks like after a week of rain it’s finally cleared out and the sun is shining its happy little rays on us again. ☀️

Summer, that special time of the year, when no one has to be driven to school so I can sleep later, no lunches need to be packed, we have fresh tomatoes and peaches and watermelon, and weekends filled with cookouts and lounging by the pool! (Cue all the angels singing and all the mom’s shouting hallelujah) 😂

Speaking of lounging by the pool… my sweet and talented husband completed the tearing out and rebuilding of the deck around the pool. And it looks amazing!
But wait! There’s more!
He didn’t stop there. We needed lounge chairs, so we began searching high and low for nice, sturdy, long lasting and affordable lounge chairs. Everything we found was either affordable but not long lasting, or long lasting but not affordable. So Jeff pulled up a photo online, asked if I’d like to have some of these kind of chairs, then went to the store and bought the supplies, came home, and built them. Just like that. He built 4 solid wood, adjustable chaise lounge chairs. With his own two hands, y’all. He is most talented. 

I had him paint them white, and we added navy cushions. I wanted a crisp, clean look. 

We added a couple of navy Adirondack chairs, some potted palms and flowers, and a couple of bright yellow side tables for a nice pop of color. We strung vintage style lights on the fence, and I added a couple of bright pink Gerber daisies in cute little white planters for the finishing touch. 

I love, love, love the way it’s all turned out. I just need to find some cute outdoor throw pillows for the chairs to pull it all together. 

We still have two more sections of our deck to replace, and will hopefully be adding a covered outdoor seating area,  but for now I’m thrilled with our progress. 

Summer means the end of another school year. My youngest finished out her first year of high school with a 4.0 grade point average and several art awards. Apparently she’s been harboring a hidden talent all these years. Who knew?!! I think these are fantastic, and the one with the motorcycle is going into a frame and finding a place on one of our walls. 

She also got her learner’s license, and we’ve been letting her drive us everywhere. 😱🚗Jesus, take the wheel. And the tires, and the brakes. Oh and the blinkers. Just take the whole car. 😜 It’s basically terrifying. I kid. Sort of. I mean she’s only nearly killed us like twice. I’m kidding again. Sort of. Ha. She’s actually doing pretty great. She’s catching on fast. It’s more me having issues than her. I think my anxiety has just gotten worse in my old age, lol. 

My oldest finished her first year of college with a 4.0 grade point average and a spot on the Dean’s list 🙌🏼, and she spent the day today touring the college she will be attending in the fall and getting registered for classes. Over the past few weeks we’ve done a little shopping for things for her new apartment. This mama isn’t quite ready for my girl to move away, but are we ever really ready for that? Probably not. Thankfully she’ll only be a couple of hours away. 

So that’s how things are in our world. 
On a personal note, as I told you in my last post, I’m digging into the subject of forgiveness. Which has somehow led me directly to a study of grace. I’m finding that the two are undeniably connected, and that maybe the better understanding you have of what grace really is, the better your understanding of true forgiveness will be. I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, y’all go get you some fresh summer tomatoes and a little bit of sunshine, and enjoy this beautiful weekend! 

❤️                                                                             Amy Thurston Gordy

Dear 2016

One year. One year ago today, just before midnight on New Years Eve I wrote my first blog, “Dear 2015”. 

For those of you that didn’t follow me in the beginning or haven’t read back through, it was about a small tree at High Falls State Park that had been battered by a recent torrential storm. 

High Falls was not a place I wanted to hear about or be reminded of. It was a place I spent a good bit of time in as a child, and had fond memories of. Memories of family picnics, playing on the rocks, walking the trails. Watching the majestic power of the waterfall that looked so much larger and higher from my childhood eyes. But those memories were not what came to mind when I heard or saw the words High Falls anymore, because now the only thing I thought of is that it was one of the meeting spots during Jeff’s affair. An out of the way, unlikely to be discovered, almost perfectly halfway point between our home and hers where they met to betray the people that loved them. 

But there was something about the photo of the tree that drew me in and spoke to me. Here is an excerpt from that very first post:
-My brother posted a video this week. It was of a single small tree, in the rushing flood waters of High Falls. Storm waters raging all around it, the tree is whipping around in every direction. Yet, it hangs on. Still standing though the world is in chaos around it, and its branches are bending and heavy with the force of the storm swirling around it.

In my mind I picture there are stones in the ground surrounding that little tree. I imagine its roots, weaved around those rocks, anchoring the tree in the ground so that no matter what comes, it is able to weather the storm. And when those flood waters clear, it stands firm. Resilient and strong.
Adam’s quote on that video was simply, “Be the tree.” The fact that the video was taken at High Falls is no small detail, and is not lost on me. Those of you that know the details of my story know that it’s on the list of places that trigger painful thoughts and anxiety for me. But I saw that video and I knew it was for me. 
I AM the tree.

2015 brought a storm of destruction that threatened everything I knew to be true about my life. But like that tree, my roots are wrapped around the Rock. And all of those stones that hold me in place, those stones are all of you. My unwavering, amazing and beautiful support system. Rooted in Christ, and surrounded by all the people He has placed in my life. And now that the storm has passed and the world becomes a little more peaceful and the flood waters recede, I will stand just as that tree does. My branches stronger from facing the resistance of adversity. All that water meant for my destruction, instead being used to create new growth, and causing my branches to bloom into something beautiful.
So goodbye 2015. You meant to destroy me, to steal my joy. You gave it your best shot. But you. do. not. win.
I’m looking forward to sunshine and happiness in 2016. May it bring us all a year filled with countless blessings and most of all, an abundance of joy.-

When I wrote that, I didn’t know I was writing it for a blog. I really didn’t know why I was writing it at all. I just felt compelled to put the pen to paper and write. And I quickly found that it was like therapy for me. And I remembered how much I loved it, writing. And then I felt compelled to post it. Which was so out of character for my very introverted, private self. But I felt like God was telling me to post it, and so, just seconds before the clock struck midnight, I pressed that publish button and bid a formal goodbye to 2015. 
Little did I know what that one small act of pressing that button would put into motion for me. That it would usher in a whole new existence, a whole new outlook, a whole new beginning for me. And I certainly never expected that I would be bringing thousands of people all over the world along for the ride. In my mind, I thought that probably my family would read it. A few facebook friends. I never imagined how far it would go. I mean, seriously, this still blows my mind every time I see it. 

And here we are, one year later. It’s been an emotional year full of goodness, hard work, trial and error, setbacks and triumphs. And you all have been there with me through every last bit of it.
So tonight, I share with you my letter to 2016:

Dear 2016,
To say we’ve been through a lot together would be an understatement. While 2015 came swinging for me, bringing its wrecking ball crashing through my life….you, you were different. 
You were more like a steady hand. 
Guiding me as gently as possible as I recovered from the battering injuries I’d sustained in my storm. 
In many ways, it was a tough year, but not in the same ways as 2015. We had a lot of pain to face. A lot of fears to face. A lot of grief to work through. And it was no easy task. It was hard, gut wrenching, soul cleansing work. Sometimes I wasn’t sure we could do it. Sometimes it felt impossible. Sometimes we would take several steps upward only to stumble and go tumbling halfway to the bottom again. It was work. It was at times excruciating. It was hard. It was exhausting. And it was incredibly painful. 
But every time I would fall, I’d lift my eyes upward. I’d see the good stuff ahead. I’d look to the promises, “Behold, I make all things new”, and “you intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” And I picked myself back up, and kept pushing on. And so along with all the hard stuff, it was also rewarding, joyful, encouraging, expectant, propelling, and life giving.  
You brought me healing. You brought me strength. You brought me courage. You brought me hope. 

You brought me love.                    The real kind.                                                    

You brought me joy, and you brought me redemption.

You reminded me of who I am.  Not who people thought I was.  Not who others had come to expect me to be. 

Not even the person I’d confined myself to be. 

But Who I really am.        

You brought out the gifts within me. And the courage to use them.

You taught me that fear is an illusion. An illusion meant to keep us stuck where we are. Never growing, never reaching beyond our walls. 

You taught me that God goes ahead of us no matter where life takes us. 

You taught me how to not be afraid anymore. 

I look back on this year and see how much has happened, and how my life has changed. My relationship with my husband is so much better than it’s ever been. My friendships are stronger, and my social circle has grown to include some very special people all over the world that I never would have known had I not gone through my storm. We’ve seen blessings professionally and financially. Our children are healthy and happy and thriving and it is such a blessing to watch them unfold into the beautiful, strong, bright young women that God made them to be. 

And I have this blog. A place to purge my pain, to shed my heartache, to proclaim His goodness and to declare our victories. A place to use my gifts, and to do what I’m passionate about. A place to share hope. A place to connect with all of you. 

So 2016, to you, I say thank you. 
Thank you for ushering in the afternoon of my life. Thank you for being the place where I learned to focus on the good. Thank you for making me do the hard work and for making me face my fears and for launching me on the path to becoming the woman God intended me to be. 
I said it a year ago and it still rings true today. 

I AM the tree. 

The storm came and it beat me down, it battered me until parts of me were so very broken. It’s wind and rain took my breath away until I felt like I would suffocate. It left me drowning in my heartache. It came to bring death and destruction. But my roots held firm. The storm came to steal everything good from me. But instead of washing all the goodness away, it took the dead leaves on my branches, and the stagnant earth around my trunk, and washed away everything unusable. It washed away everything that had no place in the life God intended for me. And it made way for fresh soil. And the winds calmed and the torrential downpour subsided and the sun broke through, and then the showers of blessings poured out to bring new growth. To bring me a new life. 

The storm came to shake me to my core. And now, my roots are even deeper and stronger. My trunk more solid and steady. My branches, expanding, growing, reaching towards the sun. And I think I’m even starting to see some blooms. Maybe, even putting out a little fruit. 

Isaiah 61:3
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

God took what was meant for my destruction, for the destruction of my family, and He brought goodness out of it. 

Psalm 91:14-16.                               The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.I will rescue and honor them.I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

It’s not quite here yet, but I think I’ll go ahead and get a head start on my letter to 2017. 

So Dear 2017, 

This year, you aren’t coming for me. The tables are turning and        I am coming for you. And I believe that you are filled with opportunity. I believe that you have so much goodness for me, for my family, and for everyone we come into contact with. And I plan to find every single ounce of it.

As we move forward, this is our focus:
The goodness. 
The grace.
And the gifts. 
I am so grateful for the way God has paved our path with these three things. We still have more work to do. More healing to do. And more growing to do. 
But I look forward to walking through it and finding more of God’s goodness, more of His grace, and more of His gifts. 

Psalm 1:3
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

I am thankful for each and every one of you. For the way you have followed my blog and our journey. For the love and the support you’ve given us. For giving me this outlet to share my story. You are a gift.

 I think I still have so many more stories to tell, so I hope you’ll continue to stick around, and follow as they unfold.

I wish you all good things in 2017. May it bring you goodness. May it bring you joy. May it bring you more blessings than you can contain. May it propel you to become everything God intended YOU to be. 

And may you also Be the tree. 
Happy New Year.

Amy Thurston Gordy

Finding the magic

I’ve always had a soft spot for all things Disney. There’s just something about the fairy tales, the dreams come true, the good overcoming evil, the hope that all his stories inspire.

I love everything about Disney World. The sights, the smells, (there is nothing in the world quite like the glorious smell of walking down Main Street USA) the rides, the food. Even the lines.

Because it forces you to stand still in an ever moving world. To stop and talk to the people you love. To watch and see the people going by, and imagine what their stories are.

Disney World has always been a special place for our family. Jeff and I were supposed to honeymoon there. We had it all planned out. We were going to stay in the Contemporary resort, with a view of the castle from our room. The nasty flu I came down with on our wedding day ruined those plans, and that honeymoon never happened. But when Emily turned 5, we planned our first family adventure.

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Emily learned to swim there in the resort pool.

I’ll never forget the magic in her eyes and the joy on her face as we walked down Main Street for the first time and she caught view of that castle. Pure magic.

Then Anna Kate came along. And when she turned 5, we planned a special first trip for her.

And again, the joy and wonder I saw in her eyes was something I’ll never forget.

After that year, we returned almost every year for our family vacation. We’d been bitten by the Disney bug. We would always say, “we should go somewhere else this year”, but always ended up feeling the pull to go back.

There was just something about the magic it brought to our family and we just couldn’t stay away.

In 2013, we took our last family trip to Disney. It was Emily’s 16th birthday.

The next year, 2014, we didn’t go because we had planned a California coast trip. We finally did something other than Disney that year because we wanted to do something grand and memorable, knowing that Emily would be graduating the next spring and we wanted to do something special.

And the year after that, well… 2015 happened. The affair happened.

And after the affair, it felt like everything about our world changed.

There was no family vacation.

That October, Anna Kate and I joined my parents and family at the beach. Emily couldn’t leave school and Jeff and I were separated, and I remember thinking that we should have been at Disney World.

I remember the grief I felt over the realization that we would never do that as a family again.

It was one of the first things that Anna Kate said when she realized that we were getting a divorce.

“But we will never go to Disney all together again.”

So this year, after all we had been through, it seemed right that we should plan a trip to Disney World. It’s such an inherent part of who we are, and who we are as a family. And it’s one of the very few parts of the old us that we actually wanted to keep.

So back in the spring I started planning. And this year, since all things are new, I decided to switch it up a bit. Instead of October, which is when we would normally go, we would go in December. I’ve always wanted to go at Christmas time. We were supposed to have gone at Christmas time for our Honeymoon, so this year, 25 years later, we would finally get to do that.

And as it turned out, this time we ended up staying at the same resort that we stayed in on that very first trip with Emily.

It didn’t really happen that way purposefully, it’s just where they had available rooms, but I like the symbolism of it. Full circle.

Jeff’s sister, his cousin, and their families joined us, and Emily’s boyfriend also came along. It was his first visit ever. Which was great because there’s just something magical about watching someone experience Disney for the first time.

We spent time together with the whole group and we had time alone for just our family.

And Anna Kate’s boyfriend’s family was vacationing there for a couple of days too, so we got to spend some time with him also, which made her super happy.

It was definitely a little different seeing them there, so grown up now with boyfriends, holding their hands instead of ours, but sweet to see how you never really outgrow the magic. It stays with you.

It was a little more crowded than what we are use to, but being the Disney expert that I am, we were able to plan out our days to avoid the crowds and long waits and make the best use of our time there. If y’all need tips, let me know. They don’t call me Mrs. Disney for nothing.

And the food. Oh the glorious food!

Steaks, lobster, gourmet sandwiches, pasta, sticky wings and dumplings, bananas foster bread pudding, creme brûlée. And the snacks! Ohhh the snacks!

Pretzels, churros, fresh caramel corn, ice cream, and the amazing Dole Whip pineapple float.

And there is nothing in this world as good as a Mickey waffle. You can’t go to Disney World and not have a Mickey waffle.

Have y’all figured out yet that the food is a good 75% of the reason I go? That percentage may or may not actually be higher, but we will go with 75% so as not to make me look like a complete glutton. Ha.

It was an amazing trip. I wish we could have had just a couple more days to fit in a few more things we didn’t get around to doing.

The decorations were beautiful.

The food was amazing.

The Christmas spirit was everywhere.

And standing there, in the midst of all that magic, I couldn’t help but feel it.

Being there, as a family again, in a place so full of memories. All of the really good ones. The ones where we were whole. The ones where we were hopeful. The ones where we were the best parts of our former selves. Realizing that we didn’t lose all of who we were. We kept a little bit, that little bit of magic within us.

And finding that little bit of magic, there in that magical place with the people I love the most, felt like everything was right in the world again.

It felt like joy.

It felt like a gift.

It felt like reclaiming something that had been stolen, and thought to be lost forever.

It felt like….


Amy Thurston Gordy

RSVP: Which box will you check? 

Christmas felt like it kind of snuck up on me this year. Is it just me or does it feel like time goes faster these days? We have had a great Christmas spent with family, and filled with great food and lots of fun.

Oh, and one magical trip to Disney World, which I will share about in another blog in the next few days, so stay tuned for that. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season filled with all things good.

The past few weeks have been eventful for me. Life changing even.
I made mention in my last few posts that God was repeatedly calling me out of my comfort zone this year.

First, with deciding to give my broken marriage another chance. Then, with sharing my life with the world in this blog.

Then with public speaking.

And then…

I quit my job.
It still feels weird to say it.
But I’d been feeling the pull for a while now. I knew the time was coming. And although I knew in my heart it was what God was leading me to do, it was still a little scary. And bittersweet.

I’d been there for over 20 years. I started there at the age of 17. Moved away when Jeff joined the military and then went back to work there when we came home several years later.

I’ve spent basically my entire adult life with these people. They’re my people. They’re my family, and it was with a combination of a heavy heart and a hopeful and expectant spirit that I left them.

So with complete trust that what He had planned for me was good, I have taken several big steps out of my comfort zones this year.
Outside of the walls I’d built around myself, around my life.

And each time , I’ve found goodness waiting for me there.

There is goodness in my marriage and in the person Jeff has become.
There is goodness in this blog and in the people all over the world that read it and find hope in it.
There is goodness in overcoming my fear of public speaking and in the opportunity to share what God has done in our lives.
And there is goodness in the new job I will start in the new year, where I will not only get to work with my sisters, but with a whole group of people that I already know and love.
Sometimes, the comfort zone is exactly where we are supposed to be. But the time may come where you’ll hear Him telling you that it’s time for a change.
We all fear change. And we all get into routines, and fall into this illusion that things will always be this way. And we get comfortable. And if we aren’t really careful, and really paying attention, we can become so accustomed and contented with where we are and how things are that we become complacent.
And so when opportunities arise, we ignore them. Because we are pretty comfy where we are. Because we feel safe where we are.

Happy? Sure.

Sure we are happy. Because we are comfortable, right? Because it’s scary to do things differently than what you’re used to. So we stay in our comfy little comfort zones, but we hear that still small voice whispering , “There’s more. There’s so much more. Step out here into the water and see the wonders beyond your walls.”

But we ignore it.

Because we are scared.

Because although we may not be completely fulfilled where we are, at least we know what to expect if we stay here.

But out there… what if we make the wrong decision? What if we take the wrong path?
I get it. I really, really get it.
But I’ve learned a few things this year.
First, one day, life WILL kick you swiftly and surely out of that comfort zone in one way or another. Because stuff happens.
Like it or not, change is inevitable.

And the truth is, even when the change that comes is bad, it’s important. And it’s even beneficial. Because change brings growth. And growth brings fruit. And the fruit it produces is where the good stuff is found.

Second, wherever life kicks you, God is already there to catch you.

He’s. Already. There.

And He isn’t scrambling to figure out how to fix your big mess. He’s already gone before you and made a way. All you have to do is keep your eyes on Him and follow.

And third, sometimes life doesn’t kick you out of your comfort zone, but instead, God INVITES you out of your comfort zone.
And as with any invitation , you have a choice to make.

You can RSVP yes, or you can RSVP no.
Yep, you can say no to God. You sure can. And you can stay right there. Right where you are. And things may stay the same. You’ll continue to wake up, go about your life, do all the same things you have always done. And life will be good. It will be just fine.
It will be exactly what it always was. Maybe not extraordinary. But good. And you’ll be comfy. You’ll never know what’s outside those walls. You’ll never know what you might be missing. But that’s ok. If that’s what you decide to choose.

Or you can say yes.
And let’s just be honest. Even though you’ve chosen to accept the invitation, you will wake up, freak the freak out for a bit and question if you are making the right choices or if you’ve absolutely LOST YOUR EVER LOVING MIND.

But then, you’ll remember that tug on your heart. That whisper in your spirit.
“Follow me. I’ll show you the way.”

And then watch the goodness unfold. Watch Him bring things into your life that you never imagined. Watch Him turn your mess into a miracle. Watch Him pour out blessings over you.
Watch your life become something extraordinary.

I’ve returned my RSVP.

I want to see the wonders that exist beyond my walls.

Which box will you check?
Amy Thurston Gordy

How do I say thank you?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. Work, holiday get togethers, apartment hunting for my college kid. (How did that happen so fast?) I also had my first speaking engagement last week. Yep. If y’all know me at all you know that was kind of a big deal.

I’m not a public speaker. Correction… I WAS not a public speaker. I suppose I am now. Ha.

But seriously, that was wayyy out of my comfort zone.

I write. By myself. Behind my phone or tablet or computer screen. With no one watching me. And I have stage fright. Not the kind where I am just scared and frozen and speechless like a deer in headlights. Not that kind. The kind where your heart pounds so fast and so hard you feel almost certain you will have a heart attack right there on that stage. The kind where I think “I could totally do this if I could just stop shaking and my heart would stop freaking out.”

I wasn’t really afraid of telling the story. I wasn’t afraid of speaking. There’s just something about getting up in front of all those people, and all eyes being on you, that brings out that panic response in me.

But I did it.

I faced my fears. I pushed past the seemingly impending heart attack going on in my chest. I channeled my shaking hands into a tapping foot. Which was really funny for my family and friends to watch by the way. When one foot stopped tapping, the other foot took over. I’d catch myself doing it and try to make my self stop. But that nervous energy had to come out somewhere so that foot just tapped away!😂

I shared my story and my heart with over 350 people that night. And I think over all I did ok. I may have been a nervous wreck but the message was delivered and that’s what really matters. That people hear that God is a God of redemption, and of hope. That He always keeps His promises. That He has so much goodness for us.

And so, despite the stage fright and my overactive heart, I’ll do it again. And I’ll hopefully be a little more in control of my heartbeats next time. A little less intimidated by the spotlights. Or maybe I won’t. Either way I’ll still do it. Because it’s important. Because I want as many people as possible to know His goodness the way I know it. To know that no matter what their story is, no matter what caused their heartache, there is goodness waiting for them on the other side of it and to just keep pressing towards it.

I had someone ask how Jeff felt about me sharing our story. Because it’s not just mine, it’s His too. And that story reveals a darker side of his former self. It’s something he isn’t proud of. To be honest he still gets sweaty and clammy and anxious every time he hears it. Every time we have a conversation about it. Every time he reads a blog. It’s not easy for him.
But he is so incredibly supportive. He has never tried to hide from it or cover up the mistakes he made. He’s so thankful for God’s redemption in His life and in our marriage, and we both hope that sharing our story helps to bring hope and healing to other people.

The day that I was speaking at the Advent dinner, he showed up to my office with these beautiful flowers. He knew how nervous I was and so he brought me these, and told me that he knew I was going to be great and that he was so proud of me.

So yes, he is more than ok with me sharing our story. And I don’t take that lightly. I know it’s not easy for him and I am immensely thankful for his transparency. He is a good, good man. 😍

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I have much to be thankful for:

-An incredibly large, loving family of Thurston’s, that make my life so full and so fun.

-Jeff’s family who I love and who have always been there for me. And who taught me how to enjoy camping. (The secret is a really nice camper by the way😉)

-A few really special friends that make up my inner circle and mean the world to me.

-A group of girls at work that are like family and that I’ve been blessed to have for over 20 years.

-A special group of ladies from all over the world that I met as part of a book launch team and connect with online, most of whom I’ve never met in the real world, who share similar stories and support and encourage me and each other in the most beautiful way.

-My beautiful, healthy, smart, kind girls.

-My funny, sweet dogs that sometimes drive me nuts but are full of unconditional love.

-Baked goods. Seriously. I’m so thankful for baked goods.

-The opportunity to share God’s goodness, here on this blog and in my everyday life.

-My husband. Who loves me so well.




-All the goodness that I know lies ahead for us.
These song lyrics from Bethel Music pretty much sum up what’s in my heart this morning:
“How do I say thank You, Lord
For the way that You love

And the way that You come

For all that You’ve done

All that You’ll do

My hearts pours out

Thank You

You walk through all my walls

Conquered my shame

Stepped into my past

Fill my world with grace

You didn’t have to come

But You wanted to

I say Thank You”
Happy thanksgiving y’all.
My hope for you is that it be filled with everything good and that you soak in every single bit of that goodness.


Amy Thurston Gordy

Morning is coming 

Sometimes hope comes in the form of a gift basket.
September 24th,2015. 

My alarm is going off. I hit the snooze button, silencing it for 10 more minutes. I pull the covers over my head. Trying to hide from the day ahead of me. I had just endured the worst two weeks of my life. And I was exhausted. Just so very exhausted. 

I couldn’t remember the last time I slept. Like really slept. I certainly had not slept that night. The fear, the sadness and the anxiety eating away at my heart, my mind, and my body. 

So I laid there, considering just not getting up. I could just lay here. I could just stay right here, and hide. I could ignore my phone, ignore my responsibilities, avoid facing the realities of this day and this new life I’d been unwillingly thrown into. 

The alarm goes off again. 

I can’t do it. I can’t get up. I just can’t. I don’t want to. I just want it all to disappear. 

But responsibilities. Ughhh. 

I have responsibilities. I have to get my child up and off to school. I could hide here for a bit, and maybe get away with it. But she would be up in a few hours wanting food. Wanting to know why we didn’t get up. Wanting to know why I’m hiding in my bed. Wanting to know why she wasn’t at school. And my coworkers would be calling, worried about me if I didn’t show up for work or call. And so I would eventually have to get up and face it, this day. 

But the life and death gravity this particular day held, was just so terrifying. 

It was the day that Jeff would go to the doctor. I had insisted on it. He had assured me that they had been very careful, but we all know nothing is foolproof. And even if it was highly unlikely there was anything to worry about, I had to be sure. I needed to know that I didn’t have to worry about it, and I needed to know immediately. I had enough to deal with, I didn’t want this hanging over my head too. So I insisted. I knew we should both go, but he was the one that had put us in this position, and I just couldn’t do it yet. My heart couldn’t handle the humiliation of walking into my doctors office and telling them that I needed to get a full work up because my husband had been cheating on me.  

I was so angry. So angry that he had put us in this position. Angry that this was necessary. Angry that there was even a remote possibility that I might not only have to live with the emotional scars of what he had done, but although I had not been unfaithful, I could possibly have to bear physical consequences of HIS sin. 

So he would go first. To give me peace of mind, at least concerning this particular subject, that day he would walk into his doctors office and ask for a full screening. 
I was terrified at just the thought of it. Mortified. Angry. Sad. I felt physically ill. Nauseous. I was an absolute wreck. 
But as much as I wanted to lay in that bed, there was no hiding from this day. 

So I got up. I took my shower, got dressed, and got AK to school.

Then I put on my best “I’m ok” face, and walked into my office. 

I hadn’t told anyone what was happening that morning. They knew what I’d been going through, but they had no idea what I was facing on this particular day. 

We have a short meeting every morning before we see patients. 

I came in, sat down, and noticed that everyone got quiet. 

Why was everyone so quiet? Then I realize all eyes are on me. 

What is going on?

Then Dr. B. starts talking. He says, “The last couple of weeks have been rough for you, and we just all love you and we all wanted to do something for you, so we put together some things to help you and to encourage you as you start this new path of life you are on.” 

I lift my hand to my mouth and can barely get the words out..”wait..this is for me? Oh.. what did y’all do?” 

And they hand me this beautiful, overflowing gift basket. 

Filled with all my favorite snacks, a coffee mug, a bird house, a daily devotional, gift cards for several restaurants,the nail salon, the movies, department stores and boutiques. You name it, it was stuffed in that basket. And tucked throughout the basket, inside and out, were handwritten encouraging bible verses. There was so much love tucked into that basket. 

It was completely unexpected, and the sudden rush of emotion was more than I could hold back. 

Which is to say, I completely fell apart, y’all. I’m talking heaving, gasping sobs. 

Pretty sure I scared the heck out of them. As I pulled myself back together, one by one they came around to hug my neck. To tell me they cared. To cry with me. 

There was one more thing in that basket. I’m wearing it right now.

 A bracelet, with quotes about joy on it. Something else they didn’t know was the significance of that word during that time. I didn’t know what I wanted in my life at the time. I was unsure of everything. So anytime I thought about what I wanted my life to look like, the word I always came up with was joy. No matter what happened with my marriage, I just desperately wanted to have joy in my life. I just imagined a time coming when I wouldn’t be so enveloped by pain and instead have joy. It’s what I longed for. 

They didn’t have any idea of what I was facing that day. They had no idea how hard it was to even pull myself from my bed that morning. They didn’t know how much I needed that encouragement and to be wrapped up in love that morning. And they wrapped me up so well. That basket spoke volumes. It said “We can’t take your pain away. We can’t fix this for you. But we can do this. We can cover you with our prayers and our encouragement and our love. We can do that.” 

They had no idea how much I needed that on that particular day. But God knew. 

I am so very blessed to have such beautiful, amazing, kind hearted people to work with. They are not just co-workers and friends. They are truly family. I am forever grateful for the way they loved me through that time. For the way they picked up my slack when it was all I could do to get the bare minimum of my work done. For the way they checked on me, brought me meals, and just showed me every kindness they possibly could. There is big, big love in my heart for these people. 

And now when I wear that bracelet, I’m reminded. 

I’m reminded that sorrow comes but for a night, but joy, joy comes in the morning. 

Joy is coming. If you are in the dark of night, if you are in that place of sorrow, hold tight to that. Joy is coming. 
Don’t just hope for it. Hold tight to that promise and EXPECT it. 

If you know someone struggling through some of their darkest days, and you don’t know what to do to help them, just be there. Just show up. Give them a hug. An encouraging word. A gift. A meal. A prayer. Whatever you are able to do, big or small. You never know if that blessing could turn out to be exactly what they needed in that moment. Your action could very well be God’s divine appointment to provide exactly what that person needs. 

Sometimes things work out the way we want. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, you’re like I was in that moment and don’t even know for sure what you really want. You just know you want joy. 

But no matter which way things work out, there’s goodness on the other side of it. Even if you can’t see it yet, even if you can’t possibly imagine that it could exist for you at the end of whatever path you choose. Joy is waiting there, and if you’ll just keep looking for it, it’s going to find you. I’m living proof. It found me.

So go ahead, climb on out of that bed and face whatever scary things you have looming ahead. Yes it’s dark. Yes it’s scary. But the darkness will lift. Just keep moving forward. 

Morning is coming. 

Psalm 30:5 

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Amy Thurston Gordy

It was a Thursday

During those few weeks leading up to this particular Thursday, things had been strained between us, because of the discovery of flirtatious Facebook messages between Jeff and a younger co-worker and then finding all the phone records documenting Jeff’s admitted “emotional affair” with another co-worker. 
During those few weeks after that had been discovered, he went off on a church men’s retreat and then he took me to see the War Room movie. I told him I was done. I was done settling for less than what I deserved. That I wanted to save our marriage too, but it was going to require big changes. No more porn. No more close friendships or messages with other women. No more “harmless” flirting. And a stronger commitment and effort to make our marriage work. 

He took me on special dates and doted on me, basically, promising to be different and to focus on making our marriage work. And I think he wanted to mean it. He said he knew he had been wrong, and that he knew he had taken me for granted and that he had not been as committed to our marriage as he should have been. He said he wanted to be a better husband and for us to have a better relationship. 

And I think the intent was there. I don’t think he was completely faking all that. I think there was a big part of him that really wanted all of those things, but he had not fully broken free. 

During those few weeks he was being sweeter and more attentive, but he was also always nervous and anxiety ridden. I constantly questioned him. Looking for signs that he was withholding things, not telling me the truth about his betrayals. I knew in my heart there was more. I felt it in my bones that he wasn’t telling me the whole truth. That there was more to their relationship than just an inappropriately close friendship. But he was very convincing when he said he wanted to commit to our marriage and start fresh. He swore to me. He swore to God. It was just a friendship that had gotten too close. But he had not crossed the line. There had been no physical contact. There were no real emotional ties. And the Facebook girl, that was just nothing. He had just been flattered by it, and let it go too far. He was terrified to tell me the truth. He thought it was bad enough in my eyes that he was having an emotional affair, and believed that if I knew the whole truth, He would lose me forever. He saw how hurt I was and told himself he was being kind by sparing me from knowing the whole truth. 

We had been married for 23 years. I needed to believe he was telling the truth. I wanted to believe we could really have a better marriage and that he would finally be 100% committed to having a good relationship and making it a priority. I wanted to believe that getting so close to screwing things up had finally been a wake up call for him. I wanted to believe he had not actually crossed the line. 
So here we were on a Thursday evening. I had just come home from work. We always went out to eat on Thursdays. It was sort of a family tradition I guess.
I noticed immediately upon seeing him that something wasn’t quite right. He was acting strange, distant. There was something so off about his demeanor and I felt it instantly. My spirit knew something was so very wrong. 

He said he wasn’t going to dinner, that he was going to his cousin’s house to watch a football game. It wasn’t like him to bail on family dinner night at the last minute. I asked him what was wrong, that I was getting a weird vibe and something didn’t feel right. He said he was fine, that he had just told them he would come hang out with them and that he felt bad not going.

When he went to get in the shower, something told me to look at his phone. So I did, and saw that he had been in a game app. When I opened the game app, it was on the message page, and what I read there, changed everything. 

There were messages sent earlier that day. To her. 
He was still talking to her. He had sworn there was no more contact. 

One of them said, “I’m here at the park, in our special spot, thinking about you.” 
Another message asked her if he really meant anything to her or if he was just one of her many boyfriends.(she had had other affairs). 

I read them all again. I read the words over and over. 
“I’m at the park”

“Our special spot”

“Thinking of you”

“special to you” 

“Just one of your boyfriends”

OUR SPECIAL SPOT.           THINKING OF YOU.          BOYFRIEND.                 BOYFRIEND???                               OUR SPECIAL SPOT!?? 
The words jumped off of that screen like daggers to my soul. 
I think I died a little that day. 
I know I did. 

It was confirmation of everything I had suspected in my heart , but oh my goodness how I wanted to believe it wasn’t so. I know God had been preparing me for the possibility of it, deep down I already knew it, but I don’t think you can ever really be prepared for the reality. 

I’m not sure how to describe what that felt like. 

The all at once knowing.
It’s as if a speeding train has suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hits you full force. All at once excruciating, searing, unbearable pain that reaches every tiny crevice of your being but at the same time a numbness, a complete nothingness. 
It’s as if your body splits into two and somehow you feel everything and nothing all at once. 
The images in your head. Repulsive awful images. The monsoon of questions. So many questions. You start to question every moment of the past , wait, how long? You don’t even know how long so basically every memory is suddenly on a side by side screen, one the image of the life you thought you had, and the moment you thought you experienced, and the other screen full of the ugly awful deceit of this other life, the one you didn’t know about. Which of these is real? Your memories are now neither what you remember or the awful image on the other screen, but somehow both all at once, yet the two realities can not be reconciled and nothing, absolutely nothing makes sense. It’s as if your life ceases to exist because you don’t even know what it was. It was all an illusion. And suddenly you understand what insanity is. It is this. The inability to tell the difference between what parts are real and what parts are the illusion. 
My heart is racing. Or maybe it stopped? 
I can’t tell. 

I read it again. 
And again. 

I’m shaking. 
I can’t move. Yet I can’t stand still. 

I need to sit down. Or maybe I just need to run? 

I feel trapped. 

Like those times when you wake up but you’re not fully awake and you can’t move or talk and you are just stuck there. Immobilized and terrified. 

I can’t stop reading it. 
Maybe if I keep reading it, it will change. 

These can’t be his words. 
How are these his words?

What is happening? 
This isn’t happening. It’s not real. 
It’s not real. 

Wake up wake up wake up.
I can’t breathe. 
Read it again. 
No no no no no no.
No. God, please. 

He’s sleeping with her.                   He is sleeping with her.                     I was right all along. I didn’t want to believe it. 
How long? Oh God! How long has this been going on? 
I had searched back at least 4 months of the phone records before I had stopped looking. So it was at least that long. How far back did this start? How long have I been living a complete lie?

He met her 10 years ago. 

Has it been 4 months? 10 months? Could it even be years?

Oh my God. 
He’s having an affair. 

They are having a full blown, all out affair. 

No, not just an affair.                     Not just sex. Not just friendship.    This is a RELATIONSHIP. 

The realization is like a searing hot knife cutting through me. Dicing me painfully bit by bit into a million tiny pieces. 
What do I do?
I still can’t breathe.

He gets out of the shower. 
I’m sitting on the edge of the bed. Still staring at the phone. Willing what I’m seeing to disappear. 

He takes one look at me and he knows. 
He knows I know.

“You slept with her”
“Amy, just listen, please listen”

Oh my God. Oh my God.
“Answer the question. ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!”
Looking down, the shame keeping his voice barely above a whisper…”yes.”
“And you love her! Do you love her?”
He hangs his head again. “Please, I know it looks bad, just let me talk to you.”
No. No. No. No. 
Don’t come near me. 

“How long? How long has this been going on?

“I don’t know… Since the beginning of this year….Like 8 months. 9 months maybe…”
I need to get out of here. The walls are closing in. I’m sucked into this vortex and there’s no air in here and I CAN’T BREATHE. 
My heart and mind just couldn’t process that this was really happening. How is this real? This is not us. This can’t be us.
I think I’m in shock. 

I run out of the house. He’s yelling after me to please stop, please don’t go. I’m not sure what he’s saying really. The rushing noise I’m hearing in my ears is drowning everything else out. 
I pull out of the driveway. I’m not sure what I’m doing. What do I do? 
Melanie. My sister, Melanie lives closest. I can make it to Melanie’s house. It’s just up the street.

I pull in the driveway. 

She’s not there. 

Where is she? 

I’ll call her. She will get here.

Voicemail. I dial again. She always answers. 


Now I’m hyperventilating. 

Where are you? You’re always here. You always answer the phone. 

What do I do? I don’t know what to do. 

I suddenly realize I’m saying these things out loud. 

I think I’m losing it a little. 

I start driving again. Towards town. The tears are streaming. The sobs catching in my throat. I realize that I shouldn’t be driving. And where am I going? I should turn around. Marla’s house? No, Marla’s house is too far. And I can’t see. I can’t see where I’m going.

Mama. I need to go there. I need my Mama. It’s not far and she will be home. 
I have a key so I don’t even knock. I just walk in. 

Adam’s kids are there. Sweet babies. They are always happy to see me. They are all smiles. “Amy’s here!”

I just stand there. I can’t cry in front of the babies. I don’t want to scare them. So I’m a statue. 

She immediately says, “what’s wrong?”

All I can do is shake my head.          I can’t talk. I can’t move.              She knows. Just like that she knows. Without me having to say a word.                                          Because Mama’s have that gift. She asks the kids to go downstairs. And then I lose it.                                 I cry. She cries.                                She tells me to stay.                         Just stay here for a bit.                   But I have to go. 

Oh God I have to go back. My girls! 

My youngest was in her room when I left. She was getting ready for us to go out to dinner. I know she heard me leave. Jeff was upset when I left, Oh God I left her there. I left her there to find him falling apart. What would he tell her? How would he explain what was happening? She must be terrified. And my oldest is coming home. She’s going to walk into this. I have to get it together and go take care of my kids. 

How do I take care of my kids? 
Why did they have to be there for this? Why couldn’t they at least have been spared these moments? 
She’s texting me now. 
“Mama, daddy’s crying. Please come home. Where are you Mama?”

What does she know? What did he tell her?
My mind is spinning.                      My sweet babies.                                   I don’t know how to do this. 
I walk in. I see her face. My sweet precious girl’s face. Tear streaked and terrified. 
My oldest had just arrived and was putting her stuff in her room. She walks to her door as I meet her there and says,
“What is wrong? What happened?”

She thought someone had died. That’s what she expected me to say. 

In reality, I felt like I was dying. Minute by excruciating minute. Everything I’d ever known or believed about myself and my life was being crushed into dust. 
“I don’t know how to tell you this. It’s your dad, he’s been having an affair.”
A sudden look of confusion flashes across her face. 
This, she was not expecting. Those were not the words she thought were coming. 

“Wait, what?”

Then her confusion turns to anger, then a gentleness that shows the sweet, amazing spirit and the maturity of the young woman she had grown into. She says, “oh Mom. I’m so sorry Mama.” And she reaches up and kisses my forehead and wraps her arms around me. 

I’m supposed to be taking care of her, but instead, my beautiful sweet girl is taking care of me. 

We go into the living room and sit on the couch. She looks at him, the anger welling in her eyes. “What the hell, Dad?!!”
He just sits across the room on the other sofa, not able to look any of us in the eye, and cries. 

And I hate him. I hate him so much. He destroyed our family. I can’t stop thinking, ” How could you do this to me? To them?!!”

And we sit. We sit there for what seems like eternity. No one knows what to do. It’s as if we are trapped here in this never ending moment of pure hell. 
The silence is painful.

I thought when I saw those messages, I thought that was the moment. I thought that was the worst moment of my life. But this. This is so much worse. Seeing my girls so devastated, so confused. Knowing there is NOTHING I can do to protect them from this moment.                                                It is this moment that is the worst. 
The room is heavy. The air is literally so heavy I still haven’t figured out when I’m breathing and when I stop. 
Everything is soul crushing, heart breaking pain. 

And I can’t even think. I need to do something. We can’t just sit here. But I can’t think straight. Nothing feels right. Talking, not talking, staying, leaving. 

Nothing feels right. 

I don’t know what’s real. 

Surely this isn’t real. My kids have to live with this moment engrained in their minds forever? And I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t protect them. It’s not fair. None of this is fair. None of this is right. Everything is just wrong.               So, so wrong. 

I suddenly realize we never ate. The thought of food makes me nauseous. I don’t care if I never eat again, but the girls, the girls should eat. That’s something Mom’s do to take care of their kids. I can do that. That’s one thing I can do. Feed the kids. I’ll do that. 
This is the only way my mind could process things in those early days. Grab one thought, focus, do this one little thing. One little thing at a time. It’s all I could handle. 
The pizza comes. They get pizza and I think they eat it. Maybe they ate it. I can’t remember. 
They go to bed. Jeff and I are alone now. I tell him I need him to get his stuff and go. He’s devastated.

 When I see him sitting there, I don’t even recognize him. This shell of a man on my sofa was not the man I knew. Or at least not the man I thought I knew. He literally doesn’t even look like my Jeff. He looks old. Weak. The heaviness of all the lies and all the deception and all of the sins of his past were like a visible shroud hanging over him. They had consumed the man that I thought I knew and made him into someone else. I don’t know this person sitting on my couch, and I’ve never been more confused. My whole life was a sham. And for how long? Nothing makes sense anymore.

It’s late. I tell him he can stay that night, For the girls sake, because they had been through enough trauma for one night. They didn’t need to have to watch him leave too. 
And I’m just so tired. I’ve never been so tired. I can’t handle any more big things. Not tonight. 

I don’t know what happens next. I don’t know how to do this. But I know I can’t look at you right now. Tomorrow, tomorrow you have to go. 

So I go to our bedroom. Alone. 
I lie there. And I look around and I realize I’m alone. Alone.                For almost 24 years he’s laid in that spot beside me. But not tonight. And not tomorrow. Not ever again. 

Our marriage is over. 

I can’t breathe. I have to keep reminding myself to breathe. 
I feel sick. 

This isn’t real. It can’t be real. 

Sleep did not find me that night, and the next morning, he tearfully packed his bags and walked out the door. 
That is the story of that day.        Just like that, our life was forever changed. And there was no way back. 

That was one year ago today. 
Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of our story. As sure as I was in that moment, it was not the end of our marriage. 
It was the beginning. 
Today I am thankful there was no way back to what we were before that day. 

I still hate that Thursday and all the pain it brought us. But the thing is, when you can’t go back, you can only go forward. 

And we did. Step by painful step we moved forward. We didn’t get our life back. We weren’t restored to what we once had. And I couldn’t be more grateful. 

That day was full of pain, the result of the decay of our marriage, the result of Jeff’s addiction, the result of a lifetime of bad choices and lack of real commitment and a result of not knowing who we really were and who God was in us. And we don’t want to go back. 

Not Ever. 

Today though, today is not just the anniversary of the worst day of our lives. 
I’ve called it D-day, because that is what people call it in infidelity victim’s circles, this club I didn’t want to be a member of. 

D-day is the common word used to label the day the truth is revealed. But I’m not going to call it that anymore. 

I’ve decided it’s kind of our birthday. 

It’s the day that everything that once was, ceased to exist, and made room for something new to come.

Birth is a painful process. But it also brings new life. Something completely new and full of possibilities. A new lease on life. A chance to begin again. An opportunity to get it right. 
So today we have reason to celebrate. We celebrate all our victories. We celebrate Jeff’s one year sobriety from his pornography addiction. We celebrate the new life we have built. We celebrate this new marriage, this new commitment we have to each other. Today we will remember the pain and the significance of the brokenness of that day, but only because it is in remembering that brokenness, that we can see how truly miraculous the new life we have now is. We endured so much darkness, but we faced it and we not only survived, but came out as better people, and with a better marriage than we’ve ever had before.
2 Corinthians 5:17                           The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

So today we will celebrate all these things. We celebrate all the goodness we have found since that terrible day, and all the goodness that lies ahead of us.
Psalm 23:6.                                   Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Today we are thankful, for the goodness and the love and the blessings upon blessings that God has bestowed on us. And for all of you, near and far, that have walked with us through this past year. 
Today is not a day of sorrow. 
Today is a day of joy.                         🎂                                                           Today, is our first birthday. 
Amy Thurston Gordy