A whole other blog for a whole other day.

So this is a subject that I’ve touched on in the past here and there, and made mention of from time to time. But I’d always include a quick reference or a few sentences, only to follow with: “but that’s a whole other blog for a whole other day.” I just haven’t really been able to bring myself to write about it, or to share in detail this part of my story. So I’ve put it off. Mainly I’ve just told myself, “you can’t write about this yet, because you haven’t figured it out yet. Not all of it anyway.” And I really, really like things to be neat and tidy. A nice little package that I can present. Something that even though it may start out ugly and messy and chaotic, I can eventually make some sense out of and give some order and hopefully help not just myself but others in the process.
Which is why sometimes I find it very ironic that this situation, these circumstances were the path life gave me. Because there is absolutely nothing neat or sensical or orderly about infidelity, betrayal, or the process you go through to heal from it. 

Yet somehow, we’ve found our way. And I wish I could tell you there was a trick. A specific way to survive it. While there is a long list of things I can and have shared with you that you could and should do that will help you tremendously in your recovery and rebuilding of your life, no matter the circumstance, there’s one basic thing that it comes down to. 

Keep moving. One foot in front of the other.    One NEW day at a time. 

It’s worked to get us through everything else, and so I have to believe that it will help me find my way to a better place with this too. 

So, for as long as I’ve put this off, I’ve decided putting it off just serves to keep me stuck. The only way to work through it is to work through it. I can choose to be complacent and say that I’ll never be able to figure this out and stay stuck, or I can keep moving, keep pushing forward and find a fullness in the redemption of our story that I know we haven’t begun to touch yet. As good as we are, I can’t shake this feeling that there’s so much more, something so much bigger that we haven’t even imagined. 

So that whole other day is today I guess. Might as well go ahead and dive on in. One foot in front of the other right? 

The subject I’m talking about is forgiveness. It’s something I never had to give much thought to before. No one had ever truly hurt me. Not in a big way anyway. But this. This was betrayal on another level. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Not the little stuff, but the life changing, selfish, cruel, and deceitful kind of transgressions.

And when you’re faced with that kind of pain, those kinds of scars, and especially when you’re faced with someone that is seemingly unapologetic for the damage they have done; you suddenly realize that forgiveness doesn’t make sense. You wonder what forgiveness truly means. What it actually looks like. And mostly you wonder what it’s supposed to feel like. And how to know when it’s real, and not just empty words said because you know it’s the right thing to do. Especially when you can’t even think the words without still feeling the contempt rise up within you. How do you find a way to truly mean it and not have those feelings of resentment and anger?                                                                     How do you move past wanting to be able to say you forgive someone, but also still having an overwhelming desire to punch them in the face? 

Forgiveness is something that in one case, such as someone like my husband that is so incredibly sorry, though it didn’t happen overnight is almost easy now, and allows me to have a relationship and a future that would have otherwise been impossible. 
Yet in another; the case of forgiveness of someone that offers no apology, someone that gives no indication that they regret causing you pain, like the woman he had the affair with, brings me anxiety, frustration, anger ,and resentment. 

People tend to oversimplify it. They say “The bible says you have to forgive, so you just have to do it.” Or they say, “just keep saying it until you mean it.” Which is not actually terrible advice, there’s some real truth and power in speaking things not as they are but as you want them to be. But also… man, that can take a really long time. I mean, I’ve tried this method off and on for nearly 2 years now, and I’m still not feeling it. But I do agree that it’s a good place to start. It’s the getting to the place where you actually mean it, the place where you can actually wish them well, the place where you are able to see them with some semblance of compassion instead of hatred, that I’ve struggled with. 
So what DO I know about forgiveness? 
Nothing about forgiveness is easy. 

Forgiveness is costly. While it is freely given, it is most certainly not free, not for the one doing the forgiving anyway. 

However, not forgiving is also costly.

Forgiveness always includes sacrifice. 

Forgiveness is precious. 

Forgiveness brings freedom. 

Forgiveness is a process.

Forgiveness is a continual choice.

Forgiveness is not just a gift to the offender, but a gift to yourself.  

Forgiveness is not always deserved, but always necessary. …. I think.                                               Ok, ok. I know it is. But this is one of the thought processes that I struggle with. I think to myself, “do I really HAVE to forgive her?” 

And the answer is honestly a resounding “NO”. I absolutely don’t have to. There is always a choice. I can choose not to. And a really big part of me doesn’t want to. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t want my forgiveness. And I mostly imagine that she certainly doesn’t deserve it. Mostly because she hasn’t asked for it. So why should I forgive her? 

It’s pretty easy to just choose not to forgive. Sooo much easier than doing the work to try to figure out a way to forgive and mean it. So yes, I could definitely choose not to forgive her. 
But does that choice bring anything good to my life? The answer to that is also a resounding “NO”. 

I want the good stuff in my life, and to get that, I have to choose the stuff that brings the goodness. 

So true forgiveness is a mystery that I will continue to intentionally pursue, an understanding that I do not have in full yet, but I choose to believe that through this process, I will find it. 
I say that, having no idea even what the process is really going to look like, but just stepping forward with God’s promise that says “seek and you shall find.” And one of my favorites, Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

How to truly forgive someone that doesn’t seem to be sorry definitely falls into the category of a great and mighty thing that I do not know. 
Also I believe there’s a great and mighty thing that he is working in our lives, the fullness of which we do not know yet, so that verse speaks to my soul in many different ways. 
And seeing as how I’ve taken you all with me through everything else, I’m going to bring you along for this too. The good the bad and the ugly, that’s what I have said I would share from the beginning, and I’m pretty sure this subject is going to cover all three of those adjectives. With everything else, writing about it has seemed to help me work through it and find what I’m looking for, or to see things in a different light, or at the very least help me come to terms with it, and I’m hopeful that will be the case with this too. 
To be continued…

โค๏ธ                                                                             Amy Thurston Gordy 

Triggers

Let’s talk about triggers. They are nasty, mean, persistent little buggers. 

For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, a trigger is something that reminds you of a trauma you’ve experienced, and brings back the emotional and physical reactions to that trauma as if it’s just happened. And they come in all shapes and sizes. There can be big triggers, such as an actual location, or a person, or thing closely associated with the trauma. Or they can be the most tiny minute thing, such as a smell, a taste, a phrase, or a sound. Sometimes you see them coming, so you can be somewhat prepared. 
One example of that is when I hear of another person going through the aftermath of infidelity. Hearing their story, and seeing those emotions could sometimes be a trigger for me. But over time I have learned how to prepare myself for those interactions so that they don’t affect me in a negative way and I am able to engage with and empathize with the person and offer help and support without it taking me back too deeply into my own place of grief. It’s a trigger that I believe I’ve conquered in large part because of my desire to be that lifeline and that ray of hope to others that are going through what I went through, and my desire to see them find healing and happiness too. It’s actually therapeutic for me to know that what I’ve been through can be used to help someone else. So that’s not really a trigger at all for me anymore.  

With some of the bigger triggers, such as places or people, you just know to avoid them if at all possible. For me, there’s the hospital parking spot where he would meet her at night after work to tell her goodbye. That one I had to drive by daily, so I’ve trained myself not to let my eyes look that direction when passing by, because if I did, I would see them there in my minds eye, and imagine their kisses goodnight. Not a good visual for me.
The city park is also a big trigger for me. I still have yet to go there. Unfortunately for me, due to the location of my work, I had to pass the entrance to it on a daily basis too up until a few weeks ago, and it always bothered me on some level. But over time I’ve learned to ignore it and just not look that direction if at all possible. Will I ever be able to take the next step and actually go into the park? I don’t know. As of now, I can’t think of a reason that would really require me to have to. There are other locations that I can’t bring myself to go to either. I don’t know if I’ll be required to actually go any of these places and have to overcome these triggers at some point in the future. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but for now avoidance is the way I handle those types of triggers. 

Then there’s the small ones. Those are the ones that are really unavoidable, and also the ones that take you by surprise. Sometimes it’s a smell. Such as the way Jeff’s breath smells after he has a certain drink. It triggers memories of times I would smell a hint of it and taste it on his breath and ask if he had been drinking, and he would say no, it was this chapstick he’d used or something of the sort. But in reality it was the smell of their favorite drink, and it was on his breath because he’d been drinking it with her. So now when I smell that it takes my mind back to those moments. To thoughts of him spending hours with her, drinking and… and this is the point where I have to stop the thought right there or my heart will start racing, the feeling of being punched in the gut overtakes my stomach, my entire body tenses up and my breath gets shallow and the feeling of panic and then grief and sadness washes over me from head to toe. 
Sometimes it’s a situation, such as him working late. Those aren’t too bad anymore because he is so, so good about letting me know where he is at all times and checking in regularly to ease my anxiety in those situations.
A trigger can also be a certain date, or time of year. Even when a good bit of time has passed and even if you’ve had a lot of healing, our bodies and minds can sometimes retain what’s called cellular memory. It literally means that our bodies recall the trauma on a cellular level and will react to those stimulators whether we like it or not. And we may not recognize on an intellectual level right away that those cellular memories are the cause. Like now for instance. My triggers and bad thoughts and the effect they have on me were a little worse this past week. This is around the time of year that his affair started. So the simple act of looking at a calendar or the similarity in weather patterns can be a reminder. 
Sometimes it’s a song. Maybe it’s just that it was overplayed during that time period so it takes me back to those emotions. Or it’s the actual lyrics. Like the one that gets played constantly that says “baby pull me closer in the back seat of your rover” that instantly brings images of him with her in the backseat of her SUV to my mind, since that was where their encounters took place.
It can even be an analogy that the pastor uses in his sermon during Sunday service. Like the time a few weeks ago he was asking the congregation if they remembered their last first kiss, the excitement and the passion and the feeling you got in your stomach. And all I could hear in my head was “Jeff’s last kiss was only a little over a year ago. And when he thinks of his last first kiss, it won’t be me. I will never be his last first kiss again.” And it took everything I had not to burst into tears in the middle of the service. 
My point in telling you all this is, that the triggers are literally everywhere. You can’t escape them. 

The big question is, how do we deal with them? 
I know that I’ve come a long way in dealing with the triggers and the flood of emotions they bring. 
In the beginning, they weren’t just a daily occurrence, but a constant torment. Literally constant. Every minute of every single day was a constant struggle with the chaos and pain that had become my mind. 

Everyone that’s gone through the trauma of infidelity experiences this on some level. For some reason, it’s worse for some than others, and in scientific circles, it’s thought to be worse for some because of how your brain reacted to the trauma and rewired itself in response. The pathways that process your thoughts affiliated with the trauma actually become altered. They call it Post traumatic infidelity disorder, and the effects are much the same as post traumatic stress disorder that soldiers or victims of other types of trauma experience. There is more and more research being done and for the people that this affects for an extended time past their trauma there are treatments that can help you retrain your brain to process these memories in a way that helps you to be able to recall them without that uncontrollable flood of emotions and pain. It’s called EMDR, and although it’s slightly strange, it appears to be a very promising treatment. So for those of you that are really having a hard time keeping the triggers at bay, it is something you may want to do more research on too. I’d love to hear from someone that has tried it and if it has been helpful or not for you. 

Outside of that, the best way to handle the triggers is to get better at refocusing on something good in the current moment and then finding a way to keep your mind there. 
As time has gone by, my triggers have gotten progressively less frequent, and less powerful. 
And like I said, I know the key to overcoming them is my thought process, and gaining control when the triggers hit me. I’m so thankful for Jeff’s life coach and for our church who have taught us both the power of positive thinking and how life changing it can be, and I attribute so much of our success and ability to get as far as we have in this healing process and in the rebuilding of our marriage to that very thing. 

In some ways, I’ve gotten really good at it, the replacement thinking, and that is evident because of the decrease in the occurrence of the triggers.  

But occasionally one will still hit me really hard. Especially if several triggers happen back to back. I might bat off the first one pretty easily, but then a second one pops up and maybe a third, and that tension and anxiety builds and it’s harder to fight off the flooding of emotion and thoughts that start firing off and carrying you down rabbit holes of grief and questions and doubt and mostly, just pain. And once it’s gotten that far it takes a good bit of effort to pull yourself back out of that spiral. 

The secret is to be able to recognize the triggers right when they happen so you can grab control and redirect those thoughts immediately. It sounds simple, yes. And it is when it really comes down to it. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The problem is that sometimes, when the trigger is subtle, you think you’re ok, so you just kind of let that first one ride. But then sometimes another one comes right behind it and before you know it you’re sucked in and your thoughts are suddenly dragging you forcefully through the mud. 

The replacement thinking works, and I’m able to do it a good bit of the time, but I obviously have not completely mastered it yet. So this is something that I’m going to continue to work on. 

This healing process is not something that happens overnight. And sometimes you may feel like so much time has gone by and you’re doing so good and something, even something small can seem to pull you backwards. And it can be so discouraging to feel like you maybe haven’t made quite as much progress as you thought. So you have to be intentional. You have to be aware and vigilant and learn how to see the triggers coming, and how to deal with the ones you don’t see coming, and continue to take care of yourself and put in the work and read the books and do the research and talk to whoever you need to talk to. 
As much as we might wish it could be, the healing is not instantaneous. You don’t just say “ok I forgive you and we are all good”, and magically have no recollection or lingering effects of what you’ve been through. I wish it were that easy. It’s a process and it also has to be maintained in order to stay healthy. So I’m going to do my best to make sure I stay focused and continue to learn and find ways to improve my ability to control my thoughts and heal my heart and mind. 

As for the spouses out there, the ones who were unfaithful. I have some really, really important advice for you. And it may be a little harsh,so brace yourself. If you truly want to accommodate your spouse’s healing and the rebuilding of your marriage, this advice is imperative. And at its core, it’s only two words. 
Be patient. 

BE PATIENT. 
We get it. It’s not easy for you either. You’re tired. You’re frustrated. You’re not proud of what you did, and you’ve done your best to try and make amends. You really desperately just want to forget it and put it all behind you. You wonder if we will ever really just get over it. 
I hate to be the one to break it to you, I really do. 
But, the answer to that question, is no. 

No. 

We will never just get over it. Not in the way you are imagining it in your head anyway. And you would do very well to never, ever, ever say those words to us. 

We will never just get over it, but if you will be patient, and kind, and empathetic, and truly remorseful, and supportive, and open, and honest, and willing to do whatever it takes to make us feel secure, and if you will be attentive and comforting and most of all just love us with everything that you are, we CAN move beyond it. We CAN learn how to control the triggers, we CAN find a way to forgive you, and we CAN be filled with gratitude for the person you have become and the amazing marriage that we have now. 
So my best advice for you when you are feeling frustrated and maybe even a little angry that even though you’ve changed and you do your best to be the best husband and person you can be that you still have to deal with the aftermath of what you’ve done, is to take a deep breath. Do a little replacement of your own thoughts. Reroute those thoughts of frustration and anger you are having, such as: “This is hard. Seeing her still in pain after all this time is not fun and makes me feel as though I can’t win, that no matter what I do she will never be able to let it go. She just needs to forget about it and move on.” and turn them to thoughts of gratitude and love: “I put her through so much. It must be so hard to be bombarded with the tormenting thoughts and memories she has to deal with. She’s the love of my life and I’m so thankful that she didn’t give up on me. That despite the pain and heartache, she still loves me and fights through the pain, and being a part of her life is a gift.”
If you respond to one of her (or his) emotional responses to a trigger with anger and frustration, it’s just going to give those bad thoughts of doubt and insecurity and pain she’s having more power and make it harder for her to fight her way out. Try to remember that she didn’t ask for this. She didn’t want this pain. She doesn’t want to remember it any more than you do. As a matter of fact, selective amnesia would be a welcomed malady. When you feel yourself wanting to get upset or frustrated that she isn’t moving on as fast as you think she should or as quickly as you’d like, take a minute to remember that it was your actions that caused her to have to fight this battle in her mind. It was your actions that broke her mind, her spirit, and her heart. And for you, who has never been on this side of it, to decide that you think you can judge how long it should take to heal, is absurd, and quite frankly unfair and maybe even a little selfish and mean. 
So don’t do it.

Be patient, and be grateful that she is making the effort at all. 
During the triggers and the flooding of thoughts and emotions the betrayed spouse is experiencing, what they need from you the most is comfort and security. They need reassurance that your love is real. That your remorse is real. And that your commitment to your relationship is real and that you are willing to be humble and kind and understanding even when it’s not easy. And they need your help in being reminded of how good a place your marriage is in now. Of all the goodness in this present moment. And all the goodness that’s still ahead. 

Whew. 
This week’s post has been heavy. But I hope it has also been helpful to some of you that are making your way through the healing process too. 

In keeping with my belief system that all negatives need to be replaced with a positive… let’s end this on a positive note. I successfully pulled myself out of my emotional spiral this past week. It took longer than I (and Jeff ๐Ÿ˜‰) would have liked, but that just helped me to see that I need to do a little more work, and that’s ok. I want to get stronger in my ability to control the triggers and the way my brain and body reacts to them, and I’m “positive” that I’m going to find a way to do it. ๐Ÿ˜Š And as far as my regular, everyday life goes, it couldn’t be better. I have beautiful healthy children, an amazing husband that makes me laugh and is a better husband than I ever could have imagined him to be, and I have a new job that I absolutely love. I also finally have a beautiful, working double oven , which nearly completes our kitchen renovation! 
Life is good. It’s really, really good. 

๐Ÿ’—

Amy Thurston Gordy

Morning is comingย 

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

Chasing the light

So, last week’s post was tough. It was tough for me, because that day a year ago was so entrenched in pain, and writing about it, realizing that I remember every single moment and detail of that day… It was just difficult to go back there. It was tough for some of you too. I got lots of messages from people that have been through their own awful experience with infidelity, and reading my post took them back to their own D-day. For some it was comforting, knowing that they weren’t alone in their experience. That there was someone else out there that gets it. For others, their pain is still so fresh that it was just too painful of a trigger to get through it, the emotions of my words pulling them back into their own pain. For those, I wish I had thought to post a warning at the beginning, “proceed with caution, could be a trigger”. For those of you that were affected that way, I’m so sorry if my post added to your pain, and I pray that you keep pushing through the pain and find your healing. Because I get it. I get you. And I want goodness and peace and light and love and redemption for you all. 

It was tough for my friends and family. So many of you knew how things happened that day, some of you were there for it. But I’d never really talked or written about the day in the moment by moment detail, and it was hard for you to read it, and experience my pain firsthand that way. Because you love me so much that it was heartbreaking and nearly unbearable for you to envision me walking through the pain of that day. And for that, I love you. I love, love, love you. I am so thankful to be loved so well and so deeply by so many. 

Your love and support blesses me more than I can ever put into words. 

So revisiting that day was hard.
But that day is in the past. And I am working diligently every single day to leave the pain of it there. And with each passing day, I shed a little bit more of it. I try to picture it falling off of me and seeing it there, lying on the ground as I walk away, towards the goodness and light ahead. It’s not always easy, and it’s a continual process. But I am intent on pressing onward, chasing the light.

And then there was Jeff. I think it was hardest for him. 

He had to work that day last week when I wrote that post. I meant to warn him. I meant to send him a message telling him that I had posted a new blog but not to read it until after work. And then I got busy and distracted and totally forgot to send that message. Oops.๐Ÿ˜ฅ

And then I got this. 


Bless him. 

He hates him. The guy that put me through that awful day. And it breaks his heart that he is him. 

Correction: he WAS him. Because he isn’t that “him” anymore. 

So yes, that post was especially hard for him, remembering the person he was and the hurtful choices he made.

Before he finished reading it, he asked me why I wanted to put myself through writing that, and revisiting that day. 

My first answer: 

Therapy. 

Writing is therapy to my soul. 

To heal from the pain, you have to go through the pain. You can’t go around it, over it, or under it. The only way out of it is directly through it. In writing it, I am able to accept the pain. To acknowledge it, feel it, process it, and most importantly… purge it. 

It’s one of the biggest ways that I heal. 

Secondly, it’s a testimony. 

A testimony that with God all things truly are possible. A testimony that no matter your circumstances, no matter how bad your situation, no matter the outcomes, if you choose to look for the goodness, the goodness always wins. ALWAYS. 

And that is important. People need to know it. They need to know it and believe it and hold tight to it and never let it go. 

Because HOPE. 

Because REDEMPTION. 

Because LOVE. 

Because the world needs these things, and I want to have a part in giving it to them. 

I had been worried about the anniversary of that day. Worried that it would just be too hard. Worried about him being at work and me being left alone to endure the memories that would undoubtedly haunt me that day. And honestly, the anticipation leading up to the anniversary of that day was much worse than the actual day itself. 
Because I finally realized something very important. 

It’s just a date on a calendar. 

It only holds the power that I give to it. 
It’s in the past. We don’t live there anymore. 
And I could choose to let it be a hard day full of painful memories, and I could allow those memories to overcome me and focus on that, or I could acknowledge that it was a bad day in my past, acknowledge that it was painful, but then choose to leave that pain there and celebrate the goodness of THIS present day.
And that is what I did. 

We started the weekend off with a fun sushi/hibachi dinner double date with my oldest and her boyfriend. 

Then on Saturday, the actual anniversary, Jeff had to work, and I spent the day with my sisters, daughter and Mom by the pool. 

That night, after he left work, Jeff and I had a nice dinner date alone. Complete with this piece of celebratory pie to commemorate our “birthday”. 



And then on Sunday evening, we popped open a bottle of sparkling wine, and snuggled up on the sofa to watch our favorite Disney World vlogs. (Hi Adam and Gary! If you somehow find this blog, just know that you are both light and love and joy and fun and I’m obsessed with your vlog. You two are my favorites. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚) 

If any of you weren’t aware, we are Disney fanatics around here. ยฐoยฐ


It was a great weekend. We filled it with goodness and love and food and fun and joy. 

But mostly, we filled it with gratitude. Gratitude for where we are now, instead of sorrow for where we once were. 

So what’s ahead for us? I don’t know. But I know it’s good. Because God’s promise says His plans are good. So I’m gonna rest in that. And His promise isn’t just for me. It’s for all of you, so you can rest in that too. 
There was pain in my yesterdays. But there was also goodness that came from that pain and there is goodness in today and there is goodness in tomorrow. 
So choose goodness. 

It’s always there but you have to consciously choose it. 

Focus on the goodness and the goodness grows. 

Here’s a little goodness for you. For all of you that loved me so much you had a hard time reading my post last week.


It’s us, at 10:30 at night, with a box of Kroger sushi, in a convertible waiting outside of a football game for our daughter. 

An impromptu late night date.

Because we intend to squeeze the good out of every moment of this life that we can. 

And because he’s cute. I mean come on, look at those twinkly smiling eyes. ๐Ÿ˜
Now y’all go on out and find the good in YOUR day. There’s plenty of it to be found. โค๏ธ
Amy Thurston Gordy

Wake me up when September ends

September.
I used to love it.
Still enough summer left to enjoy the pool, but also just a hint of fall in the air. There was always a kind of crispness to September. New school routines becoming more settled, pumpkins popping up in front of the stores. Scents of cinnamon and spice and pumpkin and baked goods signaling the impending arrival of fall and all the comforts that season brings. Cozy nights with a fire and a fluffy blanket. Chili, hot chocolate, apple cider, candy corn, caramel apples, pumpkin cupcakes, football food, fall festivals. Planning fall vacations. Holidays.
(And suddenly as I read this back I’m realizing that almost all of that consists of references to food. Ha;)
So much goodness.
These are the things I used to think of in September.

But now…well, I still think of all those things.
But September is also a terrible reminder of the worst day of my life.

And I know that I have to choose to not focus on that. I’m doing my best. But if I’m being honest, it’s not always particularly easy. I’m trying not to think about it. But it’s there. Always under the surface. Sometimes closer to the surface than others.
I don’t choose to have thoughts or memories pop up, I don’t choose to feel the sadness those things bring. But when they come I have to choose to fight them.
It’s still a struggle sometimes. Those thoughts and feelings are a pretty strong adversary, but I AM stronger.
And getting stronger by the day.

Things are good.
Really, really good. I know this. I’m happy.
I’m thankful. So thankful. Rebuilding this marriage, what we have been able to do, I do not take it for granted.
God continues to pour out His blessings on us every day.
One of my favorite songs at the moment has a verse that says “I know you hear me, I know you see me Lord. Your plans are for me, goodness you have in store.”
And He does. He has nothing but goodness for us.
That’s what I want to focus on.

But despite that, sometimes the ache still gets to me.
It’s like an old injury that you can almost forget you had.
Almost.

Someone swings a bat, oblivious to anyone around them and it comes around and makes contact with your leg.
The sound is deafening.
Cracking, splintering, shattering. The pain is searing.
Nearly unbearable.
You go into shock. It immobilizes you.
Weeks and months pass. After many prayers, therapy, determination and hard work, you are back on your feet again. The fact that you are walking is nothing short of a miracle.
And the searing hot pain is gone….mostly.
Sometimes you almost forget about it. Except that there always seems to be that dull ache. You’ve become so accustom to it, that you almost don’t notice it.
It just is.
So you just learn to live with it. You learn coping mechanisms, some good, some probably not so good. But you just keep pushing through. You find a way to live with it. Because you decide, for you, there really is no other option. You could choose to wallow in the pain, which just intensifies the pain, or you suck it up and you push the pain away and focus on everything else so you can live your life.

And the person that caused you that injury, they are sorry. So very sorry. And you forgive them.
And it’s easy for them now. Easy for them to forget and live their lives. They don’t have any lingering pain or scars or after effects. They’ve become a new person. They aren’t that person that hurt you anymore.
Except for having to deal with the occasional moments you allow them to see your ache, they can easily wipe the memory of the person they used to be from their minds.
They are just a clean slate.
And you envy that.
You envy that so much that sometimes you secretly wish that you were them and they were you.
It’s so simple for them.

You want it to be that simple for you too.

The words ARE simple.
Easy.

You’re healed.
You’re walking.
Life is great.
Let it go.

But although that bone has healed so much, it’s not the same. The fracture lines are still there, and there’s always that dull ache. And sometimes, with just the slightest change in the weather, that dull ache can become so loud, and so insistent that you just can’t block it out. It doesn’t happen quite as often anymore, but still, you find yourself wondering sometimes if these episodes of increased pain will ever completely stop. And you find yourself wondering if that deep dull ache ever truly ends, or if it’s there to stay.
It’s a constant reminder.
And you wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Maybe it’s a little of both.

Bad because pain is, well…painful.
And distracting.
Makes it harder to focus.
But it’s also a constant reminder that despite how bad things were, how truly good things are now.

It’s a reminder of the fact that you didn’t stay there.
A reminder of how far you’ve come.
A reminder that you don’t live there anymore.

You live in light and joy and redemption.

So maybe one day the ache will completely disappear, or maybe you have to learn to view that ache as Paul did when God wouldn’t remove “the thorn in his flesh”. Maybe you have to learn to let that be a reminder of God’s grace and your gratitude and “count it all joy”.

Either way, the goodness wins. Either way, the goodness defeats the ache.

The day is coming. D-day. The anniversary of the worst day ever.
I don’t want to let it be that. It’s a date on a calendar. It shouldn’t own me or my emotions.
So I’m trying to think of something to do or somewhere to go. Some way to fill that day up this year with fun and happiness and joy. Just something to create some new memories for that day. (Suggestions and ideas are appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚ I have thought that one day we might even use that day to renew our vows. But if I decide to do that, not this year. I want a little more prep time to plan for that!)
I just want to find some way to spend our day focusing on each other and all the things we have to celebrate. Our new and better marriage. His one year mark of being porn free. The many, many blessings we have been given in this past year. I want to celebrate the goodness.

If I fill that day up year after year with new and better memories, then the negative memories will fade more and more and the goodness will overtake the bad.

One day this season in our lives will be just a season. Just a fact in the story of our lives. One day I will be so far out from this injury my heart has endured, that I won’t notice the ache anymore. One day when I see my scars, I won’t think of the pain anymore. Only the beauty that came after the pain.

So I’m gonna retract the title of this blog. Don’t wake me up when September ends. I’m not hiding out or sleeping through it.

There’s goodness to be found, and I don’t want to waste a single day of it.

Bring it on September.
I think I’m ready for you.

Amy Thurston Gordy

Handing out Hope

Overall I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. Feeling hopeful. Expectant of good things. 

The past few weeks have gone pretty well. A few small triggers maybe, but not really any major ones. Going more than a week or two without any substantial triggers is a pretty big deal. The closest I came to it was when someone sent me pics of their day, not knowing that the location where they had taken those pics was one of “THE” places. And I will admit it bothered me. It triggered the bad thoughts. That heaviness dropped in on me the way it does. Like a lead blanket thrown over you in a dark murky lake, slowly pushing you under water and taking your breath from you. But I got control of it pretty quickly. The lead blanket was a little more like a thick cotton quilt this time. Still heavy, but slightly easier to push off. I’m not sure if the lead blanket is getting lighter, or if I’m just getting stronger. In any case, the effects were a little less than before. That’s progress. Slow moving… possibly…probably. 

But I’ll take it. 

Things were going well. We had a nice weekend at the lake with family. I even got myself a fishing license. Anyone who truly knows me recognizes the humor in that statement. Not a single one of ya ever thought you’d see the day that Amy Gordy wanted to go fishing. Or see me wearing a cap. I mean, I don’t even recognize myself. 
  
And lo and behold, I actually caught some fish. 

Teeny, tiny fish. 

Like really, really tiny. 

I mean, so very small, basically we could almost call it a goldfish.

But hey, a fish is a fish so it counts, right?  ๐Ÿ˜‰

We took our daughter and a friend to a Braves game. We ate hot dogs, fries, popcorn and Dippin Dots ice cream and even made an appearance on the Jumbotron not just once, but twice. I mean, lots of people end up on the Jumbotron at some point, but twice??!! That’s basically unheard of. I mean, obviously the cameras just love us, right?

( this is where y’all roll your eyes at each other and then turn to me and smile and agree that obviously, indeed the cameras do love us.)

Ha. I kid. I actually don’t go to a lot of games so I really don’t know if that’s true. It may not be uncommon at all. What do I know? But it’s more fun to think that it is so I’m going with it. 

We are Braves Jumbotron famous. Yep. I’m going with that. It’s kind of like being YouTube famous, except for the fact that it’s nothing like that at all. ๐Ÿ˜‚

  
And somewhere in between all that goodness over the last few weeks, we had two big blow ups. I’m talking airplane taking a nose dive, car going over a cliff, train derailment type of arguments. 

It happens with a comment taken out of context, or maybe it starts out with just a conversation. Nothing really serious. Just a couple of questions. A couple of answers. And we are ok. 

But then the tone changes. The response changes. And suddenly we are no longer having a conversation. It’s a fight. A full fledged fight. 

The kind that seem to come out of nowhere and you’re not really sure what exactly caused this train to derail and send you careening off track. The kind that suddenly makes you wonder if you can really do this. The kind that suddenly makes you wonder if your marriage really can survive this. The kind that suddenly makes you wonder if he will continue to be able to handle dealing with your healing process and not eventually want to walk away. The kind that makes you question everything and stirs up your deepest fears. 

And the million dollar question, the one that drives all that fear the most: “Am I just going to end up hurt again? Will we have gone through all of this for nothing except more heartache and disappointment?” 

Responding to each other from a place of stress or frustration or fear instead of a place of empathy and love is what brings about these kind of arguments, and suddenly we find ourselves thrown into this place filled with doubt and fear. 
A WHOLE lot of fear.  

 And so I look at Jeff and I say, “WHAT is even happening right now? We were doing so well. Why are we suddenly doubting everything? How did we get back here?”

And with that, something clicks and we can both see that the conversation wasn’t heading anywhere good with this current trajectory. 
And so we calm down. We talk it through. We acknowledge that although we have progressed a lot in our healing, we definitely still have a good way to go. This isn’t an overnight thing. Trust takes a long time to restore. Scars take a long time to fade. 

Sometimes it’s hard to be patient.

Sometimes we forget how to communicate properly. Or sometimes, as I think happened with us this time, we are simply just tired, a little overworked, not getting enough sleep, maybe a little stressed out, and when you are feeling the effects of that, it’s easy to respond in a not so thoughtful fashion. You don’t process your thoughts correctly when you’re tired. Your sensitivity is heightened. Your perceptions are skewed. 

After clearing our heads, we were able to see where the breakdowns happened, and acknowledge them and apologize for both of our parts in that. And just like that, the fight is over, peace is restored, and we are back on track. 

We’re getting better at this. 

Then, yesterday morning, something strange happened. Well, I guess it’s not really so strange. God seems to speak to me this way a lot over the past year. 
I recently became part of a launch team, to help promote Cindy Beall’s new book. Within that group, we post messages to each other, and Cindy posts something each day for us to pray specifically about. Cindy’s message to us that day was about praying for each other as we promote this book and it’s message. The enemy doesn’t like seeing marriages restored. He doesn’t like seeing our messages of hope and healing spread to others. He would want to attack our marriages to try and kill our hope. To try and stop us from helping others find healing and restoration. So she encouraged us to pray protection over each other and our marriages. 

Our recent arguments immediately came to my mind. The ones that seemingly came out of nowhere. And then I realized that they didn’t come out of nowhere. 
Doubt and fear are not of God. 

Nope. Those things are the darts of the enemy. 

Ephesians 6:12 says:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

And in that moment I understood that during those fights that we had, we weren’t truly fighting with each other. We were in a fight with a common enemy. One that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. One that wants to rob us of our joy. 
After reading that message, I got in the car to run an errand. And a verse popped into my head. 
The one that says ” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

And I immediately smiled, thinking how God always brings to mind exactly what I need in these moments. Out of the blue. And I couldn’t even remember where in the Bible this verse was. 

I started the car, and turned my radio to the Christian music station. During commercial breaks, this station sometimes plays short 1-2 minute uplifting messages from a local pastor. One of these came on at this exact moment, and the first words he said were: 

“Romans 8:37 says : No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

Yep. The exact same verse that had popped into my mind just moments before. And now I know what book it’s from too. Thanks for that Pastor Benny. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
I love when God gives us a word, and then follows it up with such a precise confirmation. 
God’s message to me was crystal clear today:
We’ve got this. 
Overwhelming victory is ours. 

All of that doubt and all of that fear, all of that IS A LIE. 

He has equipped us with everything we need. 

We’ve got this. 

Because we’ve got Him. 

So attention all doubt and fear, you don’t win this round. 

Hope is alive and well. And I intend to keep spreading it around. I’ll be like Oprah, but with hope instead of cars. “You get some hope, and you get some hope, and you get some hope. Everyyyyybody gets some hope!!!” 

๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

Amy Thurston Gordy 

Phantoms

Phantom:Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.
Phantom limb syndrome: the ability to feel sensations and even pain in a limb or limbs that no longer exist. 

Imagine your leg. Imagine that something happened, and your leg is badly injured. The wound is deep and gaping. This once healthy leg now broken, damaged, and bruised. Scarred forever. 

The damage caused by the wound is so dark, so painful. You feel it through your entire body, to your very core. The damage is so bad, that the only thing you can do is cut it off. You have to cut it off and leave it there so it doesn’t kill you. 

And so you do. 

And you begin to heal. Slowly. Purposefully and intentionally. 

You tend to what’s left of the wound and you push forward, day by day. Until all that’s left is a scar. A reminder of what used to be there. 

You adjust. You find ways to stand. You make the most of this new yet different life. You are thankful for the simple fact that you survived this life altering wound. Thankful that you are able to find some healing and that you don’t live with that gaping festering hole anymore. 

Things are different now. You lost a lot. But you also gained a lot. A different perspective. A new outlook. A new appreciation for the goodness in life and for the things that really matter. 

But sometimes, so many times, you suddenly feel the pain again. You see something, or you hear something, or you simply have a thought, and the pain comes. Right back to your very core. As if that gaping wound is still being wounded. As if you are right there in that moment. 

But you aren’t.

It doesn’t exist anymore. That thing that wounded you so deeply. It’s gone.  

You don’t live in that moment anymore. Yet it somehow still finds ways to haunt you. 

Like a phantom limb. 

And you have to remind yourself that it’s not there anymore. 

The pain is not new. It’s not fresh. It’s just a memory. 

You have to remind yourself that it’s not your reality now. The wounded limb is long gone. Lying on the floor of your past. 

You’ll never forget. And your mind will play tricks on you and try to convince you it’s still there, still attached, keeping you from moving forward. 
That’s what the memory of his affair is like for me some days. 

It’s my phantom limb. 

So I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s not there anymore. 

It’s not something you can ever really forget. It’s not something that you ever really get over. But you learn to live with it. You learn to live through it. And you learn to live beyond it. 

And if you stay focused on the goodness of life, on the blessings, on this very moment, now, in the present, you’ll find that phantoms are just that.

They don’t exist. They can’t hurt you. Because they aren’t real.

Not anymore. 

I may not be able to completely banish the phantoms of our past. My phantoms, my memories, do haunt me. But I know that they have no power. I can keep moving forward because I know they don’t really exist anymore. 

What is real is what I have right now. In this very moment. The only way to fight off the phantoms, the pain of the past, is to just keep reminding yourself of the goodness in the here and the now. 
Goodness is real.

Love is real. 

Redemption is real. 
Isaiah 43:18-19

do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
These are the things that are my new reality. 

They can be yours too. โค๏ธ
Amy Thurston Gordy