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

Cleaning out the junk

I was reading back through my journal today, and came across this entry. It’s something that I wrote just a few weeks after the day I discovered the affair.

Jeff had moved out and my existence was full of confusion, sadness, anxiety, fear and mostly, pain. Emotional, spiritual, physical pain that I can only describe as nearly unbearable. The kind where you go back and forth between feeling like you are being torn apart to this feeling of numbness, of nothing at all, because your heart, mind and body can only stand the pain in increments, so you simply shut down.

Some days I just honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. I mostly wanted to lay in the floor and cry and hide from everything.

From everyone.

From the reality of the world that had so cruelly crashed in on me.    To just crawl out of my skin.               I suddenly understood why people want to lose themselves in alcohol or whatever their vice is. Anything to just make you forget. You can’t change what happened, so the closest thing to it is to be able to forget.

To drown it out.

But I had no intention of letting myself actually do it. I knew that those things, they can’t actually make you forget. Nothing can make you forget. They only dull the pain momentarily. Thankfully I knew that path only leads to more pain.

So I tried to find things to keep me busy. So that I would have something to focus on besides the fact of how devastated, heartbroken, scared and angry I was.

So on that particular day, I picked a room and started cleaning stuff out. I wasn’t sure at the time that I would be able to afford to keep the house after the divorce, so I felt like I needed to start getting things in order and cleaning stuff out so it would be less overwhelming when and if that time came. But mostly, I just couldn’t sit still.

Anyway, that is what inspired this journal entry that day.

September 26, 2015

“With all of the craziness and confusion that has been my life for the last few weeks, I have found myself feeling compelled to clean things out. To get rid of the clutter, put things in order, make my world a little cleaner, and more organized.
I don’t know why I’ve felt so compelled to do it.
Yes, I do.
I do know why.
Control.
I need to feel like I have some control.
Over something.
Anything.
Maybe because doing this gives me just a hint of the feeling that I have even a tiny bit of control over at least something in this mess that has become my life.
For this entire year up until that awful day, I had no control at all. I was in the dark. There were signs, yes. But I brushed them off. Until those last couple of weeks, there was nothing substantial that made me believe he had or ever would ACTUALLY betray me. And even in those last couple of weeks, before I knew the whole truth, I wanted to believe that it wasn’t what my instincts were telling me. He wouldn’t do that. He really wouldn’t actually do that.                                              But….he did.                                                         I had no say. Jeff had been living a whole different existence while I’d been oblivious to it all, just going about our life. The life I was living was a deception. The movie of my life that was showing on my screen only hid the play that was happening on the stage behind it.     I only saw the illusion.                         I had no control over what the reality was behind the scenes.            I only thought I was in control of my life. Of what happens to me. Of what happens to my family. Knowing now that I wasn’t, it’s disarming.

Everything about an affair is horrible.                                               But the deception, the deception is the worst.                                           And that loss of control leaves you feeling vulnerable and victimized and so you search for anything to try and get that feeling of control back.                                                        So that.
That’s what this is really about.

As I went through stuff today, I realized how symbolic cleaning it all out was. How cleaning out the literal junk was very much the same process as cleaning out the figurative junk. The junk in our minds. In our hearts. In our lives.

Something happens when you start to clean out the junk. You start picking away at the pile of stuff. At first it seems that you’ll never reach the bottom of the pile.
So. much. JUNK.
You see that there is stuff there that you had tossed aside. Out of sight, out of mind.
You dig a little deeper and you see stuff that maybe you had wanted to hold on to, although now you’re not really sure why.

And you keep digging, and you find junk that you didn’t even know was there.                                                 Where did this stuff come from? How did I not know that this was here, hiding underneath the surface?
And you realize that junk isn’t yours. You aren’t the one that put it there. Yet here you are, literally drowning in it.
You didn’t even know it was there. You couldn’t see it because it was hidden from you. It was hidden so well, and you didn’t have access to it before.                                               Yet somehow, without even knowing it, you had lost yourself in it.

Slowly, you start to sift your way through. You even find a few hidden treasures.                          Some bright spots.                      Tokens of light and memories of happier times. Proof that God’s goodness is there.                     Always.                                               Even in the midst of all the junk.

Finally, as the pile begins to clear, you see an open space. One that’s been hidden by all this junk for far too long.
You suddenly realize the weight of all that junk. You suddenly realize how it had been crushing you, how it had been blocking out all the light.
In that clear space, you feel a sliver of freedom.                               Freedom from the bondage of all that weight.                                        And although you can’t fully see it yet, and you don’t know exactly where this path will take you, you know that there is light ahead.     That underneath all this junk, there is a clear path.
That there is peace to be found beyond the junk.”

 

Reading that entry now, I’m not even sure how I was able to write that then. How I was able for even a moment to see past the pain and believe there could be peace ahead. There were so many more moments of darkness than light during that time in my life. But to read this now, and remember all the moments in that darkness that He spoke peace and comfort to me, it’s proof of how near God is in our sorrow. It’s proof of his goodness in the midst of our pain.

I’ve got a lot more cleaning out left to do.
It’s not an easy task. There are times that I feel like it’s just too much.
There are times that as I’m digging that junk out, I trip over it and fall.

How grateful I am that I have people to pick me back up. How grateful I am that I have people that not only pick me back up, but help me clear the path.
How grateful I am that we can set those piles of junk on fire, and that the ashes left behind can be replaced with beauty, and the burden of the weight of all that junk can be replaced with freedom. And eventually, hopefully… No…I refuse to only hope.
I have to EXPECT.
I have to expect that cleared path that I find will lead to peace.
Not only peace, but also joy.

We just have to believe it,
And keep cleaning out the junk.

Amy Thurston Gordy

The girl that used to be mine. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That most days, I don’t recognize me.

It’s not easy to know

I’m not anything like I used to be

Although it’s true

I was never attention’s sweet center

I still remember that girl

She’s imperfect but she tries

She is good but she lies

She is hard on herself

She is broken and won’t ask for help

She is messy but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up

And baked in a beautiful pie

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

Sometimes life just slips in through a back door

And carves out a person

And makes you believe it’s all true

And now I’ve got you

And you’re not what I asked for

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

For a chance to start over

And rewrite an ending or two

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

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

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

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