Leave some room

I’m a planner. I am NOT big on surprises. Well, I guess sometimes I am. Depends on the situation. 
Surprise gifts…flowers…chocolate covered strawberries..gift cards…a clean house…unexpected cash… an all expenses paid trip to somewhere amazing… those are all surprises I’m on board with. 

But other things… surprise parties for instance. Not so much. Well….again it depends on the situation. If it’s been well planned out and held somewhere other than my own home and I’m wearing something really cute that day, and there’s lots of good food, then I could get on board with that. But if you happen to realize 2 days before my birthday that maybe you should do something special and invite a ton of people to our home which hasn’t been cleaned really well in a bit because we haven’t been home much and you don’t have food planned except for cake and are just completely winging it and I find out at the last minute (thank God because my house really was a disaster zone), and panic because I have one day to get my house and outdoors in order and presentable for guests when all I really want to do is sleep in and enjoy my day off, and you can’t help with ANY of it because you have to work… yeah, not a big fan of that.😂 (true story of my 40th birthday.) 

He meant well y’all. But Jeff is NOT a planner, and he doesn’t always think of all the other stuff that goes along with things. He just gets an idea, decides that everything will be fine and doesn’t worry about all the little stuff. I, on the other hand, analyze EVERYTHING. Every. Little. Detail. We are literally polar opposites. 

Take planning a trip for instance. When I plan a trip, I spend hours finding THE perfect place to stay. I save a list of possibilities, then go through them with a fine toothed comb. Location. Price. Gotta get the best deal. That’s super important. But also, I like luxury. If I’m gonna sleep in a bed other than my own, you better believe it has to have pretty covers. Old worn out tropical bedspreads just will not do. 

Just. No. 

I want nice furniture, updated decor, and only the prettiest, fluffiest, bedding will do. And a nice view doesn’t hurt either. The planning is fun for me, even though it can be a lot of work. I truly enjoy it, right up until it’s time to make a final decision. Because…duh,  it’s FINAL. And I have to get it right, so I need to be sure. And suddenly, I start questioning my choices. And then it’s “ALL ABOARD THE STRUGGLE BUS!” 

Don’t worry about buckling your safety belt, people. This bus isn’t going anywhere for a while. It’s stuck right there in the land of second guessing and indecision. 🙄 

It drives Jeff a little nuts. “Just pick one. They’re all fine.” Umm, No. I’m not looking for fine. I’m looking for as close to perfect within our price range as I can get. And I’m GOING to find it. Part of it is that this is just who I am. And I’m good at it. Finding deals and such. I’m pretty sure I’d make an awesome travel agent. And part of it is just my innate need to make everything as close to perfect as possible for the people I love, and for myself. There’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from planning the perfect getaway and then seeing it come to fruition. This is pretty much true in almost everything I do. Analyze, research, plan,second guess, start all over, narrow down, then hesitantly and anxiously force myself to make a decision. Whether it be picking out a paint color (or even just lunch😂) or planning a trip or basically any situation that requires making a decision, it’s all the same process. What are the possibilities? What are the risks? How will this affect this person or this situation? I like to be informed, and have as much information as possible to ensure that I make the best decisions I can. This can be a really good thing. It’s smart, and responsible, and all that work can create some really amazing outcomes. But it can also be a bad thing. Because sometimes our need to plan everything out and make everything perfect keeps us from the plans God has for us. Sometimes our inability or unwillingness to be spontaneous or take a risk keeps us from the unexpected blessings we might find if we would just simply say yes, instead of saying, “well maybe…..let me chart this all out first and plan out every aspect so that I can make sure everything works out for the best.” 

 Because in minds like mine, “no surprises” really means “no disappointments”. 

And “no risks” really means “no chance of failure”. 

Control equals safety. 

And safety ensures happiness. 

This is how the analytical, perfectionist mind works. Add to that mindset the  “been blindsided and broken once and never want to go there again” aspect and the whole thing goes into OVERDRIVE.  
Jeff on the other hand; he just sees something, says that would be fun, and has no problem whatsoever saying yes to it with no planning, no research… just pack up and go. This method is something my type A brain has trouble comprehending and to be completely honest, gives me a bit of a panic attack. Ok. Not a bit of a panic attack. Full on heart palpitations. My brain can’t handle it. What if in the rush I forget to pack something? What if this deal was a scam? What if it looks nothing like the pictures? What if the location is unsafe? What if this paint color is all wrong? What if the shrimp isn’t good and I wish I’d gotten the steak instead? What if ,what if , what if.  But not Jeff… he just goes with it and doesn’t worry about it at all.

Recently, he did this very thing. 
I’m sitting at work, and get a text from him. It’s a picture of a pretty hotel room at the beach. I, not really sure why he sent it, respond, “looks nice!” I look up the place, just for future reference, (we had talked about going to the beach at some point this year, so I assume that’s why he sent it, but we had made no definitive plans, as our main vacation goal this year is Disney). I see that it’s fairly new, and has good reviews. So I text again and say, “it has good reviews, we will have to keep this one in mind.” 

He responds, “We could leave Friday and come home Saturday.” 

Me: “umm, this Friday? For ONE day? We wouldn’t be able to leave until after you get off work so we wouldn’t get there until late that evening and have to check out at 11 the next morning… I don’t really want to drive 5 hours to go to bed and get up and drive back home. It looks really nice but I’d rather have a little more time than that if I’m going that far and also have more time to plan for it.”

A little time goes by.

I get another text. 

“Ok, done.”

🤷🏻‍♀️ 

Wondering if he meant to text someone else or if I’ve somehow missed a text, I say, “ok, done what???”

“I booked it. Since I have to work Friday, we will just go early Saturday and come home Sunday.”

“Ummm. Huh?”

I gotta say, I was a little teensy bit mad. Mostly anxious, but a little mad that he just booked it. He knows I like to have time to plan things out. Y’all remember my issues with control. 🙄 I have a hard time committing to anything short notice. For instance, don’t tell me at 4 that I have to go to a social event at 5 and be all social and stuff. My introvert side needs more time to transition and prepare my extrovert qualities. My brain needs a little more time to process these things and mentally prepare. That’s what it feels like anyway. It’s not really true, time to prepare or not, when I get there I’m fine, but not having time to mentally prepare or plan things out brings on anxiety. It’s more the thought of it that is the problem than the actual getting through the event itself. And I had basically less than 2 days to process that this trip was happening and get everything done. For a ONE night trip. I wasn’t really feeling like this trip was worth the stress and anxiety I was feeling. 

But Jeff. He was OVER THE MOON. Not a worry in the world, y’all . He didn’t care about the ten hours we’d be spending in the car in a less than 36 hour period. He didn’t care that we knew nothing about the hotel other than the pic looked nice. He didn’t care that we didn’t have a restaurant planned out for dinner or that Kate had basically one day to find a friend that could go with her or that we had not even checked to see what the weather would be like to know if we’d even get to sit on the beach. 

He was happy as a lark at the prospect of getting up at 4 am, spending a few hours on the beach, eating some seafood and then waking up the next day and driving ALLLL the way back home. Happy as a lark, I tell ya. 

Sometimes I really wish I was more like him in this sense. The lightness of being able to just get up and go, sights unseen, things unplanned, and see where it takes you. Not worrying about disappointing anyone or being disappointed or things not going as planned. Just saying “hey this could be good”, and hoping for the best and having the ability to do that and not have the least bit of anxiety about it at all. I’m envious of it, truth be told. 

But in reality, this type of personality can have its drawbacks too. The ability or even just the tendency to make decisions in the moment, without thinking about all the possible outcomes or consequences…in certain situations can be a really bad thing. I think it’s part of the reason the affair happened so easily for him. He wasn’t thinking about the details of how this could affect his life or anyone else’s. He wasn’t analyzing the consequences. He just made a decision in the moment. A really, really bad one. 

There are good points and bad points to both the spontaneous personality and the planner personality. So it’s extremely important to recognize how our tendencies can be used for our benefit and the benefit of others yet also be aware of where and when we need to reign them in to avoid the negative sides of our personality types and not allow them to keep us from living our best life. 

So. Back to this impromptu one night trip to the beach. I wasn’t super excited about it. I love the beach. LOVE it. But the thought of all those hours in the car, the very little time I had to get things ready and packed, all for just a few hours on the beach… I just wasn’t thrilled about it. After a full day of a good bit of anxiety, maybe a little snarkiness… sorry Jeff, and the fact that the reservation was non refundable, I decided I may as well get on board with this overnight trip because it was happening. I decided to just focus on enjoying what little time we would have to sit on the beach. 
We left the house at 4 AM. Arrived around 10:30, but the time zone there is an hour ahead so we gained an hour. Yay for extra beach time! We took our beach chairs out by the water, plopped ourselves down in them and sat right there watching the birds fly over and listening to the sound of the waves and soaking up every ounce of sunshine until the wind got a little too chilly to stay out any longer. And in that moment, I have to say, it was glorious. Worth every minute we spent in that car. And I was glad he had made that spontaneous decision that I’d been so anxious about the day before. I looked over at him and said, “ok bud, I gotta hand it to ya, you did good.”  Our room was beautiful, with perfect white fluffy covers on the bed and an amazing view. While sitting on the beach, I figure out that our friends’ new beach house is literally a couple of blocks down from our hotel. We text and decide to go over and have a visit after dinner. We find a restaurant nearby to get that seafood dinner Jeff had been craving. Then Jeff and I walk over to meet our sweet and fabulous friends. As we sit on their porch, we notice one of the cars sitting in their driveway is the exact car Kate has been saying she wants. She’s turning 16 soon, and we had been looking for a used car to get for her. We had only found a couple so far that met our specifications and those, although being within our maximum price limit, were more than we really hoped to spend and were being sold by car dealerships we weren’t real confident in the trustworthiness of. 

We start chatting and ask how they like the car. They say “oh it’s been a great car. We really have liked it. But we are kind of wanting something newer so I’m taking it to my brothers dealership to get him to sell it for me tomorrow.”

Jeff and I look at each other. 

“You’re selling it? Tomorrow?”

Yep. After asking what they wanted for it, we go on to tell them that that is the specific car that we’d been looking for and maybe you don’t have to take it to the dealership and could just sell it to us! 

 I mean seriously, y’all. What are the odds?

The next morning before heading out, we go by to let Kate check out the car. 

I wish y’all could have seen the way her face lit up the minute she saw it. 

We had told her to just have a look and that if she wasn’t sure it was what she wanted we would keep looking.

The minute she saw it she said “That IS my car.” She took it for a test drive, and when she got back, she said, “This is my car. I just feel it. It just feels right, like this is supposed to be mine.”

So we went home, took care of all the paperwork, and a week later we met to pick up the car. Just look at this face. Pure joy.


You guys. Do you even fully understand what happened here? Jeff randomly spots a hotel deal online. Books it spontaneously and gives me a panic attack because , hello, obsessive planner over here. 🙋🏻‍♀️ We drive 5 hours, and find that our friends live literally across the street from where we are. We end up walking over later, and they have the exact car Kate is interested in. AND lo and behold, they are planning on taking it to sell the VERY next day. Now let’s add to that the fact that it’s a great price, been well taken care of, and these are people that we know and can trust implicitly on the quality of the car we are getting. Then add to that the instant connection Kate felt from the moment she laid eyes on it. 

I don’t care who you are, there’s not a person on this planet that could convince me that every aspect and detail of this impromptu trip to the beach was not planned out to the letter by God Himself. There we were, on a trip that I never would have agreed to, in that specific hotel at that specific beach across from these amazing friends that just happened to have the EXACT car Kate wanted and just happened to be planning to sell it it the very next day. And at a perfect price point within our budget. 

We were meant to be at that specific place, at that specific time, so that we could receive the blessing God had set out for us. 

Y’all. That’s how much he loves us. THIS is how loved we are. He wants every good thing for us. He wants us to have the desires of our hearts. In this case, it was the very car Kate dreamed of. 

You’ll never convince me that these things are coincidental. 

Thinking back over this chain of events, I came to a huge realization. How many times does He have a perfect plan set out for me, and I get in His way? How many blessings do I miss out on by trying to make sure everything makes sense and is perfectly planned out the way I think it should be?

Maybe you are spontaneous and worry free like Jeff. Maybe sometimes that gets you into trouble if you’re not careful, and maybe other times it serves you and the people you love very well. Or maybe you’re more like me. A careful planner, intentional and rational and a bit of a perfectionist. Some might even use the words control freak, but I prefer the words cautious or analytical thinker… they just sound nicer and less crazy. Ha. 🤣  And maybe being such an over thinker serves you and the people you love very well also, but it probably also brings a lot of limits to your life, and keeps you from experiencing a lot of the unexpected good things that you might find if you weren’t so busy trying to plan and control everything all of the time. 
Jeff and I in a lot of ways are complete opposites. It can be a problem in a relationship if you focus on those negative sides of our polar opposite personality types. But if you focus on the positive aspects, our different personalities can create a good balance. 

Jeff has a tendency to be a spur of the moment, not think everything through decision maker. And he still leans towards that with the fun stuff like trips and such. But since his affair, he has learned to think beyond the moment in situations that really matter. In situations that affect not just his life but the effects of his decisions on the happiness and wellbeing of others. 

Balance. There’s a balance there now that was missing before. 

I overthink everything. I rarely make a spur of the moment decision. I NEED to know everything first. Uncertainty is the scariest thing in the world to me. But it shouldn’t be. 

Because even if everything is uncertain, one thing is certain. God is good. He is So good. 

And He has all kinds of good surprises for us. I can plan out every moment and try to control every situation in my life and I’ll find a lot of goodness there. Because that’s how good He is. He knows my heart and loves me so much that He is going to bring goodness to me even when I’m standing in His way. But it’s the times that I let go, and go with the flow of things, stepping outside of my control, and out of His way, that He really shows out. 

So balance is key to that. Being true to the planner and analyzer that I am because that’s how he made me, and I believe He uses that to lead me where I need to be sometimes, but also allowing the unplanned to have a place in my life too. 

Because His plans are always better than mine. Always. 

I think although I drive Jeff crazy with my decision making processes, he’s somewhat thankful for it sometimes because it can help to keep us out of trouble and sometimes leads to the very best things for us. And although it always initially gives me some anxiety, I’m thankful to have a husband that makes spontaneous decisions sometimes that force me to do things I would have said no to. Because sometimes those places outside of our comfort zones are the places we find our biggest blessings or purposes. 

The key to happiness is finding the balance. 

Sometimes it’s taking a minute to consider the consequences and effects of your decisions on yourself and others. 

Sometimes it’s knowing when to let go of control. 

Sometimes it’s stepping out of your comfort zone. 

Sometimes it’s saying no to the things that can bring pain to others. 

Sometimes it’s saying yes without having to have everything planned out. 

Mostly for me, it’s learning to simply get out of God’s way and let him do what He does best. It’s knowing that it’s ok to make super informed decisions , and it’s ok to make detailed plans, but that I should always LEAVE SOME ROOM. 

I should always make sure to leave some space for God to show me His plans. Because it’s in that space that we find the best gifts, the greatest joys, and our very best life. 
❤️

Amy Thurston Gordy

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Hope lives here

I’m stalling. I’ve been stalling for weeks, and I know it. I sit down and think about picking it up. I know I should. But nothing comes. Then I tell myself all the other things that need to get done. The clutter picked up. The piles of laundry. The dishes in the sink. 

No. I can do that later. I need to write something. Stop stalling. Stop making excuses.2 hours. I can spare 2 hours. 

Ok. Here I go. 

But still. Nothing. Not so much as the first word is popping into my head. 

I’ve got nothing. 

Then I hear it. The thought in the back of my head. ….“That’s not true. You’ve got stuff. You just don’t want to write about it.” 

Gah. Couldn’t I have just folded the laundry and let myself off the hook instead of smacking myself in the face with the truth? Nooo. That would be too easy. Easier than dealing with my truth.

So here it is. 
I’ve got stuff. Some things I deal with. But it’s really just the same stuff. You’ve heard it all before. Fears. Insecurities. Issues with trust. Control. You know, the regulars. 

And so in trying to write this post, my thought process went a little like this, (basically, ALL over the place) : 
-“Does this part of it, the inability to fully trust, ever truly lessen significantly or do you always think you’re doing better just to have it sneak up and slap you in the face again forever?”
-“Do I even have anything else to say? Or more importantly, do I have anything NEW to say?”
-“Hellooo God, are you gonna tell me what to write about or just leave me hanging here?”
-“Maybe I thought this was my calling, but maybe it just isn’t.”
-“Is anybody even reading these posts anymore?”
-“Is the laundry EVER completely done?”
-“Do you really want to keep telling everyone in the entire universe what goes on in your life and in your mind?”
-“Do you even want to tell this story anymore or just tuck it away and hope it becomes such a distant buried memory that you can nearly completely forget it?” 
Yep. I’ll admit it. I got issues. 
(Am I the only one hearing that Julia Michael’s song “I got issues” in my head now? 😂)

Fear. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Mostly it’s fear. Of so many things. 

Of being betrayed again. Of betraying myself by not seeing it before it’s too late. Of being so afraid of that happening that I sabotage the happiness of now. Of not having security. Of not knowing what comes next. Of not being enough. Of not losing the extra weight I’ve picked up. Of my blood pressure getting any higher. Of failing as a mom. Of writing a book. 

Of NOT writing a book. 

I sit for a minute. I hear Him say “Hope is the anchor.” Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t Him, I tell myself, maybe I just pulled that out of my mind because it’s the subject of the most recent series of sermons at my church. 
But one word stands out. THE. He didn’t say “Hope is an anchor”, or “Hope is my anchor.” I heard “Hope is THE anchor.” 

Ok. Alright then God. I’ll see where that leads me. 

Yes. Hope is my anchor. Hope has always been my anchor. Hasn’t it? I’m all about some hope right? The belief that no matter what, everything’s going to be ok. 

Yes. Sure. Hope is my anchor… I think?

And that’s when the little light comes on and shines itself directly all up into the dark little corners of my heart and says, “hey. See this stuff? Yeah. It’s still there. Maybe you want to think about dealing with that?”

Uh oh. 
IS hope my anchor? Is it what I cling to? Is it what I believe in? Is it what I’m living my life by? 

Or has something else taken it’s place?

Several times over the past few weeks, I’ve felt uneasy for reasons I literally don’t even know. 
You’d think by now I’d know the difference. The difference between an uneasiness that’s prompted by God to alert you of something you need to deal with or avoid or a danger ahead, and an uneasiness that’s not from God, and just a distraction to keep you stuck or drag you down. 

And I kind of do. I know the difference. But that’s where my fear kicks in and tries to make me second guess by throwing all the what if’s at me. “What if this is real? What if you ignore this feeling and you miss something?”

The fear of missing something, of not catching that something has gone wrong in time to fix it before it’s completely broken, it’s like a magnet that pulls me in. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m just stuck there. 

Trying to move forward, trying to let go of it, to break free of its hold on me. But the gravity, the crushing weight of that magnetic pull always pulling me back. 

Or is it? Is the fear holding me? Or maybe, just maybe, am I holding fear? 

I didn’t ask for the thing that brought this fear into my mind, my heart, my life. I didn’t invite it in. It’s a natural byproduct of what I’ve been through. And it didn’t just creep in. It crashed into and enveloped me in a fierce crushing wave, and instead of leaving when the storm subsided, it settled itself right in my heart and made itself at home.

But my life is good now.
I don’t wake up every morning anymore with visions of what Jeff did and questions of what life looks like for all of us when I divorce him. I don’t spend my days sick to my stomach at the thought of what they did. I don’t cry myself to sleep or wake up gasping for air because I feel as if I’m literally drowning. I don’t go lie in a sobbing heap on my bathroom floor because a crushing wave of sadness hits me out of nowhere as I’m chopping vegetables in my kitchen. 

That is not my life today. 
My life is full and good and all kinds of lovely. 

I wake up every morning with a man that treasures me. A man who gives me no real reason to ever doubt or question his devotion to me. Yet, I do. 

I continually question it, because I have a fear of being blindsided. Because I have fear of being deceived. Because I once lived a life believing it was one thing, when the reality of that life was not at all what I perceived and believed it to be. But I don’t live in that life now. I live with a man who hasn’t forgotten what it was like to lose me. A good and decent man. A man who doesn’t want to live that life, the life in which he betrayed me, and God, and himself, ever again.

Why is it so hard for me to just trust in that? 

One word. Fear.
Fear of rejection. Fear of pain. Fear of not having control. Fear of regret. Fear of being made a fool of. Fear of loss. 

Well, maybe there is something else too. Self protection. Defense mechanisms. 

Those two things aren’t always bad. They can be helpful, and sometimes even necessary. But there’s a fine line. A line that is crossed when you begin to LIVE from it. 

Too often, I cross that line.

Too often I live from that self protection. 

Too often I live from those defense mechanisms.

And much, much too often, I live from fear. 

It’s taken me some time to really see that. It’s taken me even longer to face it.

Does the fear hold me, or is it me holding too tight to the fear? 

I think, it’s a little bit of both. It’s a codependency.

I’ve become codependent with the fear.

I battle it, yet I also tend to feed it. I fight it, but I also use it as a source of self preservation. 

That’s not the self I really want to preserve. So it’s time me and fear have a little chat.

Dear fear,

This relationship between you and I really isn’t working out for me. I would say that’s it’s not you, it’s me. But truthfully, we both have contributed to this toxic relationship. It’s time for us to part ways. You’re just taking up too much space here. You cause issues with my real relationships. You keep me from the things I’m supposed to do, and the person I’m meant to be. So, I’m gonna have to break up with you now. 

Sincerely,                                                                  Amy

What are you living your life from? Not on the surface, but really, really deep beneath it? What, truthfully, is your anchor? 

Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it doubt or pain or anger? 

Maybe you need to write a hypothetical Dear John letter today to whatever it is that’s holding you back. 

And that’s just the start. Overcoming whatever it is that holds you, or whatever you are holding on to isn’t solved by making this one declaration. It’s something we have to continually work at. It’s a process of waking up every morning with gratitude for where we are, and countering all the negative thoughts that bombard us with God’s truth. Learning how to lean into discernment instead of paranoia. Learning to live in the goodness of today, and not let the circumstances of the past overshadow it. 

Learning how to enjoy the “It is”, instead of constantly worrying over the “what if’s”
This is where I have to admit to you that all of that is easier said than done. This is also the part where Jeff looks at me and says “You need to read your own blog. There’s some really good and helpful stuff in there, maybe you should listen to yourself.” Ha! 
It’s not easy. It’s a spiritual battle. It’s something that I can write about pretty easily because I can clearly see it and identify it and come to terms with it in my head. The truth is in there, but the actual application of it in our lives is where most of us tend to get stuck, myself included. 
You can’t get unstuck by just acknowledging that you’re stuck. You can’t get unstuck by just thinking through why you’re stuck or even what you need to do to get unstuck. The only way to get unstuck is to actually move. You have to apply the right thoughts and then take that course of action. And then, we just have to be a little more aware and careful of the places we drop our anchors. 

I don’t think my anchor has been completely entrenched in fear. I know it hasn’t, because there is SO much hope in our story. And because we have so much goodness and I can see the progress we’ve made in our marriage and in our lives. The bottom wasn’t an easy place to start from, but despite the difficulties , there’s been a LOT of beauty and joy and happy days. 
I think we’ve been moving forward, sailing ahead, but my anchor just keeps getting caught on the rocks and debris. It doesn’t bring us to a screeching halt but it does a pretty good job of keeping us from getting to where we are going. 

So that brings me back to the whole writers block situation. I told myself it’s because maybe I just didn’t have anything to say. But the truth is that I just didn’t want to say it. And the reason behind that was fear. Fear of being misunderstood or of being judged or of my words just not being anything meaningful to anyone. And there’s the fear of sharing my deepest hidden thoughts with basically the entire WORLD. I am here to tell you, being vulnerable like that is not for the faint of heart. But mostly the fear of facing the things that hold me back. 
I haven’t been writing my book. I did for a while, and then, I just stopped. Mostly because I’ve reached the part that gets into the hardest and most painful days of my life.  I’ve worked so hard to not let it take center stage in my thoughts, so to have to go through the process of writing it out, basically reliving those moments, I just haven’t been able to find the strength to face that challenge yet. I know I could do it. I could recite the story and be capable of separating myself from the pain of it, but I also feel that it’s important that I be able to tell it from that place of heartache, as authentically as I can, because that’s what people will connect with. It’s important that anyone reading it that is going through something similar, or through any kind of heartache, is able to read it and know that they aren’t alone in that place. 

I just have to find a way to be able to write from the recollection of that pain, without being drawn back into it, if that makes sense. Really, when it comes down to it, the procrastination of writing that chapter comes from that same root of fear. I’ve been afraid to face it, and I’ve allowed the fear to convince me that going there and writing out that part of the story will drag me back to a place in my mind I don’t want to be. If I keep telling myself that, then the book never gets written, the story never leaves the pages of this blog, and maybe someone who needs it, who needs the hope of our story, and the hope of God’s goodness, never sees it. And then fear wins. 

The truth is, I can do it. I just have to choose to make it happen. To push through the hard to reach the good, and finish the work set before me. I have to anchor myself in hope. Hope that everything will be ok. Hope that even if at anytime it suddenly isn’t, God will find a way to work things for my good. 

Hope is the thing that holds you steadily in place, yet also the thing that when lifted up, puts the wind in your sails and drives you forward. 

Hope is THE anchor. 

The ONLY anchor.

Anything else is just an anvil pulling you down. 
Fear knocks on the door of all of our hearts everyday. Sometimes it’s just an annoying tap, and other times it beats so hard that it seems the door could cave in. May we all learn to answer that knock with this reply:
“This is not your home. Hope lives here, and there’s no room for anything else.”

💗

Amy Thurston Gordy

The truth. Live in that.

Arguments. When two people live together, they are bound to happen from time to time. We had an argument a few weeks ago that lasted nearly 3 days. Yep. That bad.

The somewhat little issues that the argument started out about became simple background noise to what the argument grew into. That’s the way arguments can spiral into something so much bigger than the real issues at hand. It becomes more about the reactions, and the things we say to each other than about whatever incident the argument started out about. The negative thoughts start and they set off a chain reaction and the next thing you know things are being said like, ” I don’t know if we can ever really be happy.” 

“All we do is argue.”, 

“you never do (fill in the blank) or you always (fill in the blank).”,

“maybe we can’t make this work.” 

Can’t. Won’t. Shouldn’t. Frustrated. Mad. Sad. Angry. Scared. Broken.Backwards. Not making progress. 

Even the word, Divorce. 

All these negative words. 

And suddenly I hear it. I really hear it.

And I say, “wait, do you hear what we are saying to each other? What are we saying to each other? Why are we saying these things? None of them are true. 

NONE OF THEM ARE TRUE!

We are good. What we have is good. This incident or that incident doesn’t define who we are or where our relationship stands. 

Look at how far we’ve come. We are a vast distance from where we started. There is progress. 

We do love each other. We do value each other. We do appreciate the effort the other makes. We can do this. We HAVE done this. We are in a better place in our lives in every way. Relationally . Spiritually. Financially. Our lives are blessed and full. 

That’s the truth.  

We had a bad day. That’s all. But we let the negative thoughts find a place in our minds to stick and then they spread like a wildfire. Planting lies as they spread. Planting seeds of insecurity and doubt and filling our heads with so much smoke that the darkness started blocking out the light. 

It can happen that easily, and it can happen that fast. Just a couple of negative thoughts can quickly trick your mind into believing that all the goodness is gone. 

So you can’t let it. 

Because it’s lies. 

It’s ALL lies. 

The goodness didn’t go anywhere. You just chose to look at something else. And by looking at that one little bad thing, it changed the way you were able to see everything else. It’s like putting a filter on a photograph. It can change the way you perceive things. It can take a bright, vibrant photo, and make it appear dark and dreary. Even though the colorful, happy image is still there, suddenly the only things you can see is the darkness and all the vast goodness that filled the image blurs into the background and becomes small in the shadow of this filter of negativity.

So be careful. 

Arguments are going to happen. 

But listen carefully to the thoughts. Listen carefully to the words you are speaking from those thoughts. Then hold them up to the light of truth. 

Are they true? Or have you allowed the negative thoughts to spiral and distort the truth? 

The lie that Jeff’s negative thoughts turned into:

“We are right back where we started, and no matter what we do or how hard I try we will always end up back there.”

The truth:

We are nowhere near where we started. Not even close. And we grow and move even further forward with every single setback. 

The lie my negative thoughts turned into:

“He’s not really sorry. He doesn’t really value me. He can’t handle the time and the patience it takes to get through this process, and I’m just not worth it to him.”

The truth: 

He is sorry. Beyond sorry. He shows me he values me every single day. He’s human and this process is frustrating. For him and for me. But he’s still here. Because I am worth it to him. 
We had a bad day. When it comes down to it. That’s all it is. Just a bad day. They happen. 

The important thing we all have to learn is to not let that bad day become our undoing. 

Deal with whatever issue is at hand without letting the negative thoughts make it something much bigger. 

And once the issue has been acknowledged, remind yourself of the good stuff. Remind yourself of the truth. 

You have to pay attention, and you have to learn to recognize those negative thoughts for what they truly are. Lies. 

The truth is the goodness all around you. Live in that. 

Amy Thurston Gordy

Of Grace and gas bills

It’s been one of those days. You know the ones. The ones where something goes wrong. Then something else goes wrong. Then you’re ready to cry, but you tell yourself you’re being silly and overly sensitive and to suck it up and pull it together and then lo and behold, you guessed it, something else goes awry.

It all started after our 6 AM alarm went off. I went to the kitchen to get Anna Kate’s cereal from the pantry and we were out, so I settled on microwaveable oatmeal. I popped it in the microwave and went to wake her up.

Come back for said oatmeal, and find that it has puffed up and overflowed all over the bottom of the microwave. Yay. That’s fun. No biggie. I’ll just wipe that up. Jeff comes into the kitchen, and then into the pantry, and is leaning way back over in the corner where the hot water heater is.

“What are you doing?”, I ask.

“There’s no hot water. I’m looking to see if it’s on. It isn’t. Try the stove burners and see if they will come on.”

So I try, and it’s a no go. No flame. No gas. Hmm.

He says they must be working on the line somewhere and shut it off.

I think to myself, “wouldn’t they have notified us of an outage..”

He says, “you paid the bill, right?”

“Yes, I paid it.”

A minute goes by. I’m thinking.. I did pay it right? So I look in my checkbook. The entry is there. I look through my “paid” stack of bills. There it is. In the “paid” stack. So I paid it…right?

Jeff takes a cold shower and goes to work.

I decide to check the gas account online, just to make sure they posted my payment. Certainly if I had not paid it I would have gotten a disconnect notice.

Account comes up… red letters..Past Due. Umm. Huh?

I look through payment history. It’s not there. I look at bank account. Never cleared. Oh boy.

I’m an idiot. I remember sitting down to pay it and some other bills, but apparently never actually entered the payment. I always write down the confirmation number when I pay online. My checkbook entry had no confirmation number under it. Oh no.

I must have gotten distracted and walked away, and forgotten that I never actually entered the online payment. Oh geez.

I call the gas company to make the payment and reconnect the service.

They can come Tuesday.

TUESDAY.

Y’all. That’s 5 days with no hot water. No gas for cooking. 5 days of cold showers and pizza delivery. Because I’m an idiot.

Ugh.

I was supposed to be off today. But now I’ve decided to go to work for a few hours to make up for some of the reconnect fees I just cost myself.

So I go get ready. Decide to run my round brush through my hair with the hair dryer to smooth it out. What I didn’t realize is that the heat setting had gotten bumped up to high. I never put it on high because it gets way too hot. I run the brush through with the hair dryer pointing at it, and as I pull it down I see hairs falling on the counter.

What??!!

What just happened? I look up to see a nice little area of singed hair, broken off about an inch from the scalp.

Dear God in heaven.

What. Have. I. Done.

I immediately put some conditioning treatment on it to smooth it out. But the damage is done. Thank goodness it was a fairly small amount, and mostly just noticeable to me. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I only teared up a little. And maybe laughed at myself. Because seriously. Who does that? Me. That’s who.
So I pour my coffee, and head off to work.

I’m almost there and I realize I left my coffee at home.

That’s ok, I’ll just run through the drive thru and get some.

“I’d like a small coffee, no sugar, 4 French vanilla creamers, please.”

(Don’t judge, I like a little coffee with my creamer. Ha)

She hands me the coffee,but no creamer packets.

“They already put it in the coffee for you.”

Nice!

I get to work. Take a sip.

Mud. It tastes like mud. So I open the top. It’s straight up black coffee. No creamer.

Sigh.

Then I get a text from my daughter. It’s a pic of the cat, who has decided to catch a chipmunk, kill it and proceed to eat it right outside my back door on our deck. Ughhh.

What even is this day?
I text Jeff. Tell him why we have no gas service. That it’s 100% my fault. Then I tell him the terrible awful news that it’s out until Tuesday. I expect him to be upset with me. To tell me I need to be more careful and pay better attention to the bills.

But that’s not what I got.

Instead I got this.


Sweet right? Like, I’m kind of melting over here y’all. 😍

And my wonderful co-worker heard about my coffee catastrophe. She says, “hey, I think I actually have a brand new container of French vanilla creamer in my car.”

For real? Is that angels I hear singing?

She just happened to have some of the very kind of creamer I wanted just randomly in her car? Why? Why would you randomly have a single bottle of creamer in your car? And that specific flavor.

I’ll tell you why.

Because Jesus, y’all.

He knew I was gonna need it. He doesn’t miss the details. I kid you not.

That bottle of French vanilla creamer was providence.

That’s how much He loves us. Not just in the big things, but He loves us in the little things too.
I text my sisters about the events of my morning. They offer their showers and their ovens. Because that’s what sisters do.
This day started off badly.

But just as quickly as it had turned ugly, the goodness started to show up.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

Jeff could have chosen to be mad at me. Instead, he chose grace. Kindness and love and encouragement and grace.
And the creamer. Try to tell me that wasn’t a modern day miracle. Coffee is important, y’all.
And my hair? Barely noticeable and a funny story good to give y’all a laugh every time you picture my face when I saw that hair falling.
And the chipmunk and the cat, well… I’m not sure what I could say that would be redeeming about that. Circle of life? That’s what the Lion King would say anyway. RIP chipmunk.
I guess you could say I’ve handed out a good bit of grace over the past year. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that grace is what I got today. I’m a firm believer that what you give away is what you attract back to yourself. Positive energy begets positive energy. Kindness begets kindness.

Grace begets grace.
Who do you need to show grace today? Maybe it’s someone you love that disappointed you. Maybe it’s someone you don’t really even like. Maybe it’s a stranger.

Or maybe , just maybe, it’s yourself.
My immediate reaction to my screw up with the gas bill was to speak negatively of myself. “You’re an idiot. This is your fault. You are doing a bad job at managing this household. You are causing everyone else to deal with the consequences of your stupid mistake. You’ve disappointed everyone.”
But then Jeff’s words brought me back.
“It was just a mistake. Everybody makes them. You have a lot on your plate. You do so much. You do so much and you’re doing a great job.”
It’s just that I like to take care of my people. I hold myself to sometimes unattainable standards of perfection. I expect so much of myself. I like to make people happy.

The worst feeling in the world to me is to feel like I’ve disappointed someone. That I’ve let someone down.

But no matter how much I try to keep those standards and expectations I hold myself to, I’m not perfect. I can’t be everything to everyone and get it right 100% of the time.

I needed that reminder today.
Sometimes it is ourselves that we need to learn to extend grace to the most.
It started out a bad day. But I am constantly reminded that even when things don’t go right, whether it’s a big thing like your marriage or a small thing like your coffee, there are lessons to be learned there. There’s beauty in the brokenness. There’s beauty in our imperfection. Because that’s where the growth happens. That’s where your relationship with God goes deeper. And it’s also where miracles happen. Miracles in marriage, miracles in other life struggles, or maybe even miracles in a bottle of French vanilla creamer.

I’ve said it before , and I’ll keep saying it every day for the rest of my life. There’s goodness here. In the things that go right and in the things that go wrong. There’s goodness everywhere. So let’s all show ourselves a little grace today, and choose to see the goodness.
Amy Thurston Gordy

It’s complicated.

How am I?

I’m doing good. Aren’t I? I mean, I wake up intent on doing good. I get through my days and push past the bad stuff and put a smile on my face, and that smile, more often than not, is genuine. I’m thankful for everything God is doing in our lives. He really is so, so good. So in that sense, things are great.

So when people say “Are you doing ok?” , I say “I’m fine. I’m good.” And I mean it. I believe it’s (mostly) true. Honestly when it comes down to it, I don’t really have a choice. If I want to be fine, I just have to decide that I am, and go with it.

But sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I feel like there’s a fine line between positive thinking and downright suppression. Sometimes that line gets blurry and I realize that maybe I’m not dealing with something that I need to deal with and that isn’t healthy. So I try to pay attention. When someone asks me how I am, I’ve realized that sometimes maybe it’s because they perceive something that I’m suppressing. Something in my countenance that I’m not aware of. So at first my response is, “I’m doing great”, but later, I realize maybe I’m really not so great. So I deal with it the best ways I know how and I get up the next day and start fresh with the intent that I will have a good day.

Living in positivity, it’s so simple, yet also so complicated. Because the things that cause the negative thoughts are real. The pain is real. The heartache is real. And sometimes I feel like pretending that it’s not, for the sake of trying to be positive, is just not realistic or healthy. So yes there’s a fine line. I’m working on finding the balance. Being honest with myself about how I’m really feeling, so that it doesn’t eat me away inside, while keeping a positive mindset and believing with everything in me that I’m going to get there. That I am doing great. That the heartache will one day lose its sting. That one day I can truly let go of the anger.

 
Jeff and I had a conversation the other day. I asked him if there was any part of him that was glad that he had the affair. If there was maybe just a part of him that was a little bit glad that he got to have that experience. I mean it’s something that all guys think about whether they act on it or not. So, knowing now that he would end up getting everything back, that basically things would suck really bad for a while but in the end he is forgiven and gets his life and his family back. Was there any part of him that would go back to that moment and still go through with it? Was there any part of him that felt good that he got to have that experience, he got to be with someone else and he didn’t lose everything? Knowing now that things turn out pretty good for him, and that I was the only one really still paying the price? I was the one really feeling the consequences, and he really didn’t lose anything.

His response was “I lost a lot of things, but mostly, I lost you.”

I said “but I’m still here.”

He said, “You are, but also you’re not. I lost you. The real you. The you that existed before I did this. I get pieces of you, I get what you want me to see, but I never really have all of you.”
I said, “but it isn’t that I let you see what I want you to see, this is me now. These pieces…This is all that’s left.”
And he said, “and I have to look at the pain in your eyes. I have to look at you every day and see the parts that are gone, and know the reason those aren’t there anymore is because of me. I did that to you. I have to live with the fact that I did that to you. And you are a different person now. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because in so many ways you’re even better, but that’s because since I took those pieces out of you, you filled in those empty spaces and put pieces back in their place. But if I could go back, even knowing that we end up together, I would never hurt you like this again. There’s nothing on this earth worth seeing you cry, seeing you sad, nothing worth having to watch you feel that pain.”

 
Sometimes I forget. I forget that although he ended up getting everything back, he carries the guilt of what he did. It really wasn’t a fair question to ask. Just a thought in my head when I was feeling angry about how much this has cost me. Sometimes I look at him and think it must be nice. To walk around knowing you got to enjoy doing what you did, you had your fun, things got really bad for a little while and then you get to walk around forgiven and free and everything in your world goes on like it never even happened and so why wouldn’t you go back and choose that again.

But that’s not who he is. I know that’s not who he is and I know that he hates the person he had become. The person that did that. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of that thought process, but I know it’s not true. If he could go back, knowing what he knows now, I have to believe he would choose differently.

But I keep going back to what I said in that conversation.

“These pieces… This is all that’s left.”

It’s kind of like that movie “The Truman Show”. When you wake up one day and realize that things are not at all what you thought they were. When you realize that almost a year of your life is missing. That it was a deception.

That really messes with your head. It’s hard to make sense of it. You go back through those days and it’s so confusing, to see them the way you remember them and then to compare them with the light of truth shining on them. It’s hard to distinguish which parts were real and which parts were just part of the deception. That, along with the heartbreak. It changes you. Parts of you are broken, and while parts can be mended, they are never the same, and sometimes there are gaps. Pieces that just seem to be missing.

So like Jeff said, we fill those pieces in. So, who is the real me now? I’m still figuring that out. I’m still filling in those missing spots. Sometimes, like when I ask Jeff a question like I did the other day, I’m trying to fill them in with the wrong stuff. So I have to take that back out. I’m doing my best to fill them in with forgiveness, love, kindness, joy, and strength. A whole lot of strength.

 
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. It takes something that has been broken, shattered, and it embraces the brokenness, and encourages an acceptance of the things we can not change. The philosophy is that brokenness is a thing of value, that there is more beauty in that brokenness than there was when the object was whole. Instead of hiding the broken parts, it illuminates them. There is an incredible beauty that can come from brokenness. When it’s pieced back together with care, and with the most precious of materials and resources, it takes on a new life. A new purpose. Fragile, yet incredibly resilient.

I like the way someone that wrote about this process once put it, that “in many ways , the true life of the bowl began the moment it was dropped.”

I like to think of my healing process as being similar to that.

 
So when you ask me how I am, I’m going to smile. And I’m going to tell you that I’m ok. That I’m getting better every day. And I’m going to mean it.
I want to be like that piece of pottery. Not trying to hide the brokenness. But instead illuminating it by being pieced back together with the goodness of God. Because there is no purer gold than his goodness. And when all the pieces are seamed back together, hopefully you’ll see his goodness shining through all the places I was broken. And I believe that I will find that I’m ok with who I’ve become. Some parts old, some parts new, once shattered but still shiny. Enriched by the brokenness instead of being destroyed by it.

So how am I doing? Well, it’s complicated. But, I think I’m doing just fine.