Oh, sciatica.Β 

How is it April already? This year is flying by! I’ve been missing in action on the blog here for a little bit. It wasn’t really an intentional break from writing, but between house stuff and a health issue, March was a bit challenging for me. 

The next step in our home renovations was to tear out the carpet in the bedrooms and replace it with hardwood floors. So over the weekends in March, we did one room at a time, and painted the walls and trim in each room as we went. There was so much stuff piled into my living room , it looked like a hoarder lived there. SO stressful! It also involved A WHOLE LOT of moving furniture in and out of rooms, and at some point during room # 2, I woke up with intense pain and muscle cramps from my lower back all the way down my right leg to my foot. 

I think the issue really started when I helped move the old oven out and the new oven up the stairs and into the house a couple months ago. I had been having some lower back stiffness since then, but nothing I paid much attention to. I think moving all the furniture around and the painting may have pushed it over the edge. 

The pain was nearly incapacitating for the first few days. Sitting was uncomfortable. Laying down was pretty much excruciating, so sleep was not something I was getting much of, and driving would literally bring me to tears. 

Sciatica is the devil. The devil, I tell ya. 

I made a couple of trips to the chiropractor, even though the thought of all that scary sounding bone popping absolutely terrified me. Especially that neck thing they do…that gives me the heebie jeebies! But at that point I was willing to try anything that might make me feel comfortable enough to just be able to get a few minutes of sleep. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to be helping. So I made a visit to the doctor, and they gave me steroids and anti inflammatories. I had to get a shot, so Jeff insisted that I have this ice cream on the way home. 😊


The meds thankfully got me well enough that the pain was more tolerable. I had X-rays and an MRI, and the diagnosis was a bulging disc at L5-S1. 

I walked with a limp due to a mixture of the muscle soreness and the loss of sensation in a portion of my foot, and spent the majority of each day on my feet, unable to relax, because the pain sitting or laying was almost too much to bear. It was exhausting.

But despite the pain and a very serious lack of sleep, I have found so much to be thankful for over these last few weeks. 
-I didn’t have to stay out of work. 
-My sisters. They checked on me all the time, and one of them brought me her tens unit. That thing felt like a million little bees stinging me but in an oddly good way. Those things really do help with back pain. 

-I had sweet friends and family members that gave me meds and creams to help with with the muscle spasms.

-One precious friend that was a former teacher at my kids elementary school insisted on bringing us a dinner of chicken salad, fresh bread, broccoli cheese soup, and also the most delicious muffins you’ve ever had in your life.πŸ’— This was just so, so thoughtful and sweet.

-I got so many messages from friends telling me about their own experiences with sciatica, giving me tips on stretches and exercises and also giving me hope that it does go away! 

-My Mom sent over a heating pad, a back brace, and food. Really good food like fried chicken and barbecue pork. Oh and M&M’s. Let us not forget the goodness of the M&M’s! 

– My Daddy delivered the food, and said the sweetest prayer for healing over me before he left. There’s not much sweeter in this world than the heartfelt prayers of a parent for one of their children. Especially my parents. If you’ve ever met them, then you know they are precious. Just the best of the best. 

-My MRI cost me a lot less than I was expecting. 

– I’m getting better. The limp is pretty much gone. The numbness in my foot is going away. The muscle spasms are few and far between. I can sit pain free most of the time. Driving doesn’t make me want to cry anymore, and most importantly, I am able to sleep. 

– I put myself on a no bread, no sugar, no fun anti-inflammatory diet last week (ok, so maybe I still have a little caramel creamer in my coffee in the morning. Don’t judge. Ha. I gave up bread and chips y’all. That’s huge for me. So I’m cutting myself a little slack for this tiny daily cheat!) and as an added bonus, I’ve lost 6 pounds this week. 

-My floors look amazing.

Seriously, just look at them. Jeff did good!


-And last, but certainly not least, I have an amazing husband that takes care of me so, so well. 
He single-handedly finished out the floors and took over my painting of the walls and trim. He moved all the furniture back in the rooms, and cleaned up all the mess. He also has done the majority of the house cleaning. He sat with me through my Doctor’s appointments. He rubbed my leg and foot every night to help with the muscle cramps. He brought me my meds and propped pillows under my legs and drove Anna Kate wherever she needed to go whenever he could so I could rest and so I wouldn’t have to drive. He made my coffee and fixed my lunches. All of this on top of working every day and being on call. And he did every bit of it with a happy heart and a sweet smile. 
I looked at him the other day and said, “you are a good, good husband.”
I don’t take saying that lightly, given where we were two years ago. 

And neither does he. 

It’s kind of a big deal. Huge, actually. That I can look at the man that shattered my heart and our lives into a million little jagged pieces, and say that to him, and mean it. Like really mean it. 

I took him back believing for something better. Hoping for something better. In our relationship, and in him as a person, and in every aspect of our lives. And I wasn’t sure about it. I wasn’t sure it was possible. Any of it. But I chose to believe that it could be. 
And every day, I’m continually amazed at how good our life is. 
He’s a good, good God.                 And Jeff is a good, good husband. 

Psalm 107:1
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.

❀
Amy Thurston Gordy

 

Love. It’s worth celebrating.

Hey y’all! It’s been a busy few weeks. I really meant to sit down and write a post last week, but never really found a good time to sit and sort through my thoughts. So this morning, I’m making the time. It’s easy to let life and the busyness of it all take control of our time, making us feel like we just don’t have any for the things we would like to do, so sometimes, we just have to create it, and purposefully carve out time for things that are important to us. 

And in doing that, it turns out I’ve actually got two posts in me today! I wrote it as one big one, but realized the end needed to be a stand alone post, so the message doesn’t end up lost in the details of what’s been going on in our every day life. So first the fun stuff, and then, be sure to hop on over to my following post titled: “The truth. Live in that.”, if you want to hear about some life truths we’ve learned in the past few weeks. 

I’m not sure where to start. 

We’ve been busy. Emily is doing great in school and working a part time job. Kate was inducted into Beta club at school this week, and we found the most perfect prom dress that ever existed for her last weekend, so that was fun. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect. She had a specific brand that she had her heart set on. An expensive one. πŸ’° And on top of that, she attends a Christian school with fairly strict dress codes, meaning no midriffs, no cutouts, not too short. And I just happened to see a post for a dress that fit all of the above requirements , and was the brand she wanted. We went to this lovely family’s home to see it in person. And the look on her face when she saw it hanging there was priceless. Love at first sight. But would it fit? 

She slips it on, and I zip the back. She turns around,and I kid you not, she was absolute perfection in that dress. 😍 It was as if it had been made specifically for her. Not a single thing has to be altered. It’s elegant and glamorous and has just the right amount of sparkle without going overboard. And it was at a price point that her Dad and I could be in agreement with. It was as if she had said “God, I want this specific brand in a dress that fits me perfectly and is ridiculously gorgeous ,that my parents can afford to pay for”, and He said, “you got it, here ya go!” 

If you don’t believe that God wants to give you the desires of your heart, this dress is a perfect example of Him doing just that. 

I truly believe that dress was meant specifically for her. 

How is it that my baby is going to the prom? It goes by so, so fast. Here’s a little preview. We’ll wait until prom for the full reveal!


Jeff has been co-leading a class on positive thinking at our church with his mentor. Yep. Jeff. Co-leading a class. Who would have ever thought?  πŸ˜œ He really hasn’t had to do much leading with it, much to his relief, ha. But he had the opportunity to share a little at our class this week. As much as I would say that public speaking was out of my comfort zone, it is so much further out of his comfort zone than it ever came close to being for me. But he did a great job, so I’m proud of him for that. We’ve also had the opportunity to speak with some couples over the past few weeks that are just starting the process of trying to recover from their own revelations of infidelity in their marriages. Jeff actually met one on one and did a little counseling with one of the men. I love seeing how God uses our story and we are thankful for and humbled by the opportunities to help lead others down this path we’ve walked before them. Seeing them where they are and being reminded of that place of pain, and how far we’ve been able to move past that pain, it reminds us how blessed we are, and how thankful we are for the work God has done in us and our marriage. And it allows us to give these couples a little hope for their own future. 

We had a nice Valentine’s Day. We haven’t typically been big on going all out for Valentine’s Day in the past. But we view it a little differently these days. We should show our love and make each other feel special every day, sure. But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating a day set aside for that sole purpose. We try to honor Jesus in our hearts and lives every day, but still make a big deal out of Christmas. This is not really all that different from that concept. So if a day is set aside to honor love, and just do a little something extra, well, I say there’s just nothing but goodness in honoring that. I may have hinted rather heavily that I wanted some chocolate covered strawberries. πŸ˜‰ He’s a wise man and picked up the hints I was laying down. I’m not much for $100 bouquets of flowers. I love flowers, but I’m every bit as thrilled, if not more so, with the $10 bouquets from the grocery store. I mean, have you seen them lately? They have all our favorites. Tulips, lilies, dahlias, sunflowers, all the good stuff. So don’t say Valentine’s Day is too expensive. It doesn’t take much to make us girls feel special. It’s more about the effort than the product. Jeff did a great job of picking out my gifts. Beautiful lilies, (from the grocery store!), a gift card to a local boutique, and my favorite gift, a dozen chocolate covered strawberries, also bought from a local bakery. He honestly could have gotten me those and nothing else and I would have been thrilled. 


Sweet gifts from a sweet man. Celebrate love y’all. Don’t just skip it and say it’s a gimmicky holiday created to make money. You don’t have to spend any. Make a card. Anything. Don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate love. The way the effort you make will serve to make her feel loved and treasured is no gimmick. It’s a gift. πŸ’—

We decided it was time to start back on our home improvement projects. First thing on the list was painting the living room. So off I went to the store to pick out paint samples. We wanted something neutral, to replace the awful mustard/gold color that was the current color. That should be easy right? 

Wrong.

Turns out picking a neutral is so much harder than picking a color. There’s just so many. And so many undertones! My heart really loves the greys. The warm ones. And the cool ones. Pretty much all the greys. But alas, my sofa is brown. Like really, really brown. So I thought I could find a nice “greige” and make it work. 

Nope. Not happening. 

So after narrowing down from oh, about 31 samples,😳 


I finally settled on this warm stone/taupe. It’s called “Stone lion” from Sherwin Williams.


 I think it turned out nicely. After 2 days of painting, and my arms feeling like they may just fall off of my body, we were nearly done. There’s still about half of the white trim paint that I have left to finish. I really hate trim and am having a hard time willing myself to pick it up and finish it, ha. But I plan to finish that out this weekend. I think our next project will be pulling up the carpet and laying wood floor in the bedrooms and refinishing the existing wood floors in the living room. If I can figure out the logistics of when and how to do them with the dogs and such, so complicated! So that’s where we are with that. It’s coming along, slowly but surely. 
And speaking of slowly and surely, that’s probably a good way to describe how the whole healing from infidelity process works. We had a good 2-3 day argument a couple of weeks ago. Head on over to my next post later today to hear all about what we learned from that. 

❀

Amy Thurston Gordy

Change is in the air

It’s been a minute! Have you missed me?;)
Let’s see if I can fill you in on the last couple of weeks.
I feel like the days have been long but time has been short, if that makes any sense. I’ve been working more, and it just feels like I’ve been low on free time. Which is why I haven’t written a new post until now. 

Other than being busy, the past few weeks have been overall good. Besides the fact that I’ve battled a sinus headache for a full week, and the exception of one really bad day. 

I guess I’ll start there. 

The other day my sweet husband came to my office and picked up my car to get my oil changed, and left me his. When I got in his car to go home that night, I look over and see a sunglasses case in the floorboard. 
INSTANT TRIGGER. 

Because of what used to be hidden in the case when he was having the affair.

Immediately the physical and emotional response to the trigger sets in. My heart starts racing. My stomach hurts. I can’t breathe. In my mind I can picture them in there. In my mind the images of him with her flash across the screen of my mind and torment me. And I HAVE to open it. I know that I know, that I KNOW there’s nothing in it now. But still I can’t help myself, I have to look just to be sure. It’s CRAZY how something as simple as a glasses case can send you spiraling. It took me nearly a full day to pull myself out of the sadness and exhaustion that set in from that one stupid reminder. It’s been a while since I’ve had one that was that hard to recover from. I don’t think it helped that I had been stressed about the changes at work and also that I wasn’t feeling well. So I think I was more susceptible to being pulled down by it because of already being emotional from those things. And when the triggers pop up, they bring the pain of what happened right back to the surface, and it’s just , for lack of a better word, rough. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Even though the rational part of your brain knows that it’s in the past, the physical and emotional reaction the other part of your brain activates feels devastatingly real and current. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the best way I can describe it. And so that rational side has to fight really hard to push that reactive side back. So you have to go through the process. Feel the pain. Face the pain. Focus on the current goodness to overcome the pain. 

The good news is, it took less time to recover this time, and the triggers have gotten fewer and farther between. So although I’m obviously still in the healing process, It means I AM healing, and I am so very thankful for that. 

And now for the good stuff. We have had a couple of Saturdays that Jeff was not on call, and the weather was perfect, so we decided to take some little road trips. We weren’t sure where we were headed. We just said “Saturdays are for adventure!”, and we hopped in the car, headed north towards the mountains and let Google be our guide.  
Jeff’s goal was to find some beautiful views.







 My goal was to find farm animals and country markets. 




Oh, and food.

Always the food!

We found everything we were looking for. Just look at all this goodness. 


I love cows. I could just watch them all day. There is something so peaceful about them. 

After spending a little bit of time at this beautiful farm, I decided that I just want to quit my job, buy a farm, and spend my days selling pumpkins and Christmas trees and produce and baked goods and jams and honey in an adorable little barn turned country market, and spend my evenings on a huge porch, in a porch swing watching my cows and other farm animals out in the fields. Perfection! 

Ahh. One day. 


So overall we are doing great. The kids are doing great. Kate has settled in perfectly at her new school, and the decision to put her there was definitely the right one. She is flourishing in every way. Emily is doing great in school too, and has been busy making plans for her continued education and future. I’m so, so proud of them both. I’m so thankful for this family of mine. 

So that pretty much catches you up to date on our past and current events. 
As for the future…

It’s fall and change is in the air. Blowing in like an inevitable cold front. I’ve never been a big fan of change. I like to be comfortable. Settled. I prefer my life to feel like a comfy worn in warm pair of pajamas. Dependable. Predictable. Don’t we all? 

But I believe I’m entering a season of change. Well, I guess in reality I entered it a year ago. My life looks very different than it did before that. And it’s been a painful season, but it’s also brought a lot of goodness. There is more change ahead. I can see it coming and I can feel it. The anticipation of it has a tendency to bring about fear and anxiety in me. I think that’s something that most of us grapple with when anticipating change. I’m trying to stay ahead of that, reminding myself that He works all things for our good, and trusting in that. 

He’s stretching me. Calling me out of my comfort zone in several areas. And I’m not going to lie. Looking out into those unknown waters is scary. But it’s out there where we find His presence. It’s out there where we find His goodness. It’s out there where His glory shines the brightest. And it’s out there, where we relinquish our control and push away our doubts that we find that where He takes us is better than we ever could have imagined or planned for ourselves. So, when He says step out of the boat, I’m stepping out of the boat. And I’m expecting to find so much goodness there. Change is scary. But He hasn’t let me down yet. He saw me through the darkest year of my life. He even somehow managed to bring goodness , no, greatness out of it. If He can do that, then He can certainly turn unknown waters into fields of flowers, and places that feel out of my comfort zone into places of security and purpose and blessing for me. 
I’m looking forward to seeing the goodness He has in store. 

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) 

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

❀️
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 πŸ™‚ 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

Not Restored

Restoration. It’s a word that is used a lot when speaking about broken marriages, and infidelity. It’s repeated over and over in discussions, articles, books, videos, you name it. It’s everywhere. It seems to be a go to word when referring to healing a broken marriage. I’ve used it myself, but for some reason I always get stuck.

Like when a record hits a scratch and starts skipping. Or when your sweater gets snagged and stuck on something. That’s what that word feels like to me when I say it. It just never feels or sounds quite right.

Because the definition of restoration is:
β€’ the action of returning something to a former condition,
β€’ the process of repairing or renovating so as to restore it to its original condition
β€’ the reinstatement of a previous practice, right, custom, or situation.

When you find yourself in a situation such as mine, it is not restoration that you seek.

Sure, in the first days, even months after discovery, you long for what was. You mourn for the life you were living before. Before EVERYTHING changed.
But one day you realize, that life never actually existed. It wasn’t what you thought it was.

Your perception was your reality but your reality was not the truth.

And when you see it clearly in the light of day, it’s not something you want back. While you definitely don’t want this turmoil and pain and uncertainty that your life has become after, you don’t want the illusion of the life you had before either.

So you come to a place of , “What now? What do I want? What do I want my life to look like?”
And honestly, in the beginning, it’s a hard question to answer.
Because there in that place, where you see that the life you had wasn’t at all what you thought it was, and the life you have now most certainly isn’t at all what you wanted it to be, the idea of what you do want it to be or how to get there, can be a difficult thing to envision.
The ONLY thing you know for certain is what you DON’T want it to be. Because now you’ve seen it. You’ve lived it. You’ve felt the pain. You’ve endured the heartache of this story that you did not want.
And so you know. You KNOW that you never want to end up there again.

So restoration is not the right word.

The goal is not to “restore” our marriage.

The goal is to REBUILD it.

We recently renovated our kitchen.
It started with a vision of what we wanted. That vision started with just a few pieces. We really didn’t have the full picture yet, but we had a pretty clear idea of where we were going with it.
So we got started.

image

It was the same when I made the decision to give our marriage a second chance. I wasn’t completely sure it would work. I wasn’t completely convinced we had the ability to do it. But I had seen enough pieces to know what it could possibly look like. And the only way to find out, the only way to see the completed vision, was to take that first step and just get started.

The first thing I picked out was the back splash.

 
Cararra marble subway tiles. You guys. 😍 Absolutely gorgeous. I knew from the moment I saw them that it was exactly what I wanted. I love,  I mean, LOVE this tile.
It was the first thing I picked out but it was also the finishing touch. The thing that pulled everything else together and made it work.

As for our marriage, I think the backsplash represents commitment. True unwavering commitment. Without it, some of the pieces might still function ok, but others just won’t work at all, and the renovation will just never appear complete. Both spouses have to be fully 100% committed to making it work. Otherwise you end up in a perpetual state of patching things up. A perpetual state of unfinished projects. Never finding the reward of seeing the beauty of this new thing you are building to completion. You can’t rebuild something with only 50% of the supplies, or 50% of the labor. If 50% is all you’ve got, the job will either never get finished or it will fall apart. You both have to commit to going all in.

Next came the paint.


Have y’all ever tried to choose a grey paint? Who knew there were sooo many different greys?! Literally drove myself and my family nuts trying to make a decision.
Walls and trim. Then the cabinets and all the handles. Before you even get started you have to take all the stuff out of the cabinets. Which leaves a nice big mess on the dining room floor.

So much work. Before you start you think, “this won’t be so bad. It’s not that big of a job.”
But after just a few hours in you find yourself exhausted. Frustrated. Downright weary.
“What was I thinking? Why did I think I could do this? How many screws are in these darn hinges and drawer pulls? I knew this was going to be hard work but I didn’t think about all these tedious details. This. Is. Hard.”
But you do it anyway. You keep going forward. And when you finish the painting and rehang the doors, you are amazed at what a difference all that hard work made. And when you refill those cabinets, you throw out the junk and the trash that you don’t need and only put back what is useful.

And that’s what it is like. The healing process. The process of forgiveness.
You know it’s going to be hard. But then you get in there and you realize that
You. Had. No. Idea.
No idea what you were getting yourself into.
No idea the tedious details you would have to work through. No idea the junk and the trash that it would expose.
No idea the strength, the determination and the sheer will it would take to push through it. But that is what it takes. You just have to make the decision to do it, then you roll up those sleeves and you get to work. And you don’t quit. Even when it’s hard. Even when you’re tired. Even when you aren’t feeling 100% sure it’s going to turn out the way you want it to. You just do it.

After that we replaced the flooring.


That required pulling up the old floor, laying down a new subfloor then tiling over that.
That’s when we hit a bit of a snag.
Jeff spent hours laying that tile, but after it dried they started popping up.
It was disastrous. How did this happen?
So we had to backtrack and try and figure out why it wasn’t working. Turns out, when we bought the bag of mortar to lay it with, we failed to notice that the label said not for use with porcelain. So we had to pull EVERY last tile up. Scrape the mortar off the back of every tile. Scrape the mortar off of the subfloor. And start all over. This time using the right materials.

Sometimes, as we are working through rebuilding our marriage, we screw it up. We do things or say things or let the wrong thoughts take precedence in our minds, and we try to lay the foundation down based on the wrong things. And when that happens, we quickly see that the floor starts cracking and we are on unsteady ground. Many times over we’ve had to tear that foundation up again. We’ve had to look back and see where we went wrong, what materials we used that didn’t belong and re install it with the right materials. A solid foundation is crucial. And sometimes it takes time to find all the right ingredients. But once it’s done right, you’ve got a firm foundation to build on. A solid place to land. Steady ground to stand on.

Next we bought a new stove top and vent hood. Jeff found it on Craigslist. I must say I am not a fan of Craigslist and was slightly terrified. But thankfully, not everyone selling on Craigslist is out to murder people and there are great deals to be had. Good to know! As we prepared to install it, I realized that the countertops that we had just were not working with the new aesthetic. Which was a bit disheartening because we had not budgeted for new countertops. The only way we were even able to do what we had done so far was based on an extremely low budget, buying materials at the lowest possible price we could find and doing ALL the work ourselves. But, it was clear that for us to achieve what we were going for, those countertops had to go.

Miracle of miracles, Jeff talked to a former employer. A cabinet maker that he worked for when we first got married. When asking about the price of new countertops, this sweet man told Jeff that he couldn’t be prouder of how he had worked hard and made something of himself, of the man he had become since he worked for him all those years ago. And then he proceeded to make him a deal on those countertops that was better than we ever could have hoped for.
God is so so good.


Countertops are a place of serving. They are also a place of presentation. The way we served each other, the way we presented ourselves to each other in our old marriage. Those things just didn’t work in this new one. We had to learn new ways of showing love. If you haven’t read the five love languages by Gary Chapman. Go get it. Read it. Read it now. Don’t wait. It will be life changing.

After that we moved on to the dining room. I hung new curtains. They provide just a bit of shade, while still letting the light in. And bring a little warmth to the room.


I guess in our marriage maybe that represents new boundaries and also new transparency and the protection and security that both of those things bring.

I refinished our dining room table. It was painted black before. Dark and uninviting. I painted it with a very pale grey chalk paint, then distressed it, and topped it off with several potted succulents. Then we replaced the light fixture hanging above it.
It’s inviting, and the plants give it a little pop of life.
Exactly the way I want my family.
Inviting, and full of life.


The painting on the wall no longer matched, so I replaced it with this. Yes, it’s a cow. And I LOVE it. It’s exactly what I wanted. Full of color and just a touch of whimsy.


In our marriage I suppose that would represent the fun. The adventure of getting to know the new people we are becoming. The unexpected blessings. The joy.


The stairs still need to be redone and the oven and kitchen light fixture still need to be replaced. There is still some work to do in our kitchen and in our marriage before it reaches completion. But with time and the right resources, we know it’s going to be better than we even imagined. We know this because we can already see it coming together. And it already is better than we could have imagined. So how wonderful it is to know we haven’t seen anything yet. There’s still so much goodness ahead.

Most recently, I added this to our shelf.

And that is the key.
The key to everything.
It’s the reason it’s working.
Because we are so, so grateful.
We know how different our lives could be today. How different they should be by the world’s standards after what happened in our marriage.
But instead we have this.
And yes it’s so incredibly hard.
Yes, it’s so incredibly messy.
But it’s also incredibly beautiful.
And nothing short of miraculous. And we are grateful.

Amy Thurston Gordy

The sum of Joy

At the first church service of the year, our pastor passed out little slips of paper. He asked us to write down one word for the new year. One word that represented what we were asking God for. One word that represented what we wanted to have or learn or do or become in the new year.
At that point in time, we were in a very, very early stage of trying to put our broken marriage, and our broken selves, back together.

Jeff had only been back home a matter of weeks, and there were still more hard days than good days at that point.
As I sat and thought about what my word would be, there were just so many. The last year had brought me such terrible, awful words.

Pain.

Heartache.

Anxiety.

Sadness.

Insecurity.

Confusion.

Doubt.

Fear.

Anger.

Hate.
It was so hard to narrow down what I wanted this new year to be. I wanted it to be the exact opposite of all those awful words that 2015 had brought me.
I wanted happiness.

A mended heart.

Peace.

Clarity.

Security.

Stability.

Love.
But the one thing, the one thing I wanted most, was,

Joy.
I just wanted to feel joy.

I craved it with every ounce of my being. The sadness was just so overwhelmingly heavy and I just desperately wanted to feel the lightness that joy brings.
So that was the word I wrote down that day.

Now we have reached the middle of 2016, and our pastor revisited that sermon today.
On the curtain behind the pulpit at our church, hang large letters that spell the word “[be]ing.”

It represents Acts 17:28,

“In Him we live and move and have our being.”

It is a reminder that we aren’t just of Him, we are in Him and He in us and so we aren’t here to just talk about His mercy, His grace, and His love, but we are here to BE those things.
So today, instead of writing our words on a slip of paper, they took those big letters off the wall. And we all wrote our words on those letters.

It could be the same word you wrote at the beginning of the year, or you could choose to write a new one.

I kept hearing two words go through my mind.
The first word was:

Goodness

From the first days after I discovered the affair, when I was so entrenched in the pain of all that had happened, God kept telling me He had goodness for me. That no matter what happened, there was goodness waiting for me on the other side of this.
Throughout this past year, I’ve held tight to that. And not just as a promise for the future, but as something to get me through each and every day.

When things got bad, I’d remind myself to look for the goodness. And that’s what would pull me through. Sometimes it was little things, sometimes it was big things, but there was always goodness there, even in the darkest days. You just have to look for it. You have to acknowledge it, you have to be thankful for it, and then keep your focus on it.

It’s not always easy, and there were some days that have been harder than others for me to carry out this principle for sure. But if you focus on everything that’s going wrong, and everything that’s bad, you just end up with more bad. On the flip side of that, if you look for the goodness, the goodness grows.

Even when our lives aren’t going the way we wanted or expected, God is still so very good. He has so much goodness for us. We just have to choose to see it.
I see it everywhere, and I’m so very thankful. His goodness overwhelms me. And once we see His goodness, we can then turn around and BE His goodness for someone else. And so it grows, and it grows. His goodness knows no end.

Which brings me to my second word:

Expectation

Hope is a wonderful thing. It gets us through many heartaches and trials.
But I have found that I don’t just have to hope that everything will work out for my good.

I can fully expect it.

Because of God’s goodness.

Because He promises in His word that He will work ALL things for my good.

That He will take even what was meant for my harm and turn it around.

And that not only will He turn it around, but He won’t waste one single bit of it. He will bring His goodness and light into my situation and use it for His glory. He will put my broken pieces back together and then use that brokenness to bring hope and goodness to others.
I don’t have to just hope for the best.

I can come before God with expectation of the best.

Because that is what He promises. I can trust that He always has my best interest in mind and that He always has more goodness in store for me.

Psalm 31:19

“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.”

So then, what about my original word, Joy?
I can sum it up this way:
Goodness+Expectation Β  Β  Β  multiplied by Gratitude=

JOY
That’s where we can find our joy. When we look for the goodness. When we trust in God’s promises and fully expect that He is who He says He is and will do what He has promised, and when our hearts overflow with gratitude for His goodness and grace and His infinite love for us.
That’s when He turns all those bad words the last year brought me around.
That’s where I’ll find my happiness.

My mended heart.

Peace.

Clarity.

Security.

Stability.

Love.

That’s where I’ll find my joy.

It’s where you can find yours too.❀️

 

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?  πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‚

  
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. πŸ‘πŸ»
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!!!” 

πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

Amy Thurston Gordy