On Divorce, Thanksgiving, And Sticky Fingers

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We will be divorced by Thanksgiving.

….That wasn’t the answer anyone was expecting. I could tell by the way they squirmed uncomfortably in their seats upon hearing my response, how unbearable it became to maintain eye contact after such candidness.

They had asked what we were doing for Thanksgiving this year, and it was obvious to me that it didn’t matter –

If we were still living in New York City by Thanksgiving, our marriage didn’t have a chance.

Life in New York City meant demanding schedules, late nights, and season after season of poor excuses as to why this term would be “unusually busier” than the last… and the last… and the LAST! … Each time at the cost of my little family that was already trying desperately to catch our breath. But then I learned a lesson about sticky fingers that changed everything:

It was during that same time in NYC when my toddler was running rampant in our apartment, getting her sticky – fruit snack and dried apple juice – laden little fingers on everything she could get her hands on. In her destruction she snatched spatulas, earrings (one of them of course!) and nail clippers. She abducted green onions from the counter, books that had been left on the nightstand, and one time even, a stick of butter.

When I was just about at the end of my rope, I remember complaining to my mom and giving giving her excuse after excuse as to why I was merely helpless at the hands of her brutality, and this was her response,

“ You’ll see… One day she will get her hands on something of such value, you will realize if it’s important enough to you, you will find a better hiding place for it.”

Her words rang true when just days later, I found the little terror standing front-and-center at her Dora Kitchen making a mirepoix of her loot of mismatched socks, q-tips, the tv remote and (wait for it…) MY WEDDING RING!!!  

Horrified, I quickly snatched the band from her possession, “OH NO YOU DIDNT!!! Listen up chick, You can have my spatula, my earrings and my books, but THIS is where I draw the line!!!!” 

I continued to sputter off accusations until they went far beyond what her 3 year old mind could comprehend. And as I held that ring in my hand and all that it symbolized, I realized what I was saying was true for more than just the sticky fingers of that of my toddler…

It was true for the demands of New York, for the 60+ hour work weeks that greedily demanded more and MORE from my family and fiercely sucked the life and delight out of my marriage like a vacuum! That day I decided, with Dora as my witness, Enough was ENOUGH!

Because my mom was right,

“If something is valuable enough to you, you will protect it AT ALL COSTS.”

… That oftentimes what we value will demand it!

One thing is certain: Had we not learned that when we did, I have no doubt we would be divorced by Thanksgiving.

Thankfully though that will not be case. On the contrary, we are in the process of rebuilding, often painstakingly brick – by – brick, but rebuilding nonetheless. And yet it has taken our time in New York – and more importantly, LEAVING New York – for us to learn what we value most is our FAMILY, and that we must protect it accordingly.

You see, this Thanksgiving each of us will gather with family and friends, and express gratitude for all that is most dear to us. But realize:

While Thanksgiving is about publicly declaring what we are most grateful for, the other 364 days of the year are about protecting it. Relentlessly!

… to protect it from the stickiest fingers both in the maddening toddler form, and in the ruthless demands of every day life!

For us that meant trading the bright lights and excitement of the city, for the breathtaking sunsets, and the downright ordinary of the South.

It took a pay cut, an ego check, and it took smacking the greedy hands of the business world to proclaim that our family was UNTOUCHABLE, and that no amount of money could ever be offered in return for missed holidays and the simple pleasures of tucking your children into bed at night.

And now, if I may, a word to the Sticky Fingers of this world:

Listen closely. There is a standing reservation in our home for dinner each night between 6-7. You are more than welcome to come, but what you are NOT welcomed to do is make my family the sacrificial lamb on behalf of your most pressing deadlines or staggering seasons (And as a rule, the closer you push dinner to 7 the more likely you will be required to bring a bottle of wine!)

…Why? Because FAMILY is what we value. FAMILY is what we will go to great lengths to protect. Relentlessly!

And given the chance that slips your mind, or worse, that you get your sticky fingers on my wedding ring and all that it symbolizes, mark my words: I will cut you.

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving friends!

May we vigorously protect what we are most thankful for, today and always!

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Believe It Or Not, God Doesn’t Care

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While there once was space in my life for festive crafts, immaculate tablescapes, and the exchange of small talk over beloved recipes at holiday dinner parties, my mind has been preoccupied with far more pressing issues this year…

Like managing the wave of anxiety that rushes over me when I step into a room of new faces… the overcoming need I feel to BREAK for the bathroom – anywhere! – in order to retreat from the ‘holiday cheer’ and uncontainable joy that seems so distant, almost offensive, to me these days… To sit amongst the Charmin and to weep with abandon all while asking God the most poignant questions, ...What are you doing in my life?!? …Why am I here – both on this Earth, and like a loser, hiding in the bathroom right now?? … And what’s it going to take to put Humpty Dumpty back together yet AGAIN??

So this season, you’ll have to excuse me. While I realize how incredibly thankful you are for the Pumpkin Spice Latte held warm in your hands, those cozy nights spent sitting ‘round a cracking fire, and the crisp autumn walks you share with your loved ones in tow- MY gratitude lies in only one thing:

When my life is in ruins, and the state of my heart is seemingly unsalvageable, God doesn’t care!

… He fights for me anyway!

This year I am thankful God doesn’t flinch at what I am up against, or cut his losses and deem my life a lost cause – because believe me, He should have! This year, I am filled with gratitude knowing the Lord has never left my side and that He will continue to use my darkest days as a platform to show He is bigger than my most daunting circumstances!

Even better, is the fact this same God is available to you – and He doesn’t care how hopeless of a situation you have found yourself in today!

3 Reasons Your Most Devastating Circumstances Aren’t Worrying God:

1.  He Knew People Would Let You Down  

Growing up my Mom always taught me, “it’s only you and God in the circle…” because the truth is, Every. Single. Person. no matter the relationship built or the bonds forged, has the capacity to let you down. God on the other hand, NEVER will.

In Psalm 118:6-8 it says, “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? The Lord is for me, He will help me… It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.”

He knew we would put our hope in people, and even more that they would fumble carelessly with our hearts and let us down in ways we could never have imagined. Yet when we choose to put our trust in Him – and only Him – we have no reason to fear, only reason to wait expectantly for Him to help us.

2. God Has A Plan To Give You Victory Over What Is Threatening To Take You Down

In Isaiah 43 the Lord says, “…For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness, I will create rivers in the dry wastelands…”

God sees the perilous journey ahead of you, He sees what you are up against and promises to make a pathway through the desolate state of your life, and to create rivers in the most ravaged parts of your heart!

I love how David describes his journey through the wilderness and even more, how the Lord rescued Him,

“ … They surrounded and attacked me… But the Lord!

They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire… But the Lord!

My enemies did their best to kill me, BUT THE LORD RESCUED ME. The Lord is my strength and my song. HE has given me victory.Psalm 118:11-14

Swarming problems…unrelenting opposition…unbearable circumstances that ‘blaze against you like a crackling fire…’ those are the stakes God likes to play at! A journey SO perilous, that WHEN He rescues you, you would know with complete certainty it was the Lord who gave you victory – because ONLY He could!

3. God Promises To NEVER Stop Rescuing You  

Joel 5:19 says, “From six disasters He will rescue you; even in the seventh, He will keep you from evil…”

Know this: The Lord isn’t giving up on you anytime soon (…or EVER!) He doesn’t care how bleak your future looks or how many times your marriage, your finances, or your sanity have been on the verge of ‘disaster.’ The Creator of the Heavens and Earth – who effortlessly made a way through the impossible when He parted the Red Sea, and who breathed Jesus back to life – is the same God that is working on your behalf. And you can rest knowing when you place your confidence in Him, He will rescue you time and time again (and that He doesn’t need anyone’s help in doing so!)

So this season be thankful God doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what you are up against, how you got there, who let you down and what you did or did not do to deserve it. He loves you… He sees you… and HE’S NOT DONE until you are standing victorious over your darkest days!

…Now, THAT is something I can be thankful for!  #Holla

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