The Crazy-Ex

If anyone was a crazy ex-wife, it was me.

You know how you meet those people who have wild stories about how their ex-spouse turned into this crazy person…they went off the deep end and became someone they hadn’t been before.

They started being super aggressive, maybe making the custody battle near impossible  or making unreasonable demands. Or maybe they started acting out, partying, sleeping around. They just became CRAZY!

You don’t know how many times I heard that I was being called the Crazy Ex-Wife. Or that so-and-so saw our failed marriage coming from a mile away. Or that you-know-who hated me with a vengeance because of my behaviour.

I was that wild wife that left a lovely husband and became something she never had been before. I was self-absorbed, I was aggressive, I was demanding, I started swearing like a trucker and drinking like a fish…I turned into this wild, worldly girl that couldn’t give two hoots about what others thought of me. And I liked it. I liked that I swore and partied. I liked that I just slept around and didn’t feel remorse. I liked who I had become.

But when God grabbed me back, I realized that all of this had been a cover. It was all behaviour that Satan had tricked me with, making me burn perfectly good bridges in order to ruin me. I realized that I had been sick, fatally ill with spiritual blindness.

I believe that the world has created the title, The Crazy Ex, in order to shirk their responsibility to this person. It’s a way to remove ourselves from their lives, separate us from dealing with their issues. It’s a way for us to pretend that we don’t need to feel a connection to that person any longer. It’s a way to justify giving up on them.

But I know from experience, both being The Crazy Ex and then the returned prodigal aching for forgiveness, that we can’t ignore this individual. We can’t let them leave our lives and pretend they never existed.

It’s exhausting having to deal with them, I know. But reaching out every now and then and letting them know you’re still there, doesn’t take too much. They might not respond, but that quick text or call will be a moment for them.

This Crazy Ex is sick and we have an obligation to them, as a friend of the marriage, as a Christian, as a believer in the power of prayer. We are obligated to hold this person up to God. To remind the heavens of the marriage vows. And to stand firmly for the For Better or Worse, In Sickness and In Health, even when the spouses don’t have the strength or will to.

When we go to a wedding, we’re not just there to see pretty flowers and a beautiful dress. We’re not present to witness the tears. We’re there to bear witness to the vows being said before God and to help support that marriage when the partners aren’t capable.

If you know of a Crazy Ex, don’t give up on them. Do battle for them. Refuse to gossip. Stand against bitterness or damaging opinions.

I like to ask the question “If this person returned to who they once were, the person you originally married, would you be saying this about them? Would you welcome them back?” Often, the answer is No. But I wonder what the true answer is…not the answer that is being protective or worried, but the answer that would come out of a moment of thoughtfulness. I’m positive the answer would be a heartfelt Yes.

This return is possible. This person, this wild runner, needs our help to return to their old, true self. They will return. I personally know how truly, completely, dramatically, they can return…and we can’t be shutting the door in their face when it happens. We need to be an open door and a save haven for their broken heart to come rest when that heart-change happens.

 

 

Savoring Singleness

The world preaches that singleness is a problem to be solved and the church, unfortunately, it riding this band wagon. As a majority, the Christian community has forgotten the truth of Paul’s words, “I wish that all of you were as I am” (1 Corinthians 7:7) and “an unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs, how he can please the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32).

Shouldn’t that be our focus?

I am single by choice.

It’s not an easy choice, it’s one that I struggle with daily. It’s a choice that I believe God has asked me to make. To set myself, my relationship status, aside for Him.

It doesn’t make sense to many people at all. If I have an urge to be with someone, why not just see if it works? Even Christian friends try to encourage me to dive into the dating world. They’re not convinced that God has really asked me to live a single life.

But I view this part of my life as a sacrifice, a type of fasting, to God.

I know that it is for a season, not for the rest of my life. I do believe that God has a plan for my sexuality and relationship status that is beyond my happiness or momentary satisfaction.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if the single community, both pre-married and post-divorce, would view their single-status as a blessing, a time to focus on the Lord and a time to dedicate intentionality in growing close to God?

I really do believe that the divorcee community is an army of dry bones. One that God is waiting to breathe into, to awaken, to put flesh onto and to let loose into this troubled world. I believe this army will change our world completely and that they will set a fire in us for God that will be so effective, so consuming and passionate, it will surprise us all.

Think of it, divorce effects each and every one of us.

There isn’t a family that hasn’t been touched with divorce in some way. Whether it’s your mom and dad, your siblings, your friends, or extended family…divorce has permeated every single relationship.

And the after shocks of divorce are astounding.

It takes the average person 7 years to recover from their own divorce. Both financial recovery and emotional recovery.

Children have resounding residual effects from their parents divorce which extends into their own romantic relationships, their own children, their friendships, their jobs and their schooling.

Because of friends divorcing, your own marriage is effected.

The ripples of this division are all-encompassing and overwhelming and highly downplayed.

So if this is true, if a divorce is this effective at influencing so many years of a life, so many relationships around it…imagine what power a divorcee would have by taking control of their relationship status. By not allowing it to move them into other damaging, temporary unions but to instead devote their relationship status to growing deeper in the Lord, a divorcee could potentially change the tide completely.

By allowing God to breathe on the dry bones that divorce has shown to create, a person could allow themselves to be reworked into a new creature. A soldier of the Lord. A powerful force fueled by God’s power, focused intently on the Kingdom.

It’s here, in this singleness, this direction, that we can allow God to take the pen of our story and rewrite history and statistics. Instead of being a single, divorcee flowing with the tide of urges, the normalcy of the worlds expectations, a divorcee that embraces their singleness and lets God have control of their relationship status will see changes in themselves and their environment that they didn’t think was possible.

By embracing our singleness in this season of our life and pursuing God, I passionately believe that divorcees could literally change the world.

 

A special thank-you to Shelley Black of Savoring Single for including the KJS Online blog in their Blog Tour! Check out her great blog and Instagram feed for more encouragement in your single walk as well as her new book

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Sex & God

I am totally fascinated by sexuality and the effects of sex on a human being. I’m taking a psychology course and I am completely enamoured with how the human mind works and specifically how sex changes us.

My goal with the course started with becoming a marriage and family counselor, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I need to focus more on the sexual aspect of relationships. It’s what fires me up, puts me on the edge of my seat, makes my eyes light up and my words come out really. really. fast. There’s an obvious passion built into me about this topic and I believe that God has written my story in a way that allows me help others in this area.

It’s interesting looking back on my life and seeing myself progress in the sexual intimacy department. I used to be (probably still am…) the friend that would crack the “that’s what she said” jokes and make innocent comments sexual (it’s amazing what raising your eyebrows can do). From my friends point of view, my marriage sex-life must have been passionate and the sex itself, frequent. If I was so open about sexuality in our friend-group, of course I would be just as open about it when my husband and I were alone.

Not the case.

We had a good sex life, the sex we did have was enjoyable and frequent, but it took some convincing for me to want to participate.

When I heard on Sexy Marriage Radio that sex is a form of communication, it really made me assess my sex life. Dr. Corey Allan and Shannon Ethridge mentioned that the way you live out this part of your life is often the way you live out your day-to-day life.

If this is true, what did it mean for me?

In my marital sex life, I was very distrusting and on edge.

It took everything in me to believe that my husband wasn’t just using me.

I had to be convinced to relax and be vulnerable.

Big sigh.

All of these things could be translated into my life in general.

In friendships I held emotional connection back, creating walls, until I saw that it was safe to let my heart participate. People around me may not have seen the hesitation, but inside, my mind was telling me I shouldn’t trust.

In my day-to-day, my first thought was that people were using me or going to hurt me, and it took a mental game to convince myself that they genuinely wanted a friendship.

I often had to be coerced to do something out of my comfort zone and even when I did participate it took a while for me to relax and enjoy myself. In the meantime a bad attitude and an edgy-ness was obvious (both defense mechanisms).

The way I lived out my marital sex life was absolutely a direct reflection of how I lived out my every day.

Now, what do I do with this knowledge?

Knowledge is power.

I consider how I have changed through the last few years, and how my sex-life has gone from one extreme to another only to settle into what I believe God has called me to. How does this reflect my life and how I communicate myself to others?

Is this even important? To consider how our sex lives are a reflection of other parts of us? I think it is. Sex was given to us by God, built into our humanity. It’s a drive for each of us. It’s important to acknowledge it and it gives us insight to other aspects of our lives.

Even if it’s just helping us see ourselves in a new light, that is important.

So looking at my current sex life (or lack thereof), I can see how I have changed. How I have matured. How God is working and molding me. Leading me in His direction and not my own.

I see the forgiveness I’ve received. The softness of my heart. The grace. The patience. When I look at my sexual journey, strange as it may seem, I see God and His work in my life.

 

 

 

I Know

Some of my biggest passions are sexual intimacy, helping the struggling marriage and the Christian walk after divorce. I often feel attacked in these areas, as though my divorced relational status should silence my opinion. But there’s nothing that will get me fired up faster or make my eyes come alive quicker than starting to talk about these life subjects.

It was six years ago when I was packing my belongings to leave my husband. On top of the confusion of my decision to leave one thing that he couldn’t understand was why God had so clearly told him to marry me. Why would God have done this if He knew it would end in divorce?

I don’t know the answer to this, but what I do know is that what Satan intends for evil, God turns into good.

I know that because of my marital struggles and how I gave up, I am now able to speak into other lives to encourage them to stay in their marriages when times get tough.

I know that I am now passionate about the marriage Covenant and the vows we make to our spouses.

I know that because of hitting rock bottom and having only God’s hand to grab hold of, I have seen miracles that I didn’t think were possible.

I know that because of God’s dramatic movement in my life it is possible for others as well.

I know the power of prayer and reality for complete heart-change that can come from it.

I know now the importance of spending time with God daily and the difference that can make in mental health.

Do I believe that God wanted my husband and I to go through divorce? No. I don’t believe that was in His ideal plan. I do believe, though, that God has taught me lessons through this process that have changed me for the better. I do believe that because of these lessons I can have more grace for those struggling around me. It’s because of these lessons that I can speak into their lives and help their marriage. And it’s because of these lessons that I have a deep and personal relationship with the Lord.

It’s because of this relationship with God and the heart-changes I’ve had throughout the divorce process that makes me so excited to see what God has next. If God can change me when it looked as though there was no hope, He can change anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling

I feel like God has a special calling on my life. It’s a big calling, a scary one, but the more I live within that calling the more it fuels the fire inside of me to continue in it.

I look back on my life and I see where I have felt God leading me to this point. I also see those times where I’ve had Mission Drift.

I know what God is asking of me. I know what He wants me to be speaking about. I know what part of my story is to become my testimony. But isn’t it just so easy to become distracted?

We are so lucky to have such a gentle and patient God that allows us to make mistakes and quietly leads us back to where He wants us to be.

There’s so many things that I love and that I want to be involved in. So many good things that can take my time and focus. Yes, they are good things. They are time with friends, education, helping others, volunteering etc. But what is it that God wants for me? There is good and then there is great.

When I was younger I was working full time from home selling a body-care product. I loved this product and where I saw it taking me. I loved the work I was putting into it, the women I was surrounded with, the passion I felt.

At a training conference with this company, I looked over the stadium filled with over 8,000 women and a thought crossed my mind. If I spent just as much time and dedication on God, what would my faith look like? If we were all here for the Lord, how powerful would that be?

Of course, at that time, I didn’t go further with that thought. It was just an interesting moment that crossed my mind. But now, hindsight tells me if I had acted on it, my marriage most likely wouldn’t have failed.

Now, every time a good opportunity comes across my path, I balance it with my relationship with the Lord. Will this further my faith-walk? Is this what God wants for me? Is this within my calling?

I need extra money and I could sell products again. But what if God wants to show me that I can rely on Him for the extras and to spend that time on Him instead? He has taught me that every moment doesn’t have to be filled but that I can rest and let Him look after me.

I often feel myself easily flowing towards Mission Drift and I catch myself. I don’t want do fall off my path only to realize later I’m way off course. I want to keep my eyes firmly focused, with stubborn faith, on my Jesus. I know that His journey for me not only is better for me, but that it follows my personal passions, the ones that were built inside of me. I know that sometimes He will ask that I put things aside because He has something better in store up ahead.

His mission for my life will fill my soul and quench my thirst for purpose and meaning, which I think the world is desperately searching for. I continue to be reminded of this lesson and continue to balance myself with Jesus as my focus. And I hope that by being obedient to Him I can help lead others around me to God’s calling in their lives and help their souls feel the peace I’ve been blessed with.

Focus on Him and everything else blurs on the sidelines.

 

Am I Alone?

Nothing can prepare you for the reality of marriage. People try. There’s books, advice, seminars, counseling…but nothing can truly prepare you for the depth of what you’re about to immerse yourself in. Much like childbirth. There’s only so many words to explain the experience and nothing can come close to just experiencing it.

Marriage. Childbirth. Divorce. Three major life experiences that you cannot prepare yourself for. You can try, and that is applauded, but unless you experience it, you cannot fully describe it or help someone to prepare for it.

I thought that divorce was just a separation of two people. Splitting the household items, going on with life without the person I used to call Husband. Media taught me that it was relatively easy. The first stage would be painful, the movies said, but happiness and completeness would come in time. I would find my lobster, Friends told me. My Noah was out there, The Notebook said.

At first, I believed it. I was ‘happy’, I was finally being my true self, I was doing what I wanted to do and wasn’t held back.

But the longer I lived in this Divorce Stage, the more I struggled to believe this was true. I tried online dating, I tried partying, I tried casual sex, I tried committed relationships, I tried not dating.

The movies, the songs, don’t prepare you for the soul connection that Divorce leaves you with. That attachment you can’t shake. That piece of you that you attempted to terminate and leaves you with a gaping hole. They tell you that it will go away, but I’m not convinced that it ever does.

Don’t think that I feel hopeless, depressed or lonely. I am a happy, healthy, well-rounded 30-something woman who is pursuing a relationship with the Lord, a career and meaningful friendships and tons of fun adventures in-between. But because of my divorce, I do believe that a part of me will always remain empty. When I left my marriage I purposely, although unknowingly, gave myself and my husband a marital-amputation that would leave me with phantom pains.

And this is what I’m wanting to focus on at KJS Online. Marriage relationships, life after divorce, sex and intimacy, the feelings / consequences of divorce, are some topics on my heart.

I hope that you’ll enjoy the learning journey I’m on and that you find it encouraging, interesting and hopefully somewhat funny. I don’t believe that I am alone in my feelings of life after divorce, so many of us are struggling with the How-To’s  and What-Now’s of this life stage. I hope that we can come together, share, cry, laugh and spur each other on towards more fulfillment as we try to figure it all out.