Commuting? Busy hands? This post has an audio version!
Today, I'm jumping ahead in my journals about a year. My husband had just gone to treatment and I was home alone, new baby, recommitting myself to God. I thought my righteous behaviour would somehow "save him", and therefore save my marriage, but it was the beginning of God saving me.
Things were very hard that past year. I will likely go back and reveal those journals but for now, I'm here. Up until this point, I had been living in New York since 2013 [Read: Dear Diary: I'm Moving to New York]. For the past year, I had believed my husband was an alcoholic. I knew something was wrong but I didn't really know what and when he led me to believe his problem was alcohol, I have to say, I was relieved. Alcohol is a "socially acceptable" addiction. That was something I could manage just fine. I loved my glass of wine with dinner but I could give it up. Plenty of people are alcoholics. It was fixable. Just don't drink.
Christmas of 2014 was very hard. I don't feel it's the right time to go into detail right now but I'll suffice to say my husband entered treatment right after. Our youngest son was just six months old and I was feeling very alone. My brother, a chef, came to help me out for a few weeks (Bless his wonderful soul!) and those next thirty days ended up being very good for me. It was relaxing. I had time to spend with God. I was comfortable. I felt loved and cared about.
It was the first time I realized how chaotic my life had become.
This entry marks the beginning of the thirty days.
The Grey Diaries | January 12, 2015
Here we are again, Lord... will you make your will known to me?
I'm affirming I don’t need to know the destination to take the road you want. Please give me wisdom to walk straight in my blindness. Saul let you lead him by faith and become one of the greatest prophets. It’s time I begin to write. You handed me a pen in a vision a long time ago and I am ready to write whatever it is you want me to write.
We no longer have Mama Pearl here in the physical to guide us along [Read more about Mama Pearl: Your Mess is Going to Make an Awesome Ministry] but thankfully her words and lessons remain. She was a beacon of light in my life. She showed me an example of how to live in the spiritual and not being a part of the world. I find myself being pulled between the world and the heavenly realm. It’s a lonely, difficult road when the people around you are having fun and you have to watch from the outside. It's really hard to be there and not be like them, it's easier to just stay home. I suppose that’s why we're told to have fellowship with other believers.
Why does being a Christian have to be so boring?
I'm not very good at making friends anyway. Definitely more of an introvert, I would rather sit and write than go out with a group of people. I don't mind as much if it's activities with the kids because I don’t have to make conversation and it’s an easy ice breaker, “Hi, my name is Leah, I’m just waiting for my son to finish his hip-hop class” rather than, “Hi, my name is Leah. I don’t have any friends so I’m going to talk to you in hope you might want to be mine”. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a few friends here but my husband keeps telling me to be more social. Honestly, I don't know I even want to be. What's wrong with the way I am?
Socializing and friendships have always been a battle. I think it’s a big reason why I joined the “bad crowd” when I was in school. I wanted to be accepted and liked and they welcomed me, all I had to do was smoke a cigarette and I had friends. Good friends. Lots of them. It was a whole community out there in the school parking lot. There were cute boys and popular girls, art kids and mechanics. I can see how smoking shaped my life path. Those were the boys I dated. Those were the girls I looked up to.
I remember those first days of high school when I still hung out with the “inside kids”. I was on the outskirts of the group, brought in by a few of my friends who had already been deemed acceptable to join the "in-crowd". The popular girls (very snobby girls) decided there would be days to wear certain clothing. There was a black day, a blue day, a pink day- you get the idea. I heard wind the next day would be high heels day. So I dressed up nice and wore my mom's black, high-heeled ankle boots. I carefully strutted off to school feeling beautiful. When I got there, of course, nobody was wearing high-heels. Apparently, that plan had been kiboshed for some other plan via phone that evening (I don’t remember what but it isn’t the point). I can still feel how embarrassed I was and I'm sure that's the day I decided to join the “smokers”.
The next day, the girls wore their heels.
I wonder how my life may have been different had I been confident enough to rock the heels and wish so much I had been proud of myself for looking good instead of being embarrassed I didn’t blend in with the crowd. It's the kind of lesson I wish I could go back and teach my younger self.
I usually like to share photos from the time period the journal entries are written but I don't seem to have any pictures from that Christmas. I'm not sure why, or where they went.
To this day, I'm not always proud of who I am. I don't always see how beautiful I am. I don't see myself through God’s eyes. My husband told me recently that I am the most interesting person he has ever met. It was the second greatest compliment I've ever received. The first was from my high school Drama teacher, who said, “You are not only beautiful but substantial”. I liked feeling beautiful because of my character, by who I was. The problem all along has always been what’s whispered on the inside, not what I see on the outside. I do care about my physical appearance and I absolutely get insecure but it’s not because of what I see on the outside. I know I’m pretty. I want to feel pretty on the inside too. Satan is a great deceiver. I believed his lies that I wasn’t good enough... but I was. I was very good. [Have you been believing lies you're not "good enough"? Read: God Gave Us a Spirit of Power, Love and Sound Mind (So, why am I freaking out?!)]
If I could teach my younger self a lesson this is what I would tell her, “Your interesting personality, your sensitive heart and your creative spirit is the most beautiful thing about you- don’t hide it in sheep’s clothing. Your character is beautiful. Let them see how your heart loves and mind works. You’re a lion for the Lord. You’re fierce and strong and valiant. You’re a queen. You are holy. You are untouchable. You're worth more than gold. Let God’s love shine through you and you will never be lonely because you will always have a friend in Him.”
Today I start a new covenant with God.
I will never again be a smoker. I am Holy. I want Jesus more than a cigarette.
I will take off my sheep’s clothing and be the lion that I am. Fierce and majestic.
I will remember that I have a friend in Jesus and I will be a good friend to Him
I will open myself to live in the spiritual world instead of my natural realm
I will speak praises of the things the Lord has done for me so He will reveal his will to me
I will start to write again
The last time I did this (With dear, dear Grandma Pearl) God [spiritually] annulled my marriage and it was confirmed in the natural.
*Author Note: When I went to divorce my first husband, I found out our marriage papers had never been filed. We didn't live together long enough to be considered common law so technically, we were never married in the eyes of the government. I contacted the Pastor who conducted the ceremony who said he sent in the paperwork, weirdly (or not!), the government had never received it. He had to refile paperwork saying he married us so I could file for a legal divorce! God totally confirmed it was never a real marriage.
I am expecting great things from this covenant. Greater than the last time. Lord reveal your will and create in me a clean heart so I can become holy and worthy of you. Make me an instrument to further the Kingdom of heaven.
It’s day one and I’m already excited!