Friday, February 25, 2011

A Letter to Young People Everywhere

Dear Young People Everywhere,

Today I am writing on behalf on parents everywhere who, I believe, want young people to know a little about this process of being 'grown up' and 'on your own'. Believe it or not, your parents know that it is difficult being a teenager and a young adult. Would it surprise you to know that it is just as difficult for the parents of you young people? We have raised you for 18, 19, 20+ years . . . and  suddenly, you're on your own, making your own decisions, and you don't really need us that much anymore.

It may surprise you to know that moms and dads were once in the same place that you are in now.  But you should know that mom will ALWAYS be mom and, by nature, is loving and territorial when it comes to her children. Just because you don't live at home any more doesn't mean that you stop being her children . . . nor does it mean that she just let you go. . .completely. She doesn't have these stretch marks on her body and scars on her heart for nothing. She's invested too much of herself to ever stop caring. And while that doesn't give her the right to dictate your life, your mom will always be a part of your life and is, very likely, the reason that you are the wonderful person that you are today.

Your lives are changing, but so are hers. Yours because you want it to, and hers because it's just the way life is. She's never been at this point in life before, allowing each and every child go out into the world to live the life God has planned for them. Watching each of you make mistakes.  Sitting back while y'all discover a whole new world.  She just wants you to remember this when you get really frustrated with her and think she's butting in.  For your mother, this change is  like going 60 mph to 0 mph in about 2 seconds, trying avoid hitting the car in front of you.  The heart pounds, the hands shake, and the mind is forever thinking "what if".

You have never truly loved a human being until you have loved your own child, whether he or she grew within your womb for nine months or if they were specially chosen by to be your very own child. So, naturally, there will be pains of separation. Just as you would cry when you were separated from mom, even for just a few hours, your mom will cry and often mourn for the days that will never be again.

Thankfully your mom has a weapon for those times when she can't be there, can't fix a situation, or doesn't really understand what's going on in your life.  Or maybe mama sees you making some pretty questionnable choices.  If things starting happening in your life that YOU don't understand, maybe your mama has been praying for you.  Cause, you know, if mama can't be there, you can bet God will always be because of your mama.


All Moms Everywhere

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Walk Out Woman

I was nearly a walk out woman, until I read this book. Okay, well, truthfully I didn't have the guts to walk out, but I really wanted to. And I had been that way for a long, long time. It was on my mind all day, every day of my life for years.

What held me back? Namely the fact that I knew it would not be pleasing to God. Then there were the five children my husband and I shared together; our families; our friends; our church. It was impossible to ever think about facing these people again if I did walk out. Of course, the fact that I didn't have any money or a place to go weighed heavily on my decision to stay put.

Regardless of the reasons listed above, walking out on my husband and the life I didn't like anymore still crossed my mind . . . and lived there . . . daily. It came down to the fact that I really needed to change my thinking. I really needed soome counselling but could not afford it.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for two or three years. I had picked it up at one time and had begun to read it. There were even little sticky notes and highlights throughout. But I didn't get far at that time. I just wasn't ready to hear what the authors, Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray, had to say. But just a few weeks ago, I literally felt at the end of my patience. I had written three notes to my husband about how I was feeling, but I don't think he knew exactly how to deal with the intensity of my frustration, anger, bitterness, and saddness. If anything was to be done, it was up to me.

While packing a bag of reading material for a weekend trip with our daughter for 4-H, I grabbed this book hoping to get some relief from the ugliness in my soul regarding my marriage. Not really ready to read cover-to-cover, I flipped through the pages until I came across a chapter I thought might help the most. It's titled "This Lady Has the Blues" and it absolutely described this lady for sure!

I have been hooked on the book since then and am reading about a chapter a day. Just the fact that **somebody** understood how I felt seemed to lift the heavy burden I felt I had been carrying around. It was also helpful to read the stories throughout that chapter and others of women who are going through the same problems as I am.

One of the things I love most about this book is the fact that it is interactive. Most chapters include a list of symptoms, suggestions of things to try, and/or questions concerning you and your particular situation. These are the blue boxes throughout the chapters. All of this extra information helps you to identify what's really going on, as well as helping you to be truly honest with yourself about some things. So often what we "feel" is so one-sided. Are **all** problems in your marriage your husband's fault? This is one misconception that is addressed in this book.

At the end of each chapter is a section called "Something to Try". It is a list of several suggestions to try to reinforce what has been taught and discussed in that section. You can choose just one from the list. Most of these suggestions are very simple but eye-opening.

Some of the topics addressed to the "walk out woman" include:

- discovering if you really are a walk out women

- clueless husbands (boy, did **I** need this!)

- discontentment

- focusing on the positive instead of the negative

- anger (when I wasn't depressed, I was angry!)

- building walls (the authors must've been spying!)

- talking and reconnecting

- caring for yourself (a source of guilt for me!)

- devastation of divorce

- affairs and how to avoid them

- happiness

- and much more!

Several chapters seemed to be written about me! I wondered if the authors had been hanging around my house. I especially was distraught to read about myself in the chapter on building walls. We women seem so predictable.

Overall, this was just an eye-opening book for me. It helped clarify the fact that all marriages have issues and even if a walk out woman did get a new husband, there wouldn't be any guarantee that she'd be any happier. It was helpful to read about how Dr. Stephens would counsel a walk out woman; how to talk to my husband; how to tear down walls; and the fact that it's okay to do things for **me**. I have spent so many years caring for others and I often feel guilty for doing something for myself.

I am very thankful to have been able to address my issues with depression. I feel that my husband hears me better when I write out my frustrations and hurts and was glad to learn that this is an acceptable way to communicate with your man. Since I've done that, my Mister Wonderful has really been trying to be more attentive to my needs . . . and I am feeling much better.

While "The Walk Out Woman" addresses a negative topic and speaks to serious issues in marriage, it is also uplifting as the authors offer much helpful advice on getting through this time in life.

There are several references to scripture throughout, but it is not overbearing in its use. The authors also refer to many of sources in regards to writings on marriage counselling.

I really never have **wanted** to be a walk out woman, but it seemed the only way of escape for me. After reading this very insightful book, I feel that I am equipped to better handle the issues in my marriage. I hope that if you read it, you will come away refreshed and ready to fight for yours.