I’ll be the first to admit, this card was quite challenging for me and I’m not sure I even totally love this but here it is regardless.
Stamps used were the Words of Wisdom set from Verve. The card base comes from DCWV shimmer stack and the patterned paper is from their Glam Gal stack. I used Tim Holtz distress ink in two different purple colors for the flowers and butterflies on the right panel but they are kind of hard to see. The sentiments were stamped using versafine ink which continues to be a favorite ink. Not my best work that’s for sure…maybe I’ll have to just practice this card style a few more times before I like who knows.
Or at least that’s what they say anyway. I’m not sure who those “they” are, but that’s perhaps a discussion for another day.
Today I wanna talk about something pretty serious so grab your cuppa whatevuh and get comfortable. I have a lot to say.
Here we go…
I know that bad things happen to everyone be they good or bad. I also know that our reaction to those things, good or bad, can make a huge difference in the degree of impact bad things have. I’ve had a life full of bad things happen. Often it feels like it is way more than my fair share. For instance, I was well into my teen years before I could even think that my mother ever wanted me and now, as an adult, I’m not entirely convinced she actually does or ever did. I was abused by every man she let into her life from as far back as I can remember with the exception of my uncle, my grandfather, and two of her boyfriends. My abusers were her love interests, family members, babysitters I was left with, and just about anyone else who decided to target me.
Though it certainly wasn’t the first time it had ever happened, I finally disclosed the abuse when I was 12. As a result, I was taken away from my home only to be further abused in foster-care and be robbed of relationships with my sister and brothers both. As best as I can recollect, from February of 1986 when I was first taken away from home until I turned 18 six years later I was in 14 different placements. This doesn’t include the time I was returned to my mother only to wind up in foster-care again later. It took me an extra 6 months to graduate high school and because I wanted to actually experience all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a graduation, I ended up being in the class of 1993 instead of 1992 with most of my friends.
Zero to 18 was lonely…wait let’s be honest here. Zero to 22 was lonely. I masked my loneliness with homework, school activities, and boys. Lots of boys. How I didn’t wind up doing drugs and alcohol is quite honestly beyond me. At 22, I had a baby of my own and things were less lonely, but now it was all about her instead of me. After becoming a mother I was back in the same caretaker role I had in my family of origin only for different reasons. I have no regrets though, having my daughter was one of the four most amazing things I’ve ever done. The other three are her siblings.
A year after my daughter’s arrival I met and married the devil. I’m not even being dramatic about that (OK well maybe just a wee bit dramatic). You can read more about how that started and began here. In short, I put my duties as a mother and wife before my duties to myself. We do have duties to ourselves, did you know that? I’m still learning about them; it is a kind of foreign concept. Soon I was no longer me…I was simply his wife and her mom. Then more babies came and the only thing that changed is I want from her mom to their mom. I have four kids now, presently aged 11-12-14-17. Seems like the only thing I’ve ever been really good at is having sex. I’m not proud of it, but I’m grateful God saw fit to bless me with my children.
By the time my only son was born, I couldn’t honestly tell you who I was anymore. I had no idea what I enjoyed, what made me tick, or even what my identity was aside from wife and mother. In time my abusive marriage led me back to the same lonely road I was on from 0-22. Looking back, maybe I never really left the road at all. Single parenting that first year was lonely and 4 months into my marriage I was writing in my journal that I had made a terrible mistake. A mistake that took me more than 11 years to rectify and was mostly lonely, despite being surrounded by people. That’s a very interesting feeling or experience right there…feeling utterly alone when surrounded by people. Maybe that too will be a post for another day.
Years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse as a child turned into years of the same as an adult and then…when the abuse was finally more or less entirely over (my ex is still pretty abusive in the only way he now can be…economics), I found myself in foreign lands. When you’ve been abused essentially your entire life you learn a skill set that becomes obsolete, if not harmful, once the abuse ends entirely. I found myself depressed. It took me years to acknowledge that for what it was…in fact it wasn’t even me that first recognized it.
My middle daughter is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever know. She has so many skills I admire her for. About 2 years ago she got very concerned about me and eventually my Relief Society president intervened. The result was a diagnosis of clinical depression, anxiety and PTSD. What I alter learned was that every day I was crying for hours on end she was texting a good friend of mine and the RS President both. When suicidal ideation came into play, I took a trip to the emergency room and was put on meds a few days later. Shortly after that I started counseling and worked hard to get the upper hand. I was successful for a while and then other issues came up, medication stopped being effective, more bad things happened and I again found myself unable to cope. Back to therapy and my doctor I went.
Yesterday I was asked if there were any lights at the end of this deep dark tunnel I find myself in. It’s so dark I can’t even see the lighter darkness that comes from the reflected light that may or may not be at the end of the tunnel. Things just keep spinning out of control. New meds are not yet at therapeutic levels, I’ve only had a few therapy sessions, and quite frankly…my feet, back and legs are tired from this journey. It seems like I’m wrapped up in an epic battle for my healing and right now I know that Satan is winning.
I haven’t yet managed to secure financial resources adequate to sustain my children and I, there is conflict with my mother and oldest daughter and I, while once a great student I’m now barely making it and am not sure I can even see college completion any longer, I live with constant chronic back pain made worse by being overweight and yet the pain makes strenuous activity (which would result in weight loss) impossible, I am finding it increasingly difficult to be around people (even church attendance is hard because I don’t do well in crowds anymore), I never feel worthy of the time it takes me to shower, dress, style my hair and put on makeup (even though it makes me feel better) so I seldom to never do it, with few exceptions the things I once enjoyed I now find arduous, and I cry daily.
I used to think people chose to be depressed. That happiness was something you just decided to have; if someone was depressed it was because they were choosing not to be happy. Then I realized it had happened to me. I’ve not been genuinely happy in years. How many I’m not sure, but likely far more than I may have originally thought and way more than I’m willing to admit to myself let alone anyone else. Every day is a battle and just when I think I’ve got the upper hand, something happens that pushes me off the latter to success entirely instead of just knocking me down a few rungs. I’m miserable more or less all the time. I hurt inside and out and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those I’m closest too to watch.
Knowing is half the battle they say and there is very little that I know anymore. I know I’m struggling, but I also know that I am courageous. Hopefully my courage will allow me to overcome the struggle.
This past weekend was our Stake Conference. I had a very hard time at the adult only session Saturday night. I’ve decided that I have a bad case of agoraphobia and that, coupled with the difficulty of being one of very few mid-single adults in the room, made it hard not to want to just run and hide and cry. I cry a lot these days. At any rate, thanks to the love and support of my sister, I was able to persevere and soon realized why it was good that I did. Our 1st Counselor spoke on the differences between the Lord’s language and Lucifer’s language and suggested that we all need to make a conscious effort to make sure we are listening to the right language. Listening to the Lord’s language is not always very easy. In my present state, it’s actually extremely difficult.
I’ve been studying what the scriptures say Heavenly Father thinks of us to help me start thinking more of myself. Understanding who I am in Him has been helpful in learning to listen to His language more. In fact, I have a few new favorite scriptures as a result of this study. They are:Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
What amazes me still is how undeniably aware of me my Heavenly Father is. Prayerfully I’ll be able to listen (and speak) to His language more and more every day.
There’s this kid I know. Correction, there’s this young man I know (Look Ryan I admitted in print for EVERYONE to see that you are indeed a man) and he’s one of very few people I have in my life that genuinely want to know a real answer when asking how I am. It took me a while to figure that out though. Be it text or in person, when he asks how I’m doing I almost always respond with “I’m OK.” When I saw him last he gave me a huge big hug (which fixed a lot of things let me tell you) and when I replied “I’m OK” he immediately asked “why just OK” that’s when it hit me…maybe what he’s really asking is why do I choose to be just OK when there are so many other things I could be instead. Here are some other options:fabulous magnificent wonderful great amazing splendid happy fantastic awesome spectacular perfect
Whenever he says “Why just OK” I have to stop and think wait why am I just OK? His question always leaves me thinking about why is it that I’m really only OK. At the moment, I’m not sure I can tell you I know what it’s going to take for me to go from OK to any of those other adjectives listed above, but I do know it’s going to take effort and I’m willing to make the effort. Maybe the next time I get this “Why just OK” question, I’ll have a way different answer for him.
Here is the video referenced in my previous post.
In a recent address given at General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives an address called The Hope of God’s light. In it, he tells a story of woman he calls Jane. With some very subtle changes, I am Jane. President Uchtdorf says (changes by me included):
She awoke each morning not knowing if she would survive until the next day. The people who should have protected her were those who tortured her or allowed the abuse to continue. In order to protect herself, she learned to stop feeling. She had no hope of rescue so she hardened herself to the horror of her reality. There was no light in her world so she became resigned to the darkness with a numbness that can only come from constant and unrelenting contact with evil. She accepted the fact that any moment might be her last. Then at age 17 she discovered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The joy and hope of the restored gospel penetrated her heart and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. For the first time light entered her life and she saw a bright path before her. At last she felt liberated from an environment of darkness and evil free to enjoy the Savior’s sweet peace and miraculous healing. Years later, she was again troubled by horrible events. Profound sadness and anger threatened to destroy the wonderful light she had found in the gospel. She realized that if she allowed that darkness to consume her, her tormentor would have victory. Darkness exists, light also exists.
He goes on to discuss how Jane chose to cling to the light and love of God and years later she has had a positive influence on countless others. I missed the first part of this talk yesterday morning and had to go back and watch it. Even missing the first few minutes initially (and the story of Jane) I knew with absolute certainty this was meant for me. I have probably listened to it 50 times already (no I’m not exaggerating either). The realization that I am Jane is both depressing and encouraging. I hope that years from now, after
walking running to the light of God, I will have the same positive influence.