My healing journey is for me to work through with my therapist. If it gets to a point that I need to discuss things with others then I will come to you and we will talk.
With that being said, I am going to be moving my blog posts to private/password protected. This needs to be my safe place to work through my issues. I can not let it be a public thing where people are judging me, taking things personal, or getting upset about the things I am saying.
Please respect this and know that my relationships in my life now are not built on my past. What’s happened has happened and it’s on me to heal from my traumas.
Please just be grateful that I am where I am in my life and that I am taking these steps to better myself, and in turn, my family.
I’m come to realize that I have been self-sabotaging my life for years now. I’ve been a person who dreams big and never feels satisfaction in the victories. And I’ve struggled with understanding why that is.
And after coming out of this last season of depression I think I’ve finally realized what it is.
I’ve been chasing happiness.
Well that’s not so bad, right? Happiness is the key to a successful life, or so I’ve been told.
But it’s not. It’s a lie.
Now before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain. It’s another example of expectation versus reality.
I’ve been trying so hard in my life to grab hold of happiness and to never let it go. But you can not live in happiness. You can live in MOMENTS of happiness, but not a constant state of it. If your life was constantly happy it would undervalue the truly special moments.
So what should you be living your life for?
Now, I grew up believing that contentment was a bad word. I don’t think I was raised this way, but I’ve seen and heard others talk about how contentment was settling. That successful people are never content and always strive to be the best. Innovation and advancements come from always doing more. Wanting more. Being more.
And it only sets you up for a life of failure and disappointment. Because always looking for happiness makes the fall to sadness so much harder than it should be.
If I were to stare up at the night sky and only dream of reaching the stars, I would lose sight of the fact that in that moment I get to be present and enjoy the beauty that comes from them. I will never reach the stars, because it’s unobtainable. But I can be present every single evening and look at those stars and be reminded of where I am. And who I am.
Let me put it another way. Say you were really struggling financially your whole life and your goal was to someday have $1,000,000 in your bank account, even though you’ve never been able to even save $1,000. So you have this big dream. And you work incredibly hard every day. And you change your life and start saving like you’ve never saved before. And let’s say after the first 6 months you finally save $1,000.
You should be ecstatic, right? You’ve never had $1,000 before so that’s a really big deal! You should be so incredibly proud!
But you’re not. You don’t even acknowledge it because you set a goal of $1,000,000. So $1,000 doesn’t even matter.
So you blow right past that and 2 years later you have $10,000. HUGE DEAL!
It’s not $1,000,000. So who cares?
And you keep doing this for years and years and year. And you’re never satisfied. And then one day you find out you’re dying. And you look back on your life and all you can see is that you never reached your goal.
And you lost sight of all the beauty in the world around you. And all the recognition for the amazing achievements you made along the way.
You were working towards something that was unobtainable. $1,000,000 is a dream for a day that may never come. You decided to work towards something that couldn’t be guaranteed.
You undervalued every other moment in your life for something that you were never going to get.
That’s the thing about happiness. We often think that happiness is that $1,000,000. But it’s not. Happiness was in that $1,000 achievement. It was a moment. And it deserved to be recognized. It deserved to be treated for what it was.
Now take this example and apply it to your own life. Are you happy? As in truly happy.
I hope the answer is no. Unless this a moment that brings you such joy and elation that it is something you will forever cherish.
This is a happy moment for me because I’ve realized that I can start giving value to the moments in my life that truly deserve them.
I want to live a life of contentment with moments of happiness and joy.
Contentment is “a state of satisfaction”. How beautiful is that? To live in a constant state of satisfaction in what you have, who you are and what you do.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t work towards more? Absolutely not. Have dreams and have goals but don’t lose sight of the here and now. Acknowledge the little moments.
Stop stealing value from the things that matter.
Seeing my loved ones are moments of happiness. And if I lived in that moment I would accept it for the special opportunity to be with people that it is.
I get to have this beautiful family. If my goal is just to think about raising them well and to get into a good college and to have a great life I will lose sight of the little moments that matter.
Like my son being sick and coming to me in the middle of the night to make him feel better. Seems silly, right? But it’s not. If I didn’t stop and be in that moment I wouldn’t have realized that it’s an acknowledgement of the changes I’ve made to be more present in my children’s life. He’s finally feeling comfortable to come to me for support and not just to be the parent who works to make the money.
It’s the little moments that matter. Happiness is in the moments, not a constant state. Recognize them.
Are you happy? Or are you a happy person? A good response would be “I am an optimistic person who looks for the moments of happiness.” It grounds me. It pulls me back into this moment. It lets me be present for the ones in my life that need me the most. My “I love you” means more. The hug is special. Your time becomes valuable. Doing life together matters more.
People’s words are taken for face value. And you can accept them and believe them.
And you can start seeing yourself the way other people see you.
If I am honest with myself, if I take the goal of happiness out of the equation then I have lived a content adult life.
And that’s success.
A constant state of happiness is a dream that can only be achieved when we get to leave this world to be with Jesus.
I will be happy one day, but for now I will take pride in the contentment and recognize the moments of happiness that come along.
And I will start seeing myself the way that others see me. And for some of you, that’s a really big deal. Some of you are so special to my life and have changed me and you will never understand the impact you have had. And I’m starting to realize that to some of you I am someone special to you. And that I have changed your life, too. And that is a big deal.
When I stop looking for happiness and start realizing contentment is key the moments of love are truly going to shine bright.
I love you. Please take that for the value I put into it. Let it sit with you a moment.
And I hope reading that was a moment of happiness for you, for letting you know was one for me.
I’m looking forward to this new lens on life. Healing is beautiful.
I want to lie on the the ground with my loved ones – my wife, my children, my best friends, my family – and enjoy the beauty of the night sky together. Not reaching out to try and grab them for myself, but being present with those around me, feeling God’s love and theirs, and storing the moment of happiness in my heart.
*Current song to listen to while you read this… Toby Mac – 21 Years*
Today marks 3 months since you left us. While I know you are in a much better place and are no longer in so much pain it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially around this time of year.
I was supposed to protect you. I’m your big brother. That was my job. To make sure you were safe.
But I failed you. And I failed your son. And I stole the little moments of joy from your life that you held onto so dearly.
I kept my children from you when they were such a bright spot in your life. Why? Because you did things away from them that I didn’t agree with? Yeah you were addicted, but you didn’t bring it around my kids. So why did I always make sure you were at an arms length away from us?
My new job is right by the funeral home where your body last was. And every time I drive by it I get angry at the bs and lies that came out of people’s mouths as they told stories of you. “She was the annoying little sister.” No, she really wasn’t. What was annoying about you? That you just wanted to love so deeply that you wanted to be around your friends and family all the time? Out of all the memories I have of you not one of them were ever of you being annoying. It was never you. You were the sweetest child I had ever met. You just wanted to spend time with us.
People gave up on you. They stopped making you a priority. Everyone went on with their lives but you were still a child who needed to be raised and taught right from wrong. And who was there to do that? I stole your sister away from you. She wasn’t there to teach you all the things she had learned.
You were always placed in peoples shadows. So of course you did things to try and make your voice be heard.
But I didn’t hear you. No one did. While you were screaming for help we were all distracted by the other noises around us. Granted, ours happened to be raising 3 kids but that shouldn’t have stopped us from letting you be a part of it.
I take solace in knowing that not once did we ever tell you that you were a screw up. Yes, we pulled away, but when we saw you we showed you love. I know it’s a horrible thing to say, but the people who are struggling with themselves now because of the way they treated you while you were still here, they should be feeling guilty.
You were such a beautiful soul that had so much to offer this world. You had a beautiful voice that deserved to be heard. You loved my children so much and I never realized it until I had to go through all the pictures for your funeral. So many pictures with you and them. One of my biggest regrets is that while we have so many pictures of you from photo shoots I’ve done, I was always behind the camera and I don’t have a single picture of us together. Not one. My baby sister and I have no pictures of us.
It shouldn’t have been you. You made bad choices, but they were never to hurt other people. Yes, others were hurt because of them but your heart has always been so good. Why were you taken from us and not someone who intentionally causes pain and lies to others?
I struggle with you passing, even more than when my grandfather passed away. Because I now live every day wondering if I could have saved your life. I wonder if I would have pulled that car over and come over to you and asked you to come see the new house if you would still be here today. I wonder if we would have written you letters and explained to you how our lives have changed and how much we were looking forward to you being a part of it if you would still be here. I wonder if we would have let you see the kids more often if you would still be here.
I carry a lot of weight from you being gone. I find some peace in knowing that you committed your life to Jesus before you met Him, and that you now get to spend your time with your precious baby boy. But I so wish you were here. These holidays are going to be rough without you.
We plan on making sure that our kids never forget who you were. You were more than your demons. But you owned those demons and you never blamed others for them.
You should still be here.
I should have protected you.
I failed you.
And now I have to live with that failure for the rest of my life until I get the blessing of seeing you again.
I love you. You were so precious to us and I’m so sorry that we didn’t make it known more often.
I hope you left this world knowing you were wanted and you were loved.
It’s a sad realization that while we often remember many of our “firsts” in life we tend to not even realize that our “lasts” have come and gone. We take life for granted and assume that we are promised a tomorrow. Sometimes tomorrow simply doesn’t arrive. Sometimes it’s in the literal sense and your physical life will come to an end. But many times it will be in the things you prioritize today that lose their importance. Your relationships are good so you stop trying. Your life gets too busy so you don’t want to sacrifice the little time you do have to something that doesn’t matter as much.
I’ve had a lot of lasts in my life that I didn’t even realize had occurred. The last time I spoke to a family member that is no longer a part of my life. The last time I attended a church I never returned to. The last time I played a game that I once really enjoyed. The last time I watched a movie or read a book that really made me think.
The last time my siblings came over just because they wanted to spend time with me.
The last time my children came to me for comfort, or to play with their hair while they fell asleep.
The last time I hugged my grandfather.
These moments come and go and we never acknowledge them or appreciate them for what they are. Because we assume these things will always come again.
So I will continue to be intentional. I will hug you just a bit tighter. I will hold your hand just a bit longer. I will tell you I love you one more time even if it annoys you. I will write you one more letter. I will buy you one more gift. I will surprise you with texts and phone calls.
I will love you just a bit longer.
I can hope and pray that tomorrow will be waiting for me, but I can not live assuming that it will be. I know all too well the heartbreak and regret that can come from making that assumption. And I live with it every day.
If anyone comes to mind when you’re reading this, make an effort to reach out to them and just tell them what’s on your mind. Remind them how you feel about them. Because if their tomorrow doesn’t come, shouldn’t they live their last day with the joy that comes from being loved?
The relationships in your life will come and go. As much as we hope that things will last forever, it’s honestly rare that they ever actually do. Sometimes people just stop trying. And people grow apart. It’s okay for that to happen. We are all unique individuals who have their own things going on. But just remember that there will come a day when you have your last meal together. Your last holiday. Your last laughs. Your last hugs. Your last goodbye.
Your last I love you.
It’s an honest reality. Yes, it can be sad, but it can also be beautiful. Live your life with this mentality and show your love as much as you can.
When my tomorrow, inevitably, doesn’t come I fear that those most important in my life won’t truly know how I feel about them. So let me hold your hand just a bit longer. Let me hug you just a bit tighter. Let me love you just a bit longer.
I love you. I promise you it is way more than you think I already show or tell you.
I have come to realize that writing is the one place where I can quickly process my thoughts and get an answer to what’s going on in my head. Sometimes I just need to sit down, get it all out there and then go back through and address what comes up.
I have depression. Which is okay. It’s something that a lot of people have. What’s not okay is when I let it be carried by those I love.
I had a moment earlier this week. A pretty bad moment, if I’m being honest. And I need to walk through what happened so those of you who were there and were completely dumbfounded by what was occurring before their eyes can get a little understanding.
My moment happened like most of them do. The day was very normal. Nothing stressful going on, no crazy activities or events. Just sitting around having conversations with those closest to me. When life is normal I can be a pretty active speaker and contribute a lot to a conversation.
But then it happened. Someone made a comment that I didn’t really process at first. It was a simple remark that any other person would have completely overlooked.
Here’s kind of what goes on in those moments. Something will happen that will “trigger” an emotional reaction. My body will immediately react to it and go into self-defense mode, cutting off all communication to keep anything else from getting in. My mind still hasn’t processed what it was exactly that caused it, but the rest of me is still in that “protection” mode. Gradually I will start to realize what it was that caused me to feel the way I do.
Everyone could tell something shifted in me pretty quickly (let me interject by stating that this alone proves how much these people love me as most people do not realize something changed). I was asked if something was bothering me and I responded yes, I just didn’t know what it was. And in that moment, that was 100% true. I didn’t. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t pinpoint the source. I got there not soon after, but didn’t want to address it.
Anyways. I shut down. As in hardcore I will put up huge walls and not hear the things you are saying to me. I also avoid looking at the person that caused it. It’s hard to look at someone that you love so much but feel that they have hurt you so deeply.
My immediate reaction is to run. And cry. But in this moment I couldn’t do either, so I sit there, hand over my mouth to keep myself from crying, not looking at the people who love me most knowing they could immediately address the irrational feelings I was having if I only were honest with them and spoke up.
I sit there like a moron as they hold me and pray over me for about 5 minutes. And I completely dismiss it all and make them feel like they screwed up. And I completely ignore the amazing things that others have said to me about the way I make them feel and the difference I have made in their life.
I thought I could deal with my depression. I’ve had it for a long time and typically choose to not speak about it much. I generally just distract myself from it.
What I can’t do, however, is let my depression carry over to my loved ones. It’s hard enough having it myself, so the thought of those around me being burdened by me is overwhelming and just makes things 1000 times worse.
But I’m acknowledging it. I didn’t talk to my wife about it at first. In fact, I’m pretty sure she was completely embarrassed by my behavior because I’ve never done that around people before (shows how much I let my guard down around you guys, just an fyi). I think she knew what was going on and she tried to take responsibility for it and not let them think it was something they did. And I know she was completely hurt by it, too, because I took something that was such a great moment for her and manipulated it into something negative about me.
What an amazing person she is. What a terrible one I can be.
But I did talk to her about it the next day. In fact, I made her late to work because I broke down in tears and let it all out. How exhausted I am of feeling the way I do about myself. I don’t think people truly understand the extent of the negative feelings I have about myself.
And I did something else I don’t know that I have ever done before. I talked to the person who I was hurting from. And I opened myself up to them and was honest about why I was in a dark place. I wasn’t angry, I was just sad. But I couldn’t be when I saw them the next day and they immediately hugged me and started crying, pouring their heart out to me about the heaviness they are carrying.
I can’t add to that. I want to be a person who helps others and brings joy and love to their lives.
I struggle with talking in person, but they wouldn’t let me be alone that day. I processed internally. And they were just there for me. Not knowing what they could do to help, but just being present and available whenever I needed them. Crying with me, distracting me, bringing me into their lives and reminding me that they are always there. When I did get home I completely just poured my heart out to the person I thought hurt me in one of the longest texts ever (writing… go figure).
People know me a lot more than I thought. People care and love me so much more than I thought I deserved.
So enough is enough. Today is the day I go and get back on my medication. Do I think this is going to be a fix? No, but it will be a tool that I can use to keep the dark thoughts away.
And I’m going to finally do something that I never thought I would do. I’m going to seek help and go talk to someone about where the root of all these feelings come from. Because it’s not fair of my loved ones to have to manage that. They were not trained to do it, so I shouldn’t make it their responsibility to fix it. They are my problems and I need to fix them. I will need their love and support along the way, which I know will always be available to me.
Therapists scare me. Not because I don’t want to be better, but because I’m terrified that the root of my problems are going to run so much deeper than I imagined. Or that I am going to talk to someone and they are going to say I can’t be helped. I have nothing against therapists, I guess I’m just fearful of wandering into the unknown.
But I have to. Not only for myself (mostly for myself though because these feelings of self-hatred are getting really difficult to work through), but also so my loved ones can get 95% of the good side of me (as we still all need to have a really good cry every once in awhile). I want to be better for them. So that I have the capacity to be there for them on a much deeper level without taking the things they say so personally. I don’t want my wife to feel that she has to watch the things she says around me because I might take them the wrong way. I don’t want my kids to feel that I’m not strong enough for them to come to for emotional support.
I need to be better.
I will get better.
And I can’t do it alone.
And that’s okay, because I don’t need to. Help is available for a reason, and I have the incredible love and support from some amazing people.
It’s okay to not be okay… until it’s no longer okay.
Thank you for being the people you are, loving and supporting me despite my flaws. And fostering my growth, expanding my mind and for making me a better person. I love you so incredibly much, I could never fully express it.
I’m going to be honest outright and admit that this subject is one I struggle with. I have such a desire to love others, but I still have moments where my heart loses out to my mind. But what is love? Sorry not sorry if that song gets stuck in your head.
Love can mean so many different things depending on who you ask. It can come with the simplest explanation, or become mystified with an abstract definition.
My definition of love is simple. It is one of the standard definitions – an intense feeling of deep affection. What is affection? A feeling of caring and fondness. Basically, I care about you on a personal and deep level. I prioritize your happiness and joy.
But why do we have to overcomplicate something that should be foundational to society? As a Jesus follower we have been given the best example. It is literally spelled out for us.
Seems pretty simple. Jesus told this to His followers shortly before the betrayal that would lead to His death. He knew what was about to happen, and yet He still walked into it openly with a heart filled with unconditional love.
So… it should be pretty easy to love someone else when they accidentally say the wrong thing that hurts your feelings.
And it should be pretty easy to forgive others for their past mishaps, understanding that people change and they shouldn’t be judged on their past.
And it should be easy to simply shrug off the things that others have done to you, or the way they treat you. That even if they make you feel so low on a daily basis you should still love them unconditionally. Right?!
Alright, alright. Put down the pitchforks and stop practicing for your dramatic solo as you pull others into your negative feelings for others.
I get it. It’s complicated!
But why do we struggle with this? In theory, by loving others we should be shaping and molding the world to fit the perfect image of how we want it to be. Imagine it with me. A place where there were no violence. A place where you could let your children out to play without fear. A place where no one has any internal struggles with their own self-image because others are constantly raising them up with praise.
So why do we not embrace that and work towards that? Why do we have to get annoyed that someone is doing something selfishly? Or why do we have to judge others for doing things that they know are hurting others?
And it’s complicated because we make it complicated. We have assigned a stigma to the word and given it definitive connotations as a societal norm that people think can only mean one thing. It is either “over-used” (not possible), or it is used only on rare occasions.
Or we live in fear that others will perceive it as something else.
Do you naturally tell your friends that you love them? Or is there a little bit of awkwardness when you say it, or at least when you say it around certain people? Can you outright tell someone “I love you” or do you have to cut corners with things like “love you” or “love ya” or even lumping them in with a group of people? Or taking the pressure off yourself by saying “we all love you” and not making it personal?
Let’s all be honest for a minute. We all do it. My hand is raised high. Guilty! Confession and all!
But why?! Do you know how incredibly impactful it is to tell someone you love them? Three simple words is all it takes to actually change someone’s day from bad to good. In three words you can make someone feel so incredibly valued.
I… love… you. That’s it. Is it cheapening it by saying it any other way? Maybe not. But as a receiver I can tell you it means more to me personally being said so simply.
So why don’t we do it more often? Well, for one, when was the last time you walked up to a coworker and told them you loved them? Or walked up to your married friend and said it to them? When was the last time you said it to a relative who has never said it to you?
It’s a whole lot of things from intimidating, scary, awkward, uncomfortable or just plain weird.
It’s fear of people’s perception. Its worry that others will misconstrue your intentions. It’s also being unsure of other people’s boundaries.
And also I think a lot of people don’t know HOW to love another person. I mean, we aren’t exactly raised to be this way. But we can be better.
So I try to live this out in my own life, or at least I have been these last 6 months as I begin to live my life as a follower of Christ.
There are people in my life who have severely hurt me in the past, and there are others who have hurt those that are closest to me. Those wounds are difficult to heal, but I am trying to love them unconditionally.
And I actively tell those who I do love that I love them. Straight up, point blank, to their face, or written in ink and saved forever (unless they decide to burn them). Why? Because it’s important to me for others to know how I feel about them.
Romance does not get to steal this word and hoard it for itself. Love goes way beyond that. Love is appropriate for the way it is intended, NOT the way it is perceived. If I tell someone I love them and another person takes it in a way that it is not meant, that’s on them. I know what is in my heart, the person receiving it usually knows what is in my heart, and my God definitely knows what is in my heart.
Someone very dear to me recently gave me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received – “you’re always looking for ways to express your love.”
And in those few, simple words I instantly received confirmation that the changes I have been making in my life were real and that my actions were finally matching my desires. It was a moment that made me realize that, yeah, I can be a disciple.
And it’s all because of love.
I let more and more of it out everyday as it brings me so much joy to bring happiness to others. But I still keep a lot of it held back out of fear. I make sure to tell my wife several times a day. I try to tell my friends and family as often as I can, but I can assure you a lot of times it will be the worried, condensed version I mentioned above. I’m fearful of loving others too much that it scares them off. No joke. Even those I am closest with I will tell them “I love you” and then a few days later make comment that I hope I’m not being too much.
Stupid, right? It’s more that it’s a shame that we have to hide it.
And I think that is what we struggle with with love. It’s not the act of loving another, or the desire to love others unconditionally, it’s expressing that love.
So, I’m hear to tell you that if you are family or friends that have access to my blog, I LOVE YOU! Actually, I probably love you a whole lot more than you think and more than I ever tell you. For some that’s saying a lot.
And, unless you politely ask me otherwise, I’m going to continue to tell you. To your face, in our texts, in my letters, etc. I hope it brings you comfort, love, joy and happiness. That feeling you get when someone special gives you a hug. I may not mean much to this world, but I hope I mean something to your world.
What you do with this blog is on you. As for me, I’m going to continue seeking new ways to share my love. 🥰
Thank You for filling me with so much love from You that I want to share it with others. I want to cast a light on this world where darkness seems to often try and invade. I want to touch the lives of so many people, spreading joy and love to others that they want to share it as well.
To know that others have had moments of happiness and had a smile brought to their faces by my words or actions will allow me to one day pass from this world as a fulfilled Christ follower.
Today I pray that You help others in finding the courage to express their feelings in a safe and comfortable way. Please give them the peace to go out and share their love with others.
I pray that the awkwardness for “I love you” outside of the family goes away.
I pray that You continue to look after those who need Your warmth and love. I pray for those who turn their backs to You and that they will one day see that, despite that, You always stay with them.
Please continue to protect and heal those who need You. For those fighting battles physically, emotionally and mentally. Please let them feel Your presence so that they may have peace in their lives.
This post is long overdue. There’s going to be a lot of happiness that you will read, but I’m also going to address some bad moments as well. I don’t like putting on a mask and only showing the “good” side of life. A lot of growth comes from the struggles.
So I hereby, finally, dedicate this post to the one who has been with me through it all – my amazing wife, Allissa.
My wife and I have been married 13 years this year, and I can honestly say in those years I have only spoken poorly of her maybe once or twice, and only to my own mother (who quickly set me straight). Therefore, I’m not going to start with this post. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that she does that drive me crazy at times, but never to the point that I would belittle her to others.
No, this post is going to be about how much of a patient and understanding person she can be, especially when I am being such an idiot. I’m going to discuss some things about my past that I am not proud of, but I am not that person anymore and I will never be that person again. Basically, I’m calling myself out on my past bs. So buckle up. There will be moments where things get bumpy, but the end result (where we are today) is beautiful.
I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old…
For those of you who don’t know me, most of my childhood I was this incredibly skinny, awkward (but adorable) kid. I was really active, could eat anything, and never gained a pound. Until I hit puberty entering middle school and I got fat. Like, really chunky.
But, and this may surprise some of you, I was incredibly social. I was friends with everyone! Mostly the girls (I mean, I was a 13 year old boy… duh!), but basically I got along with everyone. And I had silly crushes on a lot of the girls, too (better chances with a bigger selection, right?!). Little did she know (or maybe she did since she is a girl and they always seem to truly know) she was one of the girls I had a crush on.
We, of course, were fast friends. We shared a lot of the same friends and classes, too. But do you think anything came of any of that? Nope, that’s where the middle school story ends. Never dated, never admitted to liking one another (or rather I never told her, I doubt she liked me as I was an annoying overweight teenage boy). We ended up going to different high schools after that. I “chased” a lot of girls, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever had a handful of “girlfriends” in my life, and only one of which was actually serious. I was always in the friend zone. As someone recently so astutely pointed out, I’m really good at being there for other people and helping them through their rough times.
Anyways, our story jumps 4 years to 2006 when we finally got back into each others lives. Allissa had a serious relationship before me and had Maddi earlier in that year. I was off at Purdue having a grand ole time (not really) when this cute girl starts sending me messages on MySpace (yeah let’s throw it way back!). She reached out to me first and asked if I remembered her, and of course I did. She was really good friends with one of my close friends, so getting back in touch was pretty easy.
I wasn’t a very religious person at the time, but looking back she came into my life right when I needed her most. We started talking seriously early in my first semester. I think we were “unofficially” dating for awhile, but it all happened really quick after my grandparents passed away. My grandmother passing was one of blessing as she was in a great deal of pain and suffering from a long battle with cancer. My grandfather less than 2 weeks later was not so much. I was completely devastated as I was extremely close with him. Allissa was the one person that got me through it. She stayed up with me for hours on end and just listened as I cried.
We “officially” got together shortly after my grandfather passed away. A lot of people thought I was just filling a void. And, to be honest, I was. 13 days later we got engaged. Yes, you read that right. 13 days. About a month later I got Lis out of a very toxic environment with her family and she moved in with mine… while I was 4 hours away at Purdue.
She gave me a sense of purpose that I did not have at the time. In a few short months I became wanted. I became a father to a 7 month old. Real honest moment? I fell in love with the idea of being a dad and having a family before I actually fell in love with Allissa. There were things that both of us did that filled in the gaps for the other person. I don’t think either of us will deny that we likely were not in love when we got married only 8 short months after being engaged (so, less than 9 months from being together if you’re keeping track).
Insane, right?! 19 years old getting married and having a family after being together for such a short amount of time. Most of our families didn’t really agree with the expedited marriage, but my parents became grandparents and I think that’s what made them more okay with it.
And because of that, do you know what was missing? A whole lot of growing up!
We struggled for a long time in life. We were perfectly content with having very little money, not having any goals, and just getting by. Because that’s what we knew. We were broke. As in, dirt poor. We had jobs where often we wouldn’t get paid for weeks at a time.
Anyways, our relationship wasn’t the best. We fought a lot but we always put our children before everything else. It was always a good buffer for us having the kids to prioritize over fixing underlying issues. And that’s how it was for a long time.
When we first got together I was starting to shut out all my relationships while Allissa was the one with a lot of close friends, most of which did not like me. At all. Because she always chose me over them and I basically stole her away from them.
She quickly started to give away parts of herself that weren’t centered around me. Her close relationships, hobbies, etc.
It wasn’t until our 3rd child was about to be born that we started to take life seriously. I got my first “real” job right before he was born and that has since grown into the amazing career I am in now.
But this amazing woman has sacrificed so much of herself for me to be where I am today.
The rest of this post is probably just going to jump around a lot and seem random as I try to discuss some things. Sorry in advance!
I am just now in less than a month, finally going to be finishing college with my third degree. Which means I have spent a lot of time over the last 13 years taking classes and being away from my family. She gave up all of her social life to allow me to finish something I believed to be important for the future of our family.
She was the one at home, caring for our children. Cleaning the house. Scheduling appointments. Cooking meals. Exhausting herself for us.
We, jokingly, had a saying that she was the primary parent and I was the secondary parent. But it was 100% true. I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was only focused on what I was working on.
Here’s some more brutal moments of honesty. I’ve had moments where I’ve been a pretty terrible husband. I’ve never physically touched my wife. The closest I’ve ever come to it is aggressively grabbing a cup from her hand that scared her. But emotionally I’ve done some serious damage. The next few things aren’t going to be easy to read, but I assure you they are definitely harder to write and admit.
I’ve had moments in my life that I was so sad, depressed and in pain that I wanted others around me to share in my misery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone else in my life except Allissa so she got it all. I was extremely good at saying things in ways that would make her feel less than. Or not worthy.
She’s had a rough life, not filled with love, but full of abandonment. When the rest of the world made her feel that she wasn’t worth loving, her own mother, father and sisters, the one person who should have been there the whole time reminding her of how special she was made her feel like it was all to be believed.
I’ve told my wife on more than one occasion that I wasn’t as attracted to her because of her weight.
I’ve told her that I wasn’t sure if I still loved her.
I’ve told her that I’ve had lustful thoughts towards other women.
I’ve told her that she wasn’t enough, even when she was giving me everything she had.
A lot of the things I’ve said to her came from a place of pain and I didn’t truly mean them. Some of them I did really feel but never should have said. Do I like admitting these things? Not even a little bit. In fact, they make me cry even thinking about. Do I think I will be judged by the things I’ve said? Yeah, from some of you I will be. But that’s okay. It is my past, it is not my present or my future.
For the longest time, she found it easier for our life to just give me my way. I didn’t catch on to this for awhile (about 9 years of our marriage) but once I did I foolishly pushed that threshold as far as it would go. And let me tell you, it goes pretty far. This woman, who I was taking advantage of, would go to any lengths to keep me happy. We talked about doing things in our relationship that I’m ashamed to admit. Two positives that came from that situation: 1) we never actually did anything more than talk about those things, and 2) it made us both realize that we really did NOT want those things at ALL in our relationship. Regardless, a lot of damage came from that.
I wanted her to hurt like I hurt. Little did I know that she was in more pain than I ever could have imagined.
I broke her. After I had her cut so many people out of her life for continually hurting her, I turned around and did the same thing. I stole her safety that I am still to this day working on giving back. And I destroyed her trust in me. Because I made her change every part of who she was as a person just to turn around and tell her I didn’t like the person she had become.
Why? Because she became me. And I didn’t like it at all.
There were two of me when I didn’t even want there to be one.
Through all this pain I was causing her, I didn’t even know who I was. And, the idiot I was, I never communicated to her. I built everything up and stored it all in until one day I unleashed hell on her. Instead of opening up to her and letting her help me fix my own brokeness I let her believe it was all her fault. I pushed her so far away so I could peacefully walk away and end it all (literally). She eventually grew tired of me constantly putting everything on her that I ended up with an ultimatum. Which probably to this day was one of the best things she has ever done and a moment that I am more proud of her for than any other moment before or since.
I tore this woman apart. I put her in a situation where she could do no right no matter what she did or said. I made her give up parts of herself that she didn’t want to give up.
And yet, she loved me anyways.
When I get really upset I retreat into my own mind. I don’t yell, I don’t cry. I give this prolonged silent treatment and give the dirtiest facial expressions. Yeah, I know I’m real childish. But I also know it drives her insane.
And yet, she loved me anyways.
For long periods of our relationship, longer than I care to admit, I’ve treated this amazing woman like she was less than me. I made her believe that we were not equals, and that she was beneath me.
But let’s be honest. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. She has been the only person in my life who has supported me every single step of the way. She has called me out on my bs and has given me insight on things that I was too blind to see on my own. In fact, I could have missed a major period of depression if I would have left my job years ago when she told me she didn’t trust my previous boss. Fortunately the situation has worked out well in the end, but it took a lot of pain to get here.
I literally would not be here today if it weren’t for her. She often thinks that I never actually went through with ending my own life, or leaving her, because of the kids. But, the truth is, it’s always been because of her.
She was the one person who I felt so comfortable crying to that I eventually thought I needed to stop showing so much emotion to her. I thought my emotions were wearing her down so I stopped showing them to her entirely.
She’s taught me to love myself even when I felt unlovable.
I took away a lot of the things that she did to make me a better person because I wanted to be miserable and I didn’t want to be a part of this world.
So, I’ve told her that I no longer want her to give me my way any longer. Her voice needs to match or be above my own. Me making my own choices and decisions leads to stupid consequences and a whole lot of pain. She is my better half that keeps me going.
She is finding her voice. I still push her when she struggles with her own feelings of self doubt, but I no longer try to make her into someone she is not. I’ve learned to be patient. I’ve learned to open myself up to her. She’s recently admitted that she has held stronger religious beliefs because of the things I’ve put her through. I wish I wouldn’t have stolen her voice so she would have been comfortable enough with me to share that. I strongly believe being Jesus followers earlier in our relationship would have avoided a lot of problems. But then again, I also believe these things happened for a reason.
As I know I will never be able to say it enough, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused. For not being your unconditional support system. For breaking your trust. For making you question my feelings for you.
Neither of us grew up having great relationships in our lives to model our own marriage after. We never really had a sense of direction on how to approach situations. Now that we have people in our lives that encourage and foster our relationship growth, things have been really great for us.
This story is far from over, but I will bring you up to speed on where we are in the latest chapter of our lives.
Now, Allissa comes first in my life. And the biggest thing is, I now make sure she knows that. Some things I don’t necessarily agree on, but out of respect for her and for our marriage, I do them. I make an effort to make sure she feels loved. I’ve tossed out the silly notion of “secondary” parenting. I take her out on date nights when the time allows. I let her be the first person who reads these posts, because in all honesty it’s the first time she’s learning these things about me. I seek her feedback and opinion and give it more weight than I do my own. I listen to her gut instincts more often (not often, because I know sometimes it’s still coming from a place of doubt). I do not have lustful thoughts for others anymore, nor have I for a very long time. I encourage her. I support her.
We have built a beautiful life together. We have a bright future that we are working towards. We have a beautiful family. We have amazing friends that have become an extension of our family and have taught us what unconditional love for others is. We pray together. We dream together. We do life, together.
I am loving her unconditionally as she has always done for me.
This amazing woman has been so patient in my life and I’ve never understood why. I’ve treated her so poorly at times and yet she’s always loved me anyways. But I guess that’s what they really mean by unconditional love. Through the good times and the bad. And the times when your husband is just being a complete moron and jeopardizing the best thing in his life.
She does so much for this family, especially for me. She’s a natural caretaker. Food, home, children. Even after a long day she will often still ask me to lie in her lap and play with my hair.
When you see this amazing woman and wonder why she’s being so quiet, or is hesitant to let you in to her life, just know it’s because she has been put through a lot. She is still working on believing how special she truly is. Just know that once she lets you in, she’s giving a big part of herself to you. Be careful, she’s fragile. I would know. I’m the one who broke her and is still working daily on putting the pieces back together.
And please do not judge me on my past. I, again, confess these things so you will know how far I have come and will love me despite my faults and flaws for they have brought me to be the person I am today.
I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old… She would grow up and change my life forever for the better…
Thank You for blessing my life with this beautiful soul who tries to make my life better every single day. Who sacrifices so much of herself for others. Who has been torn down and broken so much, and yet still puts on a smile every day.
Thank You for never leaving her side throughout all the crap I put her through. For comforting her and giving her peace. For listening to her prayers when I didn’t even know she was praying.
Thank You for putting so much into her. She is an incredibly special and beautiful person.
Thank You for not letting our marriage end. I would be lost without her and do not want to think of a world without her in it. Whether people care to admit it or not, she leaves an impression on everyone she meets. She loves unconditionally, even through hesitation from prior experiences of pain.
I see Your love through her. I pray that You continue to bless her life and give her the voice, courage, wisdom and desire she truly wants in life. I know through You she will find it all.
I love you all!
Andy Grammer – Don’t Give Up On Me
I will fight I will fight for you I always do until my heart Is black and blueAnd I will stay I will stay with you We’ll make it to the other side Like lovers doI’ll reach my hands out in the dark And wait for yours to interlock I’ll wait for you I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not yet Even when I’m down to my last breath Even when they say there’s nothin’ left So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not me Even when nobody else believes I’m not goin’ down that easily So don’t give up on meAnd I will hold I’ll hold onto you No matter what this world’ll throw It won’t shake me looseI’ll reach my hands out in the dark And wait for yours to interlock I’ll wait for you I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not yet Even when I’m down to my last breath Even when they say there’s nothin’ left So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not me Even when nobody else believes I’m not goin’ down that easily So don’t give up on meWhoa, whoa Whoa, whoa Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah, yeahI will fight I will fight for you I always do until my heart Is black and blue
Today will be a short post, but one that I need to document so I have it to come back to when/if these feelings return.
I recently had some much needed conversations with a few pretty great people in my life. And in opening up about things that I didn’t know I was still keeping in, I realized that I can be a major hypocrite. I’ve learned that my words can be extremely powerful tools when used correctly. I’m really good at making others feel good. I can find the words that they need to hear pretty quickly.
But, I’ve noticed, I am terrible at taking my own advice.
I’ve been telling a loved one recently not to hide her joy from the world, regardless of other’s perceptions.
Helloooooo! Do you not listen to yourself when you speak, Kyle?
So I’ve made a decision…
I’m no longer going to turn my back and run from the fear. I am going to stand my ground and I am going to fight my fear head on. I have a lot of joy to give to this world, and I’m going to give it!
So I am going to be joining the children’s ministry at church once all of this craziness subsides. I can make a difference in these kids’ lives and help guide them to be fellow Jesus followers. And they bring so much happiness to my life, why would I want to run from that?
And I am going to go out of my way to compliment others whenever I can. I know where the intentions in my heart lie, and I know for a fact that having others speak positively of and to you is such an amazing feeling. We need more love in this world. I may be one small grain of sand, but last I checked a mustard seed could move a mountain.
And I am taking back the word beautiful.
We need to use this word more often and remind others of what it really means. It should be taken as a compliment and bring happiness to who it is shared with. When the world can often be an ugly place, it is a blessing to be reminded that you stand out against that and have so much value.
And I’m going to be mending relationships with some of those I have pushed away. I have a lot of love to give this world, and the people who saw the worst side of me deserve to see me at my best.
I have a lot of opportunities coming up for me over the next year. Instead of questioning if I could or should be taking them on, I am going to take them for what they are – blessings. I will use the opportunities to do so much good for as many people as I can.
I was given a second chance for a reason, and I am not going to waste it. I couldn’t have told you 18 months ago that life would have played out the way it has. I believe God is guiding me to do something greater in this world, even if that only begins here locally.
I am giving myself, fully, to God. I am letting go of the fear. Jesus loved unconditionally and faced His fears. If He were living my life, I know He would do as much good for the world while He could.
And that’s enough for me. I will no longer be a hypocrite. I will not hide my joy from this world any longer.
…if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.
William P. Young – The Shack
I finally get it. I do not know what it is exactly that I am supposed to be doing with this life, but I know that I will be doing it for You. I give myself to You, and will follow Your guidance.
I will make a difference in this world, not for myself but for You, in Your name. When I die, if I have no money to my name but have touched others hearts I will have lived a successful life. If no one remembers my name when I am gone, but even one person has a better relationship with You I will have lived a successful life. If when I am gone I have lived a life for You, and used your blessings and gifts to bring love and joy to others lives, then I will have lived a successful life.
Here I am, Lord, fully surrendered to Your love. I am ready to serve You and to serve others. I am above no one, and will love everyone unconditionally, for that is Your will. It’s time for me to no longer squander the blessings You have bestowed upon me. I will no longer hide behind fear.
I know there will be struggles along the way, so I ask that You please continue to protect me through them.
This evening I pray that you please lift the burdens that my loved ones are carrying. Please gently caress their heads as they sleep tonight and remove some of the heaviness on their hearts. Please wrap them with a warm embrace that I wish I could give them but am unable to. Let them feel Your love and mine through Your presence.
Please speak to those who are in immense pain and uncertainty during these trying times. I beg You to please hold tightly to those who are ready to meet You sooner than they are meant to. There is so much good that they can bring to this world, and although they may find it unbearable right now, I hope You will provide them clarity. Let the love and support that their loved ones have given them seep into their hearts and fill the void that has been created. They need You so much right now, especially when others cannot be there for them. They are such beautiful people that have a voice that needs to be heard. Please let Your words flow through them for many, many blessed years.
Please continue looking after those who are fighting this pandemic. It is not Your doing, but please let people know You are by their side through it all.
Please protect everyone, but especially those who are on the front lines of fighting this. They are putting their own lives on the line, and often potentially giving up their families, to be there for others. Your love is so evident in them.