I am a broken person. I know this, and it is something that I don’t shy away from admitting. The problem, however, is taking that conversation any further than an oversimplified statement to avoid talking about my feelings.
I struggle with vocalizing my thoughts into words, so instead I decided to write them out. This isn’t a public forum that everyone I know has access to. I have personally curated my audience to those I am closest to, or those I believe care (as well as you random followers from around the world, too). And I know that some of you who read this say you genuinely do care, for whatever reason.
I love having deep conversations with others. The kind where people are a little outside of their comfort zones and are pouring out their hearts. Tell me your greatest joys. Tell me your fears. Tell me your passions. Tell me your life story. When I am close to someone I like to feel like I have had the privilege of knowing them for much longer than I actually have.
So I’m pretty good at initiating questions to get people to think. Because I have such a vested interest in their life. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – when I love, I love deeply. And I think most people don’t understand what I mean by that.
But here’s something I don’t usually talk about.
I don’t feel as though I am worth loving.
So when I love another person so deeply, it is because I want to make sure they never feel the way I do. I have a lot of intentionality in the way I approach the relationships in my life.
I will randomly tell people I am thinking of them. Because I know what it feels like to question if you are actually thought of.
I will constantly tell people I love them. Because I know what it feels like to believe you’re not worth loving.
I will push to be involved in the day-to-day lives of others. Because I know what it feels like to be so alone and unwanted.
And usually when I fish long enough someone will bite and give me what I need to get through for awhile.
But sometimes, more often that I like to admit, I have these stupid thoughts in my head. “Just stop being the one to always initiate and see what happens. Let’s see if people even notice that you fade into the background.”
And the problem with that is it actually happens. Want to know a hard truth? I couldn’t tell you the last time either of my dads reached out to me just to see how I’m doing. I don’t know the last time I’ve even heard from any of my siblings personally. I don’t have many friends at all who even think of me.
And it doesn’t take long for the voices in my head to start attacking me on such a deep level. Here’s the problem with silence. When the world goes quiet the feelings of loneliness start to quickly set in. The thoughts of being unloved. Unneeded. Not relevant.
And the thoughts of feeling that the good things I do have in my life are just an illusion. They are there because I force them to be there. I interject my presence into people’s lives, pushing a relationship, not letting it be what it truly is. Or rather, that’s what I tell myself. Because sometimes I test it and I back off for awhile. I stop being the first to text. I stop being the first to say “I love you”. I stop asking questions to get to know people. And I wait to see if they will realize.
Totally unfair to other people, right? Yeah, it is. Because I make assumptions for others that might not necessarily be true. “Oh, they don’t actually care about me. They don’t actually love me.” No, Kyle, you moron. Maybe they were just very busy. Or maybe they don’t feel that it is as important to do that.
I have to be honest, guys. Before I start getting to this place, I always seek first. I can’t ask for it, but I drop hints like crazy. My S.O.S. is out there. I’m struggling right now, but do me a favor and go look at my last Facebook post. I yelled pretty loudly. I cried out for help. And yet no one heard me. Or, in my mind, they heard me and chose to turn their backs. I’m not worth the time and effort.
I’ve been in my head a lot lately but I’ve been trying to approach it in a way to communicate how I got there and how to get out of it. And I’ve come to realize it’s kind of fairly simple. It has to do with my love language
This is me, guys. And this couldn’t be any more true (although I will admit physical touch from some people may be higher. Hugs from some people literally make me feel so loved).
Words of affirmation. What does this mean for me? It’s simple. I just want to be reminded that I am here and a part of your life. A text saying “hey, I really miss you” or “I just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts today” are just major resets to my negative feelings. I don’t want praise, I don’t need you to say good things about me. I literally just want to feel like I’m not an afterthought.
Words to me are everything. The written word, especially. I keep cards. I keep letters (although I don’t have many of those). I keep pictures from others. I keep special artwork. I love to write letters. It is such an important thing to me. To take the time out of my day and to physically write down my words to another person. My personality flows through my writing. It’s personal. It is a physical piece of myself that I am giving to another. Emails and texts are great, don’t get me wrong. But knowing that someone went out of their way to do something that is so lost these days? Oh, my heart. I don’t have many letters. I’ve written a lot but I rarely get any in return. And that’s okay. When I mail them out my hope is that it just means to them what it means to me.
But the thing that can make me feel so incredibly loved is literally an “I love you”. Those 3 words say so much. It means you are thought of. It means you are cared for. It means you are important to the person saying it. Seriously, one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive is a letter just saying that. And I would hold on to it and cherish it for the rest of my life.
My other love language is quality time. Just being with certain people is an instant reset to my negative thoughts. I don’t care what we are doing. You want me to come clean toilets with you? But we get to do it together? Done. You want me to sit and watch a ridiculously unfunny movie, but we get to be close to one another? Done.
Quality time, especially when people can be themselves and it’s not forced. Be comfortable around me that you can literally just be yourself and not have to worry about anything. That’s quality time to me. If you don’t have to look a certain way, act a certain way or dress a certain way when I’m around, that makes me feel loved. That you make a conscious choice for me to be around in your life, and not putting on an image that you want to be perceived as. If I can be around you and you are the same person you are when it’s just your family? That makes me feel loved. If I come over in the morning and you aren’t around for the day, and you still want me to come in? Hair a mess and you’re still wearing what you wore to bed? That makes me feel loved. Just knowing that you are choosing for me to be in your life is huge to me.
Sounds like I’m pretty needy, right? You’re definitely not wrong. And that’s why I don’t like talking about it. That’s why I can’t ask for these things. I hint, and I make suggestions, but I hope that people want to do those things, not because I’m a high maintenance friend or family member. I don’t like feeling like a nuisance to someone.
I “jokingly” talk about how kids and seniors like me best because they don’t care enough to know any better. But honesty, it’s kind of how I feel. Little kids love me. I don’t get it, but it’s something about the way I can relate to them I guess. And older people always seem to have a special place in their hearts for me. But the weird thing is, I’m so willing to accept that these 2 generations have genuine love for me, but I can’t seem to accept that for anyone else who comes in between.
I don’t get it, either.
I try to be a good person. But am I really a good person? Or do I do it because it’s a distraction from being a terrible person to myself? Hmmm…
I have issues with pushing people to things that are more than they possibly are. It’s why most of my friendships have failed in the past. I put way more into it and ran a lot of people off. I probably still do. I do things like pushing that my closest friends are my family. Or always telling them I love them. Or a lot of things that I’m more than likely just overthinking.
Overthinking. It might be something I do best. Overanalyzing. Second guessing.
Do I know I am loved? Yes. Most days. Some days, however, I don’t believe it.
I have a lot less respect for myself than anyone knows. I feel like I am such an unworthy person.
So what can you do to help? Be intentional. But be intentional because it’s important to you. If it’s not genuine then it’s okay to step away. I don’t care about the quantity of love received. It’s about quality.
I asked my wife yesterday if I am a difficult person to love. She immediately told me that it is incredibly easy to love me. Do people really think that? And if that’s true, why do I feel the way I do?
To my family and friends, I love you so incredibly much. I hope you never go a day of questioning that. You are beautiful and mean so much to me.
It’s remarkable how quickly you can be reminded of how fragile your existence is. Or how suddenly you can be halted in your thoughts on your place in this world and your importance in other people’s lives.
Have you ever watched a planned building demolition? It’s absolutely mesmerizing. Something that stood for so long can be brought to nothing in a matter of moments. The history of the building will linger for awhile, but you know you can never put it back the way it once was. You could try, but I can assure you the explosion absolutely destroyed parts of the building and it would never be whole again.
And all it took was the simple push of a button. One tiny little action that sets it all into motion. All the good could be gone in an instant. And you could be the one holding the trigger. But, you could also have no idea who has it.
My building has been demolished several times. I try to piece it back together. I even find extra things to support it and make it stronger than before.
But I’ve realized I’m a little trigger happy and I always seem to find my finger hovering over that button again. And I’ve learned that I’ve handed it over to more people each time I rebuild.
Tonight, I take solace in knowing that if my building continues to be destroyed, my God is always there to help me pick up the pieces and try again. And He usually brings a friend or two along to help me try again.
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.
Warning, this is a very serious post about a mental illness that I have. It is not to be treated as a light subject in any way.
Honestly, this post has been in my head for awhile now, but I’ve been dreading writing it down and giving it life. It’s a side of my life that I honestly hate talking about because it makes me feel so terrible about myself.
But I can’t really put it off any longer. Thanks to Facebook for throwing the reminder in my face, I was at one of my lowest weights a year ago.
Sounds exciting, right? Not when I have put back on almost 30 pounds over the last year.
Why? I know a lot of the reasons why. Most of it is due to complete laziness. It also has to do with stress. Letting my sweet tooth control me. Going through a severe stage of depression. Getting a promotion at work and taking on additional responsibilities. But mostly not putting the time into it like I did a few years ago.
But that’s not what this post is about. Let’s discuss something that has such a stigma around it, and you will rarely hear much about – male body dysmorphia.
What it is about is the fact that even at my lowest weight, after losing nearly 80 pounds, I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I hated pictures of myself.
I lost 80 pounds and could only see the 249 pound person I let myself get to.
And now that I’ve put on 30 pounds and am not even close to my original goal weight any longer? It’s terrible. All I do is look at myself and see the flaws. Constantly.
And you know what is especially hard about it? Is that I am such a hypocrite about body images. I highly encourage people to be comfortable with themselves. I use the word beautiful and share it as often as I can. I make sure to promote healthy self views from a young age.
I think stretch marks are amazingly symbolic of the journey that a person has gone through, especially after childbirth. I have stretch marks. Do I think that about myself? Absolutely not. To me, they are a constant reminder of what I did to myself.
I also have loose skin on my stomach from the rapid weight loss (60 pounds in less than a year). Could I do something about it? Probably. But I am always telling myself what’s the point? I have these stretch marks and this loose skin that I am never going to be comfortable in my own body.
I refuse to go swimming with other people because I have such insecurities with my own body. Is it really that bad? Probably not, but the way I see myself I just can’t get through that mental block.
I wear a compression shirt. Every. Single. Day. Why? Because at this point it is such a security blanket to me that I can’t imagine going a day without it. It squeezes in all my imperfections and hides them away, at least for the day. I can dress nice, and feel good about myself for a little while until I catch my reflection somewhere in something.
I know that it is such a problem for me that I intentionally go out of my way to try to make sure other people don’t feel the way I do about myself. When people say nice things about me physically, I generally do not believe it. In my eyes, I do not see myself as an attractive person, in the slightest. Which is ironic because people tell me my two youngest look just like me and say that they are beautiful. Should be a compliment, right? Right.
My negative feelings about myself physically have been the reason for many of my periods of depression. I start to feel so down on myself that I often will try to seek some sort of validation that things aren’t as bad as I think they are. You know, the cheesy social media post selfies seeking attention, or things like that?
But those never go how you imagine, and you generally do not get the feedback you were hoping for. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and people aren’t comfortable giving men compliments? I don’t know. But when you’re already feeling terrible about yourself and you throw a final S.O.S. out there and get nothing in return? It’s a really quick shortcut to depression and negative self feelings.
When I did photography I would try to limit the amount of editing I did to my clients because I wanted to capture their true essence. Their genuine beauty. And I was great at it. I would often have conversations with clients who would ask for things to be removed and I would push back and tell them it’s a part of them that they should own and feel beautiful in their own skin (things that aren’t temporary like birth marks, moles, etc – not things like pimples that come and go).
But when I see pictures of myself? I want to edit one picture for hours. I want to make that person an attractive person. Because I’ve never felt that way about myself, maybe at least I can manipulate it through editing, right? Not quite.
Body dysmorphia is terrible. I should be proud of how far I’ve come, but all I can do is yell at myself for how close I was to my goal, and how much I’ve let slip away.
And what do I do about it? Nothing! I could be doing more exercises to tone the areas I’m extremely uncomfortable with (my stomach and my chest), but I don’t. Because no one is holding me accountable. Stupid, I know.
I started running a month ago. And I’ve put on 5 pounds. How flipping discouraging is that? I’m doing more strenuous activity than I’ve ever done and my body just mocks me.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to fix my body image issues. I wish I did. I wish I could stop looking at a mirror or a picture of myself and just stop seeing a distorted funhouse mirror version of myself. But I can’t. I don’t know how long I’ve had these feelings. I was in amazing shape when I was in my first year of college (before marriage), but pretty quickly started putting on weight over the next 10 years. When I look at the picture above I wish I could get back to that. I tell myself I would be happy now if I were that person again.
But I know I wasn’t happy with that person when I was there, either.
I could lie and tell you it’s not an every day battle, but it really is. Every day when I have to put on this shirt. Every evening when I climb into bed (which, surprisingly I can’t sleep with a lot of clothes on so that certainly doesn’t help). Every time I see a picture of myself. Every time I look in the mirror and notice my hair is not looking good. Or that it is staring to recede. Or that I look terrible with facial hair. Or that I wish I didn’t have to wear glasses. But putting contacts in is such a hassle. Or that I never feel comfortable with my clothing style. Or how I struggle when I run. Or that I constantly question if I’m eating the wrong things or the wrong amounts. Or thinking about all the toning exercises I should be doing but never do. Every day when I see people who just make things look so effortless.
I wouldn’t wish body dysmorphia on my worst enemy. It literally eats you alive from the inside out. Honestly, I’m surprised I never battled with an eating disorder as much as I don’t have self love for myself. I think it’s because I just stopped looking in the mirror for a long time. And I “noped” out of a lot of picture opportunities.
Someday it will get better. I’m trying to learn to love myself, but it’s not easy.
So the next time you hear me give someone a compliment about the way they look, know that I am saying it with a lot of intentionality and meaning. It is not a superficial remark. I don’t ever want anyone to feel about themselves the way I feel about myself. And if I’m giving you, or someone close to you a compliment? It’s coming from deep in my heart and carries more weight than you probably think (in a making you feel positivity sort of way, if that makes sense).
Today I’m praying boldly and selfishly. I’m praying that You help me overcome these negative feelings and help me to start loving myself. Please continue to guide me towards living a healthier life. I hope to be healthier to live a longer life to be able to do more good in this world for You.
I want to be able to be more active with my loved ones and spend more quality time with them. To be a support and role model for my children.
Please help me in overcoming my control issues with food. And help me in having more will power to be more active and do the things I know I should be doing. My body was given to me by You and I need to be treating it as the gift it is.
You ARE beautiful. Every single one of you. I hope if you hear it enough it will eventually start to sink in.
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.
I’ve got to be honest with you… after I shared my first post in this series last week I immediately had doubts. Fear of judgement overcame me pretty quickly. Why share these parts of my past that no longer reflect who I am?
This is part of my healing process. This is me learning to love myself. I have had so little self worth in the past that I didn’t feel I deserved to be a part of this world.
I thought writing this post would be easier than it actually is, wrongly assuming that many of these things I had already forgiven others and myself for. But the more I write and think about it, the more I realize that this is still a major part of my life that needs to get resolved. Because if it’s not, it’s going to eat away at all the progress I have made.
This week’s topic is about anger. Now, as you’re reading this you will find that a lot of my anger starts with moments of pain. Instead of communicating in the past when things bothered me I would keep everything bottled up and not address them. Do you know what happens when you don’t let things out? They multiply and get ugly very quickly. And eventually everything explodes, sometimes when you least expect it.
And it causes a whole lot of destruction in the process.
And that’s where a lot of my current anger still rests. In the fact that I was a tornado that ripped through a lot of people’s lives with no regard to the damage I was causing along the way.
For most of my life I have tried to be a good person and do the right things. I would avoid situations, places and people that could lead to bad decisions. I tried to be very cognizant about the friends I chose, especially in high school and college. But I have always had a serious sense of paranoia that despite all the good I was doing I could be accused of doing something that I didn’t do.
Do you know how difficult it is to live a life trying to ensure that everything is so perfect that you could never be blamed for something? It’s exhausting. Constantly trying to think 5 steps ahead of everyone else, playing what-if scenarios in your mind over and over again.
And do you know what is absolutely gut-wrenching? Doing everything right and still having your worst fears come true.
Now, I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life. I’ve cursed. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve hurt a lot of people emotionally.
But there’s also a lot I’ve never done. I’ve never physically harmed someone. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t even spank my children (we will get to that below). I try to make sure that the good I do outweighs the bad that sometimes comes from me.
But sometimes, it’s really hard to do good things when you live in a constant state of fear because of, often, the insecurities of others. And the feelings start as sadness and grow into anger.
So let’s get into this, shall we? Let’s talk about how words, and more specifically false accusations, can destroy a person.
I absolutely love being around children. And, for whatever reason, kids seem to love me. I can come down to their level and speak to them in a way that they can relate to. I can be silly and playful and act their age, not my own. Tea parties, dress up, sword fights, hide and seek, writing make believe stories, drawing pictures, painting your nails. These are some of the best things to do in life, period. It’s one of the reasons I was really good at my job when I did photography. Moms would call me the “Baby Whisperer” because of the way I could calm kids and make them happy. A child’s laugh and smile are truly just two of the greatest gifts to the world.
And I never had to think about the way I interacted with kids for the longest time until someone one day mentioned that I made them uncomfortable by the way I apparently looked at their children. And it absolutely destroyed my heart and ruined a part of my life. So now, anytime I am around people, because of one person, I am always fully aware of my behavior around everyone, not just children. I am always trying to make sure that I can never be in a position where someone can say something that is not true to who I am as a person.
Do you know how exhausting that is? I would love to be in a career where I could help children all day. In fact, if I could do things all over again I would 100% be a pediatric doctor. I often, still, think about going back to school for that, even at 32 and with 3 degrees already.
I’ve had people tell me how great I am with kids and how much they see that kids love being around me. And it’s always a great thing to hear. But it’s also very sad that I have to live in fear that someone, someday could manipulate a situation just to destroy my life. And it makes me extremely angry. Why? Because in this world we live in, the accusations don’t even have to be true to ruin someone’s life.
I just want to do good, but I can’t because of other people. My wife asked me how long it would be before I volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at church. Would I love to do that? Absolutely. But I live in fear of others words. I’m starting to let my guard down a lot more around family. It just makes my heart so full whenever the girls get so excited to see me, even if I just facetime them.
I also try to be very cautious about the way I discipline my children. I do not spank my children, but I also do not judge anyone who chooses to discipline in that way. To be fair, my kids probably deserve a good spanking every once in awhile for their behavior, just not from me. Again, because people wanted to throw words around without thinking of the consequences that would come from them, I will never discipline my children in that way. So instead, my next best option for discipline comes from empty threats of grounding and yelling. And, at times in the past, a lot of yelling.
My threats are empty because I don’t want to be perceived as a mean parent. Granted, yelling at my kids isn’t a whole lot better, but it’s just been the one thing that I haven’t been able to control when I get angry. When I say I yell at my kids, I don’t mean that I scream at them. More times than not, it’s just enough to get their attention, or be heard over their own yelling. You know, the “dad voice”.
But I have been angry that, again, I was falsely accused of doing something I have never done and would never do.
So let’s continue this trend of false accusations and the anger that comes along with them…
My trust for others, and my lack of friendship, stems from a fairly devastating accusation that ended an extremely close friendship.
I’ve been very honest with the fact that when I love, I love deeply. And I will give so much of myself, even with a friendship, for people I truly care about. I am that person that will show up at 3:00 in the morning. Or the one that will leave work in the middle of the day to come and give you a shoulder to cry on. I will be the person that will drive around town for hours in search of a hard to find item. I am the person that will give the shirt off my back, even though I am so uncomfortable with my own body.
I will ask for forgiveness for my lack of humbleness later, but when given the opportunity I can be a pretty incredible friend.
And I have a way of making people feel good. Like, really good. As in, if you’re having a really crappy day, I can more than likely tell you the things you need to hear to be in a much better place. I am an extremely kind person, especially out in public. Sometimes to the point where it annoys my wife (I will wait, for long periods of time, instead of interrupting someone out in public). I always tip on everything, because I always assume that if service wasn’t great then this person clearly must be fighting a battle I know nothing about.
But sometimes my kindness can be taken the wrong way. Sometimes people believe I have ulterior motives.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Fact, I do know how to flirt. But I can assure you, more times than not if you think I am flirting, I’m probably just being nice. Or just being playful. Even my wife sometimes thinks I flirt out in public.
But honestly, I genuinely just try to be a good person and make other people feel good. Do you know how sad it makes me that because of the world we are in I can’t tell people when they look nice? Or that I like their clothes? Or can’t mention it when they get a new perfume or cologne that smells good? Do you know how angry it makes me that I can’t compliment others? Do you know how frustrating it is that I can’t use the word “beautiful” to others other than my wife and kids? It’s stupid, because it is a word that should instantly bring a smile to someone’s face, but because people think there has to be some other connotation to the word I can’t tell them.
Anyways, apparently my kindness and willingness to be there for close friends was taken by others as more than just being a really good friend. People so wrongly assume that the opposite sex just can’t be friends with one another without there being something more.
And that particular situation just absolutely destroyed me. Sadness, depression and ultimately anger. Because all I ever wanted was to just have a really good friend. Someone that I could be there for and they could be there for me. But people had to ruin it by not seeing things for what they truly were.
And then more accusations of me being in situations that I’ve never even been in. Those ones ares the hardest to swallow because you hear one story and then it just keeps changing to outlandish claims that you eventually just get overwhelmed by. But the anger comes when people you thought you could trust start to believe them. And then completely pull out of your life as if something actually happened. And, again, the accusations are worse when they come from people that you thought you could trust.
That’s enough of the false accusations I’ve had to deal with. Let’s discuss other things that are still consuming me with anger…
How about thinking someone who was supposed to be a mentor to you for 6 years ends up not being who you thought they were and were actually using you all that time? Yeah, that would be from a previous work superior. Thankfully I had an amazing person come into my life and in less than 6 months fixed a lot of the damage that I didn’t even realize at first was caused. She eventually moved on, but I am blessed to still keep in touch with her to this day (and who may be reading this now).
Or how about your accomplishments being belittled to the point where your own siblings and uncle tell you that what you’ve done doesn’t even matter? This lead me to a point where I actually had a breaking point where I almost physically hurt one of my brothers. And if it weren’t for my dad being where he was in that instant and intervening, things could have gotten really bad. Not that other people’s opinions should matter, but when you have sacrificed so much to be where you are and other people treat it like it’s nothing, it really hurts.
Or losing all relationship with your siblings. That one hurts a lot and eventually lead to anger because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their group. I remember early in my twenties the relationship I had with all of my siblings was great. We would hang out together all the time. They would spend the night and we would stay up until early into the morning playing games together. Or we would go to the movies. Or just play catch at my parent’s house. But now do you know when I hear from any of them? Aside from one who lives on the other side of the country, only when they need something. And I’ve been told it’s because they think I believe I am better than them, but all I truly want is to help them be better people. I have offered so many times to help them, and do you know how many times they’ve taken me up on it? Once. One time, ever, and they didn’t even actually do anything with it. I can be hard on them, but it’s only because I see the potential that they don’t see within themselves.
Another thing that really angers me? Is being punished for doing well in life. That we are held to a different standard than everyone else in the family because we are responsible. The fact that things will be taken from us to give to someone else who truly is not deserving. And I’m angry about the fact that my wife has to have such terrible memories about our wedding because she is the “other daughter”. I’m angry that she had to be continually slapped in the face last year at her own sister’s wedding and constantly reminded for months that her wedding wasn’t as important. I’m angry at all the work that I had to pay for last year from family that did the same thing for free to everyone else. It bothers me that something that was given to everyone else isn’t being offered to us just because I have a good job. It hurts to be treated worse for doing better. I’m angry at the fact that almost all of our family lives less than 10 minutes from our house but very rarely ever makes an effort to see us, but will drive over 2.5 hours multiple times a month to see other people. I’m angry at the fact that my wife was basically broken from being in a toxic work environment for so many years that she chose to walk away from flexibility with her children to be in a place where she was respected.
I get angry at the way that my oldest daughter constantly lies to us, even about the dumbest things. I have anger about the way my youngest children treat each other, knowing that if they just chose to love one another unconditionally that they would be so much happier.
I am angry for the fact that I almost lost my wife last year because I was stupid and thought I wanted things I definitely did not want. And that I hurt her by saying some pretty damaging things. And the fact that she lost a lot of trust in me because of it, sometimes still having unseen consequences.
I get angry at the fact that I let myself get so unhealthy that I was unable to even do anything active with my own children. And I still struggle with my body to this day. Do you know how frustrating it is to be so uncomfortable with yourself that you will avoid swimming, even around family, because I still see myself as 60 pounds heavier than I am.
And I get angry at the fact that I willingly chose to turn my back to God and think that I was in control of my own life.
As you can tell, I’ve got a lot of anger I still need to free myself from. I’m hoping that giving myself to Jesus entirely will remove this from my heart.
I realize I still struggle greatly with feelings of sadness and anger. I pray that You will guide me in seeking the forgiveness that I truly need to free myself from this pain.
Please help me in forgiving those who have stolen parts of me that I struggle with finding again.
All I want to do is bring joy to this world. I want to bring happiness to others. I want those around me to be filled with smiles and laughter.
I want to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best caretaker, etc. that I can be.
I know You have already forgiven me for all the wrong I have done. I hope You can help me with the pain and anger that I am trying work through.
I ask that You please continue to be patient with me.
Please forgive me for turning my back on You so many times, allowing myself to be consumed with all of this pain.
On this path I am on to be a surrendered follower of Jesus I am learning to love unconditionally. Not only others, but also myself. How am I to seek forgiveness without addressing my sins and failures? I can’t just drop to my knees and yell out “Please forgive me for everything I have done!”. That just feels like I’m cheating. Like I haven’t worked to earn what I am asking for. But Jesus already knows everything I have done and everything I have thought. He has already forgiven me before I have even asked for forgiveness, right?! You’re absolutely correct.
So why am I doing this? I could just keep all these thoughts to myself and no one would ever know this part of my past. I could have a clean start. But I don’t want that. I want people to know that I am a broken person. That I am going through a lot of hard work to have this relationship with Jesus. It’s not necessary. He will accept me for the simple request of forgiveness, but I need to free myself of these thoughts and feelings and release the bonds. I need to address the demons so that I can have a clean start for me. I will be seeking to be re-baptized soon, so over the next few weeks (and possibly months) I am going to be working on a series to start addressing some (the list is long) of my faults and weaknesses. I want to free my heart of these burdens before I cleanse myself and start my life fully surrendered.
I will be pouring out my thoughts and feelings and trying to explain the context of the situations.
You probably are not going to like the things I have to share. I don’t like them. They hurt. A lot. But I can not pretend as if my past did not happen. I have to use them as learning opportunities to build a stronger relationship with Jesus.
So let’s dive right into this…
My wife and I are currently working on finalizing all of our “post-death” wishes. Setting up a living trust, making adjustments to life insurance policies, etc. Of course, in any normal conversation, this is going to bring up a lot of emotions and what-if scenarios.
We’ve all played the “What If?” game, right?! It’s absolutely terrible. This game is never played with positive outcomes! It’s always the worst case scenarios and just makes what you’re talking about so uncomfortable.
Here’s a scenario that brings up a lot of sad memories and where today’s topic comes from – “What if you get sick?”
Now, this has been a big component of a lot of relationships in my life. I watched my grandmother deteriorate from cancer in front of my eyes to the point that I felt peace when she finally passed away, knowing she was no longer suffering. I’ve watched my dad collapse walking across the house because of health issues. I watched my grandfather take cocktails of medications on a daily basis just to get through the day from COPD. I see people needing to carry around oxygen tanks just to be able to breathe and perform a necessary requirement to live.
I’ve seen children with scars that take up their entire chests from heart conditions and surgeries. I’ve seen children who literally are at risk of drowning in their sleep from cystic fibrosis. I’ve seen children who couldn’t even eat food on their own.
I’ve seen pain. I’ve seen suffering. I’ve seen death…
Here’s a story most of you probably don’t know about me, for reasons that will become evident soon. A few years ago I suffered unimaginably painful migraines. We’ve all had some before where we just want to lock ourselves in a dark room and sleep the day away. But mine were so bad that I wanted to gouge out my eyes because the sunlight hurt so bad (some days pressing on my eyes would make the pain subside, if only for a few moments). I would cause pain to other parts of my body to temporarily distract from my head.
It was intense. I went through so many different medications trying to find something that would work. Every single week the doctor was prescribing something new, and nothing ever seemed to do the trick. Eventually it lead to another round of severe depression.
Finally the doctors started to suspect something else was going on. So guess what comes next? Yup. The conversations of MRIs and CT scans to check for brain tumors. And here’s the part of the story that you guys aren’t going to like, because it makes me so sad to think about…
I hoped that there was something wrong with me. I hoped that they would get in there and say “Oh, well there it is!” and then turn around and tell me that I only had a year or so left to live.
I wanted that conversation to happen.
Obviously, as I sit here today, that conversion didn’t actually happen. God has bigger plans for me. Tests continually came back positive and the new medications kept coming. A medication finally did the trick after months of testing and I was placed on an anticonvulsant for a very long time until the pain finally subsided.
And guess what happened when that conversation didn’t happen? I was disappointed! I was sad that I wasn’t dying. I envied the people that I saw that were sick. Not for the pain that they were going through, but for the love that they received because of it. Because in those moments where people were at their lowest physically, they were at their strongest spiritually. And they were surrounded by loved ones.
And I didn’t believe that I had that.
What was wrong with me?!
I sat at my cousins funeral 6 years ago and saw the place filled with people that loved him so incredibly much. And it was in that moment that I realized I felt so alone in this world. But Kyle, your family should be enough, right?! Right. But that’s a forgiveness post for another day.
But thinking of my mortality just brought about sadness. And anger. And very conflicting feelings that just made me feel even more lost. I have a soft spot for sappy books and movies where the main protagonist dies in the end, more specifically from sickness. I would watch these movies and read these books and see how much good came as they approached the end of their lives. And I would long for that. But then I would turn around and think of my funeral if I were to pass and could only see maybe 10 people showing up, including my own family. So, I would want to be sick to be able to have an excuse to bring people closer to me, but I didn’t want to be sick because it would be a reminder of how alone I truly was? That’s not okay.
I’ve just recently come to the realization of how alone I really was for such a long time. I only have myself to blame, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s, rightfully, hard for me to admit these things, especially knowing how incredibly selfish it is because people have to actually endure these horrible moments in their lives. And I’m so sorry if you think I am lessening the extremities of these situations.
But this is something that is no longer a part of who I am. My life is not my own to live.
One, I have a growing family that loves and wants me around.
Two, that is not the way Jesus lived His life! He gave His life for others, including me. Not for His own selfish desires! He gave the ultimate sacrifice so I could be stupid and free to think those terrible things in the first place.
Three, I am not here, living this life, to build a kingdom of my own. I am here to serve others and to make a difference.
My thoughts were incredibly selfish, upsetting, sad and not pure.
So today, I seek forgiveness. For my envy. For devaluing my life when it is not mine to do so. For believing that God’s plan for me was less than my own.
Today I am one step closer to loving myself unconditionally, for I have come to realize that Jesus is a part of who I am, and for Him to love me unconditionally I must do the same and live as if He were living my life for me.
I have lived my life for so long as a sinner. My sin has brought me no joy or happiness in life. It was not until I began to give my life to You that the skies began to clear and the light was shown on my life.
I ask for forgiveness from You today for treating my life as if it weren’t such an incredible gift from You, personally! Please forgive me for undervaluing my life and hoping for it to be shortened. I know You have been by my side through every transgression, protecting me from myself and not answering my prayers. Sometimes the greatest gift in life is unanswered prayers.
You have plans for my life that I can not even imagine and I will do everything that I can to share my gifts and blessings with others. I will serve others!
I am a sinner. Thank You for bearing my sins for me and for allowing me to be, for lack of better words, an idiot for such a long time.
I am a better person because of You, and I will continue to follow in Your footsteps and live my life as if You were living it for me. What a blessing it is to know that You are a part of who I am!
In Jesus’ name.
I’m sorry for such a heavy post. I wish I could say that they get easier from here, but I know that that is not true. But on the bright side of all of this, we all already know how the story ends – with me living a fully surrendered life to Jesus and finding my way back to His Kingdom!
Today is officially my birthday and for the first time in a very long time it will be a joyous day. March 4th can no longer be a sad day, even if the world is falling apart around me because I now get to share this day with an incredibly special person! So, happy birthday beautiful girl! You are so very loved!
A weird thing happened over the last 10 days that hasn’t happened in a very long time… I haven’t had any feelings of insecurity or sadness. I have been filled with so much happiness and love in my life that it has started to spill over into the way I go about my days.
I’ve been reminded lately that the gifts I have been given are not mine. They are a blessing that I was given to share with the world, and to help others when I am able (and to sacrifice when I am unable).
Right now, at the point I am in with my life, the best thing I have found that I am able to do is to bring joy and happiness to others.
That’s crazy, right? Me, a person who has just so recently felt like they had no purpose in this world, now feels like they can make a difference in other people’s lives?
So how have I been doing this? Simple…
Do Good. If you don’t want to listen to me, take it from the brilliant Mr. Feeny:
Simple enough, right? If you go into a situation with a positive, helping attitude, it just makes all the difference. Headed into a tough situation? Do something to make it better. Talking to someone that has a negative disposition? Point out their positives.
There is positive in every single situation. Focus on those and multiply them. Bring them to the forefront of a conversation.
Be the person that others want to be around. That people will feel comfortable around and know that you will bring a smile to their face.
I will warn you, however, that we unfortunately live in a very harsh world. People are always skeptical of kindness. They believe there has to be an ulterior motive.
To that, I will remind you of the “Anyway” prayer attributed to Mother Teresa (originally written by Kent M. Smith):
So do it anyways. If you are doing things out of the pure nature, kindness and love of your heart, who cares what others think? Now, of course, be respectful of other people’s feelings and levels of comfort. But try to bring as much joy and love as you possibly can to this beautiful world we live in.
Stop living each day as if tomorrow is promised.
Tell your loved ones you love them.
Give people your time. It’s a rare and precious thing.
Make others feel welcomed.
If you have gifts, share them with others.
Build others up so they can go far in life.
Compliment people you do and do not know. Let someone know they are beautiful. Or that you like their clothing style. Or their haircut is nice. Or that they just made you smile.
Bring love, joy and happiness to everyone around you!
Can you imagine a world where we are all supporting one another and helping others achieve happiness and success? What a beautiful thing that would be!
I have been hurt in the past, but I don’t wish poorly of any of them in any capacity. I thank God for the learning opportunities and pray that he will watch over their lives.
Do Good. Live this every single day and watch how the world changes around you. You stop noticing the harshness and see wonder instead.
Let’s make today a great day.! I don’t need anything special for my birthday, but knowing that people are going out of their way to brighten others’ lives simply because I reminded them will bring a smile to my face.
So, I will get this “Do Good” movement started…
I love you. Yes, YOU! The person reading this. You are an absolutely beautiful soul! If knowing that brings a smile to your face then I am so glad to be able to share this life with you!
Today will be a day filled with love, joy and happiness!
Today I want to quickly thank You for blessing me with another year and for being patient as I found my way back to You.
Now that I’m out of the way, today I pray that You bless the lives of so many people! Give them comfort, and joy, and love and happiness. Let them feel Your presence!
Please protect my loved ones who have been under constant attack lately. Please allow them to stay focused and continue fighting to spread Your good word. Their hearts are aching and I pray that You will grant them peace and comfort.
I pray for the continued health, happiness and safety of others.
Today starts a new year of life and I am so excited to spend this year building my relationship with You!