Right before me lie a lifetime’s worth of pains, fears, resentments, hurts.  I know that I am soon giving it all over to my Creator and Savior, and yet there is so much that I want to hang on to.  I wish never to forget this experience, this night, the fact that I just drove home from R’s house smiling and crying at the same time.  Crying in gratitude, smiling in pure joy, relief.  Crying at some of the realizations, at what they meant and what they will always  mean.

Towards the end, when I read the fear of being too demanding, critical, or that my children won’t know they are loved… and then acknowledging that that was just my fear making that fear up… that it was probably based on my own upbringing.  And R looked me in the eyes and said “you are not your mom.”  “Yeah, I know.”  And she repeated those five words: “you are not your mom.”  I nodded.  My eyes got just the hint of watering.  And once more for good measure, “you are not your mom.”
Right now, in this moment, I realize that I am not my mom.  That so many of these hurts are based on my mom.  Moms have so much impact.  They make such a tremendous difference on our outlook on life.  To hear out loud what I already in my heart knew, that my mom has different ways of showing what to her, looks like love… I think of what I’ve read about people not being spiritually full, whole, and because of their own pain, an inability to fully love or care for others.

I had “thought” before of my mom’s upbringing, have many times referenced her mom being so similar to her.  Never though, did I realize how deep that went.  Never had I thought that her berating me on the phone to her “friends” might have been on the phone to her mom, because she was just trying to earn her mom’s approval by being like her in that hurtful way.  Just like I tried to win my mom’s approval as a child, she was possibly in that same cycle with her own mother, and though I was the one hurt by it, she might have been equally hurt by her own mom.  It doesn’t make sense all the way, but I at least feel a little more compassion and a HINT more understanding, maybe.  Maybe.

I breathe.  Look at the papers.  They’re just so full.  I recognize the difference between resentments and annoyances.  I recognize that I can. not. control. other people.  I knew that, but now I SEE it, at least am starting to see it.

We had another great conversation about some fears.  My children dying fear is so very unlikely that I need to start working towards finding a way that works for me to redirect that thinking immediately.  My husband getting lost in his addiction again is much more possible.  I have faith in him, and confidence that he will remain faithful to his recovery, to me, yet it is possible.  And because of that, I need to not only redirect my thinking but acknowledge that even if that fear does come to fruition, It Will Not Destroy Me.

The only thing that could destroy me if I lost him or lost a child, would be losing my faith and dependence on God.  Because very simply, as long as I have TRUST HIM, I will be okay, no matter what else.  No matter what else.

I am so thankful for this program.  I can’t even begin to believe the changes that it has brought into my life.  All because of the cancer that I didn’t have, which led me to my first meeting, which opened my eyes to possibilities of living for real.

It’s important that I remember that it takes two people to have a relationship, healthy or not.  I do not have to take responsibility for what happened in JT’s marriage, because he too, was a willing participant.  What I do have to take responsibility for is my own actions.  Actions that were based on fear and self will.  Fear and self will are not of God.

There was a lot of focus on boundaries, both with M, J, H, free photography, and also a lot of focus on my expectations.  That because I can not control people, places, things or situations, since I am not in control of how J responds to my bladder problems or how my mother does or does not comment on how cute the children are, that these things are out of my control.  And being out of my control means…?  Means what?  That I need to let it go?  That I need not focus on those missing desired responses?  Thoughts.

She also asked if my mom/parents have had any negative comments the last time they were here.  They did not.  They haven’t for a few years.  They show up, give gifts, and don’t notice anything lovely.  For years, that has made me irate inside.  Why is that not enough from them, to show up and be present?  Even if they aren’t conversational, don’t go deep, maybe it doesn’t need to be my problem.  Maybe I can just accept what they do have to offer, and be grateful for that.

I also heard and started to understand that when sharing my marriage story, I could still make an impact by being vague.  I’ve not been a very assertive or direct person at all, and though I have the words in my head, it’s hard to make them come out.  R inspired me by very naturally being able to say a few sentences that just amazed me.  I yearn to be able to state my truths without shame or apology or anxiety.  It may come to me if I let the seed grow for a while.

I felt my heart soften, my heart open up a little bit in ways that it had been very tightly closed.  Just some possibilities.  Asking my dad if he ever got that card in his briefcase 10 years ago.  Letting go of something IN THE PAST because it is only and forever going to only be IN THE PAST (Jim’s mom’s letter.)  Acknowledging the pain of what I did in very poor choices with other men, with allowing C to be hurt when I knew it was wrong.  That all those very very painful memories are in the past, and God can use it all for good, somehow.  Every single thing in His kingdom can and will be used for good on His timing, not mine.