Wednesday, December 3, 2014

a sacrifice of thanks.

I'm not sure how to put into words what last weekend felt like. Our first major holiday as a truly separated couple. It felt heavy and hard and gritty and vulnerable. But on the other hand, it lifted my spirits to have my immediate family in my house all weekend, so it was life-giving at the same time. I've said before that the constant dull ache of loneliness is the hardest thing to live with (even months and months into this), so having people in my house make that ache disappear and makes me feel more human again. I'm an introvert. I crave quiet and alone time desperately. But I've realized how terribly we all need companionship. This quote has been swirling through my head since I read it several weeks ago:
"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything." -Tim Keller
This season has made me feel so very human. So very lacking. I look at my daily life and feel like I'm just barely holding on to any thread of sanity. I feel like the biggest loser in my role as a stay-at-home mom these days. Truly, though, I'm not writing these things to garner sympathy or encouragement (though that is always welcome.) But I know there are other women who need to know they're not alone down there at rock bottom. And for that reason I continue to write. And I'm not just here to say, "hey, I'm down here too." I'm here to say He's down here too. I listened to a quick Brene Brown clip that a dear friend sent me and my favorite part said something along the lines of, "our relationship with Jesus isn't supposed to look like an epidural that takes away all of our pain. It's supposed to look like the midwife who sits with us in the pain." My future has never looked more uncertain in my life. But I stand firm in the knowledge that my life is secure in God's hands. My mind can race a mile a minute thinking about all the what if's and following bunny trail after bunny trail. These thoughts are utterly endless when divorce is a looming threat. But on good days I cut those thoughts short. I remind myself of all of the verses about worry and what good it actually does. (None. Worse than none. It's harmful.) And then I just let my thoughts linger on heaven. That's always far more comforting than sitting with my worry, growing in my mind like a snowball racing out of control down a hill. I was telling a group of my closest friends about where things are currently and they told me I sounded at peace. I'm thankful that came through in my voice because that is how I feel. My house does not feel peaceful. My daily life feels anything but peaceful. But I have peace down in the depths of my soul.

Here are some snapshots of our Thanksgiving day. I haven't done a post with lots of pictures lately because I haven't picked up my big camera much. It was fun to capture this day. I hope I look back at these pictures and see God in all of it.
They played with the kinetic sand all morning. And instead of the usual lava pits and animals sinking to their death in quicksand, it was all cakes and cookies and biscuits. I love having girls in my house.

 My mama gettin' her bacon on in the kitchen.
Sisters doing what we do best. Watching our mama cook while drinking all the coffee and mimosas. (We have an older brother too, by the way. He lives outside of Yosemite in California and is currently on vacation in Argentina with our sister-in-law.)
We all still joined my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner because that's what we've always done. It was a lovely day despite everything. We've still done family things together and I'm thankful for that for my boys.
Nana's give the best snuggles: 
Channing snuggled right up with his great grandma and stayed there for a long time. I know this was the highlight of her day and it warmed my heart that she felt cherished. Nothing like a baby crawling in your lap to make you feel loved.

This Christmas season feels scary to walk through. My heart aches and my stomach clenches when I see pictures of people decorating Christmas trees and doing festive family things together. That was supposed to be us. This was never supposed to be us. And I think of all the other broken homes-- separation, divorce, a death, military wives...I know I'm not the only one putting on a brave face but feeling a bit like you're crumbling inside. Just because I'm at peace, doesn't mean I'm not feeling all of the crushing heartache for what I'm missing. For what my boys are missing. But sometimes I think about the person I was before I went through this. I had sympathy for the woman who lost her husband or for the newly divorced or the military wife who had to tough out a year without her husband. But I couldn't have understood that depth of hurt and loneliness if I'd tried. (And I did try.) And so I thank God for everything that deepens my character and drives me closer to him and makes me more humble and aware of His grace. And for everything that opens my eyes wider to the hurting around me.

There are people who have loved me so well through this season. My friends, both near and far, have come through for me time and time again. I had a friend mail me a box with 25 gifts wrapped up for me to open each day in December. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I called her to thank her. That sort of generosity blows me away. To feel remembered and cherished is the best feeling in the world. I hope to have hundreds of opportunities to bless others in situations like mine down the road. I'd encourage you to bless a single mom in some way in the next few weeks. She will most assuredly cry and love you forever.

If this post resonated with you in some way, jump over to my girl, Shannan's blog post, When You're Not Merry Yet. Because sister's got a gift for words and she tells it like it is and tells it like it should be. God bless her for it.


  1. Oh, Haverlee, it's so weird to write in a public space and wonder if anyone even cares to read to the end. For me, I blog to get thoughts out. Sometimes my "journaling" needs to be reeled in. I forget people read! With all that said, thank you for sharing. Thank you for being honest. Though we have never met, I thought of you often over the holiday weekend. Having grown up in a single parent home (one that my mom NEVER wanted) I never gave my mom's loneliness a second thought. She is and was a great mom. I'm sure she was lonely and I don't know if she had anyone to talk with. I'm so glad you have family who are present and embrace current reality - not your dream, but reality. As I thought of you, I prayed for you as you parent those adorable kids alone. Gosh, I can't even imagine. You CAN with His strength. You CAN'T on your own. I'll keep praying for God's will for your family and practically, strength for each day.

  2. God bless you, haverlee! i'm so sorry for the lonliness and the lack of peace. my heart goes out to you as your sister in Christ. and it's breaking for you, as tears of compassion well up in my eyes. may He carry you through this season. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. thank God for that!

  3. Oh friend. I so badly want to be the epidural and take all your pain away. Or at least numb it for a while. But I'll be the midwife and sit in this with you for however long you need in whatever way I can. Love you.

  4. thank you for letting us in to your story while the pages are still being written. it is such a honor. you are such an encouragement to me.

  5. You are a brave woman and a talented writer. Thanks for your honesty.

  6. You are dearly loved brave friend.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I do, to an extent, know about that loneliness and crumbling feeling. Thank the Lord for His mercies and comfort!

  8. Haverlee - I found you via FPFG. She's lovely, and so are you. My heart hurt when I read your post, not in pity, but in empathy. I know what that broken pain feels like. I know what it is to feel like your'e holding your breath waiting for it to be over, to try to hold your head high and enjoy what's in front of you right now instead of collapsing into sadness over what's not. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. My heart is with you and your family. Blessings to you all. :-)

  9. I have struggled with Christmastime for my whole married life(20 years). My husband's mom walked out on their family the week before Christmas when he was 15, and every December my normally energetic, fun husband turns inward and dark. As a young wife, I thought that if I prayed enough or was patient enough or worked hard enough or loved enough, he would eventually come to love Christmas the way I did. Well, that never happened. I just ended up exhausted. But I have experienced something different this year. I have finally accepted that that is EXACTLY why we celebrate Christ's birth. It is why He came down into our broken and tangled world. He came into our hurt and pain to save us from it all! So it has occurred to me recently that maybe it's ok that we experience hurt and pain more acutely during advent. That it gives us the time to turn it all over to Him, again, and prepare our hearts to receive our King, and to appreciate once again how desperately we need Him. May God show up in amazing ways to all of us who are hurting this Christmas! Blessings to you and your readers.

  10. I can't decide if I'm super creepy or just so excited that I found another Iowan blogger! I randomly found your instagram account and now your blog, and I just want to tell you that your writing is beautiful and transparent.
    Also - congrats on the new house! It looks every bit charming and comfortable, can't wait to see how you turn it into a home for you and your boys.


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