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Twice now I’ve gone with my husband to his bi-weekly counselor appointment.  Very, very interesting…

This man specializes in counseling people with addictive behaviors, was probably in his 60’s, had bright and interesting tattoos peeking out from the edges of his clothing and wore very casual clothing with short, unkept hair and scruffy facial hair.

For the first session his questions were direct and to the point, no beating around the bush and while he didn’t give us anything “new” to do or think about he facilitated our speaking out loud things that we don’t normally say to each other, mostly good things but also some not-so-good.

My husband became more and more nervous on the drive there, and during the session his body language was shouting loud and clear that he was not comfortable at all, although I have to give him Kudos for going through with it because I could see how difficult it was for him to have me there.  He sat on the other side of the couch from me with his arms crossed for probably 45 minutes.  During the last 15 minutes he uncrossed his arms from over his chest and crossed them lower, over his abdomen.

The entire ride home my husband was focused on one tiny statement that I had made somewhere in the middle of the counseling session and I wonder if he really heard anything else that was said after it.  The counselor asked me if I had been ready to leave our relationship and I said yes, about a couple of weeks ago I was right on the edge.  So, of course, that was all my husband could think about.  Two weeks ago you were ready to leave me and I didn’t know – how can I trust you to stay now?

By this point I’m about ready to smack him but I just keep thinking, there is a paranoid, fearful little 7th grade boy inside my 41-year-old husband’s body who just found out (after the fact) that his “girlfriend” wanted to break up with him but didn’t.  All the pain and anguish of an actual break-up (that never happened) is now coursing through his mind and body just by thinking about it.  (Yes, I was a junior higher in love once upon a time too…)  To him it’s real, it’s as good as it happened so how does he know that it’s not going to happen again?

“You are just going to have to trust me.”  I say.  “We’ll have been married 19 years this next month and I haven’t left you yet so you are just going to have to decide if you will trust me or not.  If you decide you can’t trust me you will drive yourself crazy and our marriage will be over anyway so you choose.”

Fortunately(?) he decided to trust me, for now.  In the past he has been quick to bring up the past and hold it against me but I have seen a lot of improvement in the last four months or so all I can do is wait and see…

Maybe my reason for existence has nothing to do with myself, maybe I am here on this earth to help this man grow up and God knew it would take my entire life to do so.  That’s a somewhat depressing thought but if even a little, teeny part of that is true then I need to follow my calling because that is where my happiness lies.

We went to our second joint counseling session this last week.  There was a lot more non-essential conversation this time than last time and he most asked us things about what have we been doing to communicate better and what has my husband been doing to get over his addiction and how do I feel about it, stuff like that.  I don’t know that we accomplished a lot but my husband was much more relaxed this session than he was the last one and we decided to continue with this counselor on a once-a-month basis instead of the two weeks we had been going.

Our goal is to find a couple at church that would be willing to meet with us once a months also so we have a balance of godly counseling along with a very worldly but professional trained counselor.  I don’t want to hear “get your relationship with God right” every single counseling session and never ever get into the nuts and bolts of what is wrong between my husband and I.  Yes, my relationship with God needs to be better and so does his but I think there needs also to be some practical, applicable advice to our day-to-day relationship along with the godly counsel of developing our own, separate relationships with God.

Overall things are looking better between us and I am pleased.  There is hope at the end of the tunnel and we may be in the midst of a miracle after all!


Finally, the day you have all (most likely) been waiting for – I grew up a little bit!

I have come to realize that my search to define myself in the last year has been both beneficial and detrimental to me.  Beneficial because I have learned a lot about who I really am, not who I want to be or think I am but who I really am.  Detrimental because during this whole time I have been so focused on myself and all my own little problems that I haven’t taken the time to really “see” other people and their struggles with their own, every-day lives.  My self-focusing has caused me to miss out on my greatest joy – helping others.

I’m a helper, always have been.  I’m a great listener, a secret-keeper, and I love to help, even to serve.  If I go to a party at your house you’re more likely to find me in your kitchen, helping bring out the food and picking up the extra dishes lying around and bringing them back to the sink.  When I help other people I feel good, I feel so good that I actually get energy from helping others and leave feeling more alive than I did when I walked in.

I’ve missed that feeling.

I’ve missed helping others walk through their problems.

I was born to help people and I’ve missed that part of being me.

When I set my focus on “finding myself” I ignored several parts of “being” myself that I already knew I loved being.

I was wrong to let those go while I was searching for “something more”.

Today I am smarter, bolder, stronger, braver and more willing to speak out against what is wrong.  But I am still compassionate, loving, kind, helpful and caring.  I had thought I couldn’t be both… but I can!

I can be frustrated and upset without worrying that I’m going to lose my salvation.  I can be kind and sweet without being a doormat.  I can understand where my husband is at emotionally and respond to him appropriately without losing my marriage.  I can survive my teen-aged daughters crazy schedules and multiple health issues without going insane. (I am, however, going broke… ugh!)  I can say no to helping people without feeling guilty when I need to step back and take care of myself.

I was created to survive and survive I shall.  Not only will I survive but I will grow and blossom right where I am.  I will not allow life’s circumstances to stop me any longer.

I purchased some little metal puzzle pieces to hang on my key-chain.  They say:  I am Valuable; I am Grateful; and I am Authentic.  They help me to remember who I am.

From now on my relationship with God is first.  Taking care of my family is second. Meeting my own needs and helping others is going to have to be a tie for third.  When I can help you I will and with joy and gladness in my heart.  If I need to rest and take care of myself I will tell you I’m very sorry but can’t help you at that moment.  And life will go on for both of us because survival is just the beginning…

Now I want to learn how to live!

Our neighborhood is full of these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed squirrels that love to run across the street.  (No, I did not hit one…)  They almost get to the other side and then they notice me in my car.  Some pause before running back to the side they came from (those are usually the young ones who aren’t sure what to do) but most of them turn on a dime and scamper back to safety, back to what they know – you could even call it “the past”.  Unfortunately safety isn’t always on the side they came from because it’s a much shorter distance to the side they were trying to get to originally, but it’s unknown, like “the future”.  More often than not us friendly neighborhood drivers will slow down for them and laugh as they zip back and forth across the streets in front of cars and the brainless squirrels are safe.  But on the main roads our own safety and the safety of others does not allow us the luxury of accommodating a rodent with the Squirrel Mentality and they get… well, let’s just say I see far too many splotches of fur on the road…  😦

How many times have I had that Squirrel Mentality?  Running back as fast as I can to what I know, what seems “safe” rather than darting ahead to the Great Unknown where my goal lies?  When is it better to go back?  When is it better to go forward?

I need more sleep.  I want off my meds.  I don’t want to be married to a 7th grader (in his emotional maturity, not physical age).  I must get out of debt.  I need my body to stop hurting constantly.  These are just a few of my goals – the other side of the road.  But car after car after semi-truck after scooter keeps coming down the road and chasing me back to where I am…

I’m going to start with more sleep.  It’s Mother’s Day and I’m going to stay in bed all day tomorrow if I can.  We’ll see if that works out or not.  I don’t have a solution today, I’m just getting my frustrations out there and identifying with that tiny, pea-brained little squirrel.  I know why they run back to the side of the road they came from, I do it too.


Well… not really.  But Dawn is the name my mother wanted to name me and my dad said no.

I hadn’t thought about that in years – I was so young when my mom told me that I had almost forgotten it completely.  Or more like it slipped through the cracks and landed on the “Miscellaneous Trivia” pile in the back of my brain that I shuffle through from time to time, for example, the other day when I was telling my own children what their names would have been if they were a boy… and the girl’s name I wanted to use but their father told me no with both of them.

What I do remember is I was young enough that when Mom told me she wanted to name me Dawn I thought “Why would you want to give me a boy’s name?”   That was so unlike her, she was very “boys should be boys and do boy things and girls should be little ladies and do girl things” so thinking she wanted to name me “Don” really puzzled me.  It also made me wonder if she had wanted me to be a boy instead of a girl – or maybe I really was a boy but something went wrong…  I’m pretty sure this is proof that I over-think things and always have. <sigh>

It “dawns” on me that this may be one of the few things that Dad said no to that Mom actually obeyed him on… hmm…  Different blog topic there…

At any rate, I started to wonder why Mom picked the name Dawn.

No matter where you try to look it up “Dawn” means “daylight, daybreak and sunrise” pretty much everywhere.  It’s a very literal word, not a lot of hidden meanings or secret messages found there.  For symbolism it represents things like starting over, a new day, hope, end of darkness and 99.9% of the time “dawn” is associated with good things.  Just hearing the word “dawn” usually brings positive feelings, right?  Unless you’re a night owl like me and someone says “We’re leaving at dawn”.  Then I just wanna cry and it’s not because the sunrise is so beautiful…

As her first-born maybe Mom was looking at my birth as the beginning of a new chapter in her life, the start of a different way of living, change, fresh hope, something good finally coming her way…

It would seem that she most likely thought of me as her new beginning, which is both eye-opening and sobering.  I wonder if my not meeting her expectations and failing to be the perfect child led her to withdraw herself from me, making me feel unloved by her and never good enough for most of my life.  Because that’s exactly what I’ve done with my own children.  My poor girls, they probably would have been better off if I had given them up for adoption at birth, God forgive me for being such a selfish mother!

Each time I became pregnant I expected to give birth to someone who would love me unconditionally.  I thought the mother-child bond was automatic because kids love their mothers, right?  I wasn’t being loved unconditionally by my own family so I guess it was rather unreasonable to expect it from my own children.  When I finally acknowledged that my children didn’t love me the way I wanted them to and it seemed that they barely even liked me, well, I just shut down and stopped pursuing a relationship with them entirely until just about a year ago.  Now they’re both in high school and I’m trying to stop being their mother and just be their friend so that we have some sort of teeny-tiny foundational relationship to keep us in touch after they leave home.

Looking back I see that is precisely what my mother did with me.  I shouldn’t be so hard on her, she did try her best.  I never wanted to be like her but look at me now, wow…

I’m afraid it’s too late – I’m afraid that my daughters will graduate, go to college and come home for the obligatory Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with no phone calls or emails in between.  That’s a horribly depressing thought…

I need a Dawn of my own, a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate, light breaking into dark places and making them bright and free.   I am Saved but what I need is a revival, a fresh awakening, a re-filling.  I need dawn to come and break the darkness in my heart.

I think maybe I failed my mother by not being her Dawn.  I wish she were still alive, I think I’m finally brave enough to talk to her about these sorts of things now.

My dawn, my sunrise is here – Jesus is my new beginning.  All I have to do is Trust and Obey, Just Keep Swimming, stop living in the past and accept the gift of still having a future.