On healing from past hurts....

So I got into a Facebook argument with a friend from high school last week. What's new, right? That's what Facebook is all about it seems these days, right?  ha. No, this was pretty interesting. I didn't mean to get into a Facebook argument.

I went to school with this friend since 4th grade. We graduated from high school together. There were 12...13, maybe of us altogether in the graduating class. Independent, fundamental baptist church. My friend wrote a post about our childhood and tagged me in the post. He was remembering a lot of good people (and they were). My friend didn't know that his trip down memory lane and my subsequent negative comment (which was only party negative) would lead to the equivalence of  him yelling at me in his response to me. He was basically telling me to get over it and stop raining on his memory lane parade. Or at least that's how I interpreted it. I commented back "sorry" and he said "OK". Then I decided I wasn't "sorry". I felt what I felt and I wasn't sorry. So I deleted my sorry. He deleted his 'ok' and his rant, but left my comment. We have since discussed and ad a great conversation (via Facebook messenger of course ;-) ) love my life long friends. I really do. 

But at the time he didn't know the stuff that I had processed in therapy that week. In essence, in his comment he was telling me to get over it. I mean it's been 28 years. He may have just been talking about the fundamentalism and legalism we grew up in. I was talking about abuse. Not sexual abuse. I want to make that clear. But spiritual abuse. Abuse in power. I had processed some deep shameful stuff that I had never processed before just a few days before. So I'm thankful for Tim. 

So, listening to my friend take a stroll down memory lane discussing other people was fine. We had some great memories with some great people. It wasn't all bad. At all. I guess the timing of his post with the timing of my processing just clashed, but it was really a good thing and quite beneficial, because it was really good for me.

No one may really understand this or me or why I feel the wayI do and that's OK.  I've processed some heavy stuff the past two weeks. I have never, ever written anything down about the spiritual abuse I encountered growing up in a independent, fundamental baptist church and shared it. Ever.

Yesterday I led a breakout session at a Women's conference. I told a group of women who do not know me one aspect of spiritual abuse that occurred when I was beginning my senior year of high school and it was done by the the pastor I grew up with in childhood . It was an abuse of power on his part and it should never have  happened. This abuse has a critical role in my shame with my weight. I have never shared anything like this with people who were not super close with me. 

Today, what my pastor, Aarron Schwartz said, most likely in passing,  hit me straight between the eyes, was that when people abuse spiritually, it is usually most likely because of a boundary break. I would agree with that. Not surprised by that. What he said next, took my breath away. Those who spiritually abuse, for the most part, are not bad people. But because of broken boundaries, they take on or don't have the necessary boundaries they need so they hurt other people because of it. Wow.

And I think that's exactly what happens in churches where there is no accountability. The Pastor takes on way too much power and before you know it, he thinks he needs to save his flock. And so he takes on too much responsibility and before you know it he is taking on the role as 'messiah' and rescuing and then there is anger, disappointment, and hurt when people don't respond the way he wants them to. And everything gets warped. It was just warped power. The end. And it hurt innocent people. And that is sad.

Anyway, this needed to be written for me. I think it is part of my continued healing. Some may not get it. That's OK. It wasn't written for you.

I have forgiven long ago. People will be held accountable for their actions. Why this has taken so long for me to let go .....SHAME. And I was the one holding onto it. That's why. And that wasn't my fault. Because I didn't put that shame there. But I am responsible for putting it to rest and walking in freedom.

Some people think I"m broken.
A prisoner of the past.
What they don''t understand is that healing takes time.
Because even though I am whole
 and even though I am free,
Shame has its own calling card,
 Shame has its own address and name.
Shame likes to take up residence in a broken person's soul,
And even though that person isn't broken,
Shame just doesn't seem to know.

Until The Light breaks in and The Door is opened
And memories are brought to light
And the broken is reminded
They had no part in the hurting
No, they were just an innocent one standing by

When you're sixteen or seventeen
You trust the adults in your life
And if they tell you you're pretty
Then you believe them when they tell you a lie.

You were pretty. That wasn't the lie.
It's OK to not feel fondly
Of a place that heaped shame
It's OK to mourn
And it's OK to feel sad
Maybe no one else experienced it,
But you did. That shame called your name.

But now there is freedom
And now there is light
You have told your story
And it shines in the light
Go and be free
For you have always held the key

I have no idea if this poem makes any sense but I just wrote it this afternoon. Along with this blog post. The more things I put to light the less hold they will have on the inside. And I want ALL the stuff  that has been holding me on the inside to finally come out. I want to experience freedom like I have never experienced it before.

Thank you for listening.

Hi friends

I'm in the middle of a summer sabbatical right now with the blog. Thinking things over. Trying to figure out who Reflections of a Mom is these days. Good things to come. And you will be the first to hear about it! 

Great, Positive ADHD Article!

oh my goodness! I love everything about this article. As many of you know I have an 8 year old with ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult....it was truly eye opening. My 8 year old already has questions about why he has to take medicine. How awesome this professional explains ADHD symptoms to families. Coming from a strengths perspective myself from my social work training, I just simply. love. this.

Click HERE to read how you can explain ADHD to your child from a strengths perspective!

Happy Monday!

Let It Go (the non-Disney version)

On the way to church last Sunday I couldn't help but anticipate the anxiety that would soon  be brewing once we parked the car and went into the theatre (where the church meets). A lot of my anxiety was based on expectations. Expectations that I knew weren't going to be met. It had nothing to do with the church. It simply had to do with knowing my two boys were about to be unleashed.

Having a son with ADHD and then having a younger son that does everything his big brother does well, you see where this is going. Impulsiveness begets impulsiveness. It makes life interesting. And it really puts a wrench when we go to places and do things that are unstructured and can be overstimulating, like church. Now imagine church in a movie theatre. Yeah. So every week it feels like I am fighting a battle. Every week we have to go over the same rules. I have to be "on top" of the impulsivity. It can really be exhausting.

My expectations have to do with control. I want to control my children. I want them to listen. I want them to keep their hands to themselves. My brain knows why Carter has the need to touch everything, but the mom in me just wants him to stop. I want them to do what I say. I want them to act a certain way in public. I want people to think that I am a great mom. This is a common issue that I have to deal with quite frequently. And it's mine. I own it. Basically, I am giving myself anxiety. Over things I can't control. I long for my oldest to be still. For him to walk with us and not run impulsively away from us. To ask before he does something, to sit at the dinner table and stay there. To understand consequences and to understand that just saying your sorry doesn't instantly make everything right, it's not a pat answer that fixes all the messes. I want him to walk in a straight line without hopping, skipping or jumping all the time. I mean, he's 8. Why can't he do that? Why can't I make him do that? How do I help him learn to control himself. I mean, it's a life skill, right? I am a therapist. I teach kids and families about feelings, behaviors, impulse control yet I am challenged by these behaviors every day. Does anything I try and teach him stick?

God pretty much teaches me every week that I just need to let go. And last Sunday he was teaching me to let go of straight lines, perfect walks, the messes, the broken toys, mannerly communication with others in public, and the hope of asking before doing (ha). To just let go of  my expectations.

And with that, the anxiety left. It wasn't long, though, before I picked it back up again when Carter wouldn't listen to my request to stay by my side and when I pulled him away from the water fountain to "consequence" him. To prove my point. To show the others around me that, I am trying. I am trying to control the behavior. I could see the anger in his eyes. He just wants to do what he wants to do. I have to teach him that there are limits. There's nothing wrong with that....it's just that my expectations are usually centered around what other people think, and that is not Carter's responsibility. So why am I punishing him for something that I created? I just wanted him to be still and stay by my side. But, we are in a movie theatre. Big open spaces, lots of hallways to run through. buttons to push on doors to make them open. I mean, for an 8 year old, ADHD boy this place is heaven. Add a four year old into that mix and I. get. overwhelmed.

He's not going to stand still. He can learn the rules....no running, but right now, he's going to dart ahead. Jump to the water fountains  and well, that's ok. Because sometimes I just need to pick our relationship over my expectations that he's never, ever going to meet. And how frustrating for an 8 year old little boy to have to suffer through, whether he has ADHD or not.

The more I try to make Carter conform at age 8 the more he resents me. I'm not talking about discipline matters. We discipline, we have structure, rules and rewards. But staying on him for things that are just expectations of good behavior, those are the things that rob the joy out of our relationship. Do I really need to stay on top of him for every little thing? No. Just let it go.

It's a fine balance. And I have sucked at it lately and I can tell from our relationship it is affecting him. It's time to pick battles. Let things go. We both need our emotional love tank re-filled and I see glimpses of that happening. We had a great weekend in Chattanooga over spring break and I really tried to just enjoy my boy. Tell him how much I love him. Praise him. Point out what he is doing good. Tickle him. Ruffle his hair. Stroke his cheek and tell him that I am so glad that he is mine.

Enjoy the good times. Stay in the moment. Take is one day at a time. Breathe. That's all I can do and am trying to do.

The Sound of Silence...

My husband and I enjoyed sleeping in until  8 am this morning. My cell phone alarm going off is what woke us up...thank goodness!!!

It was ENTIRELY too quiet in the house. I knew Carter was awake because he had come into our room before 7 then left. I figured Griffin was still sleeping. 

I get up just in time to see Carter darting for the garage door and I quickly ask if G is still asleep. Nope, he's awake.

Carter runs ahead and I hear he and G discussing the dog. I tell C to get inside and I call G. No response. After about the third call, I'm freaking out ( and a little angry). I move to look into the back yard and see this blurry image of Temple Run jammies running toward the garage.

They had let the dog out and wanted her to come in, the dog wanted to run in the woods and play. 

I wanted to kill them for 1) being outside with no one knowing. 2) for being outside in their jammies. 3) for embarrassing the heck out if this momma (what if someone sees them out in their jammies unsupervised!!!). 

Thankfully, this had *just* happened. They had just wanted the dog to come in. I caught them in the nick of time. They will be *strongly* reminded that letting the dog out to pee is awesome and shows us great responsibility. Crawling underneath the garage door to chase the dog isssss NOT ok. There will be a discussion about household rules later today ( this was already in the works). 

Every time Greg and I get to sleep in on the weekends we end up saying that we are paid back times 2 because the kids decided to do something, um, questionable. 

It was a really good sleep, tho.... 

Underachiever moms, unite!!!!

Do you let your kids go a week without a bath?

Do you completely forget about costumes, cupcakes and school projects until the day before ( or of-- yikes!!)

Store bought valentines box AND Valentines??

Do you wait and see what everyone else is bringing to the class party so that everything is either taken or you just have to grab some leftover plates and napkins from the last party?

Not change your kids underwear every day?

Have they been wearing those same pair of jeans for yet another day because the laundry just hasn't  seem to do itself? 

Kids teeth go unbrushed for a couple of days?

Throw away yet another cookie sale form?  

Forget a deadline?

Then this post is for you. You rock! It's okay. Kids aren't going to remember this stuff. You haven't let them down. You love them, spend time with them. Kisses and snuggles will win out on the best costume every time. 

So, lay the guilt aside. Go have fun with your kids. Go buy the store bought cupcakes. Recycle the costumes, store bought, nonetheless. 

I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be those mon's out there that "do" more than I do. More creative. More homemade. More cookie sales, and yes, I'm bitter. But I have to remind myself It. Just. Doesn't. Matter. 

And if you are "that" mom that does all the above, kudos to you. I'm really trying not to be jealous and post passive-aggressive comments under your pictures. Forgive me. Just show me love and grace for I am just jealous of your awesomeness. Seriously, you rock too.

Because it is what it is. And nobody is better than the other. 

In the end, we love our kids the same, we just show it in our own unique way. And that's ok.

So, I will not think about the fact that I sent my kid to school with only his Dr. Suess hat ( that he wore Wednesday) to finish up Dr. Suess week. Yeah. I still rock. And you do too! 

Valentine's Candy and Grief...

So I indulged in a little Valentines candy today, pre-valentines day. Stopped at Walgreen's to pick up some things and bought some little 2 for $1.00 Russell Stover valentine's candy. For some reason, Valentines candy does not make me think of romantic love. I've never asked for Valentines candy as a present, probably because I am always watching my weight. It doesn't mean, however, that I have not eaten my fair share.

Today, I specifically thought about an early February nine years ago. I was pregnant with our first child. I honestly didn't think that I could get pregnant, even though I had no reason to think that other than I was older and overweight. I went from utter shock in learning that we were pregnant to being overjoyed...and a little queasy.

Anyway, I will never forget it. We hosted a Super Bowl party with our Sunday school class, who I had shared our awesome news with. We had told our family. I wasn't even 8 weeks pregnant yet. The next day I was scheduled to have the first ultrasound to date the pregnancy and hear the heartbeat.

We went in for our scheduled appointment. We went through the entire ultrasound and I wondered why we couldn't see the heartbeat.The technician didn't let on until she had gathered all the information she needed for assessment and then she let us know that she was sorry, but she didn't see a heartbeat.

It was a pretty ugly scene. I may have screamed. I know I was crying and inconsolable. Poor Greg. He was also in shock and was trying to comfort me. I'm sure we asked questions. I can't remember now what they were. The tech left us alone for a while. I got dressed and we waited to see my doctor's nurse. They gave us options on what we could do. I was so in shock that I couldn't do anything but go home.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with Valentine's candy. Well, in the next few days, my mom came to be with us. I couldn't decide whether or not to have a D and C. And in between there, I ate Valentine's candy. I remember going into Target and seeing all the Valentines displays and bought a big box of chocolates. And proceeded to eat them all.

I had lost a lot of weight previously so, even though they weren't asking why, I told my mom and my husband that for now, I was going to eat candy. I was going to be fine, and I wouldn't keep eating candy, but for the next few days, I was going to eat as much candy as I wanted. LOL.

By the end of the week I decided to have a D and C and after one more sonogram to ease my mind and to make sure that our little baby indeed had no heartbeat, the procedure was done and the rest is history.

I think I ate another big box of candy after the procedure. I'm sure I shared. Maybe.

I have absolutely no reason why I remembered that today. I think I probably remember it every year, but for some reason today I needed to write about it.

Greg and I have gone on to have two healthy children (along with two more, just as devastating, miscarriages in between). I have had more vaginal ultrasounds than I ever care to remember. Lots of bloodwork. I am glad that the fear and anxiety that always followed finding out I was pregnant is behind us. No more holding our breath through the first trimester. No more "procedures". No more loss in the baby department.

But today, as I bit into my little Russell Stover treat, I just happened to have my breath taken away from a memory of a hope that turned into a loss and a left a lot of tears and questions behind it.
And the memory of that time flooded back as if it was yesterday and I felt compelled to write about it.

I guess there is always room for processing grief and today was my day.