With my daughter now in college, I decided to permanently clean out the bookshelf where she kept all her senior year papers and schoolwork. For so many years the kids have been piling up their work in this one spot; the “just in case I need it later” spot. But now that all of my children are out of the house, it’s time to reclaim those places and declutter!
ACT prep book; SAT prep book; math book with notebooks of homework; Spanish notes and research papers seemed to take up a lot of space. I am sure at one point the items connected to my daughter’s schoolwork, but as I was going through them, they seemed disjointed and clutter. I started picking up the pace as I thought trash can for everything.
I am so tired.
For the past two months, I’ve woken up around 3:00am every night; many nights I’d be thrilled if this was the only time I woke up. Often nights I’m up two or three times.
As I wake up in the middle of the night, my head is racing with triggering thoughts. I get up, go to the bathroom, and dread looking at the time on the clock.
As I climb back into bed, the cycle of self-doubt kicks in; I get nervous about not being able to fall back asleep which aggravates my thoughts. Then I toss and turn, trying my hardest to redirect my thoughts to something not provoking.
Of all the things my abuser took away from me, the ability to sleep often seems like the worst. As I have written about often, so many triggers in my world keep my cortisol levels on the brink of overfill. They are definitely too high for me to sleep comfortably.
One of the biggest things my abuser took from me was my believing I could be a good mom. I wasn’t striving to be a great mom, or even a fun mom, I was simply striving to be a mom who was always there for her kids, one who raised them ethically, faithfully, and lovingly.
My abuser knew that attacking my mothering skills hurt me to the core of my being. He knew degrading my emotional connection to our children was the most painful attack. He knew that if he broke my confidence in being a good mom, he’d win at destroying my life.
Yesterday I dropped my daughter off at a college located four hours away. After being extremely close for almost 19 years, it is time for me to see, from four hours away, where God is taking her next.
My daughter surprised me with a new water cup for my office (so now we have matching ones) and a special canvas picture she took over the summer. The effort she is putting into making sure I am okay with her leaving is priceless and means the world to me.
Like all other kids, she has grown up with many challenges. She’s battled cancer, received a bone marrow transplant, lived through a painful divorce, lost all four of her maternal grandparents, and grown up in eastern North Carolina while unable to tolerate sun exposure (due to the transplant).
I was getting really frustrated prior to my social media fast about something I had little control over. As I have been sharing recently, my boundaries were being crossed and I was at my wits end. The rambling, nonstop, conflicting loud voices in my head were driving me crazy. I was unable to sleep. I was unable to focus on anything except the internal battle going on in my head.
Towards the end of my week fast from social media, a random thought pushed its way into my thoughts. “What if you focused on being part of the solution?”
Due to the randomness of this thought and considering it had nothing to do with what I was doing at the time, I stopped immediately. What did this thought mean? Especially as it occurred during a time of fasting? Meditating and pray brought me the following:
Although I do not always have control over what happens to me in my life, I do have control over my reaction to the events in my world.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had a heavy prayer on my heart. Thirteen years after leaving my abuser and I still struggle with control of my thoughts. I struggle with the slowly moving evolution of something entering my mind and, instead of me telling the thought to go away, I let it meander around. And, after a little meandering around in my thoughts, the conflicting message gains momentum and eventually becomes “reality” in my head.
Because I don’t stop the temptation of the thought or the lie immediately upon entering my mind, it becomes stronger and bigger than life when I do decide to tackle it.
I love getting the seedling idea for my weekly devotion early in the week. Sometimes I get the topic and start jotting down notes as early as Saturday mornings; sometimes I feel the topic move me early in the week which causes me to pray on it for a few days.
I actually have two topics for this week’s blog being tossed around in my mind. One has to do with anxiety and the other is sharing a current experiment I am having with my sugar intake. Both topics interest me so I honestly couldn’t decide which one was stronger on my heart for this week.
Last Friday, my daughter and I attended her fall college orientation. We had a wonderful time; girls’ night in the hotel meant junk food for dinner, great conversation where I experienced a special glimpse into her teenage mindset, and her excitement for college which allowed me to see some of the wonderful things God has guided us through. Shopping for dorm room items at Walmart and Target added smiles and laughter to the day.
I will cherish this special day for years for a variety of reasons. The most prevalent reason though is because I was able to enjoy it. As we toured the campus and met with the staff, I was there, in the moment, the entire time. I was mindful of everything that I was and wasn’t doing.
Although I posted the blog below a year ago, I continue to struggle with the topic daily.
Being Late versus Right on Time:
I am the first to admit I have double standards on my anxiety level when I am late leaving the house. If being late is due to my kids (rarely my husband) not being on time, my internal anxiety meter goes from 1 – 10 within two minutes. After two minutes being late from my designated departure time, I am huffy and felling disrespected. Rarely do I care about my children’s “excuses”.
Yet, when I cause us (kids or husband) to leave after a designated departure time, I am as calm as can be. I just needed longer devotion time. Or maybe my last week’s favorite jeans weren’t fitting this week so I struggled to find something to wear. Sometimes I just lost track of time and truly had no justification. But, I am calm and with a huge smile, ignore those who are complaining about my untimeliness.
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine was excitedly talking about the upcoming 4th of July weekend. She smiled nonstop talking about how her and her family love the 4th holiday. She started reminiscing about some special family memories. Even with Covid restrictions, she had a wonderful weekend planned for this year. As we get closer to the 4th, the same conversation plays out again and again.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.