Count the Blessings

It has not been an easy few weeks.

Here is a snapshot: my first husband has filed for custody of my oldest daughter. He has also filed contempt charges against me because she doesn’t always want to do her phone calls with him. There is a guy at work who is playing dirty and stamping on my turf. I forgot to tell my manager (stress, stress, and insanity go hand in hand) that I would be remote on Thursday so he thought I was just off doing…whatever…and now he’s keeping closer tabs.

Big fat hairy yuck, right? Ohhhh yes.

Now let’s count my blessings in the same time period.

I had been fretting about a rough patch with my husband, and had been praying and realized, who is benefiting when I nitpick? Who is benfiting when I get annoyed? My husband and I are on the same team. So every week, I see improvements. He is sweeter and more considerate. I’m gentler and happier about ironing (yes really). I think he’s cute again. He is fighting just as hard as I am for my daughter.

I had the privilege of listening and sympathizing when one of my dearest friends was having a rough week too. Usually, I’m the one with the rough weeks around here. Her trust is precious. She is amazing. I was delighted to sympathize and listen.

My children are happy, and healthy. All of them. My children are asking questions daily about God and exploring their faith. My little four year old son has just in the last week started to think about how God feels when he lies, and keeps asking me, “Mama, it is bear false witless?” (no dear, it’s false witness but four year olds can just say don’t lie.)

I got handed some very exciting new projects at work. My colleague who upsets me with his constant hounding actually kept his mouth shut. Today – only today – a colleague who is also an ordained pastor had thirty whole minutes to laugh and joke with me. During our conversation I realized – giving up some time working remotely will be good for me. I have forgotten how to unplug when I have my laptop all set up at home. I need a barrier between work and home and I was losing that protective fence around my family. That correction was painful, and still is, but when I’m stubborn, what do I expect my God to do?

And I found some gorgeous new things in flattering stretchy fabrics – on sale. And some cute things for my kids – at Salvation Army. And I bought my husband some new shirts that he loves and it made him feel special and I got to see him smile and smile. I think he was happier that I’d thought of him than he was to have the new shirts, although he really needed some new shirts. At the first court hearing, I was firm and powerful (with a LOT of help) having prayed for a good hour before, and I don’t have to pay for the evaluations my daughter is getting and I don’t have to send her for summer until we know it’s safe. Wow was I calm and frankly a little scary. That was SO not me.

Even the actual evaluation – because I had to have one too – was hard at the time but as I thought about it, I am in a new place. I did not want to hear that my daughter is alienated (legal speak for she doesn’t like her father). But it is true: she has my husband who adores her and provides for her and she looks at her father, who does not, and thinks…who are you and why are you here?

We didn’t do this. Sure there are things we could have done – that awful faux-excitement a la Dora the Explorer at anything he did right, or his emails, or his phone calls, for example. But it’s developmental: my baby girl is heading into puberty and it’s typical for kids to take sides. So that’s what she’s doing.

The flesh of me thought, yes, of course because  my ex is abusive and evil and inhabited by a spirit of contention and hatred.

But if she grows up with this fear or bitterness inside of her – she may find it hard to marry a good man. She may find it hard to love and cherish herself. She might become destructive or dangerous or any of the awful things I do not want for this beautiful creature who is mine only by the grace of God.

So I might be releasing her a little early. She may well be spending more time with her father. But I’m going to be fine with that because I know she is not alone, she is safe and I can pray for her (and for me, and for my sanity). I am going to not like every second of it, but I will have peace in there somewhere.

So what is my lesson learned (just this week, look at the tally of attacks from that vicious pit viper we un-fondly call Satan) versus the blessings generously heaped on my stressed and flaky head? Overwhelming. Just…overwhelming.

The message I’m hearing over and over – as I try not to stress and work on real trust, not just thinking about trusting….I got this. You need to relax and let Me do what I do.

So no babies yet. We’d really like some more babies. But as anyone who knows me is aware – I’m terrible with the patience thing. I’m terrible with the want-it-yesterday thing. I think they are on their way but it will be in His time, not in mine. I will be plenty busy counting my blessings.

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