Chapter Three…Boy Crazy

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7th grade

I was boy crazy….at least, that is what my mom used to say. My first “boyfriend” was in the fourth grade, and I’m quite positive that I never went without one from that point on.

I craved attention. I longed for someone to think I was special; and unfortunately, I thought boys could do that for me. It felt good and I felt wanted.

You don’t know, what you don’t know. I didn’t know that my value and self worth didn’t come from young men. I didn’t know that even though my earthly father had “left me”, that my Heavenly Father was still very much present.

Looking back, and knowing what I know now, I would have told that young girl to stop. Stop trying to fill the void of feeling wanted and special with people that are flawed and will disappoint you. I wish I could tell her that, no matter what, your Father loves you unconditionally, will never abandon you, longs for a relationship with you, and whose grace and forgiveness abounds more than you can ever understand.

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (Msg)

I didn’t know that though. Yes, I had attended church off and on since the age of 8. Yes, I had sex ed in school; but emotions, feelings, hurts, and divorce weren’t included in Sunday School or sex ed. So I continued to seek out male attention, and preferred attention from older boys.

Middle school was rough to say the least. I had crossed a line with an older boy and rumors started. I had written in my diary what had happened, and my mom found it. She confronted me one day after school. I was terrified. My mom contacted the older boys family and I was forbidden to go over to their house for a time. The rumors became worse, and I just went along with them. Attention is attention, right? I knew deep down what did and didn’t happen, but I was scared. I have found that people believe what they want to believe, and they tend to believe the juicier side, rather than the truth….especially 12-14 year olds.

I was bullied consistently my first year of middle school by a girl whose boyfriend liked me. She would wait for me after class to follow me, write threatening notes, call my home nightly, and even changed her bus route so she was on my bus. The days she couldn’t ride my bus, she would have others take over. The rumors escalated to the point where I actually had someone ask me if I was pregnant and if I killed my baby. None of which was true…I hadn’t even been with a boy in that way.

I didn’t try and fight it though. I didn’t even tell my mom what was going on. I had been telling myself since I was nine that things were my fault. I deserved what was happening because I was a girl who made people I love go away. I had thoughts of taking my life. I never acted on it, but I just wanted to not cause anyone else pain.

My eighth grade year was better. The girl had went on to high school, and it appeared the rumors were last years news and kids had moved on. I had gotten more involved at my church and youth group that summer, and Easter Eve of my eighth grade year, my mom, sister, and I were baptized. I felt relieved, incredibly happy, and clean. I had a fresh start. I was fourteen and found the love of Jesus, so everything was going to be perfect, because girls who love Jesus don’t have problems… at least, that was what I thought. I’ll never forget the day I told my friends at lunch that I had gotten baptized. One of my friends looked right at me and said, “I think you just did it because you felt like you had to. It makes you look better.” Old habits die hard… if my best friend felt that way, maybe God did too.

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8th grade cheer

By the time I entered high school, I had become a pro at wearing a mask…

By His grace,

Misty

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Chapter Two… Family of Three

He was leaving. He had packed his belongings and was moving in with my grandma; at least, that is what I was told. My cousins, sister, and I were playing in our side yard. We had a big tree where part of the trunk had rotted out and we could fit inside it. I’m not sure why my cousins were there the day my daddy moved out. I can only assume my aunt and uncle wanted to be there for support in any way possible.  I think I was numb or just plain blocked out most of that day. The only thing I remember is sitting in my daddy’s lap at our dining room table before he left and saying “Daddy, please don’t go” and crying. He may have asked my mom to take me and then he left.

I am not really sure of the time frame, from the day we became a family of three, to the events that took place that I am getting ready to share. It is also possible that things may or may not have happened in quite the way I remember; but I was only nine, and from my nine year old perspective, this is how I viewed what transpired.

We didn’t immediately have weekend visitations. My daddy still came around and it was quite some time before we stayed with him every other weekend. I remember our first Christmas with dad not living with us. He had stayed the night so he could be there in the morning. Christmas seemed like a normal Christmas; but I’m sure I had a sense of hope or even confusion, as to why my daddy was staying over. My parents were getting along and not fighting. I just wanted my daddy home, but that was not what happened. In fact, that was the last Christmas that I would have with both of my parents.

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Me (10), Mom, and Sister (8)

My mom was young. She was in her early thirties when her and dad divorced. Now that I have children of my own, I have a better understanding of how hard she worked and the sacrifices she made to take care of my sister and me. Unfortunately, I did not have the ability to see things from that perspective at that time. I was angry with my mom, and even blamed her for my daddy leaving. I also blamed myself. I told myself that I wasn’t good enough for my dad, and that is why he left.

My mom started to go out on the weekends; and for a young girl, it seemed like every single weekend. There were times where I enjoyed it and times when I did not. My mom would have teenage girls watch my sister and I when she would go out. Although, I was nine and eventually 10 years old, these babysitters became friends. They would allow me to stay up after they would put my sister to bed. They would talk about boys and friend issues. We would listen to music and make up dances, and then when we would hear my mom pull in, I would run to my bed and pretend I was asleep.

I felt special. It made me feel good to have someone older wanting to hang around with me. There was a major problem with that though….. at a time where I needed my mom to help me work through all these emotions I didn’t understand, she wasn’t there. I instead had teenage girls who were beginning to treat me like their equal. I was beginning to learn things and be exposed to things at a much younger age than was appropriate.

The snowball effect had begun….

 

By His grace,

Misty

Chapter One…

 

It is 11:30 am, on a Wednesday. My palms are sweaty, my stomach is nervous, and I am scared. My fears are numerous… being judged, criticized, losing relationships…just to name a few. I have no idea how many “chapters” I will share or even how my story will end; but I do know that I have become so tired. I am exhausted from keeping the mask on for all these years. The last two years have been the worst of my life so far. The six years prior to that have not been pretty either, and now I see that I have been hurting and confused for quite some time.

I attended Women of Joy this past weekend. I sat there and listened to numerous testimonies from women who have, and still are, broken. I purchased a copy of one of the speakers books, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I have only made it through the first two chapters, but those two chapters have created two full pages of notes for me. Lysa writes, “As long as I suspect that honesty’s intention is to expose me and hurt me, it will always feel like a dangerous thing.” A couple pages later, she shares her new perspective on honesty…

“Honesty isn’t trying to hurt me. It’s trying to heal me.”

So, here I am. Sharing my first chapter… how I perceived what was going on in my life as a young girl and how I felt at the time. I am not sharing this for shock value, affirmation, or to silence the gossip. This is not to point fingers or blame others for where I am at today. This is my first step in healing myself… and maybe for someone else out there who thinks they are alone and no one can understand what they are going through .

Here’s my story……

 

I remember lying in my water bed, listening. I had never heard my parents argue before, and I’m not sure I had even heard my mom cry at that point. My mom started saying words like “welfare” and “divorce”. I was old enough to know that those were not positive words to be saying. I silently started to cry; and soon those silent tears turned into sobs.

The house we lived in didn’t have doors on the bedrooms. My dad walked by and heard me. I remember him coming into my room, but I don’t remember if any words were spoken. He left to get me some tissue and I got up and walked into the living room. There sat my mom, on the couch in her nightgown, crying. I curled up on her lap and thought ‘something bad is happening’. I was 9 years old the night my whole world changed.

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Third Grade- 8/9 years old

My life, as I knew it, had been perfect up to that point. I don’t recall my parents ever arguing, and we had seemed to be like a normal family. We had moved quite a bit. We had lived in three different homes in the same town, had made a brief move to Florida, only to end up moving back to Indiana to a different town. We lived with my Aunt and Uncle for a short time and eventually my parents found a home to rent. My dad worked quite a bit, but I still remember family outings. My parents used to love shooting bows, and we would go to several bow shoots or the archery range. Our weekends were usually spent at a close family friends house, where my sister and I would run around outside or listen to all the hunting stories being shared around the kitchen table.

I have a few memories that I hold dear to me of my dad when we were still a family of four. My dad’s favorite T.V. shows were Jeopardy and Perry Mason. I used to sit in my daddy’s lap as he would watch Jeopardy, eating a bowl of Raisin Bran, and listen to him answer most of the questions correctly. I remember thinking that my daddy was the smartest man on the planet.

 

 

The next couple memories I do not remember, but they are stories my dad loves to share. Apparently, I would refuse to go to sleep until my daddy would go to bed. He would have to sit and rock me until I finally fell asleep. (Interesting to note that this same behavior of rocking myself to sleep carried over into my adult years and onto my oldest son). The next story involves a pink bunny. This was not just any pink bunny. This was my ‘security blanket’. I was never without it and there are several pictures to prove it! We had gone to the same family friends house we usually went to most weekends. I, of course, had taken my pink bunny along; but somehow had forgotten to bring it home that evening. My dad says, in the middle of the night, as he was sleeping, he could sense someone watching him in bed. He awoke to seeing two little eyes staring at him…. My dad drove the twenty minutes, in the middle of the night, to get me that bunny!! I still have it too…. I just can’t seem to part with it.

I was a true daddy’s girl. I thought he hung the moon and could do no wrong. He was smart, strong, handsome, and I thought I was the luckiest little girl to have a daddy like that. I always thought I was special, maybe even his favorite if I am being honest; because he never spanked me (unlike my sisters), and I always would get the special kiss…on the forehead.

No one could have predicted how my life would turn out after the night my world changed. I know I sure could not have. It is amazing how choices made by individuals can start a snowball effect and change a little nine year old girls perspective. That choice changed my view on the world , my daddy, who I thought I was on the inside, and eventually my self worth…..

 

Living by His grace,

Misty

My Top Nine of 2017…

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My last post was in March, and there are reasons for that…..those reasons are summed up in these nine pictures. The nine pictures that have shaped 2017, and have caused me to sit here, on New Years Eve, and wonder what changes are before me in 2018.

This past year has brought great loss. The hope of adding to our family was lost on New Years Day 2017; and shortly there after, I lost my father-in-law. This past Summer, our beloved fur baby, Bennett, had to be put down due to his progressive cancer. The hits didn’t stop there…. I also had to end friendships and relationships that had grown toxic. I have had other relationships that have suffered a great deal with trust and uncertainty.

Life lesson of 2017:  No matter how flat you make a pancake, there are always two sides. Best to hear both sides before making a decision.

In the midst of all of that, my oldest son suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. We had to adjust to a new medication and a change in sports…. although I think for Noah, giving up football was harder than taking daily medication…(for his momma too!)

Medical bills, vehicle and home repairs have all mounted up.  My husband quit his part time job to be home more, and we decided to continue with me staying home. Sure, we have had help from family and friends; and yes, we have heard the gossip about how I need to get a job and shouldn’t be receiving help from others. While I would be lying if I said those comments didn’t hurt, the fact remains that I do have a job….it just doesn’t pay me in cash. We have fallen on hard times, just like everyone else I know has at some point or another.

Life lesson of 2017:  It is better to choose love, instead of casting judgement. It’s not your place to judge….period.

Although, the year had many lows, there were some definite positives too! Our family was introduced to a new sport….. SOCCER. Noah played Spring and Fall travel soccer, and LOVED it. It brought joy seeing him fall in love with another sport. Noah also had hist first year at playing basketball, both for his school and a travel league. Nathan played baseball this past Spring, and as it turns out, he’s a little slugger. He also played soccer this Fall. Our family also started a new tradition, and attended our first Indians game on July 4th.

I have also spent more time with my grandma this past year. Her health is declining, and we have experienced some scary moments, but I still get to hear her say I love you and put my arms around her.

I placed a family photo, taken at church on Christmas Eve, in the middle of the collage because it represents so many things.

  • I finally made it back to church. I can count on one hand the number of times I went to church this past year.
  • It shows my family, that despite what life has thrown at us this past year, we are still standing.
  • It shows change… 

I can’t predict what changes will continue to come in 2018. I know that all the events of 2017 have molded and shaped me into a different person. I have learned from these experiences and know that some things will just never be the same. I have work to do on myself.

The one thing I will always have is HOPE. I almost let that go this past year. I am incredibly thankful for those who refused to allow me to give up. You have helped me during moments that seemed terribly dark. I thank you for that.  Your love and support helped remind me that going forward, I will trust in Him… and rest in His love, mercy, and grace.

Come what may 2018…..

By His grace,

Misty

Spring, Sports, and Faith

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I can’t help but just stare. I stare at it and feel excitement, joy, stress, and slightly conflicted.  I am staring at my calendar……and it is only March.

Spring helps shed the Winter blues, and it gets my family out of the house for some fresh air!! We start to become physically active again (Lord knows I need some exercise) and start to plan family vacations and celebrations. We are entering the season of busyness for the Lee family. This year seems to have gotten even crazier….

I will be learning how to be at two places at the same time. March is filled with basketball clinics, football conditioning, soccer practices, after school activities, and we will soon be adding baseball to the mix. I now know why my husband was so adamant about getting a mini van….. because we will be basically living in it through the Fall! (Yes, I said Fall…4H, VBS, church camp, sports camps, football….)

I am excited though. My oldest is trying a new sport that he has shown great interest in playing. Although, it was a little tense the last few weeks with dad accepting he wasn’t playing baseball 🙂 Our youngest can’t wait for baseball to start and is excited for his basketball clinics coming up. I find great joy in watching my children learn, try new things, and have fun.

I am stressed. My husband works two jobs, so the majority of this rests on me. I see where we are choosing to give up most of our evenings and weekends for sports and other activities and it leads me to why I am conflicted…

I ask myself, “Are we making time to practice our faith? Are we teaching by example that the Lord comes first…even before kickoff?”

I have been guilty of judging those who miss church or leave early due to sports. Who don’t have time for small groups because they have so many practices. Churches as a whole are seeing a decline in young adult/young families. Church has been replaced with….(insert current sport.) Now here I am saying…. I totally get it. I am now the parent having to choose and create room.  I want to stand up and say “If enough parents start saying no to sports on Sundays  then maybe things will change!” However, that is just not the reality.

I believe that God just wants a relationship with us. He wants us to put Him first in all things. So what does that look like for a sports parent? Maybe it looks like….

  • Family devotions before or on the way to a game
  • Leaving a little bit early to attend a church service in the town you are traveling to
  • Hosting your own small group
  • It might even mean saying no to a game

Like everything else in life, things change. Sundays are no longer set aside for church and family. So, I will leave you with these questions:

What does it look like to put God first? Do we have to sit in a pew every Sunday to make the cut?

By His grace,

Misty

 

Life is What You Make It…

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Is it? What about the moments that I don’t have a choice? What about the times when life happened, and I don’t know what I did wrong or if I could have changed things? I have no control over what others think, say, feel, or what actions they choose to do. I only have myself.

I am coming out of a very rough and heartbreaking season. I sit here at my computer, listening to Adele, and wanting to just scream. I want to step outside and fill my lungs with air…I want to feel like I can breathe. BreatheI feel like I have been holding my breath for months. 

One would think, that as a Christian, I would be taking this time to cling to God; and there was a moment that I was doing just that. I am human though.  Recently, I have started to embrace the numbness. Plastering on that happy face and hiding behind the facade that I am okay. The reality….I have started to withdraw and I don’t know how to climb out of this season.

I have stopped contributing my own thoughts in my Bible study, I haven’t attended church since Christmas Day, I have stopped reaching out to friends, I have disengaged at home…the list seems endless. This could be rationalized that I am still in mourning. I went through a miscarriage that lasted much longer than what I was prepared for; and when I finally received the call that physically it was over…three days later I was at my father-in-laws bedside watching him on his journey Home. So, maybe I am in part.

I have spent a great deal, of my short life of 34 years, suppressing my true feelings. Yes, there have been times when it became too much of a burden and I let myself unleash. That is never pretty, and I end up hurting those I love. That is not who I want to be or do.

I tell myself that I have to be strong…don’t let them see your pain. You will look weak or crazy. I have found that by doing that, I come across as selfish or cold.

The REAL stuff,  is not seen on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat… those are just flashes of happiness. I ask myself what would my social media look like if I was real…if we all were real. Not real in calling out those who have hurt us, bashing others faults, or spewing whatever comes to our minds…. Real that we look within our imperfect selves, our own faults, struggles, bad choices and reach out to others and say “I’ve been there, and I see your pain.”

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. -Matthew 7:4-5

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. -1 Peter 3:8

Life can be hard and messy. Maybe the lesson for me, in this season, is finding that it is okay to be raw and vulnerable and to honestly say…. I am not okay.

By His grace,

Misty

This was not how I intended to start the new year…

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I sit here, at my computer, asking myself and God, if I really want to blog about this. I have gone back and forth about it for many reasons. The main reason, fear of the well intended comments from people who have never been through what my family and I have been going through, that leave me angry or hurt. However, over the last couple days, I have been reminded of the number one feedback I get from those who follow this blog: Misty, thank you for being so transparent. Yes, there are some things, struggles and joys, I have no problem speaking about; but, like most of us, I do still have stories that I keep hidden that I hope some day, I will have the courage to share. So for now, here is one of my stories….

November 30, 2016. I was not feeling like myself. I was fatigued and extra emotional. I had taken a pregnancy test a few days prior and it  was negative, but I just knew something wasn’t right. So, I took another….and it was positive. I experienced a brief moment of joy. My husband and I had been through some rough battles over the last few years.  I  knelt down crying, and praised God for giving me this blessing; which is something I had never done in previous pregnancies.

I say my joy was short lived, because as I was praising, a fear like I had never felt consumed me. I immediately was scared that this pregnancy was not viable. I called my husband and asked him to come home…I wouldn’t tell him why. I then called my sister and told her my fears. You see, in part, I felt maybe this fear was because in December of 2009, we had suffered a loss, and this felt like deja vu. My sister put me at ease, for a moment, and I attempted to set aside my worries and find the joy in adding to our family. I also reached out to my pastor and some of my Bible study girls, to pray for my family. This was also something I did not do during our first miscarriage.

I told a few close friends and some family, and I felt more at ease the more we planned and talked about our excitement. The fear, would always creep back when I was alone. I am not talking about a fear of ‘what if’…it was a fear of knowing. My doctor saw me earlier than expected, and everything looked good, until three days later. I had started to spot and phoned my doctor. They thought it was related to my exam, but to put me at ease, scheduled an ultrasound the following week. This spotting started, 7 years to the day, that we lost our first baby.

My ultrasound, was not promising. I was told that they wanted to see me back in a week. That there was a slim possibility that the pregnancy was too early; but, to prepare myself to miscarry. A few days went by, then I received a call from my doctor’s office that they wanted me to go have blood work done to see where my hcg levels were at (pregnancy hormone) and recheck again two days later. During that time, my spotting stopped, and my hcg levels were high and increasing….this was a great sign. I went back for my second ultrasound and had great news. I was continuing to grow and everything looked good and healthy. I also, had not had any miscarriage symptoms in 12 days. My doctor now said we can be “cautiously optimistic”.  So, once again, I was scheduled for another ultrasound the following week. My pregnancy symptoms started to increase big time. I actually started to relax more and thought maybe I will get what I want…

My 3rd ultrasound showed some growth and a yolk sac; but, by this time, they were hoping to see a baby.

The “cautiously optimistic” turned the opposite direction. I was going through mental, emotional, and physical hell…..torture. This roller coaster was almost too much; and I began to play the blame game. I started blaming myself. I started allowing the thoughts that I was being punished for things I had done and that I was not worthy of this blessing.

They wanted a fourth ultrasound and it was scheduled the following week. Now, this all started on November 30th… we went through the entire Christmas holiday with family and friends who did not know what we were going through. We put on the fake smiles and Christmas cheer, but deep down, I felt like I was dying. I was numb…the only emotion that made me feel alive was anger. Sometimes that anger turned to rage.

My ultrasound was scheduled for January 5th. Shortly after ringing in the New Year, I started spotting again. I knew it had started. I went to my ultrasound on the 5th, and it was confirmed. No heart beat was detected and my gestational sac had already started to collapse.

I was told that we had had a fighter and that the mommy had been fighting just as hard. I think that broke me, because I knew that was true.  My options were then given to me…

I sit here now in the same clothes I have worn the last 3 days. I have not showered in probably 2. I have chosen to allow my body to do what it was designed to do, and this weekend has been emotional and painful. My husband has done everything in his power to help me through this. I see the pain in his eyes but he refuses to break down. My oldest son, knows what has happened. That was not our intent, but he is a smart young man, and asked if mommy had cancer, so we had a heart to heart. I never knew the amount of strength a 9 year old can have.

My family has been blessed with friends who have provided food, laughs, and messages to just check in. We also had so many people praying for us; and God did answer. His answer was no, but He did answer.

I don’t believe that “Everything happens for a reason.” I stopped believing that in December of 2009. I don’t believe that I worship a God that chooses to have someone die in a car accident, shot by their partner, or die in a mother’s womb. I believe He has the power to allow nature to take it’s course or not. I can not pretend to understand His reasoning because we are not meant to. I could blame God, but that will only leave me with bitterness and anger. I believe that God has been preparing me for this loss the very day I saw that double line.

I have had these two scriptures on repeat over the last month:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9

I have a follow up tomorrow to see if my body has done what it was supposed to do. If not, I may need surgery at the end of the week. So this journey isn’t completely over.

Miscarriage is not something that is easy for women to talk about. I have experienced feelings of shame, unworthiness, anger, pain,  incredible sadness, void of emotions, numbness. Losing a baby is something a woman will never forget. It does not matter how many children she already has, how young she is, or that she has more time to try. It does not matter how far along she was… we experience an immediate bond when we see that double line. I wanted to share my story because I needed to give my emotions a voice. I also know that I am not alone and that many women have experienced this great loss and yet we are scared to talk about it.

My advice to those who have never gone through this: just be there. Not for advice or opinions… but to be the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen, or the arms to hold when hope seems so far away.  

By His grace,

Misty

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