My heart…….

Day 139 Project 365

“Father, I want to please You by the way I love my family. Today, I choose to see each family member through your eyes of love and mercy. I will wage peace in my family. I will be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. I will encourage my family members with my words, my prayers, my love and my time. I want my home to be a safe place filled with kindness and compassion, a place that illustrates Your presence and power. Today, I choose to trust my family to God.” ~ Mary Southerland

Oh this is so true.  I love my family, love my kids. My greatest joy is being their mom.  I want so much for my home to be warm and inviting and a safe place full of compassion, encouragement.  A place to grow and explore and find your passion and purpose.  There are times I have lost my way, maybe not made the greatest choices.  Thankfully I found my way.  For so long I beat myself up for my past mistakes but now, I walk in freedom.  I have learned so much from my past and I am free from guilt and shame that I carried because I was unable to forgive myself.  I know that the best way to make a difference is to start by learning from the past and not repeating it. 

With all that said…. (Father let me share safely here….)

Meeting my husband brought two little girls into my life, his daughters.  They were small, one barely 4 and one 5.  Life was an adventure raising 7 kids, still is.  We had normal issues and all the everyday stuff of a family.  Added to our plate was lives of addiction and chaos.  A custody battle ensued and lasted many years until finally the girls were with us. The battle didn’t end there and now with 12 years behind us the battles still continue.  The details, many of which are horrific are not necessary.  It isn’t the point of why I share today.  Let us just say blending a family is the single hardest thing I have ever had to endure.  There are so many dynamics at play with emotional and mental abuse all over that served to taint and harden hearts.  I wanted nothing more than to be for the girls what they lacked in their biological mother.  To make sure they were healthy and happy and knew they belonged and were cared for.  Things spiraled on many different levels for many different reasons and although we have remained with full sole custody ever since, the relationships between the girls and I is very fractured. 

Please bear with me because I really need to get this out.  This isn’t about blaming or looking for someone to take sides or anything like that.  As I read the above prayer this morning I wept.  I tried so hard.  I just can’t even begin to express in any kind of way what this journey has been like, what it has “cost”, what it has entailed, for any of us.  My heart breaks for the girls because as a mom I still to this day have no frame of reference for the terrible things they have seen or had to experience because of their birth mother.  I can’t comprehend.  I realize that it is much easier at times to take things out on me and I also own my part of having “had enough”.  For all the many things that were right there were things that went wrong and things that never stood a chance.

“Father, I want to please You by the way I love my family. Today, I choose to see each family member through your eyes of love and mercy. I will wage peace in my family. I will be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. I will encourage my family members with my words, my prayers, my love and my time. I want my home to be a safe place filled with kindness and compassion, a place that illustrates Your presence and power. Today, I choose to trust my family to God.” ~ Mary Southerland

This has truly been my hearts cry since 2000.  It has been my desire even before, since the day I became a mother, started my family.  I know that I have done my best and where I haven’t I have asked forgiveness, made amends and started again.  I share this today because it is my greatest struggle.  It has caused so much heart ache and threatened to end my marriage and my life.  This struggle is a part of almost every day.  I have probably prayed this little prayer 20 times this morning. The sun is far from rising and my heart is very heavy.  Many have cast judgement.

When I decided to start this blog it was to be able to really open up and speak and allow those words spoken to heal.  SO with that I realized that there are some parts of my life I need to dig into.  With this little prayer this morning I realized that I have to get this out of my head.  I have said before that speaking things out makes them lose their power.  For far to long I have allowed this a place of power over me, on many levels, and I realize even as I type this there are still layers that need to be stripped away and healing needs to take place. 

Father, I want to please you in every single area of my life.  You know every intimate detail of my 42 years, especially the last 12 years.   I don’t need anyone on my side, that is not what this is about Father nor am I trying to defend myself or to even have my side of the story heard.  You know my heart and you know all the things I have done.  I have empathized and sympathized.  I have cried and prayed and fasted and begged.  Lord, I need your help.  These broken and fractured places are greater than me.  I am powerless.  Father I am trying, trying to forgive and be slow to become angry.  The hateful looks, words, comments, actions, they hurt.  The relationships I have lost because of untruth hurts.  The price has been so high.  Maybe it is that I just want someone else to speak up and say “yes I own this too”.  Maybe that is wrong of me Lord and if it is, please free me from that.  Show me.  I am tired.  There are things that have been said and done that hurt me so bad.  Please help me deal with these emotions.  I struggle to Father to trust.  I am afraid at times and anxious.  Today I choose to trust you even more than I have or thought I had before.  I make a choice today to trust in you and only you.  Not in what I see or don’t see.  Not in people.  Not in anything other than you.  There are so many broken places that need to be fixed on so many levels and in so many different places but you are the GOD of the seemingly impossible.  I realize that things might never be “okay”. Father there are times that I have begged for time to turn back.  Forgive me, for my heart in those moments was not honorable.  You asked me to do something and I did.   I am not who they want to be in this role.  I realize this too.  Father, I pray that they find peace.  Father, give me peace for whatever is to come, for the days when it hurts.  Help me to be the mother you have designed me to be, to all those in my care.  Help me to be a reflection of you.  Help me to be ready for the miracle.

Amen!

(Please know I appreciate your prayers and I pray that my heart in this share is apparent.)

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5 thoughts on “My heart…….

  1. First, to willingly take on the role of stepmom takes tremendous courage! Most kids from broken homes come with a sort of chip on their shoulder that anyone would dare attempt to take a parents place or position. Regardless of how the girls see you right now, there will come a day when their eyes will be opened and they will see what an incredible gift you are! You are doing the right thing – trusting, confessing, calling on He who can and will provide all that you need to sustain and strengthen you.
    I will be praying that their eyes be opened to the gift that God has placed before them, in you, and that they would embrace with gratitude who you are in their lives.
    Blessings as He does the miraculous in hearts and your home!

  2. My heart is heavy after reading this Leslie. Praying that the Lord will give you the desires of your heart. Praying also for the girls that God will soften their hearts, that the words that they meant to inflict pain are changed into words and actions that are compassionate, thankful, healing and genuine. I have always known that you have a heart for the things of God, and that has not changed. I pray that those who cast aspersions, realize the hurt they have caused you and repent for those sins. You are a strong, brave, Godly, loving and beautiful girl. Don’t let the enemy fill your head with those lies that would contradict these things. I love you Leslie!

  3. Leslie, God sees and He cares. I pray you’ll know the fulness of His wonderful compassion. May He give you every single blessing you desire and comfort you when your heart is heavy. May you know the joy of His endless mercy and find peace that surpasses all understanding. I’m standing with you in agreement, that God will grant you the power to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is toward you.

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