Life’s Hard Lessons

While I am not sure why I had to deal with all the trials and hardships I have been asked to endure, I know I have learned a lot. I have learned things I might not have learned in any other way had I not gone through those things. That is kind of sad that I had to endure such hardships to learn these things, I do wish there was an easier way, I am grateful for all I know however.

I have learned empathy and compassion for others. I have learned endurance and how to deal with difficult times. I have learned fortitude and acceptance of others. I have learned to not judge others because we all go through things. I have learned to have faith and trust in a Higher Being. I have learned about unconditional love from Heavenly Father. I have learned who to trust and who to not trust, and still not become cynical. Life can be a hard teacher.

When I was a kid I had times when I had respite from the difficulties of living with an addict. I had times I went to visit my grandparents and I spent weekends with my dad and stepmom. I was able to go on some vacations and get away from it all for a short period of time. Those times were great, and I felt like I lived a “normal” life, but then reality would kick in again and I had to go back to my house with my mom. It was a let down each and every time! It’s like when you are having a great dream and then you are awakened suddenly to something unpleasant.

I am thankful for those hard lessons life has taught me, I just wish I could have been taught them in a little bit of a nicer way!

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Picking Up the Pieces

Living with a parent that is a drug addict is incredibly hard. I don’t think others can fully understand how trying it is unless you have lived through it. Trying to balance between self-preservation and caring for your parents can be quite taxing.

My mother is a recovering drug addict, and there are still so many challenges. Right now I at least don’t worry about her having a sudden drug overdose because of drugs. However, she is almost like a young adult or teenager at times. She hasn’t learned to cope with anything because she didn’t have to when she was taking drugs. Another side effect is she has become somewhat of a hypochondriac due to the fact that every ailment she has use to be covered up by drugs.

As her daughter it is hard to see her struggling so much to cope with life. It’s hard to see her flounder but yet SHE thinks she can do all things. Do you know how challenging it is to see your parents behave like a teenager, but have the freedom of a grown adult?! I wish I could giver her a crash course in life so she can learn the things she doesn’t know right now.

I feel like it’s almost like when someone gets out of prison after years of being on the inside. Which she kind of was in a prison of drugs. The world she is in now is different than the one she remembers years ago before drugs locked her up. I do wish I could do more to help her, but some things she has to learn for herself. Even if it means she could fail miserably.

A Story to Tell

Everyone has a story to share, and when we share our stories we can learn to see others in a different light. It can help us develop a sort of love and understanding of where others are coming from.

It is my greatest desire , and it has been for a few years now, to share my story to others. It hasn’t been easy, and I have received some negative feedback from some. However I have had much more love and support from others.

I heard once that when you can talk about hardships from your past that you are healing. I do accept those things that have happened to me, and I want to help others that are going through difficulties as well. I want to help other know they are not alone, and that others are there for them.

When I was younger I went through a really tough time. Then as an adult things weren’t much easier. I still get overwhelmed with emotion at times working through the things that happened. Four years ago I started down what would be a long and arduous journey. I never thought things would ever get better. I am so thankful I was wrong! I am thankful I have a place to share my struggles and triumphs.

Feeling Let Down

I have recently been thinking about being let down. It occurred to me that I am so very use to being let down by others, it’s almost like second nature to me. When I think about it I get kind of sad because I wish it wasn’t so, but due to life experiences I have just grown accustomed to people letting me down. I have also developed a wonderful skill of not having too high of expectations.

My mom was really upset about something that happened a few weeks ago, and I tried really hard to understand where she was coming from. I kept asking her why she let herself get so worked up about this incident because it just let her down in the end. She of course could not understand why I wasn’t more upset and it dawned on me– I have just grown so use to certain people doing things the exact opposite of what they say.

I tried to figure out how I became somewhat cynical, and I know exactly how this happened. Every time my mom would be drunk or would go to a bar and I would cry, beg and plead for her to not do it again. She would make would be false promises and tell me it was the last time she would drink or go to a bar. Every time she went back on those promises my heart would break a little more, until I just stopped believing her. I know that this is a common problem people with addictions face, or the people that love them. Not only did I stop believing her I began to believe that others would let me down in the same way as well. I don’t know if I was creating that which I feared or if I was just being realistic about situations.

This trait is not conducive to developing healthy relationships with others, and my saint of a husband is very patient with me as I try to work through this. I am also thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that loves me and is there for me time and time again. He allows me to feel like I can trust, and He has put people in my life that have shown me a different way. I am grateful for this, and I hope that as I get older it gets a littler easier for me to trust others. I also hope that my heart can be protected from experiencing that sort of pain again.

Learning a Lesson

Lately I have been pondering the trials I have had to endure over the last few years, which thankfully things are a little better right now. I have wondered for a long time why I was asked to go through such awful experiences, and I think I am understanding a little more now. Although getting to this point was treacherous!

Recently I was traveling with all the kiddos and we were going to go on a mini road trip. As we were traveling I kept saying a silent prayer that our vehicle would be able to withstand the trip, and then the tire blew out! I am so thankful where we were was the best place this could have happened, we were close to a turn off on the side of the road. However we had no cell phone reception (seriously how did we live without cell phones?!) I prayed for something to happen that wold allow us to get some help from someone because we had no spare tire (that’s another long and boring story).

While I was dealing with a bunch of hot and tired kids that needed to go to the bathroom (all of them had to go at the EXACT same time), a police officer pulled up! I was never so happy to see those red and blue lights! The officer had a way to call AAA and he was able to get a tow truck sent out for us. We were relatively close to a tire shop and they had a tire in my big ole vans size! We had to wait for a couple hours as they fixed the tire and put it back on the van, at this point I was becoming a little discouraged.

I began to think and wonder why Heavenly Father didn’t tell me or warn me of this happening. I would have most likely stayed home if I would have known! Then this thought came to my mind… what if that kind tow truck driver needed the blessings he received for helping me. That wonderful man charged me less than half the price he was suppose to charge me to tow my van as far as he did. I am so thankful for his kindness, and that he took pity on a mom traveling with 7 kids alone. Then the tire guys charged me about $40 less than they originally said they would. Perhaps seeing a mom that was overwhelmed softened their hearts.Whatever the reasons for the tender mercies I received that day I am very thankful.

This brings me back to the beginning of my post. All of the things that happened that day would have most likely crushed me; I would have cried and broken down had this happened pre-2013. However, because of the trials I have had to endure during the last few years I wasn’t crushed. I was able to have a strong resolve and trust in my Father in Heaven that things would work out. I didn’t even worry about the how because I was sure things would work out. I couldn’t say I would have been able to handle it so well a few years ago. Knowing this brings me a little comfort and peace that all those hardships DID in fact have a purpose.

Feelings of Loneliness

About three and a half years ago I experienced the worst kind of heartache I have ever known. It was one of ultimate betrayal and deception, it was as if my whole reality was completely shattered and turned upside down. I wouldn’t wish this kind of heartache on anyone, and anyone that has felt this know you are not alone. Now is not the time I will write about what happened, I am still working through it myself, but I am closer to feeling healed from it each day.

I know now that this kind of heartache is one that has not been felt by many. I know this because more times that not I heard from others, “I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re going through”, or “I wish I knew how to help”, or “I can’t believe you’re having to go through all of this, I can’t imagine”. The response I remember most is when I was told, “You could write a book about all of these things, because they are almost unbelievable that one person is going through all of this”. I frequently found it baffling that I was having to go through one knockdown, knockout punch after another. It felt like a never ending trial, and also the worst year of my life (yes it was for a little over whole year).

Over Easter weekend I was reflecting on some of these things I went through as I thought of our Savior and His suffering as He went through the Atoning sacrifice. When I was going through some of the hardest times I have ever known I frequently felt like no one else in the whole world knew how I was feeling. I felt so alone, and like such a burden on so many that had no idea how to help because they had never experienced what I was going through. It was a time of loneliness and despair, as I felt I was being asked to walk through these trials. I had never felt like such a solitary being before.

After a while of feeling this way, and realizing I wasn’t going to be able to find anyone that was going/or had gone through the same things as I was, I had to look somewhere else. It would have been easy to find other things to distract me from the hurt I was feeling, but I didn’t. Instead I focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered so much, and did so all alone, so I would never have to feel alone. I came to understand the Atonement wasn’t just for washing away our sins (which it is that too of course), but rather it is also there for us so we have someone there for us who knows exactly how we feel. As I studied more about the Atonement and how alone and utterly forsaken our Savior felt on that cross I was able to realize I wasn’t alone, not really. He felt those feelings I was having and He did so for me, as He did for each and everyone of us.

This is so very humbling to know and to feel that comfort and that peace. I am so thankful for His sacrifice, as much as I wish it didn’t need to be. I am thankful that I don’t have to walk alone, especially when no other human knows how I feel. This life would be a lot more lonely if I didn’t have this knowledge. I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter weekend, and I hope you know you are never alone.

Darkness Catching Up

Have you ever traveled across the country and the sky is dark behind you and you can see the sun in front of you? You know that the darkness will catch up with you shortly, but you still hold onto what light is left in the sky. I feel like this applies in life too sometimes, well for me it does anyway. I feel like my past and all the experiences are that darkness ans that they are going to catch up to my present life and take over sometimes.

The other day I just started crying because of all the things that I have had to go through in my life. Not sure what triggered these feelings or why they were so overwhelming, but it just was. I don’t like this part of myself because I fear that I will never be completely whole, even though it’s what I want most. The things that happened when I was a child and a teenager, and then in my adult life with my ex-husband. There is a lot of emotional baggage I have that I have to work through and unpack–little by little.

It has been a long and difficult journey to work on these issues, and I tend to need reassurance at times to know that I’m not messing everything up in my life. I do the best I can and I hope for the best, but sometimes I get really discouraged. It helps me to remember how far I have come from where I was, and to know that it’s all right to have moments to break down (I just don’t unpack and live there).

I know in my life that the angel of mercy has been there to pick me up, and I know that my Heavenly Father never leaves me to suffer through those times alone. That offers me some comfort and peace. Knowing I am not alone to go through these periods of discouragement helps me to pick myself up and keep plugging along. We aren’t meant to continue to suffer after difficulties and hardships, we are meant to learn from them and let them strengthen us. That can be hard to swallow when you feel like a part of you is broken however. I have come to look at these hardships as things that heavenly Father is working on to help me be a stronger person, and to be able to relate to others as well.

I hope if you are going through anything difficult or trying, that as hard as it may be, that you can look at it as a way to become even stronger than you were before.

Let It Stop With Me

People frequently ask me how or what helped me change my life so drastically from how I grew up. First off, I know without a shadow of a doubt I did not do it alone. I know it was through the grace and help of a loving Father in Heaven.

Recently I was reading a book entitled Not My Will, But Thine by Neal A. Maxwell. In it he says, “… adverse environmental experiences need not be automatically perpetuated. It is possible to break the chain of events by saying, ‘Let it stop with me!'”

This statement right here perfectly echos my thinking. When I became pregnant at a young age I knew I wanted something different for the little life I was going to bring into the world. I knew I wanted it to stop with me because I wanted to make sure no other child would suffer the way I did.

After I made this pledge to myself I never looked back. It stopped right there with me. None of my children have ever had to know what it was like to live with an alcoholic or drug addict. They never have to worry about where I am at night, or when I’ll be home. They have never had to deal with that kind of instability or destructive home environment.

I am not saying it was always easy, because it wasn’t. Not having a steady role model to know how to pattern my life after has been a challenge. I have learned however that “God can heal us…”, and I am ever so grateful for that. I am thankful that it stopped with me. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that helped my efforts and has been with me every step of the way.

Accepting Things as They Are

When I was in the 4th grade my home life was tumultuous. My mom had started dating someone of low quality. He was a man short in stature and had an even shorter temper. One particular evening I had gotten a drink of some pop (or soda for those of you not from the Midwest!) that he had left at my house. This gent flipped his lid when he found out. He became so enraged he threw the half filled 2- liter at my head!

My mom stepped in and told him to leave. This man, however, was not the type that liked to be told what to do. He stayed and a fight ensued between he and my mom. As the fighting grew in intensity some neighbors heard it and called the cops. I remember hiding under the dining room table the whole time while things played out.

The cops decided that I should go spend some time with my dad, which I was happy about. I’m not exactly sure where my mom went, but the guy ended up in the back of a cop car.

After a peaceful night sleep at my dad’s house, the next morning he took me to school. Around lunchtime my mother showed up at the school demanding to see her daughter. I was promptly called to the office and was told I would be going home right then with my mom. I begged and pleaded with them to not make me go. I told them my dad was going to pick me up and I wasn’t supposed to go with her. I really wanted to go back to my dad’s house.

The administrators wouldn’t hear of it though. They told me to stop lying about my mom because she was a good woman. I left that day defeated and in tears. I felt like no one was listening to what I had to say.

I have often wondered if things would have been different had someone listened to me that day. Would I have gone back to my dad’s? Would I have been able to live with my dad permanently? Would I have been able to have a more stable and peaceful life? I’m sure if that would have happened a lot of things would have changed, but maybe that’s not what was meant for my life. I know I can’t change the things now; it is still hard to accept sometimes how things were. Sometimes in life we just need someone to listen to us, and to really hear what we have to say.

I try to be the kind of person now that offers a listening ear for others. Kids especially need someone to be their advocate and to be in their corner. I know that my Heavenly Father was always there for me, looking out for me and protecting me. This gives me peace and comfort because I know He has used these hard times I went through to increase my understanding and compassion towards others. Even though it was not easy to bear at the time I am grateful for where I am today.

Learning to Breath Again

My life has been one  of many struggles and hardships, which has led me to always be on high alert for the next “big thing” that is going to come and knock me down again. It is an unfortunate way to live life, and one in which I have tried to overcome for a long time. It’s not easy to do though when things keep happening in our lives.

A couple years ago I sat down and met with my church leader about some struggles I was going through with my ex. I told him how hard it was for me to enjoy good times or days in life because I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. He warned me that I needed to take care to not become cynical with that kind of attitude. This suggestion took me back a bit, I had never thought of myself as becoming cynical. When your life seems to be one trial after another it is hard to not be expecting the next hardship that is sure to come!

How do we do it then? How do we keep ourselves from just anticipating the next bad thing to happen and instead enjoy the good days when they are present? I haven’t found the magic answer as of yet, but I am open to any ideas and suggestions! I do, however, try really hard to appreciate the good days when they come around. I also try to remember that I have survived a lot of bad days already, so I have a wonderful track record of getting through them . Therefore the hard days that may be ahead …well there is a good chance I can get through them as well. On the days when I haven’t felt like I was going to get through them I know I have been carried by a Higher Power, and that gives me great comfort as well.