Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm Letting Go

Two years ago, Matt walked away from me ... and I began to feel like my life was spinning out of control. At first, I did a lot of grasping for anything I could hang onto. I wanted to stop the free fall. I was scared of letting go of all that I knew, and trusting that God was going to catch me.

But as the days, weeks, months and years have slowly passed by, I've learned a lot about faith and trust in God. And now, I actually feel safe being out of control of my own life. I have found that the free fall is actually an okay place to be because I can trust that God is going to catch me and gently place me down in the perfect spot. Things will be better when I land ... I can trust that even though the fall is a little scary, I've actually got nothing to fear.

Recently, I discovered I was going to have to move out of my house as it had been sold. I started immediately to look for a new home. Despite my best efforts, no house was available to me. I couldn't seem to find anything. Again and again and again my search came up empty. As I prayed, God began to make it clear that I needed to search in another town. And, He has confirmed that for me time and time and time again.

So, today I find myself purchasing a home (for the first time ever) in a new town ... free falling again, knowing that God is working out all the details. Free falling .. not knowing why God is moving me or how things are really going to work out. But I'm excited about the future and I'm feeling incredibly safe in this season of letting go and letting God. I can honestly say that moving is not my idea, but I trust that God is doing something really amazing in this situation.

I heard this song by Francesca Battistelli tonight and it just seemed to describe my place in life so perfectly. I found the You Tube video, but I can't seem to embed it here. Oh, well, here's the link to go to You Tube and view it for yourself ... or you can just read the lyrics below.

I'm Letting Go by Francesca Battistelli

My heart beats, standing on the edge
But my feet have finally left the ledge

Like an acrobat
There’s no turning back

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace

The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

Giving in to your gravity
Knowing You are holding me
I’m not afraid

Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
Feels like I’m falling and this is the life for me

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Smart Boys

Warning ... another bragging Momma post!

Both of my boys have been accepted in the academic gifted program. Yay! I'm so thrilled and excited! Apparently, both boys did very well on the gifted tests. I knew that they would, though. They are such smart guys.

Nathan also made the gifted art program. WOO-HOO! He's just an all-around talented kid.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Cleaning in my Soul

I've been busy doing a lot decluttering in my heart. This spring cleaning has been good for me, but definitely not fun. Every day I'm faced with some ugly truth about myself. The most recent thing I've come to the realize is that I'm 36 years old and to this day I worry more about what someone else *might* think about my life than I do about how Jesus and I feel about my life. :( This concern is cluttering up my mind and my heart. I often can't hear the Lord because of the loudness of this clutter that's clanging around. I long for peace when I make decisions, and I'm seeing that I'll never get that if I'm listening to all the well-meaning people in my life. Far too often, I'm guilty of being a people pleaser, when really all that matters is being a God-pleaser.

Like a Whisper in my Soul

Last week I applied for a loan on the house ... and you know how it goes, when you start to wonder and worry over if you are doing the "right" thing. I would feel totally confident one minute, only to be plagued by doubts in the next. Waffling back and forth ... obsessing and praying and praying and obsessing. :perplex:

Today, a lady at church spoke with me about her daughter who is moving back to our tiny town due to a divorce situation. :( She was asking me some questions about my experience and as we stood there talking I asked her if C. had found a place to live. The mother nodded yes and then named the house. It was a house that I was trying to rent myself ... and the landlord originally told me yes and then backed out saying that she wasn't able to get things taken care of with the house in order for me to move in.

You know, immediately in my heart I heard a whisper ... it was nearly audible this loud whisper. No doubt it was God, who said to me, "This house was for C. and not for you. I am moving you on and you didn't need to be in that house." It was like a sweet confirmation that I've done the right thing.

Normally, I'd be confused and upset. But today I experience no trace of anger or confusion. I know that the house fell through for me because I'm no longer supposed to be here. Every single door I tried to open was locked tight. God wanted me to move. Besides, I'm thrilled for C. ... she is able to come home and be in this safe cocoon of a town, near her family for this season of healing. And I'm going to be able to leave with peace in my heart, knowing that my own healing season is over and I'm stepping out into the next season of my life which will be in a new town. There will be a new church for me to worship with and new friends for me to enjoy ... new school for the kids, new activities to fill our days and so much to anticipate!

God is incredibly gracious to me. He's been my Protector. He's been my Redeemer, even when I didn't feel like I was worth being redeemed. Now, he is my Encourager ... helping me to boldly step into the new. And with my eyes focused on Him, I'm wildly anticipating the new season that He is bringing into my life.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Math Bee Winner ... Again!

Last year, Joel won the math bee. He was the school district's 1st grade math champion. (You can actually go back and see last year's post and pictures from the 1st grade math bee:

This year, he has won again! Yesterday, Joel competed in the school district math bee and won the second grade trophy. Yay! He competed on stage in two rounds of straight math facts, followed by 2 rounds of word problems. There were six contestants left at the end of the 4 rounds. Those children then took a multiplication timed test to determine the winner. Joel worked the most problems in the 1 minute test, so he was declared the 2nd grade champion. Yay!

I'm so proud of my big boy! I'm always blessed to be his mom, and I'm proud of him every day. But this weekend we are definitely celebrating his math success! And just for clarification ... Joel does not get his math skills from his mother. I am not a math whiz by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am so mathematically challenged, that in high school I had to take algebra 1 twice! So that makes me extra happy to see how wonderful my son is able to succeed in an area that I've always found terribly challenging.

Way to go, Joel!

(Pictures from the math bee coming soon!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

I've been experiencing life from the safety of a cocoon.

Sometimes, we need seasons like that ... seasons when we are wrapped snug in a place of love where our hearts are healed and our souls are renewed after a long, hard battle. Without the cocoon, life would be overwhelming. So, we are thankful for the time we can spend in safe keeping out of danger's way.

But in that cocoon, there is also growth that takes place. As time passes on, what was once a place of security eventually becomes uncomfortable. We long to push out and stretch new wings to the sun and experience life from outside the cocoon again.

I'm not sure ... but I think I'm ready to emerge from my own little cocoon. It's been 2 years of living with life on hold. With every day that passes, I feel like I'm becoming more and more tightly wedged into this tiny place. I'm thinking it is time to try to fly again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Extravagant Easter Blessings

It's been such a wonderful Easter weekend ... full of wonderful blessings that have touched my heart.

The kids and I traveled with Brooke and my parents down to visit my brother's family near Baton Rouge. My niece Rachel was baptized today. My brother Reid (who is a youth pastor) was able to baptize his daughter, so it was very special to witness this precious moment. Baptism doesn't save a person's soul, but it is a beautiful picture of salvation. I'm so happy that my favorite niece (and I can say that because she's the only one) is also my sister in Christ.

While we were getting ready to watch the baptism service, Julia was full of questions. First of all, she wanted to know if Rachel got a new swimsuit to wear since she was going to have to go all the way under the water. When I said that she wouldn't be wearing a swimsuit, Julia gasped and said, "You mean she has to be naked?!" So funny! Julia also wanted to know when she could be baptized. I love being able to have gentle conversations with my children ... questions that I trust will someday culminate when they ask Jesus to be Lord of their lives.

Another blessing was that I bought a new computer! After a year of debating and praying and trying to decide what I wanted, I finally made a purchase of a Macbook. It's my first laptop ... wel, I do have a laptop that I use at work, but I've never owned a laptop before so it is a first in that respect. I hope I'm happy. Right now, I'm just eager to get everything set up and working. This old computer is really on its last leg ... I hope I'm computer saavy enough to get all of my files from it transferred to my new computer. It's definitely a matter of prayer!

This next little blessing is sort of interesting ... I've been doing the bible study Am I Beautiful? By Angela Thomas. (I love Angela, by the way. Her books are very insightful to my situation in life. Can you believe that I get to hear her speak this weekend?! I'm totally excited because I almost gave up taking this trip to the women's conference in Baton Rouge. Thankfully, I'm going and I'm anxious to see how God speaks to me there and what wonderful things will happen because I was able to attend.)

Back to the Bible study ... Angela begins by talking about how every woman desires to feel beautiful and loved, for some man to find her captivating. She goes on to talk about how it is more important for us to feel captivating and beautiful in the eyes of God than in the eyes of a man. She goes as far as to suggest that we ask God if He finds us beautiful. I didn't realize just how much I craved this feeling until recently. It had been a LONG time since I felt beautiful. I didn't even realize it was missing from my life until I started dating Keith. For those short few weeks, I felt downright gorgeous. When it ended so suddenly, I felt like that gift of being a beautiful woman was ripped from me. So, I started talking to God about it ... and I asked Him if He thought I was beautiful, too.

At the bookstore on Saturday, a lady was selling her book and some friends were drumming up business for her. The friends were walking around passing out daffodils. Daffodils are my all-time favorite flower ... I love them because they are such a happy, yellow color and they practically dance in the spring breezes. When one of those ladies walked up and handed me a daffodil, it was like this wonderful little gift from God. I know that every other lady in that bookstore was getting daffodils, too ... but to me, it was like a kiss from God. You see, daffodils aren't exactly the kind of flower you hand out to others. And the season for daffodils here in Louisiana is past. Those ladies could have been handing out any other kind of flower ... roses, carnations, daisies. But, they were handing out happy, yellow daffodils ... a gift for me from God.

One more thing on a totally different topic... something the boys said to me that made me smile. Julia was being mean to Joel. I guess she hurt him or something. Anyway, Nathan took Joel by the hand and brought him to me. There they stood ... Joel looking all pathetic and hurt while Nathan said this, "Momma ... Julia was being mean to Joel. But Joel was a wise boy because he remembered to overcome evil with good. Only Julia got really mean and hurt him and now he is crying." The whole "overcome evil with good" came from a cd we listen to in the car that teaches bible verses through songs. I love to know that at least some of what I'm trying to teach them is sinking into their brains ... I hope it is going into their hearts, too!

Easter weekend and my heart is full. It's not full of chocolate or little bunnies or spring time flowers. No, my heart is full because my Saviour is blessing me in amazing ways. And He can bless me because He is living ... He is risen! Praise God that the tomb is empty! What a glorious Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Will Not Be Moved

I just bought a new Natalie Grant cd ... Relentless. The first song is "I Will Not Be Moved." From the start, it has touched my heart. But it seems that this past week, I've been especially drawn to the chorus. (Actually, the entire cd has been pretty amazing. I'm enjoying it a lot ... and Julia is too. In fact, most nights we dance in the kitchen to Make It Matter. Yeah, I know. Go ahead and laugh, Reid. I'm quite sure that seeing me with my two left feet and total lack of coordination dancing in the kitchen is an incredibly silly sight, but I don't really care because I'm making great memories with my daughter.)

Anyway, I am facing a lot of soul-searching facts from the past 10 days. What I'm seeing about myself isn't all that pretty, but I'm learning that repentance is an amazing thing and the forgiveness that comes afterwards is freeing. This Easter weekend, I'm remembering that I'm just human and that means I will make mistakes. Every single day ... no, every single hour. Not only am I going to make mistakes, but I'm going to have heartaches in this life. Life isn't easy or perfect or all smooth sailing. Life is full of yucky moments ... some of which are a direct result of the mistakes I've made. It's easy to feel bitter or to begin to develop an attitude with God. I'm seeing how much growing in faith that I've got to do.

But it's such a blessing to know that despite all of my mistakes and each of those heartaches or even when I have a stinky attitude, I can rest assured of God's amazing grace. In fact, the mistakes and the heartaches are what makes me so intensely aware of the grace that's continually extended to me. Praise God for that!

So tonight, I'm remember that nothing ... not mistakes or hard times or ugly attitudes ... can move me from what I have been given in Christ. Here's a music video of Natalie's song. (Mom ... you'll probably just want to read the lyrics that I've written out below, and skip the video.)

I Will Not Be Moved (Natalie Grant)

I have been a wayward child
I have acted out
I have questioned Sovereignty
And had my share of doubt
And though sometimes my prayers feel like
They're bouncing off the sky
The hand I hold won't let me go
And is the reason why

I will stumble
I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will face heartache
I will make mistakes
But I will not be moved
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
I will not be moved

Bitterness has plagued my heart
Many times before
My life has been like broken glass
And I have kept the score
Of all my shattered dreams
And though it seemed
That I was far too gone
My brokeness helped me to see
It's grace I'm standing on

I will stumble
I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will face heartache
I will make mistakes
But I will not be moved
On Christ the Solid Rock I stan
All other ground is sinking sand
I will not be moved

And the chaos in my life
Has been a badge I've worn
Though I have been torn
I will not be moved
I will not be moved
I will not be moved
I will make mistakes
I will face heartache
But I will not be moved
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking snad
I will not be moved

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Dancing Man

As part of the end of testing week at school, HES held a "dance off." Joel tied for 1st place in a 3-way tie, with 1st grader Abbey H. and kindergartener Alston T. (Joel insists that I include the other winners in this post. He's so polite about sharing his dance-off winner title.)

Anyway, according to those adults in the audience, Joel played the air guitar and gyrated like nobody's business. From what I can gather, it was a very interesting performance given by my oldest child, who danced without any inhibitions. Let's just say that Joel doesn't know the meaning of stage fright.

Some days I'm rather amazed by who my kids are growing up to be. And who would have ever guessed that this shy wallflower with two left feet was raising such an amazingly talented dancer?! Tonight I'm feeling challenged by my oldest child to live my life without being so concerned about what onlookers might be thinking ... to live with a wild heart that seeks nothing more than to follow God recklessly despite what the rest of the world thinks about me.

There is a Difference

This past week has taught me something ... that there is a difference in the brokeness one feels over a life circumstance and the brokeness that one feels over an unclean heart.

I've experienced both to varying degrees this past week. And all I have to say is that I'm thankful for the healing God gives for the one and the forgiveness He extends for the other. Because of mercy, my heart doesn't have to stay broken.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Consistently Inconsistent

Now that's a strange twist of words, isn't it. Sadly, it is my truth. It is the truth about many areas of my life, but the one that bothers me most right now is my walk with God.

Oh, in the bad times, I know right where to turn. I'm on my knees, weeping and praying. I'm reading my Bible and searching for the truth. I know exactly who to seek when the going is rough. And praise the Lord, He's always come through for me, even though I don't deserve it.

But when the days are good and I'm feeling fine ... well, then I just offer up some half-hearted, rushed prayers and go about my business like I've got no other concerns. I don't seek God's desires for me when the good times are rolling.

God's been pointing that out to me over the past few days. My heart is breaking because of my consistent inconsistency. I'm praying that the Lord will change this life pattern in me for I do want to be a more consistent follower of Christ ... a consistently consistent follower who sticks close to God on the good days as well as the bad days.

I Feel Like I Should Say ...

I'm okay.

The previous post is almost gut-wrenching for me to re-read this morning, even though I just wrote it last night. Writing is very healing for me, and what I wrote expressed exactly what was on my mind and heart last night. After I wrote it down, I was able to go spend some time praying and reading the Bible. I'm much, much better this morning. Things don't seem nearly as dark or stormy.

No, the trial hasn't passed. But I am seeking the face of God and I know that His hand is holding me. I'm not going to fall off the edge of the earth or be swept away in this little storm.

I wanted anyone who might read my blog and become concerned over my words to know that there isn't any reason to worry over me. I'm fine. I've just had a very hard week and apparently I'd been stuffing back a lot of worries and feelings that suddenly erupted to the surface at the same time causing a mini-breakdown. Thankfully, I'm grounded enough to know exactly where to run when the bad times come and I have all confidence that the Lord will use this thing to create me into the person He has designed me to be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When God Dreamed of Me ...

Sometimes I wonder why God created me. This amazing Creator who made a universe full of wonder ... the One who invented the sun, came up with the idea of planets that revolve around the sun and an earth that rotates to have seasons, planned for all the intricate details of our world ... is the same one who invented me. He designed me with all of my personality quirks. If I believe His word to be true, then I have to accept that I am created by Him and in His image. And sometimes my heart wonders why ... why me, like I am?

Why am I here? What is my purpose on this earth? At times, I've felt like I've known the answer to that question. For a long season, I felt like I was useful in loving children who needed love. As a school teacher, it was easy to say that this was my purpose in life. As a wife, I was needed to be a helper for my husband and to bring him joy. For a period of time, I thought my reason for being here was to homeschool my children and to minister to hurting military moms through the chapels on post. I'm honest enough to admit that those were the days when I felt most useful.

But all of those things were stripped away. For two years, I've wondered why. Why? Why was my purpose taken away? Why was I sent here ... to this desert of a place? Why do I feel so utterly useless most of the time? It feels like I'm searching without ever finding ... and so much of the time, I'm not even sure what I'm searching for. Just when I think I've rounded a corner to a place of healing, something happens and I discover that perhaps the journey has just begun. I'm weary of it. I want to feel like I'm needed for something other than preparing meals or finding lost shoes. I just want to be wanted simply because someone really likes me and finds me fascinating ... well, okay, maybe not fascinating but at least likeable enough that I'm cherished for who I am. I want to be able to wake up every morning with a purpose ... a reason for existing. I want to feel like I shine again ... rather than feel that I'm dull at best or invisible at worst.

Today I've been asking God why He made me. I'm not sure anymore ... why me, why here, why this place of all places. Why this church? Why this town? Why this job? Why not what I want anymore? Why were my dreams lost? What dreams do I even have for my future anymore? Who am I? And do I like my cheesecake with strawberry, blueberry or cherry topping? Some days I think I've forgotten even that! Just who is Angela Paige Terry Thompson? What does she like? What are her gifts and talents? Why am I special, and am I called to be more than who I am today? And if I am called, then what am I called for?

And, perhaps this is the very crux of my recent breakdown, I just don't feel loved. Oh, sure ... my parents love me, but they pretty much have to simply because they brought me into this world. My kids love me, but that may only be because I make them fish sticks for dinner and allow them the occasional SpongeBob episode and can nearly always find their missing shoes and they can pretty much bet that I will be a sucker for letting them crawl into bed with me at 2 am. Yes, I feel like I'm just waiting for someone, anyone, to discover me ... to realize that I'm here and that perhaps I'm worth knowing and worth loving for forever.

Which brings me to another thing ... did you notice what a selfish desire that really is? I have to admit that tonight I'm much more interested in who or what can increase my own happiness in my circumstances, instead of what I an do for the Kingdom of God or how my soul can worship that One who loves me more than any other. And that, my friends, is a sad and sobering thought to consider.

Yes, tonight I feel very lost and all alone. Like I'm wandering in a desert just like the Israelites ... and I'm wondering if it will it take me 40 years to find my way out? Oh, Lord, I hope not! I'll be 76 if it does! Exactly how long will this healing take? Personally, I'd like to be totally healed ASAP ... but maybe if I just had a date circled on the calendar it would help me gather my strength and push on through this rough patch! Sadly, I don't think God works quite that way.

A time of healing and mending ... it's been a journey that's lasted two years already. Some days I look and I can see that I've come so far. The footprints in the sands of my life show my progress. I'll look back amazed at all that has transpired and what I've learned in the process. But then there are times, like this past week, when the waves of life seem to overtake me. The storms threaten to take me away completely. My life feels out of control. I can't see where I am at for the pelting rain, the dense fog and the wild wind that howls all around me. If I don't know where I am at, how can I possibly know where I am going? I'm hoping that when it all settles down, I'll discover that this storm has propelled me even further down the road to healing ... but for now, I'm just hanging on by a thread.

All of these questions from this current storm leaves me to ask yet one more thing ... what exactly did God see when He dreamed of me? When He planned for my life, and as He worked out all the details, what did He want for me and my life? I want so badly to be that woman ... the woman He created me to be. All I know to do is to ask and seek and keep pushing ahead ... even as the tears stream down my face, I'm chosing to seek God. For right now about the only thing I am certain of is that I can trust that the very One who dreamed me up, created me and wrote my life's story, will be able to help me become everything that He envisioned I could be.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10 Praise God for that! When my searching seems in vain, I can trust that Providence is seeking me, to save me when I feel so lost. And that, is a wonderful thing to remember on nights like tonight.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

For the last nine years ...

For the last nine years, I've been blessed to be a momma. My first child, Joel Morgan Thompson, entered this world at 5:32 pm on April 4, 2000 in Alexandria, Louisiana ... and with that precise moment my life changed forever. My heart has never ever been the same since I first saw his precious little face, and counted his ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.

Joel has always been an exceptionally amazing child. He has the sweetest demeanor and the most loving little ways. Over the years, he has grown and matured in ways that I never dreamed he would. From being fascinated with wheels at 9 months to trains at 2 years to presidents at age 4 to hurricanes and weather at age 8 ... his love for learning and admiration for order have fascinated me.

Joel is growing up and it is a bittersweet thing for me. He's no longer a little boy ... in fact, technically he is halfway grown up. In another short 9 years, he'll be voting age and heading to college and leaving the nest. It often takes me by surprise to realize just how quickly he is changing from a young boy to a big kid. For example, just tonight he was telling me about some female character on a TV show that he thought was "hot" and just a couple of weeks ago Joel gave me "dating" advice. He wanted to make sure that I knew the rules regarding what was a man's responsibility and what was the woman's responsibility. It's funny to think that he now sometimes feels protective of me, when all of these years I've been so protective of him. Watching him grow up makes me feel so proud because I love who he is becoming. I just wish I could hold that sweet little bundle of joy tightly in my arms once again.

Here are some pictures of my sweet baby Joel ...

Joel's first Sunday at church. He was 3 weeks old and if I'm not mistaken it was Easter Sunday.

Joel and I enjoy a spring day when he was 11 1/2 months old.

Joel makes a birthday wish on his second birthday. My wish for him on the weekend of his 9th birthday is the same thing I've prayed ever since the day he was born ... may the Lord richly bless him with a long life full of joy, love and peace.

Joy and Sadness Intertwined

The past 6 or 8 weeks have been rather interesting for me.

I began dating a man named Keith. I met him online and despite all of my initials worries and fears I found myself enjoying being in a relationship again. The weeks I shared wtih Keith were so positive for me in many ways. I once again felt beautiful and lovable. I felt that, despite being an overweight and frumpy momma to three children, I was once again attractive to someone ... that I was a worth the effort and desirable enough to be sought after. I began to see myself in a different light.

Additionally, time spent talking to Keith and being with him in person taught me a lot about honesty in relationships. While I never lied to Matt about my feelings, but I left a whole lot out. I never ever told him much of how I felt or what my desires were for my life or our marriage. We didn't dream together. I never spoke up and voiced my concerns or my opinions or my thoughts. While our marriage wasn't all bad, the last 7 years of it were really rough. I lived life with a constant knot in my stomach. For so long, I felt unlovable and unforgivable ... and, the worst of it is that I felt unworthy of either of those things.

But with Keith, I always felt like I was a likable and lovable and wonderful person. His fun wild-at-heart kind of spirit made me appreciate all those masculine qualities that have been absent from my life. I'd forgotten what it is like to be protected and cherished. I felt heard and not just listened to ... like what I was saying was important, if for no other reason than it was on my mind. This precious time has given me a tiny glimpse into how sweet that kind of relationship can be for a couple who puts God at the center of a relationship.

Sadly, Keith began to feel like he needed to let go of our relationship. He felt like he needed to focus on other things that God had laid on his heart, and to allow me to focus on things here that perhaps I should spend more time focusing on. Even though it makes me sad that he felt like he needed to end things between us, even the break up has taught me so much. Keith handled it poorly in the beginning. His round about, vague actions hurt me and caused me a lot of pain, even though that wasn't what he intended to do at all. He was just trying to save me hurt. Normally, in my life, I tend to let things like that go ... harbor my thoughts and feelings, nursing my wounds alone. I never have felt like anyone cared enough to hear about my hurts. But, thanks to a year's worth of marriage counseling and to a lot of lessons the Lord has taught me in the past two years, I knew I couldn't let things end like this.

So last night, I was able to share those things all of those things with Keith ... to express my hurt to him about how this played out, and how I felt and what was going on in my head and my heart. It was another wonderful gift to spend that time talking to Keith ... knowing he was hearing me. It helped me to begin healing when he asked for my forgiveness, and for me to be able to extend that forgiveness to him did me a world of good as well. In the end, I think that we are both grieving the loss of what we had, but we are in a place of peace about what has happened. I know that we will be able to proceed as friends without holding onto bitterness and or hard feelings over what happened ... and that he will always hold a special place in my heart.

Thanks to Keith, I now have a precious view of what a future relationship might look like for me. I saw how wonderful it is to be able to love someone in a pure and honest way, to work through conflict and the harder issues in a manner of love and forgivenes. I now can see what I'm looking for in a husband someday ... those wonderful qualities that Keith showed me over the past several weeks are etched into my mind. It is wonderful to know that I am capable of loving someone again, but more importantly that I am worthy of being loved by someone, too. I have felt more beautiful than ever, and I know that someday that right man will come along. It will just be in God's time. As hard as it is today and even thought the tears are still falling so often, I can let go of this and wait for what is to come someday.

The time I spent getting to know Keith is a time I will always cherish. It was a beautiful thing for me to experience and has no doubt changed me in many ways. I got nothing but joy from those days ... even though it was very short. I wish it didn't have to end. I am extremely saddened over the loss of our relationship. I was not really ready to let it go, though God is giving me a peace about what has happened.

Joy and sadness ... how strange to feel both over the same experience.