My Mistakes Do Not Define Me

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Getting back into the same social circles Dean and I were in was harder than I thought. I had expected a change of sorts. Becoming single I quickly learned that you lose most of your married friends. They still might keep in touch. Exchange pleasantries. Give you the odd call every now and then. But for the most part married people don’t want to hang out with single people.

I started having issues with some of the women. Women who felt threatened I suppose by me. I always have been puzzled by that. When I was married to Dean I didn’t have many issues with women. I was married and downtrodden, I guess that made most happily content that I wasn’t after their husband. Now that I was single though, and coming alive again, jealousies stirred. Insecurities surfaced. It didn’t help that I was a massage therapist, it added fuel to the gossip. My outgoing, friendly “American” personality, didn’t bode well for me at this point.

The wife of Dean’s best friend’s asked me not to call. Or visit. Ever. That was blow I struggled to recover from. I was giving Dean’s brother a massage when halfway through I was accosted by his girlfriend. I was forced to oblige her barrage of unwelcome monologue and questions. Treating me like a deviant being paid for sexual favors. There were women at church too. With their “concerns.”

I went to one of my favorite older ladies to help me navigate the choppy seas of drama and gossip. She was someone I had leaned on over the years. She offered a shoulder, wisdom, and cuppas. I relayed to her the issues I was having with various women.

“Well, you are a flirt, Cassi. You are inappropriate with men. And it’s not just one person that says that. There are numerous people that say that. It was so sad to hear about what happened to you having that miscarriage when you were in America. Did you have sex with the other boyfriends you had?”

Her words shocked me. I expected to be met with empathy and understanding. Instead I got judgement. As though Esperance had made up its mind about me. “Lock up your husbands, Cassi is on the prowl.” The ridiculousness of the notion made it hard for me to process or even think through. I had known that coming back to the little town would have its challenges. The way talk spreads. The Gossip Tree offered mouth-watering and irresistible confections. I knew that everyone would have heard about my rebound relationship and subsequent pregnancy. I expected gossip. But some of my closest friends? People from church? This I did not expect. And it grieved me deeply.

I went to an event one night. A mother’s social night. Food, drinks, pampering, and what-have-you. The evening was pleasant enough. One of the women struck up a conversation with me. I didn’t know her well. She went to one of the other churches in town and was quite close with Karen. We had crossed paths at the odd meal and such. She asked me about Dean. About coming home and the weeks before he died.

I candidly responded, “The days and weeks before Dean died were brutal. It was too much for me. I pushed him away toward the end. It was more than I could bear.”

“I remember. I was there.” As she raised one eyebrow. Her gaze was cold and almost amused at the sting of her remark.

I stood agape. Not knowing what to say. Her expression showed that she had made up her mind about me too.

And things were similar in many of the people I saw and places I went. The hard hearted. People who wouldn’t look me in the eyes because of the talk they’d indulged. Some avoided the subject altogether. Others insisted on reminding me of my past. In case I had forgotten. And although I hadn’t forgotten, I had dealt with it. I had suffered the grave consequences. I had repented. I received the grace, love, and mercy of my Father in Heaven. Who gives without measure. I had left my past where it belongs. In the past. But these supposed Christians carried my past around with them. Insisting on keeping its memory alive. Did we read the same bible? Mine says,

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:12

I went home that weekend. Still living at Dave and Sue’s. My shoulders and heart heavy. You’re a flirt. You’re inappropriate with men. I remember, I was there. Their words echoed in my mind. I’m a widow with two kids and I’ve just moved countries. You’d think people would want to help me? Is that what you think of me, God? Is that who I am? Am I a flirt? Out to get my hands on married men? Am I just a slut and I don’t realize it? Who am I? Who do you say I am, God? What do you say? The loss of more dear friends. Friends that I’d hoped would continue to share in our lives. Make memories. Especially now that we had moved all the way back from the other side of the world. We were minutes away, yet living separate lives. I swallowed sobs in my sheets. Wishing I had my own house so that I could release them in loud heaves.

You are my princess. 

Lord? 

You are loved. You are mine. You are my daughter. 

His whisper came.

I delight in you. 

I made you. 

You are righteous. 

You are pure. 

You are Holy. 

You are beautiful. 

You are precious. 

You are loved. 

I love who you are. 

I love the way you talk. 

I love the way you sing. 

You are my daughter. 

You are my princess. 

I smiled widely. Relishing Daddy’s words. His affection. His wonderful affection for me. Tears still streaked my cheeks but now I laughed loudly. That’s who you say I am? Yes. I laughed. Yes. That is who I am. 

But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17

His *gift of righteousness.* Righteousness is mine. Given to me by God. No one could take that away. Doesn’t matter what they say, think. What I have or haven’t done. I am righteous. God says so. I am not going to dim my light so others can feel better about their darkness. 

And I walked freely from then on. Unhindered by the handcuffs of judgement. Unfazed by the gossip’s nectar of venom. Unaffected by the rejection of those I loved.

The joy of the Lord became my strength.

 

The Locusts

locusts

 

“There’s someone here that needs to know that God is going to pay you back for the years the locusts have taken.” A wall of a man with a South African accent had taken the mic at the front of church one morning. He had a shaved head and go-tee and had large tribal looking tattoos. He reminded me of the machine gun preacher. I was standing in the back, feeling particularly fragile. The words stirred hope inside me and I broke.

He continued authoritatively. “You have been robbed, you have been wronged. God wants you to know that He is for you. He is with you. He will contend for you. He is going to set things right. And He is going to bless you abundantly.”

I couldn’t dry the tears. I couldn’t see. They poured. And poured. 

Oh, Lord. You are for me. You will repay for the years the locusts have taken. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, God.

The nights were still the hardest. When the day was done. The boys were in bed. The house was quiet. And it was me again. I had grown more accustomed to my own company. But still I had to contend with Loneliness. Sometimes he was like a dark pool, sometimes like a strong man. Sometimes like a python.

He would coil himself around my chest. Slow enough as not to draw attention. And then commence the arduous torment in which he took such delight. Into my ear he would whisper his lies.

You are too old. No one will want you. 

The adversary that plagued me. The hardest to defeat. So clever with his lies. And Pity let him in. She would open the door for him and prepare me as his meal.

I sought to find contentment in my singleness. Find a place where the yearning for companionship ebbed away to something tolerable. To somehow find joy in it. Peace in the aloneness. To embrace its season for me.

Every now and then someone would come along. Words. It was always the words that drew me in. Conversations would lengthen. Then deepen. Compliments exchanged. Trust given. The seed was planted and hope would blossom. Love. A conception of combustion. Two hearts lit by the same undying fire. An embryo of Possibility and Future. And Future would look so bright. The struggle that ensued in Darkness was going to cease. Decisions. Life. Sleep. Finance. Time. Discipline. Encroaching on the Promised Land, the desert behind me. To be desired. Someone to share in all things. Someone who could look at my scars without flinching. And willing to show me their’s.

And out of no where, still in the budding stage. Hope withered. The embers cooled. The Promise Land, a mirage. A flare. Burning bright and hot at the start, but left with nothing but smoke and a signal of distress.

I didn’t guard my heart enough. I didn’t make them earn it. Or prove it. I didn’t wait it out. To see if they were who they said they were. I believed what they said. I trusted too easily. The broken heart propels itself into romance, seeking the high. Without first reading the label:

Long Term Side Effects: Bitter Disappointment

WARNING: *Not a Cure*

A dog trainer. A fisherman. A teacher. A musician. A chiropractor. A coast guard.

Each relationship a rush of euphoric flight. Followed swiftly by more broken pieces. Another shattered dream.

But in the wake of devastation, a miracle. With each relationship. Each devastating heartbreak. I found myself closer to Jesus. More reliant on Him. More focused on Him. More determined to live passionately for Him. More alive in Him. More at peace in Him. More free in Him. What an amazing God. Who could take my missteps. My mistakes. My weakness. My pain. And turn it into an ever deepening relationship with His invisible self. The invisible force who guided me. The force of love and compassion that I discovered was deeper, richer, and more beautiful than I had ever imagined.

 

Laying on My Lover’s Grave

cemetery

 

At Dean’s second Freedom Party (our annual celebration of his departure from this earth), God spoke to me clearly. He told me to move back to Australia. And so we made the plans and preparations and purchased our tickets. The boys and I made the most of our last months in the states before going back. We did Disneyland. Beach days. Park days. Soaking up everything California had to offer us. Everything we wouldn’t see for who knows how long.

And then there I was, driving down that dusty, red road again. Dave and Sue came to pick us up. Sprawling farms. That big outback sky reaching out in every direction. And the familiarity grabbed me. All at once. The memories. Dean. Me. The journey. The first time I came to Australia. The first time I laid eyes on those farms. His eyes. The joy. His laugh. His arms. The pain. His family. Camping. Playing. Trips to Perth. Seeing doctors. Dinners. The beach. Him well. Day trips. Him sick. All the memories came like a flood over my senses. The beautiful ones. My favorite ones. The horrible and awful ones. The heartbreaking ones. The deliciously sweet. The terribly bitter. All at once. And all I could do. Was soak it all in. And cry.

My Dean. Oh my Dean. God I miss you. I miss you so much. Why did you leave me? Oh God why did he have to leave? Oh I miss you. I wish you were here. I wish we were living on the beach in Esperance. Watching our boys grow. I could cook. You could wrestle with them. I could do a beautiful boring life. That sounds so lovely. I’ll make cookies. You can tease me and irritate me and try to get a rise out of me. I don’t mind. I want you to. And all the dreams I once had of a future with my beautiful husband stared me in the face. Vivid. Beautiful. And utterly out of reach. God help me. God help me do this. Oh it hurts. The tears. Oh my God, the tears. Will they ever stop? And my eyes stayed on the horizon. This beautiful setting. The place of most glorious joy and most excruciating agony. The tears came as a steady stream until we pulled into Dean’s parent’s home. And the memories continued to invade my thoughts. Everywhere I looked, was him. He was everywhere. All of the things in mum and dad’s house. They were things he’d sat on or touched or fixed or stood by. All around the house. In every room. I felt him. I felt him all around me. And I saw him all around me. You’re here darling. I can feel you here. I feel your presence here. And I love it. Oh I love it. Because I love you. And I wish you were here. I wish you were here. Oh God it hurts. Come back my love. Come back. How do I do this without you? Oh God, how do I do this? Tears. Tears. Tears.

We unpacked the car and got somewhat settled in. That night, amazingly, I didn’t have trouble sleeping. Peace accompanied me. I’m here darling, I’m here. I heaved my tired body into bed. Sleep took me. For the first time in two and a half years sleep came easily without wine.

 

I joined a ladies’ bible study. We met at the old farm house where Dean and I had lived. I had painted most of the inside of that house. It had many memories. On every wall, room and corner. Stepping inside of it was stepping back in time. Looking around, there was someone else’s furniture and someone else’s photos, but all I could see was the house as we had it. I could see Dean sitting in his brown leather chair near the fire place looking up at me. I could hear the boys playing in the other room. Running down the hall. I tried to concentrate on the teaching that night. But I was bombarded with memories. Memories that were so sweet. Birthday parties. Breakfasts. Movie nights. Winter nights by the fire. Prayer times. Hanging the washing. My walks to see the cows. The boys outside on the trampoline. It was all so fresh in my mind. But it was a lifetime ago. We lost so much. Oh God. My children lost so much. This house that I had loved. The longest we had ever lived anywhere was here. And now it was someone else’s. It was theirs to build memories and plant their family. But I wasn’t done. I wasn’t done grieving it. I was in a room full of women, but I was a thousand miles away from them all. I was having a lazy afternoon with my family four years in the past. I feel so ripped off Lord. I feel so ripped off. Why God, why? I left feeling like I had failed. So close. Memories so near. A past almost within reach. Can I go back? Can’t I reach into that time and change the outcome? Can I live there for a day? So I can crawl into Dean’s lap again. And listen to his heart beat. So that we can be whole again? Even for just a day.  

At random moments. Random places and times. Deeply. Intensely Anguish would dig in his claws. His giant hand would reach up from my belly, tear through my heart, grabbing me by the throat. It would happen suddenly. I had no time to prepare. Unable to breathe. Pain. The kind of pain that I ascribe to Anguish. Gripping. Can’t escape. Can’t wriggle free. And no one around me knows. That there’s a monster with his hand around my throat. I don’t know if I should tell anyone, or try to pretend it’s not happening and I’m okay. For me it was a 7’ man in the room. Throwing me on the floor. Wrapping one hand around my neck. And putting a dagger in my heart with the other. That is Anguish. A stronghold of pain. Disabling. Debilitating. Agonizing. Pain. All around me I see beautiful, whole families. Beautiful women, caring for healthy husbands. Happy children, growing up in stable, established homes. Why don’t my kids get that God? Why? Here we are, starting again. From scratch. My kids don’t have a dad. They don’t have a school they’ve ‘always gone to’. A street they ‘grew up on’ or a set of friends they ‘always had’. Alone in my grief. No one could understand how I felt. And so Anguish continued his assault.

I was desperate to visit Dean’s grave. The last time I was there was the day of the funeral. Today was similar. Cloudy and cool and threatening to rain. I had gone half way around the world and come back again. I needed to sit on his grave and tell him I came back. That I’m okay. That the boys are okay. That I love him. That I miss him. That I think about him everyday and I want to be close to him so much. On the drive to the cemetery I felt the emotion welling up. Dean. Dean. My Dean. I need you my sweetie. 

I pulled up and parked. I walked briskly. Passing through all the old pioneer graves to get to the back of the cemetery where the more recent ones were. I got to the recent graves and started walking to the back toward the gazebo where I remember the funeral being. Wait, this is different. There’s more graves. Of course. It’s not the same as when we buried Dean. That was years ago. Oh Lord, where is he?!

I looked helplessly across rows of headstones and unmarked graves. We didn’t have a headstone for Dean yet. Oh my Lord. The tears welled. Dean where are you? The date. Of course. Go by the date. Dean died June 17, 2010. So I started down the rows and skipped across to where I found 2010. I walked along. Dean, my darling. I’ve come all this way. Where are you my honey? And finally I found an earlier in 2010 and a later in 2010 with four unmarked graves in-between. My eyes blurred. Oh God! Help me! I’m here and I don’t even know which one is his! My darling. Dean. Oh Dean. Where are you sweetie?

It started to drizzle in soft nearly weightless tiny droplets. I looked around desperately for someone that could help me. There was a house on the grounds. The grounds keeper probably. Surely they could help me. I quickly walked in that direction. Tears and light rain falling on my hair and face. And this terrible longing in my heart to lay on my lover’s grave. Please. Please let me have this. Let me have this moment with my darling. As I walked toward the house I saw no car and it looked very quiet. Oh God. Help me. Oh Lord. I turned in a few circles, looking for help in any direction. Suddenly a ray of hope. Down one of the paths fifty meters or so I saw a little brown structure that said DIRECTORY.

Praise you Jesus. I ran toward it. Under a little roof was a binder full of paper on which were names and grave numbers. I started to scan it, looking for Dean’s name.

And there it was.

Dean Mack.

My sweet husband. Here. Listed in a grave directory. The reality hit me all over again and the grief welled in my throat and with it more hot tears.

Now, knowing his grave number, I ran back to the four unmarked graves. And found Dean’s. My love. I lay myself across the wet grass, over the top of his grave. My sweet. My darling. I’m here. I came back. I miss you. My love, I miss you so much. Oh my sweetheart. I miss you. I love you. Tears rolled off my nose and onto the grass. It was a strange comfort knowing his earthly body was below me. Separated by wood and soil. In separate dimensions. I was still bound by time and mortality. He was already outside of time, clothed with the immortal. My husband. My lover. God, I miss you. We miss you. The boys. Oh honey you would be so pleased. You would be so proud. They are so amazing. They miss you. They miss you so much.

After I poured out my heart in tears, I rolled over onto my back. Peace with me. And I just lay. Looking at the clouds. Watching the soft whispers of rain make their gentle cascade to Earth. The landscape echoed the winter in my heart. Dean.

 

The Best is Yet to Come

New Life

 

Sleep was still a problem. The wine helped some. Going to bed alone was a death march to a pool of Loneliness. After mustering up the courage, I would enter. Then slowly sink into it. Until my head was submerged. Once my head was under the water, I was held down, unable to resurface. The suffocation would start. The struggle, ensue. Slowly at first. Then more intense. Violently trying to surface. Gasping for air. Oxygen. The oxygen of companionship. The oxygen of relationship. But there was none. Just the struggle. Tossing. Turning. Sobbing. Wishing that there was reprieve from the agony. The agony of Loneliness who was strangling the life out of me. I would fight it until I could no longer. Slowly. Weakened. My strength ebbed away. The struggle would subside. Sinking. I would surrender to my slumber in the pool of Loneliness.

In waking life I felt like the man lying on the side of the road. Stripped and beaten by bandits. Robbed. Half dead. Bleeding out. A mess. A broken mess. To my dismay, as many of my friends learned of my plight, they didn’t help me. They turned away. Crossed the street.

Abandoned in my hour of need by those I thought friends. The amazing network of people who were so supportive when Dean was sick, evaporated. Maybe if I hadn’t made mistakes. Maybe if I mourned the way people thought I should. Is not a friend supposed to love at all times? People are going to have an opinion about what I should do? Shouldn’t do? Judge me? Criticize me? From their steady jobs. Comfortable homes. Happy marriages. Healthy families.

They have absolutely no idea. 

Silence.

From so many.

Nothing.

And I resented it.

I resented the idea you would only offer love and support if you like what someone is doing. How is that love? That is not love. And I silently resolved. Lord, I pray that I would not be the callous Christian. Whose love is conditional. And abandons those who are most in need. Help me God. Help me be the kind of friend who loves at all times. Especially those who are hurting. Broken. Lost. Abandoned. Robbed. Cheated. Lied to. Through their struggles and their trials and their mistakes and failures. I want to move in close, get down on my knees, and whisper in their ear, “I’m here.” Help me love like you love.

And so I became grateful for my mistakes. Grateful for my trials. Grateful my friends had abandoned me. So that God could show me. He could show me exactly how it feels. To know what it’s like. And to learn how to love people.

God was doing something in my heart and I cherished it. I started to lean into Him again. I treasured the moments, when I knew He was close. I began to recognize the people that knew Him. The ones that knew Him well. Because they were like Him. They weren’t condemning and discouraging. They believed in me. They spoke life into me. They loved me.

He never left me. Never once. Not when I pushed Him away. Not when I ran away. Not when I ignored Him. Not when I disobeyed. Not when I was drunk. Not when I was completely disinterested in Him. Not only did He not leave. He pursued me. He showed His love for me. He brought people to encourage me. He provided for me. He showed me He was close to me. He comforted me. He showed me that He is so good. And so faithful. In my faithlessness, He was faithful. In my wickedness, He was good. In my indifference, He was kind and merciful. What an amazing God He is. That I do not deserve His love. There is no way I ever could. And yet, He lavishes it on me…even when I don’t want it. His love never runs out. Never dries up. Never gives up. It never fails. It really doesn’t. And I began to learn that it really is Him that’s good. It’s not me. He alone is good. It is only Him in me that is good. You alone are good my God. Let me not forget. It is not I that is good, but You. 

And then a dream. Dean. I was sitting in a chair in a living room. He was sitting on a couch adjacent. Laying on his back. His hair long. His skin olive. His build was strong and sturdy. His face was alive with gladness. He had Maddox in his arms. I watched as he was blew raspberries on his neck. And then spoke to him in his booming, joy-filled voice. I could see and hear vividly. Maddox was giving the most delightful belly chuckle. Laughing loudly and wildly. Giving squeals of delighting in daddy’s play and attention. I was aware was dreaming, but wanted to enjoy it. Hold onto it as long as I could. Savor as much as I could. I drank in the sound of my son’s joy. The look on Dean’s face. Relishing the blissful sound of my son’s laughter mingled with his father’s.

 

Wine, Lies, and Envy

wine-glass

 

Months past. I continued working at Starbucks. I got an apartment of my own close by. I started going to night school for massage.

I had a box in the closet of some of Dean’s things. His bible. A few shirts. A couple belts. Some other bits and pieces. At this point the waves were getting further in-between. They would come about once a month and last three or four days. But they hit hard. Thankfully the boys had each other to play with and things to do at home. I would try to cry somewhere they wouldn’t be able to see me. Screaming into my pillows or the carpet. Rolling around on the floor. Overcome with missing Dean. Picturing his face, his hands. His smile. The sound of his voice.

Everyone loved Dean. Everyone.

It should have been you.

Dean would have done a better job than you.

You’re a fuck up.

You’re a mess.

You can’t get your life together.

Dean was a better person than you.

A better parent.

A better christian. 

The thoughts came like a plague of ticks. Burrowing themselves into my head, embedding themselves under my skin as I howled and heaved.

I poured myself a glass of wine one night, and got into a scalding bath. The adrenaline rush from the heat helped calm the anxiety. I reclined. I partook of the dark elixir. Crying. Wondering. Hoping. Trying to picture a future. That somehow, somewhere, everything would work out. One day. Maybe we’ll have a two story house. Maybe a dog. The boys will have a step dad. Someone nice. Someone who likes to play sports with them. Someone strong and kind. And we’ll laugh a lot. And we’ll go on trips together. And the boys will be happy. And I will be happy.

Once the bath was too cold to be comfortable, I got out. Relaxed and woozy from the wine and heat.

Dean.

Tears. A rush of emotion. The floor. Crying. Sobbing. Dean. Dammit Dean. Dammit Dean! Punching the ground. Hitting the ground. Can’t breathe. Lord help me, I can’t breathe. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. It’s too hard. I want to be a good mom. Help me be a good mom. Oh Dean. Why did you leave me? Look at me. Oh my God. Help me do this. I remembered the box in the closet. I crawled over to the closet. Pulled the door open. Dragged out the box. You’re more than a box, baby. You aren’t just a box. I love you. I need you. I miss you. Why aren’t you here? I ripped it open. Pulling everything out. His t-shirt. I put it up to my face inhaling deeply. Baby, oh my love, my love. I put the shirt on. Baby I need you. Come to me. Come to me. Darling. You’re not just a box. You’re more than a box. Baby I’m sorry. Crying. Sobbing. Travailing. Scream into the pillow. So the boys can’t hear you. Don’t let them know. Be strong for the boys. You have to keep going for the boys. Dean. I miss you honey. Tears. I miss you. Babe…

Exhausted.

Asleep.

7am came way too early. My eyes, red and swollen from the tears. I felt sluggish from the two glasses of wine as well. Ugh. Okay.

“Mom! I want breakfast!”

“What cereal do we have?”

“I’m doing show and tell today. I need to bring a book about my favorite animal. Okay mom? Mom! Do you hear me?”

“Where’s my shoes?”

“What am I having for lunch?”

“I don’t want the vanilla yogurt in my lunchbox, I want the strawberry one.”

The morning routine. Accosted by the boys with their thoughts, requests, complaints, plans, and questions. A whirlwind as I tried to surface. Trying to be patient. Trying to be organized. Trying to understand. Trying to be helpful. Trying to show love.

Alone. I’m on my own. I fucking hate doing this on my own. I fucking hate it. I wished that somehow I could put their lives on hold. Call a timeout. I could gather myself on the sidelines for a while. Regroup. Get a plan. Get an award winning motivational speech by Denzel Washington. Then I could come back pumped. Ready to win. This was the only childhood they were going to get. And I was off balance, off guard, off sides, out of bounds, and recovering from injury.

Off to school.

I had determined long ago that I would never be a single mother. I had a single mother growing up. It was bloody hard. We were always late. Unorganized. The house was a mess. We were all falling apart most of the time. It was an existence I said I would never replicate. But try as I might to avoid it, here I was. And all around me, all I could see were happy families. Whole families. Beautiful, healthy, thriving families. I should be happy for all of these people. But I’m not. Why? Why am I not happy for these people? I was unable to drown out the sound of the searing pain of my own loss long enough to experience joy on another’s behalf.

Envy. You envy these people.

The truth hurts. I’m envious? Yes. I had to admit it. It was the truth. I was envious of lots of people.

I was living in a moldy two-bedroom apartment. Working my ass off. Struggling. In almost every area of life. My whole life is in shambles. 

Everywhere I looked I saw what I didn’t have. Stability. Wholeness. Joy. Peace. Lives of blessing. Seasons of abundance. I was a tree in Winter. No leaves. Bare. Cold. Gray.

Still alive, but no signs of life.

It troubled me. As long as I can remember, I never found it difficult to be happy for people. Friends. Family. Whoever. I hadn’t really struggled with insecurity or jealousy or envy before. I felt so ripped off. Why, God? Why couldn’t Dean and I just live in Australia our whole lives? Raise our children, see our grandchildren grow up. Live our lives. I would have been content with that. Why did that not happen?

I feel so ripped off! I’m so angry. It isn’t fair. Its not fair. Why God? Why?

Cassi, you resent your circumstances.

Yes. Yes, I do. 

You’re pushing them away.

Yes, I am. 

Cassi, you are a single mom, but it doesn’t have to be the way it was when you grew up. It can be different. You are privileged, Cassi. You have been given an opportunity that very few people get.

I have?

If you let me, I will write an amazing story with your life. Embrace it, Cassi. Embrace your circumstances. Embrace your loss, all of it. Don’t push it away, don’t run from it. Don’t resent it. Embrace it. And let Me shine through it. I will do amazing things in your life if you let Me.

Ok Lord. Oh Lord. Help me do it. Help me embrace it. Yes, Lord. Change my heart. Change my heart, God. Mold me. Shape me. Make me the woman you want me to be.

And there was a shift. I chose to embrace it. To trust that God would do what he said. Look at this as a privilege. Let him shine through my life. Only He can turn this into something amazing.

And so

I trusted Him.