Hey there. How’s Heaven treating you? Earth’s been good, can’t complain.
Well, I guess you know when I’m lying. Sorry to break that commandment so early in this letter. I can’t say things have been horrible, I’m not oblivious to how much God has blessed me with. But I can admit that things have been a bit trying and confusing lately.
Lord, let me start with my finances. It’s been a bit rough. I’ve been job hunting, you know. And I hadn’t been very diligent about it because getting a new job with different hours is scary, to say the least. But the market has changed. The career I have in Real Estate is proving to be not the path that I can continue on. I had banked everything on that career choice, as it allowed me to work at home and still be a single mother for my kids. Now I have to go out and get a “real” job. And this means less time with my kids, and having to figure out how they will be cared for while I am at work and they are out of school. Fortunately, I was also blessed with discovering a job offer at my local paper in the Real Estate advertising department. And because of my Real Estate and clerical background, this job had my name all over it. Jesus, you know what? They loved me! Everything is looking pretty positive about them offering me the job. I still have one more interview, so I don’t know if the job will be mine. But if I receive it, I will be working in a place I have ALWAYS dreamed of working in, the newspaper, and I will be making a steady income. It’s still not much, but it’s money I can rely on, and for that I am truly grateful.
But Jesus, how do I get the monsters out of my head? You know the ones, the ones that are telling me that I can’t do it, that I will now have to shell out more money for daycare because it’s being proven that my parents are not able to watch the kids, the ones that scare me into thinking that I am not qualified enough, smart enough, capable enough. The ones that tell me that no matter how much money I make, it will never be enough to cover everything I need, so why bother. The ones that tell me if I take on a “real” job, I can kiss all my hopes and dreams goodbye. The ones that make me forget all this job will bless me with in the present and in the future.
I’m scared, Jesus. And I’m tired. I have been raising these kids without my ex for 5 1/2 months, now. And I feel guilty when I have times of resentment over this, especially when there are single mothers out there that have the same (or worse) financial predicaments, and really are doing it on their own without loved ones backing them up. But Lord, I have not seen a child support check this whole time. And you know I can really use it. I have been paying for the kids’ counseling, it adds up to half my paycheck each month, and only because my kids’ counselor has been generous in cutting the fee in half. And the program that offers to pay for these services for the trauma they endured by their father’s actions is not yet coming through. This year, I could not afford a significant amount of clothes for the kids’ school year. My son’s teacher called my house last night to tell me that I still had to pay his field trip fund. Lord, I have paid more money than I bring in just for the cost requirements of the beginning of the school year. And if it weren’t for the help of those around me, I would never have made it. But my pride makes me guilty because without their help, I WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT. I can’t do it on my own. And the monsters tell me that I never will.
I recently gave up my subsidized child care for my son. It felt good! I knew I would be putting my son in daycare for an hour after school each day, and I was proud of the fact that it would be coming out of my own pocket. Once again, my dad helped me with the initial costs. But here on out, it was planned that I would be paying the rest of it. I was proud of that. Now that I am about to get a job, and the current job that I might be getting has a quitting time of 5 pm, the plan was for my mother to watch my kids until I got home. Lord, it looks like I have to find an option B. My mom has to get a job. She’s been saying it for years, I know, but I have to take her seriously. But that means more daycare for my son. That means more costs for daycare. That means I am giving up quality time with my kids so I can make….nothing.
It was recommended to me that I request state funding for my son again for childcare. Jesus, you know as well as I that I did not want to go that route. I wanted to do this on my own. And I am ashamed that I can’t. It would solve my childcare problems so I will not have to worry, but I’m still being dependent on others. Will I ever be able to grow up?
And Lord, this thing about my ex is really pissing me off. I can say “pissing”, right? Lord, though I am grateful that he can’t see the kids right now, he is still able to write them letters. He writes things like “to my little man”, “be a good boy/girl”, “hope you’re having fun”, “I think about you every day”, “I miss you”, “love always”…. Lord, how dare he! That bastard (yes, I know) didn’t give a rat’s ass about them when we were married. He proved the same when we divorced. And then, because he had more time with them, he screwed them up, possibly for life. And now that he has lost them, his words say he misses them. But his actions say he doesn’t care. He has not paid a dime of child support, he has not attended any of the domestic violence courses he was supposed to take. I don’t even think he has a job. He is hiding from the system, though he’s on probation, and nobody seems to be able to get him to man up. And truthfully, I don’t want him to man up because I want him out of our lives forever. But in the meantime, our children still believe he’s something that he’s not, and love him for it. And it kills me when I’m the one shelling out the money, cheering them on in soccer games, getting to know their friends, reading to them almost every night, always available for a hug and kiss, teaching them right from wrong, sitting with them while they do their homework, giving my love freely and unconditionally, swallowing my pride so that they can live in a safe home with love and food and electricity, breaking my back to ensure that they have all a child should have, and they still idolize their father who has done none of this. And now I have to give him the information on where they are getting counseling, so that he can check in to see their recovery. He caused this! He is not paying for this! He was even openly resilient to them getting counseling at all, even with the danger he placed them in. And I have stalled in giving him this information because he doesn’t deserve this right. And now that the court date is two weeks away, I have to scramble and get him this information when I just don’t want to. But our lives are in the hands of the courts, fair or not.
Jesus, I’m not completely blind to the good in my life. I have my kids. They have more than what was offered to them before. They have a chance. I have the opportunity to give my kids a better life, regardless of how I’m doing it. They have a future that is now foreseeable, not just a fantasy. Lord, I am so grateful that I have sole custody and that their father is not here to screw them up anymore. I’m hoping so much that it will remain that way, because I’m scared that the courts will still insist on him being a significant part of their lives. Jesus, I know you see them. They are thriving now! But it’s hard to know exactly how to talk with them. Do I shine on about their dad, and let them miss him and think that he was something far greater than he is? Do I tell them the truth, that their dad is a dangerous man, only out for himself? Is is ok to admit to them that their father is not doing what he’s supposed to do to see them? Is it ok to be secretly ecstatic about that? Lord, I must be doing something right, for they are learning manners, they are learning respect, they are gaining tools to become good adults. They are, aren’t they?
You know what else? I’m grateful for God’s blessing of love. I met a wonderful man 7 months ago. And through trial after trial, what with the constant threat of my ex among other things, we’ve stayed strong and in support of each other. I tell you, Jesus, I don’t know how I could keep standing with all this pressure on me if it weren’t for him constantly there supporting me. He has been a Godsend for my kids, being a role model they never had in a father figure. He has been a major contributor in teaching my kids the importance of respect and values. And he has taught me as much about the same. I have someone beside me, cheering on my kids in all their accomplishments, something their father never did without expecting glory to himself for doing so. And though my kids are oblivious to this, I see it, and I thank God every day.
Jesus, I admit that lately I have been selfish. Even now, my only concern has been for my predicament. It angers me when I see other people so wrapped up in their problems, creating mountains out of molehills while there is far greater suffering going on in this world, hurting those around them to get back on top. And it has not escaped my attention that in a way, I am doing the same. My main concern has been that I am a single mother, trying to battle demons from a “past life” that I contributed to. Last year at this time, I was planning a trip to New Orleans to help those in the hurricanes. And I promised that this was the start of me giving more of myself to those around me, for I had been blessed so very much. This year, though tons of opportunities surround me with chances to give my time to those who need it, I cannot find the energy to do so. Something so simple as helping a good friend pack up and move to their new house, serving food in the poorest neighborhood in town, spending time with a friend who is still feeling the wounds of being suddenly single, talking with another friend who could really use my guidance from my “past life”, I just haven’t been. There is so much suffering that is beyond anything I could ever relate to going on in this world, and my focus is on me. Jesus, I openly admit that I have been receiving, and not giving back. I can’t find the time, though I know I have it. I’m just so stressed out, and thinking about adding more to what I am already doing stresses me out, and I just can’t see my way out of that. I am ashamed of my unwillingness to just change, which adds to that stress. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to change this without backsliding in all that’s been accomplished in my trials. I want my life to look like yours, I write about it all the time here, the importance of modeling one’s life after you with your selfless love and compassion for all. And yet, I don’t. In some areas of my life, I have hardened myself. And I believe it is what I am supposed to do to keep moving forward. But I am unsure if that is also your thinking. And I have forgotten those around me, those that could really use some selflessness from me. Would you have turned your back on them so you could further your own life? No, I don’t believe you would.
I’m just sad, confused, and guilty. I’m unable to see myself completely out of this. If I didn’t have the promise of a new family in a couple years, one with stability involving a house of our own and a husband with a good income, could I eventually earn it on my own? If I didn’t have my parents’ help financially, could I have earned enough to support my kids on my own? Could I eventually afford my own car, my own apartment/house, pay the bills, feed and clothe us? Could I give myself the education that is needed to make it in this hectic world? I don’t think I could. And this saddens me. I am grateful for the support around me, but it saddens me that I could never do it by myself, that I am destined to be dependent on those who love me so much they want to care for me. At times I feel unworthy of such love. But I can also see this love as a present day model of your love. How many times did you give to others without expecting anything in return? And you are still doing so through those around me. I am unworthy, and you tell me I’m not. And yet, I am not putting forth my full potential. I should be studying more for that Real Estate test I keep putting off. I should be working harder and faster on the reports that are put in front of me. I should be filing and straightening the office when there’s no work. I should be doing more laundry, cleaning my room more diligently, picking up after myself better. I should be playing catch with my son or creating a masterpiece with my daughter rather than sitting at the computer. I should be picking up the phone and caling a friend or two, just to see how they’re doing. I should be giving my time more to those who could really use it. I should be doing, not just saying I should be doing. I want, but I can’t seem to put forth what it takes to get it all on my own.
Anyway, I’m not asking for anything here. I just needed to tell you. I know you already know, but I needed to write it outloud to you. I’ll talk to you soon.