1. No Weapons Forged 2. Deliverance is never late! 3. Secrets will come to the light. 4. Don't Forget Forgiveness
No Weapons Forged… 11/18/20
“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17
Yesterday, our fourteen year old had an eighth grade recognition ceremony at her Soccer game. She was so excited to get to walk out on the field with her mother and her father. Just last week, she came home and asked Chris to escort her, and she explained how important it was for her that both her parents to escort her. The look of sheer happiness on Bailey’s face often catches my breath because I have encountered few people who truly experience joy as much as Bailey’s pure heart does.
I’ve learned more in the last five years loving and parenting her than I have about the Lord in forty two years. His mind and my mind are so far apart. Her pure spirit and God filled mind and heart reveal so much truth each day. I often also see the connection to her simplistic love and joy to her daddy’s view of his surroundings.
My husband sees the good in people even when I cannot fathom how or why he does. He arrives at a clear understanding and unconditional love in a situation that I refuse to let lie in my heart. I want to hold onto grudges and hurts, but Chris so easily let’s it ALL go.
Let me explain the “ALL” he has forgiven. In the last five years, his former spouse has filed for SOLE custody of Bailey three different times, including the current one that has yet to be dismissed. Bailey has endured courtrooms and judges and practices. These practices consist of her mother and grandfather forcing Bailey to practice telling a judge that she doesn’t want to live with us anymore. Although she loves both her parents, they make her recite that she wants to live only with her mother–OVER and OVER.
Ironically, Bailey tells the truth bluntly and consistently. She always tells it just like it is, so as a family, we do not worry about this situation. Our goal is that she is happy and healthy.
With the happiness in mind, Chris attends the recognition ceremony at the Soccer field yesterday. When he gets home last night, he tells me about the evening. He stops over and talks to a few friends from church and waits for the parents to line up. While speaking to friends, he hears the announcement that parents are lining up alphabetically on the field. His ex-wife and her father were standing on the field in front of him, and his former spouse says, “Daddy, here’s your chance! Let’s go.”
Chris smiles to himself and steps in front of the two people who have made it their life’s mission for the last five years to make our lives as difficult as possible (or so they believe). As he walks over to Bailey and lines up, her mother walks over to them. In that moment, Bailey has both her parents with her on the field for recognition, and she deserved to have exactly that–two supportive parents.
Regardless of Bailey’s mother and grandfather’s efforts, my husband continues to be there for his child, loving and supporting her. He has been there for his daughter in ways that he never saw as a child because his parents abandoned him several different times in his childhood. Surprisingly, Chris also supports his daughter’s relationship with her mother and her grandfather.
He means no harm or has no ill will towards them, and he wants Bailey to enjoy and to love all her family members. His unconditional love and his ability to easily forgive people are two of his best attributes. After all the years we have know each other, I still love and appreciate him.
In addition, I still am so blessed to learn that God loves Chris too, and He intends to keep His promises. No matter how many times these two people have plotted to hinder our family or to hurt my husband, he has prospered. We are blessed, and we are happy. Chris continues to act in the best interest of Bailey and for the rest of our family, and God shows favor to us.
Therefore, it is more than apparent that every arrow they shoot, the Lord neutralizes them. I claim the promise that “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17
Grief is never late! 11/19/20
When I focus on what I have gained and not what I have lost, I see the cycle that I experience in relation to my grief. For the last three weeks, I have spent so much down time. I had to quarantine because of COVID, and this week is my first week back to work. Each day, I was so sick that I spent most of my time in my bedroom, isolated from my family. My body was sick, and my spiritual self was sad. I have noticed that when my body is still that my mind is seriously BUSY!
For the last four years, I have dealt with grief over the loss of my daddy and my grandmother who died a week apart from each other in 2016. My feelings seem to spill out when I have to be still physically. Even this morning, I drove to work and cried because I miss my grandmother. It was one of those mornings I am glad I didn’t put on make up. I can almost predict that this afternoon I will cry because I miss my daddy. It really is a vicious cycle.
One of our family friends once told me that I would be grieving for the rest of my life. At that moment, I did not fully grasp that meaning, but now I can understand it.
I once over heard my husband tell someone over the phone that “I believe she’s finally over it.” I don’t really understand where he gets his information from, but I did not correct him. I tend to lick my emotional wounds when alone. My husband will cry in front of me and tell me how he feels, but I, on the other hand, keep those emotions and thoughts to myself.
I take my inner thoughts and emotions to the Lord or to my journal. The irony is that I am typing my feeling on the world wide web, but I cannot seem to tell my husband. (I guess I really don’t feel he cares or listens anyway. MOVING ON) I guess I must accept that my grief is just apart of my life after 2016 as Daddy and Grandma were before 2016. The love has to go somewhere, and later today, it will spill out of my eyes on the way from work.
Secrets will come to light! 11/20/20
Many people keep quiet about their poor choices, and they often hide their motivation for their actions. Sometimes I even think that people who keep their issues and mistakes quiet show more common sense and intelligence. Personally, I have so many internal struggles that I deal with silently, but I wouldn’t really consider those silent struggles to be a secret. I have character flaws that God and I are still working out. As a Southerner, it is culturally engrained in us to keep our sins on the down low. We are taught to be ladies and gentlemen with good manners in public and to keep our crazy for home.
Polite society really doesn’t accept our faux pas, based on my quintessential Southern upbringing. I even told Chris this morning of a woman I saw in town last night who was cavorting with several men on a patio at a local restaurant. These guys were not her husband, and she was the only married woman in the restaurant who was surrounded by a gaggle of men. I commented to Chris that she needs to hide her adulterous ways as the rest of us who has good raising does.
He agreed that her lack of couth shows a lack of good rearing. These judgmental comments flow from us as a tell tale sign of our old school Southern traditions. I am not necessarily saying that Southerner’s manners and mannerisms are the correct way, spiritually or morally, but it is how we roll.
Some people naively believe that what they did in secret will remain there. I assume there are some situations that remain quiet, but not everything.
Once five years ago, I was thrown into a situation that I really was unaware of as my future husband and I began dating. I once was a newcomer as an outside observer to the status quo of his divorced lifestyle and his relationship with his former wife. However, I quickly realized that no boundaries existed between her new life as a remarried woman and Chris’ life as a single man. She interposed herself in so many facets of my future husband’s life, and I am not really sure he had issue with it.
She could be found sitting in the same pew as Chris with her new husband in tow at church each Sunday. She was at all his family gatherings, bringing her husband along. She came uninvited into his house constantly and at odd times. She also called him and texted him from about 6 am to noon each day until I put an end to it in November of 2016.
We were married in June of 2016 and up until I was eight months pregnant she continued to insinuate herself into our married life each day. On November 30, 2016, I called her from Chris’ phone and let her know that she would no longer come to our home uninvited, nor would she call or text my husband each day.
Now before you derive that I am a mean spirited and evil, uncaring new wife, I want to point out the reason why I put an end to this intrusive behavior. Each day, every morning without fail, she called and texted my husband to tell him she loved him and begged him to let her come home. I tolerated this mess at first I assume because I was distracted with three children, a cancer ridden father, and a pregnancy.
However the Friday night before the week of my daddy and my grandmother’s deaths, I told her what I thought, of what I felt, and of all my woes. I was harsh. I was mean. I was purposeful.
DO NOT CALL MY HUSBAND AGAIN. DO NOT TEXT MY HUSBAND AGAIN. Stop telling him you love him, stop telling him you want to come home, and stop telling him you want to leave your husband.
She sent him one more text. I read it. I still read it in my mind. She apologized for loving him. She said she couldn’t believe she would betray her sweet, loving husband. She said I would take care of Chris from now on. His former wife had been married to her new husband for four years that year. She has been married to him nine years this year.
Just two weeks after my talk with her, she went to a lawyer to begin filing for the SOLE custody of Bailey. She waited an entire year to file the papers that had been completed just two weeks after she was aware that I knew her SECRET. She didn’t want to be with her husband at all. She wanted mine.
Her motivation for the custody battles seem apparent to me. She wants Chris to pay for not wanting her back. Her unrequited love has ended in hatred and ill intent. My dear friend and sister-in-law always reminds me that there is a fine line between love and hate. Obviously, his ex wife has crossed the line.
To our neighbors, friends, and church family she may look harmless and unsuspecting, but I know better. I always will know. I cannot unknow it.
Don’t Forget Forgiveness 11/30/20
When I thought about this concept, I knew I needed to write about it. I have sat here longer than usual without typing. Forgiveness is hard for me because sometimes I have a predicament or a person that I want to cling to with a haughty attitude. I ruminate on the situation, and the more I ruminate, the stronger the negative feelings become. Feelings have their place in conviction, but feelings have no place for forgiveness. As a believer, I must be honest with my weaknesses.
The Lord already knows my shortcomings, so there is no cause for sugar coating the issue. I tend to forgive my transgressors when they hurt me, but if they hurt my husband or my children, I tend to struggle with it. I realize it’s human nature to love our family so strongly and want to protect each member of our household. Mother hens like myself tend to brood, even if that is a metaphor about holding grudges. Look how beautiful they are. I hold tight to them for safety and for protection.
However, I cannot use my love and my protective nature for my family to give me reason to hold grudges against others. I am wounded, but I am NOT right. An example of this behavior would be my mindset and my feelings about my mother-in-law.
Since Chris brought me to the first family functions with the Stroups as an adult and while we were dating, his mother and myself have not clicked. I cannot look at her motivations for a lack of acceptance of me or my children, yet I must examine my rationale for holding hardness in my heart. Ultimately, her inability to unconditionally love my marriage and my blended family keep me at arm’s length on any given day. Her lies and her purposeful undermining of my husband’s prosperity, our family property, our relationship with other family members, and our ability to rear our daughter poison my feelings towards her.
The day before Thanksgiving, Chris and I had to call his Aunt to ask when, where, and what time our Thanksgiving family gathering would be. We were told nothing about what to bring or when to be there. Why, you ask? Well, his mother was in charge of the list and the communication. She told Chris’ grandmother that she had contacted us. Ultimately, we were NOT contacted. She lied. I don’t know why I am surprised. These behaviors are her modus operandi.
I kept my mouth shut during the Thanksgiving meal, and I spoke to her when spoken to at each visit. The reality is that I am an assertive person who likes to seek peace and communicate quickly to reconcile differences. Unfortunately, you cannot correct an issue with a person who sees no issue with his or her behavior. Thus, the ill feelings and hurt FESTER.
I cannot be alignment with Christ and allow it all to FESTER. The festering will cut off my growth and hinder my communication with God. How do I move forward? Prayer is my first step. I must ask for help. The second step is to take responsibility for my thoughts and my actions. Writing about my situation is a confession of my wrong. The third step–let it go to Him. I must . . .pursue good relations with God, with myself, and with fellowmen, (1 Peter 3:1).
This situation is a work in progress. I have to do the work to help my spirit find peace and the ability to let it all go. God sent his Son for me; certainly, it is not too much for me to extend grace to my mother-in-law.
Prayerfully searching for answers–
Blended Family Fail 12/15/21
January 9, 2016, I get an email on Farmer’s Only from one of my childhood friends. We had lost touch after 9th grade. He gave me his phone number, and the next day, we both visited our childhood church on our first date. We were married June 10, 2016–just five months later.
To this day, I still believe that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My husband has supported me and been there with me through the hardest parts of my life, such as: the death of my father, the death of my grandmother, the loss of my family home, and the rearing of mentally ill teenagers.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”
Ephesians 5:31 New Living Bible Translation
Before we started dating, Chris had divorced February 12, 2012, and I had divorced September 1, 2006. I had been divorced a decade, and he had been divorced four years. In 2022, we will be married six years while his ex-wife will have been re-married ten years. This time table is where the problem lies.
We married in June 2016, we had our son in December 2016, and the ex-wife went to the her lawyer to draw up paperwork for sole custody of their child in November of 2016. However, she didn’t file until December 15, 2017. Why she chose not to file in 2016 behooves me. However, his ex-wife didn’t stop texting and calling my husband every day until November 30, 2016 when I informed her that she would no longer text or call my husband or come into our home without our being home. A few of her messages stated:
I love you.
Why wouldn’t you answer me?
Why can’t I come home?
I hope Jennifer will be good to you.
Her last message said: “I can’t believe I have been begging you to love me. I hate what I have done to my wonderful husband.” [Of course, the grammatical and word choices have been corrected for the sake of my blog. The levels of IMPROPER usage of the English language inside her messages would trouble the blog-o-sphere.]
I watched these messages day in and day out until she entered our house while my family members and I were dinning out one evening. I messaged her back using Chris’ phone. I told her not to disrespect my husband and our family by sending these inappropriate messages or coming into our home without permission. Her response was: “Okay, you don’t have to be so mean about it.”
This woman had been texting and calling my husband from September 2015 until November 2016 without fail, begging to come home although she had been married to someone else for three years. I have every message to prove it. Those messages are seared into my brain, especially since Chris and I have struggled with his extended family because of her interference. Basically, she and her father have made our lives HELL for six years.
I have searched for the reason for their hatred all this time, yet it seems that on Thanksgiving day of 2021, the reason became more apparent.
Thanksgiving 2021, Chris and I as well as three of our five children left for a camping trip to the North Georgia Mountains. As soon as we leave his grandmother’s home, an extended family member has a conversation with the matriarch of Chris’ family where she revealed the crux of all our woes.
The matriarch explained why she couldn’t support my husband and my blended family: “She took him away from [ex-wife]. Jennifer ruined his family.”
I must say “HOLD the PHONE” here people. Let me get back to the CRUX problem–the time frame. I am not a homewrecker nor have I ever been. However, my husband’s grandmother, mother, ex-wife, and his former father-in-law have all conspired against our marriage and our family. They have talked about us in church, in the street, and on the phone. They have attempted to testify against us in court and ruin our reputations and our stability at home. They have attempted to steal property from us as well as take our daughter from us permanently.
But why? All because my husband wanted an opportunity to be happy and to remarry after his first failed marriage? He finally took his former wife up on her constant deriding about her wanting to file for divorce. He ended the verbal and physical abuse that she committed against him and their young daughter. My husband is not innocent. I live with him, and I am very aware of his faults. However, in the delusional minds of his enemies, he is horrid. In my opinion, these people are jealous of our love, our marriage, our businesses, and our relationships with our children.
Let me reiterate: NEVER have I ever broken up a marriage(other than my own when I failed at my own previous relationships)! However, I do dedicate, and I do commit myself to Christopher David Sullivan, whom I married on Tybee Island Georgia in 2016. I will continue to express my love to my husband and to our family, regardless of how people see us. We may continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous people, but I will continue to be respectful to others and to take the all the abuse necessary to ensure that my marriage is strong and flourishing. I will continue to create a loving, safe home for all our children.