Starting Over






Hello Cottage Friends,

I can't tell you how many times I've mentally written the introduction to this post. No matter how I begin it, the words just seem to fall short. How does one open up the editor app of her blog and write one of the most personally revealing blog posts she's ever attempted?

One week ago today I turned the key in my Subaru and drove from Texas to Colorado, never to return. (At least not to reside there.) Colorado is now my home, once more, and Dennis will remain in Texas. In a little over two weeks our marriage of ten years will legally come to and end, and the word I never, ever thought would be a part of my experience, the "d" word, the word that I hate, will be inscribed indelibly in my personal history.

I'm grateful that our parting is an amicable one. No yelling, no vengeful behavior, just a mutual conclusion after a long heart-to-heart talk that there is no way for us to continue as man and wife. 

Irreconcilable differences. 

No chance of reconciliation. 

No amount of counseling will turn things around. 

I know because we've tried for years. I guess sometimes two people who care about each other find that the best way they can show they care is to let go. He has a right to be happy. I have a right to be happy. We just can't be happy together. And that's the sad and honest truth.

This news will come as a shock to many of my readers. I've always been supportive of my husband and his creative gift both online and off. His gift is from God, to be sure. I admire his talent and that won't change. It's been easy for me to put a good spin on my personal life when I blog because in reality I'm a private person, and I'm pretty good at putting on my "Nancy is fine" mask here on my blog, and everywhere else. 

Stiff upper lip.

Nothing to look at here.

It's all good.

The fact is, though, you've caught me at a vulnerable moment and I don't feel like pretending just now. Forgive me if I've disappointed you with my honesty and my failed marriage. It's taken months of fighting depression, and many sleepless nights, for me to admit to myself and God that it's over. And that "it's over" is okay. The Lord and I have had many, many talks since the divorce papers were filed, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves me unconditionally and that this event in my life does not define me. No more than my widowhood 13 years ago defined me. My identity rests solidly in the fact that I am God's child -- His daughter -- and He moved heaven and earth to rescue me from the chains of sin and give me new life in Christ.


What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules
 and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. 
So I quit being a “law [woman]” so that I could be God’s [woman]. 
Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. 
I identified myself completely with Him. 
Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. 
My ego is no longer central. 
It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you 
or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. 
Christ lives in me. 
The life you see me living is not “mine,” 
but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
I am not going to go back on that.
Galatians 2:19-21 The Message

So, what's next for me? How do I start over? For now I'm nestled down in my son's home here on Colorado's front range. Originally, I thought I'd be in Texas until the end of April, relocate to Colorado, find a job, and get a place to live. But with my work ending because of COVID-19 my departure date was moved up and getting another job right now is not something I want to do as it risks the possibility of contracting the virus and infecting my family. And, of course, now's not a good time to look for my own place. Presently, with all that's going on in the world, I'm content to stay with my family. This is a busy household with six children (two are my grandchildren, four are foster kids), 2 dogs and a cat.


Edna, my editor.


My daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher who is doing a great job keeping up with her students via phone and internet during the quarantine, as well as being a mom to six kiddos. I'm helping out by cleaning and doing other household chores. Thursday I gave the downstairs family room a spring cleaning. It feels good to know I can be of some assistance to my loved ones as we wait this thing out.

Today we went for a long walk. It's a perfect spring day -- cool and sunny. Later my son will cook hamburgers on the grill. He's an excellent cook, just like his father was. 


A neighborhood park where we sometimes walk.

This is a good place to heal.


Daffodils - a sure sign that brighter days are ahead.

Starting over is never easy -- no matter what the cause -- and now with the pandemic it's especially challenging. However, I'm hopeful and looking forward to the future. I have no idea what the future will look like for me, but I know that God's got it and I'm trusting Him. I'm going to be blogging regularly. Writing is good for my soul, and I think that just maybe what I'm going through will be of help to some other woman (or maybe a man) who's dealing with their own disappointments. I'm encouraged by a comment from a reader on my last post. She called A Joyful Cottage "a calming blog in this rather uncertain time." Susan, thank you for that. I'd like to think that maybe going forward there will be other people who find encouragement here as I share my life. Then, whatever I'm going through will be worth it. 

I promise you that in the days to follow I'll do my best to keep A Joyful Cottage a place of refuge, calm and strength. Because, really, isn't that what we all need? Every day?

Gentle hugs,




Comments

  1. Thank you for your courage and honesty at this time that is so difficult for so many. I'm glad you're back and wish you all the best on this new journey.

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    1. I'm glad that you left a comment, Barbara. It encourages me to connect with others right now, and to feel as though maybe some of what I share will be of benefit to them. These are difficult times for so many, as you say, and it's tempting to let fear have its way. That's why I look to the Lord for comfort and strength. He is my rock! Hugs.

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  2. I'm sorry for the loss and pain you have suffered, but thankful that you know the Savior. What a blessing it is to have your son and his family! Our lives here on earth are bittersweet, but even during these very difficult days, I believe there is so much that is good! God bless you, Nancy!

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    1. Pam, I completely agree that there is so much that is good in the world. We do need to be willing to see the good, and to not become overwhelmed by the bad and let it produce fear. I have heard wonderful stories of the generosity of people during this time. Not everyone is hoarding, many people are sharing what they have and helping out at shelters and food pantries to meet the needs of others. I am grateful to have a personal relationship with God, and that I have His assurance that He will take care of me. Knowing this, I can lay my head on my pillow at night and sleep peacefully. God bless you!

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  3. Dearest Nancy, as I read on, I imagined how difficult it is to revisit the pain of the current situation, but the one part that hit me the most was when you talked about how your son "is an excellent cook, just like his dad." There are so many roots connected to our tree of life and those are the roots that make our blossoms bloom in the darkest times. You and ALL of us, are much better off to give up and give in to the power of faith, hope and love, because we find out that everything and even everyone we know and love in the physical world will change. What lays above, beyond and within US is what will shore us up in every season. I wish you continued peace, well-being and health and a remarkable future of God's witness within you. BIG HUGS! Anita

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  4. Oh dear Nancy ~ know that you are loved and prayed for as you go through this time of healing and waiting. God has a plan for you. May you feel his 'wrap-around' presence continually. ~ FlowerLady

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  5. Nancy, I am touched deeply by your choice to be honest and vulnerable with us readers; to trust us with your pain, disappointment, and uncertain future. Thank you. It's much easier for bloggers to "put a spin on things", and those of us who blog have all surely done that at one time or another. But, as you know well, it's so much harder to come here with open hands and hearts and share our realities. Yet, as you said, the writing is healing, and so we come back to this place where we write, and heal, and hopefully will always find acceptance—just as we accept our readers wherever they are in their journeys. Know that I am lifting you in prayer this morning as you walk trusting into your future. I'm also praying for your son and his lovely family as they share their home with you for a time. I know you are such a wonderful addition (and help!) in their midst during these stay-at-home days.

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  6. Sending you good thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

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    1. Thank you so much! I can always use my prayers! :-)

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  7. Nancy dear, know it was hard for you to write this but hope it was also a way to free yourself and will allow you to move on in your new life. We who visit here, and have followed you for a while, have always enjoyed your great posts and hearing about your endeavors, building challenges, the cottages and small houses - all fun and so interesting. You have been missed but are very welcome back - will be ready to hear more from you in these coming difficult weeks for the world. Stay safe with your family in CO - may you all remain healthy and embrace springtime together.
    Mary X

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  8. My dear friend, thank you for sharing with courage and a gentle spirit. I am praying for you as you walk through the changes this brings. You are SO loved by many and your words, while difficult to write, ring with peace and a security that only comes from Jesus. I'm glad you are with your son and his family. Praying that doors will open for you - in His time. Sending hugs I'd love to give in person. Someday I will - either here or in Heaven.
    ~Adrienne~

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  9. Nancy I'll say a prayer that you find what you're looking for in your new life. You aren't alone, I was divorced many yrs ago. I talk to God in the shower, don't know why I choose the shower but it's a nice place for relaxing and listening. I said Lord give a sign that I should go, you open the door and I promise to walk thru, the next morning I got the sign and left that weekend. I certainly do NOT think God wants us to be with someone a life time that we are not happy with, for any reason, people stay married for the kids, what type of marriage are you showing them, what type of marriage will they themselves end up in. No Please don't feel bad about the word divorce, it's just a word. When people said sorry about me being divorced, I said don't because I'm not, it happens, you're lucky to have left with no animosity, I can't say the same. I wish you all the happiness you deserve, and the joys of having a large family to Love and keep you company is Wonderful. My favorite saying....Forrest Gump....Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Some of us end up with a do over, and that's ok too.

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    1. Wende, I think the shower is the perfect place to talk to God. Any place where we can let down and be honest with the Lord about what we're feeling is appropriate. Thank you for your prayers. I'm grateful for them, and know that it is the prayers of others that is adding to the peace I feel. That peace is what I've been hungering for and why this divorce is a good thing. To live with the feeling that you'll never have peace is a hopeless place to be, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Thank you for your encouraging words. God bless you.

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  10. Oh sweet Nancy. My prayers are with you as begin another new journey at one the hardest times in all our lives. One thing for sure is you know you have the strength to see renewal and a life ahead that will be filled with love and joy and not pain or loss. While your post was hard for you to write about your loss and sadness your words seem to portray recovery and positive feeling of hope.
    I will lift you up in prayers as you continue on this path to strength, happiness and joy once again in your life. Family is such a great sanctuary to heal and gain strength to begin again when the time is right. Big Virtual Hugs.
    Kris

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  11. Oh Nancy, I'm so sorry. It took tremendous courage to write about your parting. I know exactly what you are going through, my ex-husband wasn't a completely bad man (in fact we had many happy years), but as my children grew up and no longer needed me as much I knew I couldn't stay with him, nor him with me. I sense that you are a strong lady Nancy, you will emerge stronger and happy. Very best wishes x

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  12. Praying for you . . . so thankful you are with family, and I envy your being in Colorado! Living in the PNW near kids and grands is wonderful, but, oh, how I miss those Colorado mountains and sunsets. Blessings to you.

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    1. Thank you, GG. It does bless my soul to be near the mountains again. When this virus thing is over I intend to take a long drive into the mountains and drink in the beauty there. What I love most about Colorado, though, is the abundance of sunshine. Even on the coldest days there is usually a bit of sunshine that peeks through. It makes the winters more tolerable. Hugs.

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  13. I think many can relate to the temptation to put the best spin on our lives publicly.

    Your honesty is honorable. Be assured of my prayers and tears for your pain. ❤️

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  14. Nancy, you are you. And no thing that happens defines 'you'. You are the beautiful author of this blog and your own life. Thank you for allowing those of us who read your words to be a support during this time. I am so glad for you that you have your son's home where you can live and heal and make new memories. I look forward to seeing your new home :)
    And thank your son and daughter-in-law for me for fostering those children. Two of my grandchildren came to our family through our daughter fostering them.

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I am grateful for you and others that I've met through this blog. It never ceases to amaze me how connected we all are, though we've never met in person. I do feel supported. It's a beautiful thing. Stay well! Hugs.

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    2. I wish there was a way to tag this with a *heart".

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  15. I would like to give you a great big hug. You are a brave woman. It takes courage to do what you have done. I came from a different home life when I was little. I would pray that my Mom would leave my Dad. It was an abusive life and she left only when I did at the age of 18. I know that your marriage was nothing like my parents, but you and your husband knew it was not working and you both decided to end things under good terms. That is rare. I know that right now is a trying time for you, but there is life out there and you will overcome this. My prayers are with you.

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  16. So thrilled to hear you have a personal relationship with Jesus. And I know that your best years are ahead. Sometimes you just have to admit that in spite of you trying your best, things just aren't going to work. I myself had to do that after 14 years of a second marriage, and once I did so, I never looked back and I am enjoying my solitary life. I have been single now since 2003, and very content.

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  17. I can't imagine how difficult this post had to be for you to write, Nancy. May the God of all comfort bless you and hold you close during this time of not only worldwide panic, but such personal upheaval and change. I am praying for you and sending hugs.

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  18. Disappointed, no... Shocked, no... Just glad to know you are doing well and it sounds like it! Right now is the time to be close to family and you have found a refuge and a place to serve.
    God knows your heart. I make no judgments!!! We all fall short!
    Romans 3:23, NLT: "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard."
    Peace to you and your family. Looking forward to reading your blog, ❤❤❤❤

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  19. my precious friend … I admire you deeply for your courage and desire to live life in full at this time, and for sharing a part of your story with us, your readers. you are dearly loved and appreciated. I have long held you in high regard. with love, sherry

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  20. Dearest Nancy, how could you ever think you were letting us down by opening up your heart about this tremendous change in your life? Rather, I believe that it is only by writing so transparently that we can be a part of the life ahead of you and encourage you and simply be there. Please do post whenever it helps you as you build a new life in unchartered territory. I have no doubt that the One who has always provided for you will continue to. We are all on shaky ground right now with none of us knowing what the future holds for us or our world but we know who does know and just have to take one day at a time. Your family sounds amazing and God bless and keep you all!

    Dewena

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  21. Hello Nancy, I am so happy to see a blog post. I look forward to many more. I know what you mean by trying to be the woman that follows the rules, I was there once myself. I pray you find new joy and contentment in your new place. God has plans for you. Enjoy your family. A job will come soon enough. Sending hugs. Debbie

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    1. Thank you, dear friend. My family is a great blessing to me, as are the many friends that have posted comments here today. God bless you. Hugs.

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  22. Praying for you and your peace and happiness!

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  23. I'm sorry you are going through this. Sometimes only prayers and staying busy helps with the hurt. I've enjoyed reading your blog over the years. I know you will put your life back together in a new and fun way - as soon as the virus gets out of the way. I hope you find some peace and go forward with a new and wonderful life.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. You're right about prayers and staying busy. I talk to the Lord throughout my day and try to keep in mind that this is temporary. It's kind of exciting to think about what comes next. All in God's timing! Hugs.

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  24. So sorry to hear this; but I am glad you have your son's family to stay with during these difficult times. Grandkids are wonderful.

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  25. Hello Nancy,
    I am sending prayers.
    Thank you for sharing today, and no, you did not let us down. You are honest. Because I do the same thing. "Carla is fine".. when in honesty, sometimes I am not.
    Sending lots and lots of love,
    Carla

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  26. Hello Nancy, I started blogging again after a long absence. Happy to see your post. Life happens, dear girl...some of us are brave enough to admit we go through struggles that are ugly, and some want the world to believe our lives are a fairy tale. I admire your honesty, and boldness to possibly help others that might be going through similar circumstances....giving them hope for a brighter tomorrow....it's all a process. God will see you through, as you know, through each stage as you recover from the situation. Try to stay focused Heavenward, and the rest will fall into place. God has a plan for your life, sweetie. Love to you. xo

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  27. Dear Nancy, what a time of it you've been having. I can imagine how hard it must have been for you to write this post, and of course, even harder for you to live through this period of change. You're brave to share your feelings and to look to the future, to a new start with hope. Starting over isn't easy, you're right, but it's also exciting to imagine new chapters for your story.

    Our experiences don't define who we are. Those adjectives: divorced, widowed, don't define you. Life happens in such unexpected ways and yet the hard things don't negate the beautiful.

    Although this period of uncertainty is hard, it's wonderful that you get a chance to nest with your family a little bit longer before starting off on your own. Take all the time you need to heal. You trust in God's love, don't forget to follow his example and shine some love on yourself, too.

    Take good care.

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    1. It's so good to see your comment here, Anne! Thanks for visiting, and for leaving me such encouraging words. I appreciate all you do to bring beauty and creativity into our world, and look forward to catching up with you on your own lovely blog now that I'm at a better place emotionally. Hugs.

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  28. Nancy, I was so glad to see your post, and so sorry about you and your husband parting ways... but can totally understand why you did it... we need to find our own peace and contentment, and I believe we must follow where we are led. I have been in a similar situation, or I should say I WAS in a similar situation about 10 years ago, and did much praying and seeking the Lord's direction... each time I thought I should leave, he gave me a sign to stay! That happened many many times over and over again, each time I was ready to go and leave, and start anew... things happened to prevent it. So I ended up staying and here we are 10 years later, and in a much better and happier place, and now agree that we both have grown and learned and learned to appreciate each other's strengths (and accept each other's weaknesses). I know though, if I would have had any signs to go, I would have. I am so glad for you that you have your family to be with for awhile, and refuge for your soul to rest and recoup and find YOU again. I think in alot of relationships, we lose ourselves and when we are alone again, we must find that person again. I am glad for you that you have a bright future ahead and am looking forward to seeing how your new life takes shape! Hugs.. Marilyn

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    1. Marilyn, thank you for sharing your own experience. I can relate to what you said about praying and seeking the Lord's direction. Divorce is serious business and should, in my opinion, be a last resort. I'm so happy for you that your marriage didn't end in a divorce, that you were able to work through the difficulties and finally come to a place of acceptance and appreciation for one another. That is a great blessing. Praise God! Hugs.

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  29. Thank you for sharing with honesty and openness Nancy. It's a good idea to stay with family for now. Stay safe and keep a foot forward! Wishing you the best!

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    1. I appreciate your kind words, Angela. Yes, I agree, it's a good idea to stay with family for now. I'm enjoying being part of their lives on a daily basis. Take care. Hugs,

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  30. Poignantly and eloquently sharing your heart is a brave thing to do Nancy. Thank you for baring your heart, and sharing the journey you have been on. I can't imagine how difficult all these moves have been for you, and this last one being the most difficult, yet I am so grateful to hear how the Lord undertook and has shown your worth in Him, which is most valuable of all. You are in my prayers, and I pray that this most difficult time will also be a very sweet time of healing, and precious memories with your children and grandchildren. How wonderful that you are there to help out in their hour of need as well. God does all things well. You are in my prayers dear one, and I am comforted knowing you feel the protection of His great love around you.. and He has a plan for you! Much love to you sweet friend!

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  31. Nancy it’s pretty amazing that you can still spearhead joy in the midst of divorce and a pandemic. You are going to be just fine. For now your faithful readers are here, ready to support you. This time is going to pass and I think we will all be amazed at our personal transformations. Just keep goin girl!

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    1. Susan, thanks for the uplifting comment. In truth, without the love and strength I receive from my Lord I wouldn't be able to even consider joy an option, much less "spearhead" it. I've had many, many heartaches in my life starting from when I was a little girl, and I am here today only by the grace of God. If it weren't for the fact that He has always been there for me, always constant, always faithful, I would have ended my life long ago. He is the reason I have joy! God bless you. Warm hugs, Nancy

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  32. Nancy, I'm so sorry that you are going through this right now and I'm saying prayers for you, of course. I know it's not always easy to share things that aren't pretty here in blogland, but I'm so glad you did. It gives us, your community, the opportunity to support you, plus you've given us the very personal gift of your experience, which you've handled with such grace. You're such a gifted writer, your words are so eloquent , honest and brave. I just know that they're helping others who are going through similar relationship experiences and those of us who are just finding it hard to be brave during these unsettling times. Your words of faith and hope and moving forward one day at a time, of finding joy in simple things and holding on to dreams of a brighter future in times of sadness are so inspiring. I'm happy you're surrounded by family and wish you nothing but peaceful, happy days on this new journey, my friend...and hugs, lots and lots of hugs. xo

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  33. Recognizing Jesus’s power in our life is key to everything. All we need to do is trust in that. You are inspiring. My very best to you !

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  34. Sending you hugs from an avid reader from the Philippines.🤗 Thank you for being brave Ms.Nancy. Can't wait for your new entries. You inspire us.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad you left this comment! It's always special when I find out someone beyond the USA follows A Joyful Cottage. It makes our world seem so much smaller. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. God bless you! Hugs.

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  35. Hello, Nancy, from Newfoundland, Canada. Sending you a warm embrace & best wishes. You are strong & such an inspiration to others. I know you will find a new & brighter path in time. Blessings to you & your family at Eastertime & always. Love, Linda

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  36. OH, Nancy, I have been out of touch for so long that I am truly shocked and sorry for what you are going through! I do not get any emails from blogs I subscribe to anymore so I have to rely on my memory to go to my blog (that I don't post on anymore) to see if there is anything new. I read your latest post and had to search back to see what is going on. So happy to hear you are leaning on the Lord to get through all of this because, really, that is all we have. I call it "standing still" and waiting on Him to work things out. Actually it is very peaceful being in that place. So nice for you to be with your family. I know the Lord has something special for you in His time. xoxo

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  37. I went back in your posts to see what prompted your life change, I'm sorry I missed this, life has been kind of nuts and I fell off the blog wagon for a while. I'm so sorry you are going through this, the D word was one of the most stressful periods of my life, threw me right into menopause and actually curled my hair - not kidding. Be strong, this too shall pass....and living alone is so peaceful. My sweetie and I have been together ten years (since my divorce) and we still have separate homes - it works for us! We have dinner together every evening (unless I tell him I need a night to myself) and he stays here on weekends. That's fine, I'm quite happy with our arrangement, I never wanted to get married again after going through the pain of a divorce. Sending you hugs and prayers - be strong.

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  38. So sorry you have to go through this, Nancy. All the best as you heal through this new journey. ♥

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