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Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

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marriage

We Were Set Up

Lennox and I were lying in bed one evening as I took a journey back through my blog glancing at every post in the month of June dating back to 2009.

I laughed aloud as I read quotes from “my one friend” aka Lennox. Haha!  I remember him asking me, “Who are the men in your life that fight for you?” I didn’t know what he meant so he said, “How do I fight for you? I give voice to your needs before God. Intercession, lost art of the warrior. You will also know that a man fights for you when he speaks Gods word over you. In order to recognize that, you’ll need to know God’s word to you.”  Wow, eh?! One of the things I admired most about him then and love about him now is how he is faithful to encourage me to turn my eyes to God and His Word.

Lennox fought for me then in his role as my friend. Now he fights for me as his wife and I fight for him.  He’s my champion and I’m his. We’re each other’s biggest fans!

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One day at church we sang Amazed by Lincoln Brewster. As we were singing a picture came to me in the form of storyboards like for a movie. This is what I wrote about it back then:

The background is white, the drawings are rendered in charcoal. The people are in stick figures. First scene: Tight shot. The setting is a battle field. There I am in a fetal position in the center of the battle. There is a sword and a shield lying next to me. My eyes are tightly shut. My friend is standing next to me brandishing a sword in his right hand. In his left is a shield that is over me. Next scene. A bit wider angle. There is a battle raging. I open my eyes and see the destruction. I am scared. I will not move. My friend is still standing over me speaking to me, but he is listening to someone he calls the Captain. He’s passing the Captain’s words on to me since I can’t seem to hear the Captain clearly. Next scene: Wider angle. The Captain is dancing around us and He is singing. I incline my ear. I still can’t quite hear him. My eyes are on the battle. My friend is still talking to me and telling me to look to the Captain. I am not in such a tight ball, but I am still lying on the field. Next scene: My hands are slowly reaching out to my sword and shield. I am beginning to hear the Captain for myself. So I listen more intently. Next scene: I am on my knees, still clutching my weapon. I am watching the Captain and listening. My friend is still speaking the Captain’s words. I can hear both. Next scene: I am up, back to back with my friend. Fighting the battle. My eyes on my Captain, Jesus, my ears inclined to His song. My friend still speaks the Captains words to me and I to him.

As I read through other blog posts from the past 8 years I can clearly see that the Lord was setting us up for one another. We both had so much growing to do. Shoot, Lennox was still in Hollywood until December 2009, I had no idea he’d ever move up here.

Isn't it strange how "my one friend" becomes my husband after nearly a decade of friendship? Okay, well, I guess it's NOT that strange, but it was unexpected.

This picture is from August 2010 or “The Day Lennox Chased Me Into a Field” as I like to call it. I remember looking up and seeing him walk around to the back of my house and head toward me. Once he got to me he said, “I’d rather be watching Stargate, but here I am with you. I don’t know why I’m here, I don’t do this.”

Well, apparently he does for me. Every time I’d get scared and he felt me pulling away from him he’d come and talk to me about it. Every time he’d say, “I’m not doing this again, I’m not coming after you. Can’t you trust me after all this time?” The last time he said it was in November of 2014. We were in his car when he said, “I’m not coming after you this time.” Then after about a 5 second pause he said, “Yes, yes I am. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I don’t do this for anyone else.”

Five months later he tells me I’m the one for him. Today, July 14, 2017 marks 14 months of marriage. He counts the days in his head, I use an app. It’s been 426 days!

So, here we are in our wedded bliss. We still venture out into fields, only this time we go together.

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Windblown

Time passes.

The stabbing pain of grief lessens.

Through it all, I am whole. Broken, yet still whole.

Awe and Joy overwhelm me as I see the two pink lines on the pregnancy test. I quietly slip back into bed, holding on to my secret for a few more hours before Lennox wakes. I can’t think of how to tell him without blurting it out. We’re awake for 2 hours when I put a lentil in his hand as he’s getting ready to head out the door. He’s confused. I start laughing. I tell him it’s the size of our baby. Baby Lentil. Due mid-April.

I tell my closest friends first. Chani sends me the cutest pictures of baby pandas. She and I lovingly refer to this baby as “Baby Panda” because it’s black, white, and Asian.

Baby Lentil grows to be the size of a raspberry.

I notice spotting, then bleeding. I text friends about my concerns. I’m not cramping so I should be okay. Right?

Ireland and I travel to Texas with Winter and baby Christopher. We leave on a Friday. That night as I lie down I turn to Ireland and tell her, “I’m going to cry. Please don’t be alarmed. I’m concerned about the life of this baby.”

I cry. I sleep. I wake in the morning knowing he was gone, but wondering if I was just giving into fear. I call Lennox. I tell him, “The baby isn’t alive anymore. I can feel it.” He says that until we know for sure we’ll pray as if he’s still alive. So I do, but I know.

We make it to Texas. It’s so hot, but the house is air conditioned. My Christopher has the air conditioner turned so low that I tell him I’m freezing at night. I use his army sleeping bags, but I shouldn’t need to. He laughs. I laugh. I love this grown man boy of mine.

Tuesday, September 20 I write:

My bleeding has gotten progressively heavier and the blood changed from pink to a deep red. I’m downstairs and I tell Winter that I’m going to stay home when she goes to get Chris for lunch. I could feel myself bleeding. I go to the bathroom and there’s a large red clump in the bottom of the toilet. I start saying, “oh my gosh, oh my gosh” repeatedly. Winter knocks on the door. I can’t remember what I said. I then reached in the toilet to see if it is merely a clot. It wasn’t. It felt, well, a placenta. I snapped a picture of it in my hand and started weeping. I get cleaned up as Winter knocks again. I tell her I miscarried. She hugs me and strokes my head as I cry.

I knew Lennox was with someone. I called twice and texted. He called back. I told him our baby died. I can’t remember what he said. Then I hear Christopher come home. I get off the phone as he comes into my room. He rushes to my bed and holds me as I sob. Deep, heart wrenching, loud sobbing. My firstborn comforts me.

I begin to tell friends. Lennox had begun telling people. Texts, messages, and phone calls pour in. I speak only to Lennox.

Still, I get up to eat quesadillas for lunch. Then I sleep before we go to Popeye’s and the park. Then I sleep more.

I cry. A lot.

I sleep. I cry. I get up. I’m in Texas with my first born, his family, and my youngest child. I’m aware that I can’t lie in bed all day. I’m here to experience life and make memories with the living.

Lennox asked me if I felt the arms of God holding me? Did I feel Him with me in this? I didn’t, but I knew. Knowing is different. It’s more permanent. It’s real. I never felt alone or abandoned. I knew He was with me in all the love being poured out on me through text messages, facebook, and phone calls. It was no coincidence that I was in Texas and Lennox back home in Oregon. It was God’s grace and care for us.

The next day I write:

Today is harder. I announced it on fb. “It”. The thing I can’t say aloud. It hurts too much. I’m crying more. I’m thinking about going home. It feels so safe here where nobody knows me. My people here love me, know me, and grieve with me.

I was safe. Neither Ireland or Sage are very good at handling sadness and grief. It scares them. They, in turn, antagonize one another. Here we are thousands of miles away. Each of us can grieve in our way. Ireland could be sad then go play with the baby or hang out with Winter and Christopher. Sage could be home in his normal routine and quietly deal with it at home. We are grateful for all of this.

We get back to Oregon late Friday night.

Saturday I write:

We got home late last night.

It was a relief to see the faces of Sage and Lennox. Ireland spied them first. She, too, was looking for our men to take care of us.

We went to Salt & Straw for ice cream on the way home. It’s all about making memories. I don’t want our loss and my sadness to color everything. Yet, I think it does. I’m trying to engage while also giving me room to heal.

I stayed home all day today. It was good. Lennox protected me from even the kids. This morning we prayed together and he read my words of affirmations reminding me who I am.

Krystal brought me ice cream.

We ended the day with chicken & rice, cheetos, and ice cream while watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I feel like our family has bonded. It’s strange that we were apart, yet now are so much closer. I think we care more.

There still has been a level of tenderness and care that wasn’t there before. Kids still shirk on doing jobs and rages break out. Yet, I still feel something different in the atmosphere.

For me, I love more deeply. I’m more focused. I’m also more introverted and being in social situations drain me in ways I couldn’t even imagine before.

Something beautiful has happened in all this. I found myself letting Lennox care for me. I entrusted myself to him in a deeper way. Not just him, but also to God. It was this deep knowing of their love for me. Nothing can harm me. I may hurt, but I am not destroyed.

I look at my husband and see my champion. I look into his eyes and see his incredible love for me. A lump forms in my throat. I am grateful.

Lennox and I are closer than we were before. I thought we were close then, but it has grown. He is tender and strong. He knows when to let me cry and when to make me get out of bed. We are unstoppable together. He is so good to me.

Monday morning we began our daily walks together. It was slow going at first, but then faster as my body healed. We talked about this loss and our hope. Our joy over that fact that I could get pregnant in the first place. I was pretty sure it couldn’t happen. Joy over the fact that we are now stronger.

We both felt that our baby was a boy. Lennox said, “Let’s name him John. He’s not the last baby. He prepared the way.” Yes, yes he did. There will be more.

At church today we read from the book of John. It’s my favorite of the 4 gospels. I think of how this John is so loved. He calls himself, “The one Jesus loved”. I love that so much. Was he loved more than the other disciples or was he simply more sure of that love?

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We didn’t get to know our own John, but he too is so loved.

As I’m ending this post my heart aches with pain, but also throbs with joy. This is a good life. God is a good God. Always.

Three Months

Well, we’ve made it to the 3 month mark, people! You know what that means, right? On the 14th of each month we dress up in our wedding clothes.

So, here we are after church with a small group of people that we had lunch with afterwards.

Church was special yesterday. It was an all worship day. The musicians are skilled with hearts for worship. Lennox does a brilliant job of bringing people from different backgrounds to mesh beautifully into one amazing worship band. We had visitors from several churches blessing us with their voice or instrument.

Afterward, we threw together a potluck with several of the visiting musicians and some new friends that came down from Portland. If you ever have the chance to meet Edwin and Lisa, do NOT pass by that opportunity! Their story of how the met one another and how they met Jesus is nothing short of amazing.

I left with my heart full. I love how sitting around a few tables sharing food can bring all our hearts together. There is purpose in eating together.

Our hearts bond. Our tummies get filled. We get to know people outside of rushed conversations after church. We begin to dwell together.

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Guess What Day It Is???

It’s the day we celebrate being married for 2 full months.

It’s also the day we welcome our Zurvita team to Dallas, Texas for the 2016 Zurvita National Conference!

I’m sitting at a desk in my hotel room at the Omni here in Dallas, Texas. My room is comfortably cool, yet when I walk outside it is oppressively hot. Several team members have arrived while some are waiting in airports or airplanes. Excitement is rising in the air. We’ve seen so many people from our Zurvita family so far. Lots of hugs, squeals of excitement, and hearts connecting. I’m so looking forward to what this weekend has in store for all of us.

What do we expect to get out of it? What do we expect to contribute to it? How can we add value to the people around us? Who can we build relationship with? How can I help my team become who they dream to be? I have so many thoughts and questions as I sit here.

For now, I’m going to venture out into the halls of this hotel and find more people to love on!

Challenge!

Life is FULL of challenges. If it weren’t, we’d be continually bored and boring! Well, because we don’t want to risk being a boring sort of people Lennox and I are challenging one another in a fitness challenge.

Welcome to the first installment of our very first joint 90 day challenge video series!

(pardon the freeze frame, i tried SEVERAL times to change it)

Mensiversary

That is to say, it’s the one month anniversary of my wedding. I can’t really say “anniversary” can I? After all, it hasn’t been a year. According to the website Grammarphobia, the correct word for monthly anniversary is “mensiversary”. Honestly, it sounds too much like a female bodily function for me to be comfortable in using it. So, I’ll just continue using the word “anniversary” incorrectly.

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I had to run in my heels through rough terrain from my camera to Lennox in only 10 seconds since I had set the timer on my camera to get this shot!

I cringe a little when I begin to say this has been the best month of my life. There is pain in that statement. There have been amazingly great things about it, but there have been some challenging and downright scary moments, too.

If you’ve been reading my blog or know me at all, you’ll recall that a few of my children are adopted. With that comes some emotional and mental challenges often caused by early childhood trauma. They live in a constant state of fight or flight and any sort of change can trigger it.

Marriage is a BIG change! I knew there would be rough times. The kids and I have been together for 10 years, I know their triggers. I know that having a dad in the home will be scary since they’ve never had one stick around. In their minds they wonder if they are the reason they’ve never had a dad. As adults with life experience we know that’s not true, but their little hearts don’t. There is the fear that they will, once again, be left by a man who promises them he’ll always be there. So, they yell and scream and demand my attention late into the night.

I may have been a little naive to think that this wouldn’t be such a challenging month. Police were called and DHS came for a ‘friendly’ visit. I was afraid. Other foster/adoptive parents assured me and let me know that I had a good clean 10 year run with no investigations, it was bound to happen. I’m not sure that it was put quite like that, but that’s what I heard. In this world of parenting kids from hard places this in not unheard of. Our kids are literally running scared. It can cause PTSD and secondary trauma in us parents or other siblings. I can feel tears rise to the surface and my heart clench as I wrote that last sentence.  I went over to the blog: Confessions Of An Adoptive Parent to link back to their latest post about trauma. I looked through the post only briefly as to not get distracted, but my heart was in my throat and I wanted to cry.

Why do I want to cry right now? Is it because the weight of my children’s heartache is too great for me to bear? Is it relief at knowing I’m not alone in this journey, that we’re not alone? Am I worried for my new husband? What if he starts showing signs of PTSD or secondary trauma, what then? Or is it simply the realization that this unrest and pain is real? I’m not making it up.

Maybe it’s all of the above. 

Here’s what I do know as truth.

We were all meant to be in this family together. God is in this and with us. His word says He will never leave us. This battle is spiritual. Therefore, my weapons need to be out of this world, too.

Lennox and I have a great routine of reading the Bible and praying together each morning. I’ve been writing in my gratitude journal and steeping myself in the Word. I am listening to other believing men and women who encourage and teach me. There is hope beyond hope. I think it’s in Nehemiah where I read something to the effect “we are prisoners of hope”. I read that many years ago as a young woman, it has stuck with me. We cannot escape hope. Christ is our Hope.

It is so good to have a husband. I feel stronger. I am able to face battles that I couldn’t withstand before. This marriage thing is good.

I am happy. I’ve never known what that is before.

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Whew! I made it this time! 

On the 14th of every month we will dress in our wedding attire and take some pictures. Today we went to therapy and the DMV before stopping in a field for pictures.

(Lennox isn’t wearing his wedding shirt because it’s at the cleaners. Oops.)

 

Woop Woop! I’m Married!

Well, as of today I’ve been married for 9 days! Eeeek!!!

I don’t even know what to say about it! There is so much in my heart to say! I love being married. My wedding was amazing. I have so many friend that helped make it a stupendous day. I feel so loved. I am so loved. There were so many people there! There wasn’t even enough room for people to sit or even be in the same room. Standing room only that poured out into the foyer! Wow!!!!

I have heard stories about weddings being so stressful. That wasn’t my experience. At one point I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me because I didn’t feel stress. Then I realized that feeling stressed was totally unnecessary! We’re having a party! We’re celebrating an incredible story of healing, redemption, and restoration!

Here’s a short clip of a fun time of us dancing during the ceremony.

I have much stirring in my heart about getting married and the changes that are already happening, but those will have to wait. I have a bedroom to rearrange!

You can read more about us from Lennox’s point of view over on his blog at lennoxfleary.com

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Becoming A Fleary

In nine days I will become Mrs. Fleary. 

I don’t even know how to start this post. I am overwhelmed with emotions. I mostly feel gratitude. I have an incredible retinue of friends. In fact, I believe I have the best friends in all the earth. I’m sure of it! I can truly say there has never been a time where I have been devoid of such loving people in my life.

My wedding is quickly approaching. As it does, I hear of friends coming from Canada, Maine, and California. Then I have friends here who spend an entire day shopping with me and carve time out of their busy schedules to get our nails done. So many people are helping the wedding come together so wonderfully. We have musicians, shoppers, cleaners, decorators, and food servers who have all volunteered to help. I am humbled by all that love being poured out. Sometimes I am puzzled by it. Yet, I am always blessed by it. For a girl who grew up wondering where she fit in and if she was loved, this certainly answers that question.

This morning as Lennox and I were walking it hit me that the countdown is now in the single digits. It now feels so real. It’s actually happening!

Now I sit here on my bed overwhelmed with emotions. In the last week or so I’ve had so many moments of tears. Some are tears of gratitude, while others are tears of grief. I am missing my son, Christopher, who is away at basic training.  I am missing my mom and dad. Yet, I am grateful. In marrying Lennox I am gaining a mother and father.

I’ve met them a few times before, but this time it’s different. We were sitting at my table sharing a meal when I felt my heart swell with love for them. I hear more of their story and get to share in making memories with them.

Just look at how Marcella looks at her son!

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Day 6: Never Going To Be Good Enough

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Cottage Street. A house I dearly love. I haven’t lived there in over 20 years, but as I drove up to it today my heart felt full. So many great memories were made there.

After Bible school I moved back home with my dad in Willamina for a while. That was a good time for me. I had a full-time job, babysat on the side, and had a little more time to be with my dad. Yet, I was growing up and it was time to move to Salem to join Our Father’s House Church. In the early 90’s this was a hub for house churches and a few ministries.

I learned SO much here.

I learned that you can have green hair, dreadlocks, and so many piercings and still love Jesus. I learned that if something feels a little off then it’s probably off. I was naive and robbed by addicts more than once. I learned that Salem has a lot one one way streets and its best to not go down them the wrong way!

This is also the place where I met the man I would marry. He was tall, thin, and played guitar. I met him before I moved in. There was a fundraiser for a girl who was heading off into missions. I walked in and he looked at me, laughed, and said, “Those have got to be the ugliest socks I’ve ever seen!” You see, I was quite the sock lover. I shopped at stores like “Socks From Mars”. This girl didn’t wear ordinary socks. I was the only person I knew that had rainbow knee high toe socks. (They were so uncomfortable, but original for that time.) Despite our initial meeting we became friends. He encouraged me to be that writer I dreamed of being and not let anything hold me back. He’d say, “You want to be a writer? Then write. Writers write.” Back then I was too scared to write anything outside of my journal or letter to a friend.

By this time I had decided that I wanted to become a missionary. I wanted to pursue a career in nursing so that I had a way into any country. I didn’t want to go on short-term missions; I wanted to go live somewhere and influence the community around me. I had an opportunity to go to a college in the Midwest that I thought was perfect for me. There was classroom work, but there were also several ways to get experience in the field. It was time for me to go.

One day I went to this young boyfriend of mine to tell him of my plans. I told him I would be back. He looked at me and said, “Don’t expect me to wait for you. Absence makes the heart forget.” Like a flash of lightning a thought seared itself into my brain. “If you don’t marry him, no good Christian man will ever want you.” So, I stayed. I chose him.

One day we were driving along in my ’76 Dodge Dart when the “Going to the Chapel” song came on the radio. He looked at me and said, “Let’s go to the courthouse!” We got our marriage license and married 2 days later in my pastor’s living room.

The day before we were married he was asked why he wanted to marry me. He listed a lot of great qualities and characteristics he saw in me. When I was asked the same question it was one thing: because he loves me. Terribly unhealthy and not something easy to recover from…for either of us, I’d guess. I imagine that stung him a little.

We are no longer together. Last Thanksgiving would have been our 20 year anniversary. While I have no regrets, I sometimes wonder what pain I could have spared all of from had I known my worth back then. What if I was confident in the fact that I do hear from God? What if I knew that following my God-planted dream would get me the love I so desired?

Tomorrow I wrap up week 1 in the series “Am I Enough?” I’m excited to hear what week 2 brings us.

If you’d like to see the other posts, please click the photo below.

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To read more posts from other Write31days writers please click on the following photo:

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