My Side of the Story…

If you read this blog, you’ve picked up on pieces of my story, and if you attend C3 Church or listen to Byron’s podcasts, you’ve heard other pieces…

Every person’s story has many pieces to it – like a giant and intricate puzzle – and the reality is that even each “piece” is multifaceted…

This Sunday, Byron spoke of part of our story as a couple…about our separation and near-divorce 5 years ago.  As always, he was incredibly gracious and kind and put all of the responsibility on himself for our marriage…our world seeming to burn right in front of us.

But that’s his side of the story…

Here’s mine:

What happened to our marriage 5 years ago really began many years earlier.  I grew up in a seemingly happy, Christian home – the preacher’s daughter.  While I would not compare my upbringing and childhood to others who suffered horrible abuse and awful conditions, there was still abuse – even if everything looked perfect on the outside.  I just learned to cover…smile and cover.  

By the time Byron and I were married, and I went from “Preacher’s Daughter” to “Preacher’s Wife”, I was an expert at covering my true feelings, but the cracks began to show…

By 25, I had two beautiful daughters and although we were “seminary-poor”, we looked like the perfect family…except for the fact that at 5’9″ I weighed 100 lbs., suffered with debilitating depression and never slept more than 3 hours at a time.  But, if you asked…I was great.

By 35, I had 4 beautiful children and it was a daily struggle to hide the storm that was building inside me.  I gained 40 lbs. in 18 months even though I hardly ate, I was having “night terrors” and I began to think that my beautiful family would certainly be better off without me…

Still, if you had asked me, I would have said that I was a little stressed, but I would have never acknowledged that I was toying with burning my life to the ground…

Over the next 6-7 years, Byron tried everything to pull me out of the deep end of the ocean, but I didn’t want to be rescued.  I would have rather drown than to admit that I had been so badly broken in my childhood and beyond, that I truly didn’t believe I was worth saving.

So, by 42 I was living separately from Byron, and I did the “every other week” thing with my kids, and I had to look at their faces and know they were suffering…

all because I decided to burn myself to the ground just to stop the pain.

But, I learned something:

I learned that if you light a match and burn your house down, you’re not the only one who gets burned.  

I learned that if you run away, you take your pain with you.

I learned that you are not defined by what’s been done to you, but you will always carry what you’ve done to others.

I learned that there’s a difference between pain and remorse.  Other’s can cause you deep pain, but remorse comes from your own choices…and it’s a much heavier burden to bear.

I learned that I can choose to end the cycle of pain and remorse.  I can choose to be the person I needed when I was growing up.  I can create the family that I never had.  

I can deal with my pain and stop it from dealing with me with every breath.

I can.

I have the power to choose a new path.

You do as well.

We can’t just light a match and walk away…

Pain only goes away when it heals properly.  

Grace is the only fire strong enough to burn down hell…and it can burn down the hell your living in, if you let it.

I still have the scars to prove that I’ve been through the fire, but thank God, I’m also living proof that you don’t have to be consumed by it.

Peace to you…


Making the Mundane More Magical…

Having been a “stay-at-home” wife, mom and grandmother now for nearly 30 years, I’ve dealt with the pitfalls and challenges of finding purpose and meaning in the most mundane tasks. But the truth is, we all struggle with finding joy in the things that, on the surface, can seem ordinary and even boring…

Having the same “gig” for as long as I have also allows me to really get to know where my strengths…and weaknesses lie.  And for me, my weakness is definitely consistency…especially if it’s in the mundane and possibly boring category.

I don’t do mundane very well.

I do last-minute, heart-pumping, ride-or-die super well…it’s just that most of my mom-days don’t include a whole lot of moments that you might see in an episode of “24”.  

So while I tend to hear the sound-track of my life something like “The Hunger Games” or “The Sound of Music”…it’s more like an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Vidoes” most days…

But I love my life.

The challenge is in finding the magic in the mundane.

The way I’m learning to do this…and it’s definitely a work-in-progress, is to give myself permission to look at absolutely everything through rose-colored glasses. So, when I hear the Hunger Games music begin to play in my head…then, I need to act like it’s just that important.  And when Julie Andrews begins to sing, I can use that to motivate me to not just “clean” the bathroom, but to really make it more beautiful.

How I make the mundane magical is to look at it as my art form…my mission. Because the truth is, it really is that important.

This weekend Byron spoke about how creating margin…breathing room in our schedules allows us to be more generous in our lives.  So, if my finances are “in order” then I can be generous when there’s a natural disaster or a friend has a need. If my schedule is not maxed-out, then I can go visit someone in the hospital without grieving over the loss of a few hours.

For me, that was a reminder that every moment in my sometimes seemingly mundane day is important.  It may not seem important that I have a neat family room, but it allows me to be present-in-the-moment when a friend needs to stop by and cry on my shoulder.

It’s not always easy to feel approval or gratitude for the simple things that you do each day, but keep doing them and determine to really put your heart into it. Small things done with great love always have an impact.

I’ve had to realize that if I want to have a beautiful life, then I need to have beautiful thoughts and do beautiful things – and even the tiniest, most mundane thing can become beautiful if we see them as important and meaningful.

If I’ve ever questioned this, all I have to do is think about the sweetest moments in my life.  They are usually the simplest.

It’s not perfection that holds the most beauty…it’s progress…and peace.

It’s not always just about what we do, but how we do it…and doing the smallest things with the greatest love always has the ability to create magic!✨✨

Peace to you…


My Renaissance Man…

In honor of our 27th wedding anniversary, I thought I would repost a blog that I wrote years ago…because I wrote it for my “Renaissance Man” then; and it’s even more appropriate now that I know more of what his “renaissance” truly cost.
I also know more of what love really means.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. This one was, and is, for you:

“So I went to a great sushi restaurant yesterday for lunch. It was Ah-mazing; it was so good that I took Byron back there for supper. During lunch, I kept thinking that he would love the modern yet organic decor, and he would think their new age/jazz music was cool, etc…
When we got there, they gave us the table I knew he’d like (It has these cool orange wingbacks – super comfy).
So as he was “popping” edamame, and drinking Voss (his favorite sparking water), I began to think about how much he’s changed since I met him over 20 years ago. 

To say that he’s different now is an understatement. He didn’t branch-out very often, back then, in the area of food, decor, music, or the way he dressed. He was a typical “meat and potatoes” Texan – everything normal and predictable – no surprises! Then, he met me, and God called him into the pastorate…
For years, he did the whole normal pastor thing, the double-breasted suits and the pastor hair (he DID have hair). He never was particularly political, but he could “bring it” in the pulpit – so he was always “successful”. His administrative skills and loyalty (and the utter lack of the typical “messianic complex” that most in the ministry suffer from) caused him to be a great associate, then senior pastor…Then, he began to desire more – more than the safe, predictable ministry at which he was excelling.

So he did something that was absolutely contrary to his very existence up to that point. Something that no one would’ve recommended. He changed.He changed everything from his philosophy of ministry to his hair.

He shaved his head and threw out the preacher pretense. He started looking for ways to experience more out of life than canned green-beans and pot-roast. He began to truly look at people as opportunities for connection rather than a project to feel successful.
(I think the latter may be taught as a seminary course “How to feel successful in your ministry by how many circles you can run around in without ever truly effecting life-change” – well, the title may not be that long!)

He began to refuse to be in bondage to the dictates of the religious, but instead really asked “What would Jesus do?”.
He began to demand more of himself and those around him, and ask the question, “Why is this community of faith placed here in this area – are we accomplishing the work of Christ, or just building a legacy unto ourselves…?”
He asked, and the masses answered – vehemently (the religious) and overwhelmingly (the unchurched). He was vilified, attacked, threatened, lied-about and betrayed – and yet he continued to push for more…more change, more authenticity, more love of the person of Christ rather than the tradition of man.
He walked on through the fire and the storm, and never wavered except to say to me, “If it becomes too much, just say the word, and I’ll leave it all behind, today, because I am no success in my ministry if I lose you and the kids…”

So, sitting at dinner last night at a sushi restaurant, watching him eat exotic food, comment on his new love of a very different decor than he was supposed to appreciate, and wearing a brightly colored “floweredee” shirt – And all because I wanted to go there, and I wanted him to try the food and see the decor, hear the music, and I had given him the pretty shirt…etc., I considered all of the ways he had changed.
So I commented on how different he was than “back in the day”, and he answered, “Yeah, I’m different, and it all boils down to one thing: “I fell in love…”
That is what it all boils down to with him: LOVE. 

He has learned, through adversity, to love with abandon. He has been willing to sacrifice everything for love. He is one of the few people in this world who has earned the right to say, “I would die for you.”, and you can believe it.
He is becoming a true “Renaissance Man” on a mission of love and mercy. It’s a beautiful thing to observe someone doing what they were truly born to do.

So, to me, he’s a renaissance man – my renaissance man – and I love him and am grateful for and proud of all the changes…It’s been quite a ride, and I’ve never been more excited to see what’s in store for tomorrow. I am truly blessed.”
…and I still am! Happy Anniversay, Babe. I love you more…


10 ways to love your man

Byron and I have been together for 30 years…married for 27, next month. Although, that may seem like a long time, I know I am still learning – daily – what it takes to love my husband the way that I should.  Here’s my “top 10” for how to love your man:

(*SIDENOTE TO WOMEN WHO ARE LOOKING FOR “MR. RIGHT”:  Although, you should treat any potential relationship as if you could marry him, remember that until you are married, you’re not married.  Any man you aren’t married to is not fully “yours”.  Men are hunters at heart – if he doesn’t fully pursue you, then move on.  If you have to pursue him, especially from another woman’s attention, it’s not the right time.  Don’t compete for him…or worse yet, take him from someone else.  Be the prize.  Remember, if you take another woman’s man, then all you’ll have is another woman’s man…  If you want to meet “Mr. Right”, don’t be wrong to get his attention.)

My “top 10” list:

  1. Only have eyes for him.  Find him in the crowd, especially when other men are around, and make eye contact with him.  Make sure he knows that you notice him above all others.  If another man shows you attention, mention your husband…say “we” a lot.  If another man shows you attention in front of your husband, shift your focus to your husband.  Make it clear.  Real women don’t make their husband jealous of other men, they make other men jealous of their husband.
  2. Be intentional.  Think about his needs and what he likes as you’re planning the day.  With men, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture…lots of little ones can mean more.  Make it clear that he is constantly on your mind.  This Sunday, as I was getting dressed, Byron said, “I really like that blouse on you!”, and I said, “I know, that’s why I put it on!”
  3. Celebrate his strengths.  Don’t let the good things he does go unnoticed.  Notice everything.  Women are really good at picking out flaws – be different.  Let him be the one man whose woman picks out his every skill.  Find at least one opportunity each day to say, “One thing I love about you is…” and then fill in the blanks.  Men are made to be inspired by women  – don’t ever leave that job to anyone else!
  4. Be his safe place.  The world will beat on him and tell him he can’t succeed.  Pick him up every day.  When he leaves, let him know that you’re with him no matter what.  When you see him again, be his soft place to land.  Be safe – don’t remind him of his failings.  Remind him that he can be real with you.  Let him be himself…without words…just let him be.
  5. Defend him.  Women, getting together with other women, talking bad about everything and everyone…especially men, is a thing.  The minute you find yourself in that kind of crowd, become quiet.  Don’t feel the need to bombard other women with how wonderful your man is, just say nice things and never say bad things. Read the room, if it’s not the right place to say nice things about your man, then just listen and say nothing at all.  Defend your husband and your marriage in the same way that you would hope he would if he were in the same kind of situation.
  6. Protect him.  Don’t let him go out into the world…hungry – hungry for attention, approval or applause.  If you leave your man starving on a desert island, don’t be shocked when ridiculous things begin to look appealing to him.  Even the rats will start to look appetizing…
  7. Inspire him.  We were made to inspire men.  Remind him that he can do anything and – if he falls – you’ll always be there to pick him up.  Let him know that failure is just a lesson. Never discourage him at his weakest point.  Be his cheerleader and his champion!
  8. Remind him of “us”.  Find ways to let him know that you are in this together.  Remind him that you are a team, and when one of you is weak, the other will pick up the slack. Never let him feel that he carries everything on his own – even though he will try.  Be by his side, no matter what you are facing.
  9. Fight against “Mommy Mode”.  After we have children, it can become more difficult to focus on the needs of our husband because we have little hands pulling on us constantly. There are seasons for everything, and babies demand a lot of attention.  Just don’t stay there forever…in mommy mode…where the focus is now, forever, on the children.  If you want to be a team, then don’t let your teammate be forever side-lined.  Make sure you let him into the huddle as often as possible…
  10. Fight for him.  Use everything at your disposal to do this.  Pray for him…not just for what you want from him, but for everything you want for him.  Be a warrior for his safety, his health, his happiness and his relationship with God.  Educate yourself as to what he needs.  If you don’t know what to do, find people who have been successful and ask them. Devour the scriptures and claim God’s promises for him and for your marriage.  Don’t let the Enemy get a foothold.  Forgive, forgive, forgive… Believe the best as if your life depends on it.  Love him as if your life depends on it.  Never stop fighting for love – Be unbreakable!

These are just a few thoughts, but if you’re trying, then you’re doing more than most.  Just the fact that you took the time to read this says that you are trying to focus on him – and that’s the real secret to a happy marriage:

Just like all of life, it’s others-focused…it is selfless. God wants your marriage to succeed, and even more, he wants you to succeed…to be loved and to feel how valuable you really are.  When we know this, then we can love others with our best selves.  You can do it!  It’s never too late to make a change.

Peace to you…

Angie ❣