How To Fix Your Marriage | Mental Growth

Two Steps to Fix Your Marriage

Marriage faces so many different bumps along the way. Some poeple’s are mounds, or hills, while others have to climb through valleys, and overcome mountains. Here’s two easy ways that show you by maintaining self awareness it can help save your marriage.

The faculty of a person that enables them to be self aware of themselves, and others is known as, the mind. You have to be completely conscious at all times and present with yourself to constantly be looking inward. To fully understand what is going on with you. In Re|Engage we focus on ourselves, we draw circles around ourselves and focus on ways to work on our struggles, emotions, and problem areas so we can better serve our spouse. Believe me, it’s not so easy at first, every week I have to remind myself to do just that. I literally have to draw that circle around myself to remind myself what I need to be doing. That alone has helped so much with stopping  little bickering before it has even started. The one thing that we are constantly reminding ourselves with is that “I’m my own marital problem.” It may sound silly, especially if your spouse is lying and cheating. but it’s a helpful reminder to focus on your actions and to see if you’re coming from a place of love. if you’re ready to fix your marriage then take two  steps, just two, that will help you allow your marriage to move freely, and openly. Are you ready to start?

Focusing on yourself by following two easy steps:

1. Be Honest. I think we all have problems being honest with ourselves. Sometimes it can be scary to look inward and see just who you’ve become. Especially if who we are is someone stuck on the bathroom floor, feeding our own addictions. In hard and dark times, it’s very hard to look inward and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. I know from experience it just seems so much easier to find a reason to blame it on other people. To hang on to the anger, pride, walk around with hatred, and even hold on to guilt or even fear. The best thing is that Fear is a Liar! Don’t let it destroy you! Overcome the fear and rise above it because life is waiting for you. They always say, you’re the only one holding yourself back. If you are a timid person or the opposite spectrum carrying around anger because of fear listen to Fear is a Liar, by .

We have nothing to be afraid of: God is there for you. There’s is freedom found when we lay our lies down at the cross. We can be who we are meant to be once we let go of all that baggage. Don’t waste your life holding on to all that that shame and darkness when your already been freed. Your freedom is just waiting for YOU!!

2. Self Awareness. Be honest with yourself as well. Combat the fear of being honest, don’t blame the people around. Being aware allows you to be authentic with people, allows real relationships to happen and allow God to move in the real vulnerability of the raw friendships that you have. How can u be real if you don’t know your self? Honestly, repeat that question, how can you be real if you don’t even know your self? Besides being self aware allows you to be your own driver of your own life, not a victim of your past.

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

How to Have a Successful Marriage When Times Get Tough

Steps for Wives and Husbands:

My husband and I go to weekly marriage to get tools we need to fight for our marriage. Atfirst, I thought it was going to be something good for us because of our recent struggles, but honestly it doesn’t matter what phase of marriage you are at, every married couple should go through something to get you closer together. If you so happen to have a Christ -Centered program available, GO! If you are struggling like we were, close to divorce, dealing with addictions, GO!

I’ve mentioned before at Re|Engage we discuss how to focus on ourselves vs. our spouse. We have to face the notion that we are all broken. Now if you understand that you yourself are broken, and so is your spouse and you want to love them anyway, be there for them despite their problems, then take these 2 Easy Steps to Help you Become a Great Spouse. Despite the fact that you are still filled with hurt, and pain, you can move forward. Now if you don’t want to, just remember they love you despite all your struggles, moods and unpleasant sides. They love you and are not you’re enemy. Someone far greater is the enemy. If you decide you are still willing to support your spouse then here are acronyms for each one of you to help the other spouse through their battles, struggles, and addictions. Now if the roles need to be changed depending on  who is currently struggling then do so, but these two acronyms are ways to just show you how to be there for one another.

Men – You are the leaders of your own home, so use LEAD to guide you to lead over your marriage.

L– Let go and let God – Build a team for accountability. Men tend to keep everything bottled up. We all know this, they’re told to be tough, they need to be strong. But in hard times no matter what we need the help of others. Especially if you are the one struggling with addiction, cheating, or lying. Men, need to learn they can’t control everything, can’t fix everything, and can’t do it alone. Reach for God, let him take control. Place it at his feet even if it is just to take the weight off your shoulders.

E– Engage your helpers. Enlist them to be there, call upon them. Only you know when you need help, so don’t be afraid to ask.

A– Accept counsel even when they suggest to do the hard things. When you hear what you don’t want to be told, the last thing you want to do is listen, but just try and remember they are removed from the situation so they are coming from a perspective of love, and truth. Take the words they say, and atleast try it out and see what happens. In the end, it could be the best advice you ever received, and you won’t know unless you try. Doesn’t your marriage deserve the effort?

D– Don’t settle! Ever!! God has something better for your marriage and more for your life. When u better yourself, spears around you reap those benefits WOW!! Amazing! Can you imagine, by fixing myself and constantly drawing that circle around myself, focusing on what I need to change, changes my relationships with my wife, my children, and my friends. My whole life! That can be you! Reach for progression not perfection- perfection is unattainable- again strive for progression and that will take yourself + marriage out of the rut.

Women – Extend grace, hurt is natural, the feelings will always need time to heal, like everything else, but to extend grace to your husband will fill them with love and comfort, and show them you are their partner not their enemy. They will want to come to you even when they know they bear bad news. It’s okay to have those feelings and emotions I’m not here to tell you not to feel. But now you have the chance to respond to those previous actions and emotions in a loving way and in a helpful way. Therefore, use HELP to allow you to be that helpful companion vs an argumentative and cold partner. When your husband needs you especially when he’s at his weakest because he’s struggling with something, this can help you help him.

H- Hang onto God. Woman we must accept that perfection is unattainable so we need to strive for progression not perfection. We also need to keep in mind that progress doesn’t mean that conflict doesn’t exist. It’s the time of the fight and argument that changes when you have the tools to work through them. Things get better and fights become fair. So trust in God, hang onto him, and let him lead you in your marriage.

E– Enlist others. The same for Men applies to woman.

L– love with grace + Truth. In everything you do love with grace and truth. It also important to set yourself up with friends and the community who are like this too. Yes the friends who you can call upon immediately to vent to, the runs that always talk you down and are on your side is great. But they speak with emotions first. So when your telling them all your problems of course they’re going to take your side. In the hard times you need someone who is willing to tell you the truth that you need to hear. The truth that will align you back to where u want to be. You need to have friends that align with your beliefs it’s crucial!

P– Promote Christ in Him calling out goodness!! Tell him he’s worthy, praise him for his actions. Build him up. It sucks to say, but your husbands are like children, if you’re not there to build them up, then they will seek it other places. I hope these two acronyms will help you if you’re currently trying to overcome battles in your own marriage. Marriage is hard, living with someone else’s mood swings, life stages, and their challenges is a lot of work. But I believe that God sends you your spouse for a reason. You’re meant for one another. He wants your marriage to be full of great things. If you’re not struggling with major issues and you just need help getting through your marriage day to day these will help you too. These will help you to focus on what matters through all the crazy chaos in life- that’s your spouse. They are not the enemy. They are mostly good, so give your marriage the effort it deserves. Put in the work. I hope this motivates you to atleast try to take steps to build up your marriage. I also hope you learn a lot about yourself so you won’t put the whole burden of making your marriage work on your spouse. If you need prayers or help with any of this or want more info on Re|Engage feel free to reach me.

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

Re|Engage

Reconnect with your Spouse

Going to Re|Engage has been an amazing experience for Josh and I. We are half way through the program and I already see the difference in our lives. We look towards one another versus looking for outward help. We seek God together, pray more, and it has even changed the way we argue. No, it won’t stop all arguments, we are human after all, but it has helped get us to the resolution faster, and with an end that is actually progressive.

In Re|Engage we discuss how to focus on ourselves vs. our spouse. We of course want to fix our spouse that’s why we are there. We all enter that room with the same thoughts, “They are the reason for…” or “They did this to me…” or “if only they….” But in reality to love your spouse we have to focus on ourselves and learn how to love like God because unfortunately our spouses will disappoint us, will hurt us, and will occasionally let us down. They’re human, we are too. So we too will do the same. We have to understand in the end we are all broken, marrying someone else who is broken. No one is perfect.

During our first week as we were listening to other people’s testimony they mentioned they had a friend who was married 5 times. During his divorce for his 5th marriage he made the comment, “If I would have known, that the last marriage would have been like the first one, I would have stayed with the first.” In other words, we are all broken married to broken people, trying to figure out how to make our marriage work.  Now if you understand that you yourself are broken, and so is your spouse and you want to love them anyway, be there for them despite their problems, even though your still filled with hurt, and pain. Read How to have a successful marriage when times get tough. It helps us to be better partners despite all our brokenness.

Once we come to this realization that we are all broken then we can then focus on the how. How do I love a broken person? How do I love a broken person with addictions, lies, problems, secrets, and hurts?  I’m sorry but, NO, there’s no fast answer, if you are in a spot where you are facing divorce then I say seek counsel, go to your church, join a small group for married couples. Or perhaps join Re|Engage.

There’s also no way I can share all what I’ve learned so far, it’s something you should go through with your spouse and let God make moves in yalls lives. However, I wanted to share some simple ways to help you and your spouse take steps to making your marriage what God wants for yalls marriage- For it to be great!

The best way to move forward is to start pursuing your spouse. You want to get closer? Then get to know them. We think we know one another but guys, people change, people have new interest you know this by the gifts you buy for them, each year it’s different right? Well you may ask Ashly, I don’t need to do this, I’ve been married for 15 years. Then my question is, do you sit at home, on your phone at night, in bed? Do you watch TV while your eat dinner? Are you making time to talk to one another? Know eachother? The same way you research things on your phone is the same way you should pursue your spouse. Unfortunately, yes it is harder than looking up www dot. Are you willing to follow your vows and do the hard work?

The second thing, is to pursue Christ– run from sin and straight into Christ’s arms. Stop carrying around the weight of your past, your sins, or the hurt of others, you need to know today you are free from all of that!!

You’re free because he died for you.

Isn’t that beautiful?! Amazing?! Can you believe it, we are loved beyond measure. I think once we accept that whole heartedly, and actually believe you are loved, love begins to grow. For yourself, for your spouse, for your life. When I have put my life in God’s hands, I have more good days then bad. My days aren’t full of judgement, hate, and anger. Marriage is hard, so I hope that you find time to do these 2 Easy Steps to ReEngage with your Spouse.

 

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

Parent-Child Dedication | Hill Country Bible Church

Dedicating Our Lives to Disciple Our Children

On Mother’s Day we all stood up before the church and dedicated our lives to leading our children down a path that speaks the truth. It was a great experience and a wonderful gift to me I must say. This was the first time as a married family that we stood together side by side dedicating our lives outwardly in a faith based way to symbolize the effort, the hope, and the desire to steward their lives towards this reality! For our lives as well.

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This outward expression was so important to me for so many different levels. The significance however was tremendous for me because recently Joshua and I have turned to God  whole-heartedly to help lead us through this difficult chapter in our lives. We know how important it is to seek his guidance first, even above our own. We’ve established our foundation on God because we knew without him we would not be able to go through this feat alone. I tried that, and it sent us down a path were we talked, and even considered separating. We discussed getting a divorce the week after our miscarriage. We clung to one another the week before, during all the sickness I needed him. The week of I only wanted to be near him, to guide and lead me through the dark days. Then it was like a tornado of emotions just hit me all at once the week following. It was horrible, I was spiraling out of control full of sadness, anger, guilt, and remorse. Life was just breaking me down. Instead of reaching to one another for moral support I was looking inward and only saw and felt anger and lashed it out accordingly to who I thought deserved it. My husband was my punching bag, and I started to open up all the problems and warning signs from years ago, and made up accusations from the past. It was not fun. I started leaving the house once a week, to “get away”. I wanted to be far away from the person that was trying to be there for me. He didn’t understand why I was acting out the way I was, he didn’t know how to stop it, he didn’t have all the right things to say, so he didn’t say anything. The only thing that saved us at the time was our wedding vows.

One day I went on a coffee break and spent 30 mins watching my wedding video thinking, is this it? Our marriage ends before we even make it to an official two months. I then listened to myself speak our vows…on repeat. I flooded my brain with words of truth over and over and over again. These are the words I heard:

I Ashly, Take you Joshua to be my husband. To have to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, In sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, to love and cherish,  to be faithful to you alone, as long as we both shall live.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is what our whole ceremony was based around and it speaks of a way to love one another without end. I told myself that night, I will not fail God, I will not fail myself, I will not give up on Josh. I told Josh that night how salvation came throug our vows. That I didnt think he deserved my love, that he didn’t do anything to change my mind, but purely based off the gift of love that I know I don’t deserve given to me everyday despite my mistakes, sins, and wrongdoings. That’s the love I always said I’m going to give long before I met Josh and that’s the love I vowed to give when I married Josh. I said we needed more truth in our lives and that’s when I saw my husband show me his commitment to our marriage.

We’ve started attending Re|Engage weekly, and have successfully attended 8 weeks of it. We have picked up an amazing toolbox for our marriage by going through the process. I’m so thankful for this community we have joined in. We needed them, we needed the influx of wisdom, and the words of truth spoken to us through our marriage. If you need more of this read about our Re|Engage experience and if you need prayers for your marriage please feel free to pm and I will add them to my prayer list.

The words of truth have saved me so many times in my life. So many times when I found myself going down the wrong path, even in those times I pushed God away and he said I don’t think so, “I’m not done with you yet” and drug me out of the darkness by my feet.

Williams Family Parent/Child Dedication

I want my children to relish in his words of truth in all their future days. That is why I wanted to go through the parent/child dedication in the first place. To know that we are dedicated to give them these tools to allow God to work in their lives. For the dedication you could choose a verse for your family. We chose:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

– 3 John 1:4

I hope more than anything that they find peace in his words when times are hard. Comfort in knowing they are loved, and salvation knowing he sent his son so we could be saved. All I dream and hope for my children is that they walk in the truth. I fear the day I die for one reason only. That I die too early- too early to know for sure my children rely on God above all else. I hope in that time they are old enough to reach for the Bible in times in need versus friends that speak ill hearted, figures that speak selfishly, or family that directs them wrongfully.

Yesterday I watched a video about kids showing hatred and racism at a playground against a little boy who had to be about 5 or 6. My heart weakened knowing this is the generation my kids will live with. It’s not just one way either, I watched kids that are 10 and 11 making videos of them bullying and beating up white kids because they live in the same projects as they do.

My first instinct of course is to blame their surroundings, their parents, their community for showing them this is okay. I know the world is harsh full of broken people, full of sinners, hate and built up anger. It’s always been full of that, but now it’s full of it with a button that enhances it, spreads it, and fuels it. The hatred Timmy has in virginia is shared via internet by some sort of media, and Alex in Utah sees it, and agrees with it and displays the same anger. We have to be conscious of what our children see. Yes that means everything! We have to ensure that our children are not corrupted by the wrong things. We have to step up our parenting game. I spoke of this on Mother’s Day about raising up motherhood. It’s important. I know everywhere we hear good job, especially on Mother’s Day. We are told you’re good enough. You a great mom, look at all the things you’ve done. I’m sorry but it’s not, raising your child isn’t good enough, we NEED to lead and guide them.

I also heard on Mother’s Day moms in the restaurant I was in that day, at the store, and of course all over online, say to their kids, “this is MY day.” I’m not joking in the bathroom at pluckers where I was eating a mom said to her son when all he was trying to do was talk to her, she wanted to wash her hands in peace apparently, “Can u please just be quite today, stop just for one day, this is my day!”

I was enraged! I would have made a comment about being thankful if I was next to her but I was in the stall, and of course I’m not going to yell across five stalls so this woman can hear my opinion. That wouldn’t have gone great lol. Atleast not even close to the hopeful way I would have intended it to be. Lol can u imagine that taking place lol.

I have sat and brewed on this sentence for three weeks now though, still getting upset by the words. If you have said this in some form or fashion I want to simply remind you, the only reason you have that day is because of them. They are supposed to be what you cherish on Mother’s Day. That’s what’s wrong with the holiday, is it’s so twisted. People think it’s a day for them! You have your birthday for that. Yes, it’s a day of recognition of your efforts to raise well rounded people, but if you’re selfish and talk to your children on that day like that, then no wonder our younger generations are growing up the way they are. It’s all about me me me me me. It needs to change!

Moms, dads parents, please I beg you change your perspective of parenting. Do more than just okay with our kids. They need so much poured into them now. We can’t just get away with bare minimum of hopes everything will end up okay. What was okay with us, is not okay with them. Especially now that they get so much information from all the different outlets and sources at their fingertips alone, nvm their friends, their schools, or their community. We have to work harder to try and combat all this… this N E G A T I V I T Y filling our world.

I know this is hard stuff to swallow sometimes as a parent. We all knew it was hard but we thought of my parents did it and with what they had then we can to. But our parents didn’t have to worry about all we have to. We must attack this new generation X with a different light. For I’m scared if we don’t, what my children will have to fight for growing up is 100 x more than what I had to deal with at the age of 20.

So what do we do? Well I can only leave you with one word- Commitment. Commit yourself to your children in a way that leads them. Dedicate your whole self to them, not your tired, just got off work self. Not I just need a minute, not the mom who just wants her day. Because after all before u know it you’ll have all the days you need once they run off to other people who give them that time they long for. Dedicate your lives to raising well balanced people for our world so desperately needs it. Don’t just raise them, lead them, L E A D by example. Hopefully with your efforts and theirs we can all change this back around.

If you want notes, tips, and direction that we received from our parent child dedication class check out 5 ways to Lead your Children. I hope that it will inspire you to want to lead your children down a path of truth. Even if you don’t believe in God, these tools can help you to atleast ensure that you are placing your children in the right community to make sure they grow up filled with love, kindness, and courage.

Most importantly remember to embrace your role as a parent. God has called upon you to help lead and guide them. Here’s the verse the church gave us to help guide us to impress our children with the good news, to pass on love and knowledge of God because he so desperately wants them close to him.

 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

-Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I hope this verse helps keep you motivated even in the hard days. You don’t need to stand up above a whole church, but you do need community and a team so ask your family to help keep you guided and accountable. Ask your community what they are about and if they have the same morals and beliefs, lead our future generation to kindness and love so they too have a chance to love and serve for the better good.

I Did Not Lose My Son, He Died.

Having a Miscarriage at 16 Weeks

Yesterday was one month since our sweet Atticus Jaxon passed. The beginning of the year of course had started out like most, well kind of. I was actually very sick with the flu. Yet, I had scheduled post to publish, pics to share, and ideas a brewing about starting out the year with the right mindset, I had wedding anniversary post scheduled to write about all the little details of our wedding. Especially since the pictures and videos came in finally which I had been waiting for what seemed like forever. Instead life threw a curve ball. A huge one- that sent me down a path I never even could have imagined.

I sort of walked around telling myself I did my dues in this life already, and that I have been down my paths of torment and struggles. I literally thought what else would God need from me. I am no one of that much importance or someone who has made that much of an impact. I didn’t think God would want me to speak about all my grief and sorrows all over again. Especially after having three healthy kids in a row with just a simple glance being made in my direction. Seriously, no effort was needed, yet I know people today who struggle to still have their first baby. I never could imagine that I would become a part of this whole other community.

I have known and witnessed many people who have had miscarriages before and I remember thinking how sad, I can’t even imagine, but I will admit, because I lost my first son at 8 and half months I thought losing a child once they were in your arms and time spent with them was worse. How wrong I was.

At 16 weeks pregnant my water broke and I spent three horrible days of traumatic events that we will never be able to forget. I will spare all those details for they have passed. However what still lingers, is the obvious – dealing with all the emotions, sadness, confusion, fear, and grief. I guess I could just simply say, healing is what is left. There are all the same feelings; anger, pain, feeling that life stole something that was supposed to be yours, pity, shame, doubt, and depression. All the feelings that you feel when your child passes no matter how old they are, are all there.

We didn’t get to know Atticus, we will never know the sounds he would have made, the smile he would give, or the smirk if he was anything like his father. The temper he may or may not have gotten, or if he would have been a genius like both his parents. However we know what it was like to hold him…for one night, for as long as we wanted, before we never could hug, coddle, and kiss on him again. We rocked with him out of habit, knowing it wasn’t doing anything but we just wanted to share some moments with him before he was no longer with us. We stared at him wondering what color his eyes were and were fascinated how he looked so much like his siblings. He was a cutie! Although we never shared “life” with him, we will always ache and mourn over his death. I honestly almost feel as if miscarriages are worse only because you never felt their warm breath, literally every little moment that should have been yall’s to share, has become an unknown moment for you. Our lives will always be wrapped up in the unknown somehow, someway.

People say I’m sorry for your loss, but it’s not a loss. I didn’t lose my baby. He died. In my womb! We didn’t walk away without looking at him never knowing anything, I didn’t wake up with him just miraculously gone. I delivered my still born child and we spent time with an angel. There is no “loss”. What we lost was the time that we could have spent with him. That my friends, will never be able to be recovered from.

I always wonder what my first born, Valek would be up to now if he was still with us, he would be in 3rd or 4th grade hopefully doing what every little boy should be doing. Would he still need wires, or would he have a life without them? Would he have recovered from his traumatic injuries and we all could have witnessed a miracle or would he be a vegetable like they predicted? There will always be unknowns with him, I remember when his fifth birthday came and thinking about how he would be learning to tie his shoes and ride bikes. I know 100% all the same thoughts and unknowns will be there with Atticus as well. However, I knew Valek’s sounds, and sweet smiles, and witnessed his bravery. I knew who he was, and he knew me!!! Miscarriage is so hard because every moment is something you never had with your child.

At Atticus’ burial we met our minister, we talked and prayed before we went out and buried him as a family. In that moment God showed up to do his good works. The minister began to share his story with us; just two months earlier his oldest daughter had a miscarriage at 21 weeks. I thought he simply started out sharing because he wanted us to know we weren’t alone but then he continued to tell us about how he called her that morning and checked up on her to see how she was. Her response, “Dad, I lost my baby, he’s as real as you and I. I need to stop thinking I’m supposed to get over it easier than I would anyone else I knew but the reality of it is, my baby is gone. So now, I have to learn to live with that reality.”

For her and I it was a reality moment, I shared with him about my previous son passing away, and that for the past two and half weeks I’ve had every same thought and pain as I did with Valek’s passing. Nothing was different. It did not matter how long you held your angel, or how long you knew them, the cut still was just as deep as before. In that moment we all found comfort in the midst of pain. That minister stayed with our family all the way until we left the site and even helped us bury our son. God had his hands on all of us that day.

And Our son was buried by our own hands by his own family, that day.

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I feel compelled to explain- Joshua has always buried his loved ones and he has taught us all the importance of spending the time to do that. The respect and honor it gives to the deceased is beautiful to me. At first I was taken back by it, but to see the sweat and hard work it takes to cover a grave breaks my heart in a way I never knew it could. Yet, at the same time watching my husband and kids cover our son, was admirable. To see the minister stay, to pray with us in the end, and to remind us of Gods promise, made the worst day ever into quite a beautiful service.

IMG_2630The one constant thing that has hit me after this is the reality that not only am I reminded that nothing is for certain, and I am owed nothing, but all of this brings me down to my knees where I belong, and back to my center. That I am less than God therefore I need him. No matter what, all the time!

Another thing God has shown me, is no ones story means more than others. Shame me for thinking differently. Honestly! Who was I to think so wrongfully. I’m sorry for that, to all I didn’t comfort in those times because I was too prideful thinking your pain didn’t compare to mine. I think people like me, don’t know how to face miscarriages because of the mere fact it was someone you didn’t spend life with. I’m here to tell you, It does not matter! I knew you experienced loss, pain, and sorrow, I just measured my first sons death as if it was more because of his life he lived. Again, it does not matter! I have learned for it’s not the life you live, it’s the impact of your life you’ve lived that matters! I saw Valek bless so many people with his life. One month ago, I experienced a little boy, who never took a breath, change people in the hospital, I saw him impact everyone at the burial service, and I have experienced change because of him, for in his death he already left a legacy behind for the goodness of God!

I can only pray in my death I can accomplish the same as both my boys in heaven did.

Lastly, I may be the only person to say this who’s experienced “baby loss” as they call it. But I highly recommend we stop using that term. I know it cushions the blow, but I feel as if it’s too soft, as if it’s easily to turn away from, to not face it with that term. So as far as I go, please stop saying you’re sorry for me losing my baby, he’s not lost…time was lost….he on the other hand is in heaven.

 

A Mother’s Blessing, a Man’s Miracle

I don’t talk much about my journey or for the fact of matter, our journey’s. When you experience loss, it’s something you rarely want to discuss. However, Joshua and I didn’t just experience losses, we experienced tragedies.

Seven years ago I lost my first born due to nurse’s not listening to me while my son was recovering from a surgery that was supposed to give him a higher chance of survival. He was severely dehydrated and needed a blood transfusion asap and it sent him into cardiac arrest, for 45 minutes, while I sat there and watched my son fight for his life. That put him on life support for three weeks where we believed he was going to make it and was making plans to go to Pittsburg for more medical support. Only to find out he had extensive brain damage with three huge brain hemorrhages that shifted his brain. With much medical advice and opinions, it was damage that meant my son had low chances of ever having a normal life. Pittsburgh got cancelled because they wouldn’t give a baby in his condition a new liver or kidneys knowing he most likely didn’t have a chance to live a “valuable” life. So I had to make a decision. To push through it all and find out if he would be normal only to watch him slowly die due to his bad liver and kidney, or to pull his support then.

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Getting last cuddles in after we took Valek off life support

How did he end up there? He was born with a birth defect called gastroschesis, a term that means your intestines are on the outside of your body when your born. My son at just one week endured three surgeries, a total of 7 major surgeries and several mini procedures, and he passed away at just 8 months. We lived in the NICU the first three and a half months of his life. Not ever knowing what was outside of a hallway, a tree or even what grass was. Not knowing the feeling of fresh air, Sun rays, or what dirt was. My son lived a tough life but you would have never known it because he had a very beautiful spirit and a great smile. Sick kids always seem to have that gift don’t they?!

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Valek right before his last surgery. ALL SMILES!

Joshua had a tough upbringing and didn’t see a flash of light until he met his first wife. They spent seven beautiful years together where she showered him with love, compassion, and gave him meaning and purpose to his life. She was tragically ripped away from him one ordinary morning, spent like every other day, when a young girl ran a red light and had a head on collision with his wife just one light away from the where they worked. It killed her on impact. Just imagine you are blindly in love, and you have so much love being poured on you and you’re pouring all of that same kind of love back onto them and then, BAM! You not only stop receiving it, but you also no longer have anyone to shower.

Nothing can, nor nothing will ever take away the pain, anger, or holes we have from our tragedies. People tend to think you can get over things, but you don’t ever get over losses, no one does. You only learn to live with it. You learn to manage, you learn all over again who you are going to be with half of you gone. Time does indeed heal you only because in time you heal yourself. It’s a constant battle, it’s not an easy one, it’s a struggle of your life.

God has a funny way however of making miracles happen, even to the most unfortunate, and undeserving. Our past had sent me to being a single mother at 23, struggling to be on my own, working in nightclubs downtown and him moving to Austin to run away from the pain and drink his sorrows away. We weren’t proud of who we were. How could we be? We were still very angry with the world. I questioned God everyday and for Josh, he had no desire to make it to his forties. The thing that people don’t realize, is when you have significant losses like this, meaningful people taken from you, life and people lose all flavor and all your patience. When I say meaningful, I’m not talking about a mother, a father, or grandparent. Now, let me say, yes those are hard, they ache the heart body and soul. Statistically speaking though, losing your spouse is the highest ranking life changing event that sends you to depression. When you take stress test they ask you questions and then they rank them by points, losing your spouse is the highest amount of points. A child is right below. Losing your parent or a grandparent allows you to keep doing the same daily things in your personal life, losing your wife or a child alters your daily events immediately. You are hit with a harsh reality very fast. Your purpose…no longer exists. You wake up in the morning and go to bed constantly being reminded your alone.

Our lives changed when we met one another. We saw something amazing the first night we met, we talked for hours about our losses and we knew we understood each other. For the first time, we met someone who thought like ourselves. This world around us was meaningless, yet somehow with each other we had meaning. Then we discussed further and found out we had experienced some same things in our upbringing. To top it all off I fell in love with Josh that night because I asked him if he had children, his answer,  was, “Nope, no trophies.”

My heart just skipped a beat.

Did he just call kids trophies, and he never even had one!?!?!

My soulmate had been found! Within four months he met my son, and fell in love with him. He treated him like his little friend from the moment he saw him. Their friendship blossomed into something I thoroughly enjoyed watching. Ayden learned to trust Josh, rely on him, and love him. It was truly beautiful, even if that meant he picked him occasionally over me for rides, cuddles and bedtime stories.

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Ayden and Josh on his Second Birthday

In the four years we have been together we have had two more trophies added to our trophy shelf and we currently have one in the making. We got married on 11-11 of this year and enjoyed a happily ever after themed wedding.

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We had Mickey and Minnie and gang come from Anamaria’s mascots for a visit  on our special day! It was amazing for all guests and was so special for our little trophies

It seems like the perfect ending to a horrible story, well two horrible stories, but honestly it took work. It took both of us a many of days of reminding ourselves to count our blessings, to remind us that we aren’t just lucky, but that what we have are little lessons living around us everyday. The main lesson I think we both can agree on, is that it’s natural to want to shut everything and everyone out after you lose your world. We both pushed God away at times, and both had moments of giving up. It sounds cliche but you really never know what God has in store for you when you finally push through and finally fight through the darkness. For me, I honestly felt like I had God pulling me out of the darkness. My image I have always had is me laying face down on the ground and God literally dragging me by my arm, telling me I’m not done with you yet.

When I was at my lowest, I went to go see my pastor, I needed help. This was at a time I got tired of everyone telling me how I should be feeling and what I should be doing. He was different. He looked at me and said I have one question for you, “Are you still hurting?” I laughed sarcastically, how could he ask such a question?! Of course I am! Angrily I answered, “Yes!” His response is one I hold dear to this day, “Then hurt, let it hurt, I know you feel like you’re in mud and you can’t move. Stay stuck in the mud. Feel sad, trudge through all that pain and let it weigh you down. Remember every feeling of it. Just know though, you can’t always stay there. At some point you eventually have to get out of the mud.”

I told Josh that same thing in our second month of dating when he didn’t answer my phone calls for two days. He finally called me and explained it was rough for him. He couldn’t stop thinking of his wife and knew we were growing together fast in our relationship and he didn’t know how to handle it. The response I gave was one he wasn’t expecting, but it was one he needed to hear. It was a moment that we built our friendship upon. Again, our relationship was one that was not always easy, healing is hard! We just want you to know don’t give up!

Don’t ever give up!

Life is hard, it sucks! Royally! You never know though when it’s time to step out of the mud and watch miracles happen in your life. You never know when God is wanting you to step up and speak your story.

“And we know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

That verse was read coincidently twice at my sons funeral, I knew it meant something then. Five years later I found a sign while Josh and I were house decorating and I knew it was perfect for our home. It’s perfect now for this blog. Good faithful servants, times may suck now, but even in the darkest of stories when you are at the rock bottom, God has not forgotten you, nor forsaken you, he has plans for you. Don’t give up! You never know, you may end up with a story like ours, one we both never expected for ourselves, one full of many, many, many, little blessings…and lots of trophies!

Push on and believe in miracles.- The Williams family