Saturday, January 27, 2018

Enough for 2018

I have been struggling to write my annual post describing my word for the year for well over a month.  The word revealed itself quite early in the process; it has been the sorting out of what the word means to me or holds for the upcoming months that has been challenging.  For the first time, my word for the year has both a personal and broader intention.

In a personal sense, my word describes my intention to do more work around self-acceptance, positive affirmation and silencing my inner critic.  We are daily bombarded with messages that tell us we are not slim enough, smart enough, rich enough, talented enough. . . the list goes on and on and on.  Embracing a sense of not enoughness breeds shame and fosters all sorts of maladaptive behaviors in a futile attempt to be OK in our own skin.

According to my friend Merriam-Webster, when used as an adverb the word "enough" refers to something that occurs "in such quantity, quality or scope as to fully meet demands, needs or expectations."  I am enough; you are enough.  We are human beings created in the image and likeness of God; that makes us fully enough.

I am in a post-major birthday funk that is common during life transitions. My husband says that I
have reached an age that is considered to be the "youth of old age."  I typically do a lot of self-reflection and analysis when I make a major transition and my word for the year will be a compass to guide and correct me through the process.  The measure of my success in life is not in how much I have accumulated, the adulation of a world or in my achievements.  The true measure of success in life is how well I have loved, including myself.  This next season will bring additional losses and challenges but it seems that settling the issue of my intrinsic value and "enoughness" will give me the strength and stamina to face those losses with grace and serenity.

The broader implications of my 2018 word came this week while watching the incredibly brave women who confronted their abuser in a court of law.  It seems that every institution in our society is being forced to deal with the consequences of decades of systemic discrimination and sexual harassment and assault of women. No segment of our society has been exempt--from Hollywood to the local church, sports and news organizations and political figures.  The #MeToo campaign gave thousands of women an opportunity to finally acknowledge publicly what has been tolerated in secret.

"Enough" when used as a determiner and pronoun expresses an "impatient desire for the cessation of undesirable behavior or speech. . . [and] indicates that one is unwilling to tolerate any more."  Until we say "ENOUGH" to a culture of objectification and marginalization of women and children, we will never be able to prevent monsters like Larry Nassar from sexually molesting little girls in their mother's presence.  ENOUGH!  The laws we have passed and the protections we have put in place will never be enough until the societal and often religiously sanctioned discrimination is stopped.

It occurs to me that both the personal and broader implications of my word are intertwined.  Advocacy must begin with me.  I must embrace my intrinsic value and enoughness in order to stand and fight against the systems that are designed to keep me in an inferior or marginalized position.  If I am to fight for others, I must first fight for myself.  I must do the internal work so that I can fully engage in the external battle.  I am enough; you are enough and together we are enough to challenge and change a culture that insists we are not.  Enough and ENOUGH!


  1. Love this. Heartily agree. Looking forward to reading future posts. Be blessed today!

  2. I have been an avid follower of your blog this past year. Your writings have inspired me to move on with my life despite the emotional and mental abuse heaped on me by my husband. I understand you have gone through tremendous trauma in your own life and have found healing. That is the awesome part that you have found redemption and that is always hope when you believe in God.

    My husband never honored his marriage vows and he tried to destroy me with his verbal onslaught. He has had affairs. He lied about his relationships with other women and his porn use. I now know that my marriage cannot be saved.My husband has shown no signs of remorse and to improve the marriage. For him repentance meant saying sorry and continuing to live with me but not working at the marriage.

    I put off divorce for later due to my children. We are still living together. I have met someone who seems like a nice guy. I don't want to live with my husband as he is a user and I am actually fearful of him, although he has never hit me. It is years of brainwashing to make me feel like I am ugly and unlikable. I am not sure whether I should move on as I have read quite a number of testimonies from women that they married abusive men the second time around.

    Maybe my underlying problem is that I don't trust God. Like would he protect me this time around when he let me marry my husband and suffer all these years.

    Please continue to write as it will give encouragement to many.


    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I am so sorry for the pain and betrayal you have endured and I understand that trust is particularly challenging. "Where was God?" is a haunting question for those of us who have experienced very painful life situations. I was a virgin when I married my ex and fully believed this was God's husband for me. I don't believe that God ordained my marriage because that would be cruel, right? But I believe he gave me the freedom to choose. Because we all have that freedom to choose, we suffer the consequences of the wrong choices others make. We constantly bump into the consequences of poor choices others make. That is life in a fallen world.

      I would have deeply resented God had he prevented me from marrying a pedophile because I did not see fully at the time. I would have resented not being able to choose my own destiny. It is a double-edged sword, isn't it?

      So life post-betrayal presents two challenges with regards to trust: trusting that God is trustworthy and trusting our own choices. I'm happily married now but the quest to find a new husband was messy and not something I am particularly proud of. I made mistakes, got involved with wrong men and compromised my integrity a few times. But, and that is a strong but, my gut was a very good guide. You see, I had learned to reconnect to my gut--my second brain--because of the trauma and betrayal. Months of therapy and recovery work enabled me to begin to listen to what my gut was telling me. I walked away from a relationship that had great potential because in my gut I knew the guy was an addict, just not sure what his substance was.

      If your marriage is over and you want to move on, by all means be true to yourself. Be careful about moving too quickly into another relationship--it is so tempting because you have been so rejected and hurt. Be careful. Find a therapist, go to S-Anon, reconnect with yourself first before you try to connect with another.

      You deserve to be happy and to be cherished for the magnificent woman that you are!


  3. I read your comments in response to anonymous and I felt that you were also talking to me. Bout 3 years ago, I discovered my husband of 2 decades had been having an affair with a woman half his age. Initially I wanted to save the marriage and I asked him if we could work at it. His response "I suppose we can work at it but we have to try very hard".

    H did not want to see our pastor and rejected counseling from independent pastors (from other churches). He liked looking at porn a lot and when I confronted him, I was accused instead that if I had been good enough, he would not have the need to indulge. He wanted to stay on in the marriage but until now I do not see any evidence of repentance. He continues to neglect me, goes out often in the pretext of shopping for groceries, sending our son to school, sports etc refuses to hold my hand. I have prayed so hard for God to make my husband leave but I am begining to think he never will. I made a big mistake in my early years of the marriage. We moved to another state away from family and he could not find a job. He has not considered smaller paying jobs. I allowed him to take over control of the family finances as I was busy working. I did not know what he was like then. Now if I were to take over control of the money, I am afraid of his reaction.
    I am not sure if God expects me to divorce him. I am still confused. My son has said that he would want my husband to stay on. I feel trapped and in so much despair sometimes when I think I may be living with him until the end. I am exactly 55 years today. My friend told me sometime ago that if I am reluctant to divorce, then God will let me stay on in this marriage and suffer the consequences.
    In your experience of having suffered abuse and deception from your ex husband, does God provide only one way of escape ie divorce. What about those who choose to stay on. Are they condemned forever.


  4. Dear Tania,

    I am so sorry that you are living this nightmare but let me get this straight--you are supporting the family and your husband is playing around with other women, refusing to change and putting the responsibility for change on you. Do you see his blame-shifting when he says he looks at porn because you don't try enough? I was struck by his comment that "we would have to work very hard." It seems that he was really saying that you would have to work very hard since he is not willing to do anything to help the relationship.

    I do not believe that God "expects" you to do anything. I believe that He loves you with an everlasting and unconditional love and only wants what is best for you. You have the choice--will divorce be hard? Harder than you can imagine. Will staying with him be hard? Absolutely--it is grueling and devastating. The choice is yours; God's love remains the same regardless of what you choose. If you choose to stay on and suffer the consequences, He will be there with you suffering right alongside you. If you choose to leave, He will walk with you through that as well.

    Here is something to think about, however. What lasting lesson do you want to teach your son about how men and women should interact, about what marriage should be? He is watching you and your husband and will pattern his future relationships after yours. Is this what you want him to repeat?