Diane's Everyday3

Faith, hope, depression, Jesus, Love, grateful, Family, hope, appreciation

One Stepmom’s Story February 4, 2017

Filed under: Appreciation,Christianity,Divorce,Faith,family — Diane Turk Rogers @ 5:31 am
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Nov. 30, 1986 changed the course of my life. Thirty years later I can honestly say I believe I am right where God planned for me to be., then and now. That fall night is when I met Larry. We talked about many things… his job in real estate, my job as concierge at Marriott Hotel, our parents and siblings, him being divorced, the usual stuff. None of those subjects caused Larry’s pretty blue eyes to light up. We were simply making nervous “getting to know each other conversation. Then I asked, “So, do you have any kids?” He smiled so big and he proudly said, “Yes, I do”… He told me all about Ryan, 9 and Jennifer, 7. His reaction warmed my heart. The rest of the night we danced and talked for hours.

As a young girl, I always dreamed of being a mother. I imagined myself having a son first then two years later a daughter. Coincidence you say, I think not. Little did we know, God’s plan was being set in motion the night Larry crashed the employee event at the La Jolla Marriott Hotel.

It was obvious Larry’s devotion to his children was his number one priority, as they should be. He fought hard to be in their lives. He shared legal and physical custody with Ryan and Jennifer’s mom, Lisa. Sadly, the divorce was not amicable which made things hard on everyone involved. Especially Ry and Jen.

I moved in with Larry just a few short weeks after meeting him. Not the ideal role model for them, as we were not married yet. We had fun… Baking cupcakes, doing homework, and shopping for school clothes, celebrating birthdays, etc. We did the typical things families with young kids do. Each week, when it was time for us to take them back to their Mom’s, you could feel the tension. There were no friendly greetings, no exchange of pleasantries, “how were things?” “Anything I should know about school?” They simply got out of the car, hugged and kissed us goodbye, and that was it. This was the norm week after week for many years.

Because our days off from were during the week, we had the kids on school days. Larry wasn’t just a “weekend Dad.” It wasn’t long before a comfortable routine took shape. The kids had chores and made a regular allowance. Ryan mowed the lawn and helped with other yard work. Jennifer cleaned up our dog Keri’s poop (ewww) and bathed her regularly. We did major homework assignments and projects with them as well as attended conferences, field trips and other school events. We swapped Christmas Day with Lisa. She had them Thanksgiving and Easter. We had them Halloween and 4th of July. We were truly a family.

Anyone who knows Larry knows he absolutely loves taking pictures. I kid you not; we have an entire wall in our garage filled floor to ceiling with boxes of pictures. We always had tons of photo albums and collage frames throughout the house to recall sweet memories at any time. Field trips with their classes, trips to the Del Mar Fair, sleepovers with friends, San Diego Zoo days, Mexico vacations and camping trips… The list goes on and on. All have been captured forever in pictures and lots of videos too.

Every now and then someone would ask me if Larry and I were going to have children together. I broached the issue with Larry a few times and he always said he would not have any more children. Jennifer used to tell me she wanted a little sister. I don’t remember how I would respond. But I was actually fine with the idea of not giving birth to children and being their stepmom. To this day, I’m still alright with not giving birth and being their stepmom. People still ask me if I regret not having kids of my own (that’s how they put it) and I tell them I do have kids of my own. I just share them with their mom. I can’t speak for other stepparents, but for me, I can’t imagine loving a child more than I love Ryan and Jennifer. They gave me their hearts. I gave them mine. We figured out how to make our family work. Were Larry and I perfect parents? Nope. Were there bumps along the way? Oh yes. I would not change a single thing about the last three decades with Larry, Ryan and Jennifer. Everything we went through makes us the family we are today. And I love our family more than I can explain.

I’ve even had someone hint about being a “stepmom” is just not the same as being a “real mom.” Who are they to say? How do they know my heart? They can’t feel what I feel. Nor can I feel what they feel. No one can experience things exactly like someone else does. We can have similar life circumstances but each of us is an individual who brings our own reactions, emotions and baggage as we experience this thing called life.

What I do know is; I still haven’t had any regrets about my stepmotherhood. Being a wife to Larry and stepmom to Ryan and Jennifer have been the most important roles in my life. Recently Jennifer told me she appreciated me coming into their Dad’s life when I did. She said their lives became more stable after I arrived. You see, after Larry’s divorce from Lisa, he moved around quite a bit. He even had a stint living in his RV. All the while having joint custody of the kids. Once I was there, we created routine and stability for Ryan and Jennifer. Don’t get me wrong. They were secure in their father’s love for them and the fact that he provided for them. But moving around, not having a permanent “home” or a bedroom to call their own while with Dad surely caused some insecurity in their little hearts and minds. Until Jennifer said what she did about being thankful I came into their lives, I wasn’t sure she and Ryan thought much about what influence I have had on their lives.

There you have it, one stepmom’s story. The lives and circumstances of families effected by divorce and remarriages varies widely. Each person bringing his or her “baggage” into the equation adds layer upon layer of confusion for everyone, especially the innocent children.

 

The Renewing of my Soul September 6, 2014

My soul is in a state of renewing. Constant reminders to train my eyes on Jesus. He is with me at all times yet I neglect to confer with him when I make decisions. How do I train my human mind to stop, think, consider all consequences and simply “rest” before jumping the gun and doing ANYTHING? It could be something simple like sending a text or something major like going back to school. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside me. With that gift of love from my Lord, I was given the assignment of listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Why then do I elect to take actions that create negative consequences? This reminds me of something Paul wrote, Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” When God created us, he gave us free will. He sings in heaven when we choose to do right. We grieve Him and the Holy Spirit when we disobey His Word and sin. These actions can be as seemingly mundane as making a negative remark about our boss to a coworker or as catastrophic as being dishonest to our spouce. Big or small, each is based on a single decision.

As God renews my soul, I am praying He shows me how to consult Him continually, to pray unceasingly. Do I put a rubber band around my wrist and snap myself each time I forget to ask for divine guidance? Or maybe I carry a tally and give myself a hash mark for every time I do pray before making decisions. Then reward myself when I pass a predetermined goal. The bible tells us God spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice.” He wanted Elijah to see him God in everyday things. He wanted Elijah to understand He was not just the God of storms, of earthquakes, or of fire (1Kings 19:11-13). So many times I hear His still small voice and I choose not to listen. The promptings of the Holy Spirit are subtle, still, small… The radio show may be provocative or emotionally charged yet I listen. The comment I want to make to my husband is sarcastic yet I choose to make the comment. I hear coworkers gossiping and I can walk away. But I add a negative remark. All are seeds the enemy plants throughout my day to keep me from listening to the Holy Spirit, God’s “still small voice.” Guess I better stop waiting for God to shout at me like I’m a misbehaving toddler. That’s not how my God works. He know I know right from wrong. He knows I am capable of making right choices. He knows my heart. And when I choose wrong it hurts my heart and it hurts God’s heart. I want to make God sing in heaven. I don’t want to grieve Him.

Thank you, Father, for having the Holy Spirit live inside me to guide me. He intervenes for me when I pray to you. He comforts me when I’m anxious or sad. As I go through this sanctification process, or the renewing of my soul, I pray you will be patient with me. You are a God of a million chances. You are tolerant and forgiving. You are loving and kind. You are the father I didn’t have on this earth to teach me right from wrong. You discipline when I misbehave. Sometimes it is gentle reminders. Other times you convict me with more stern reminders. You gave us your Word to guide us through this temptation filled, fallen world. The more I study your Word, the more I am amazed by its simplicity and complexity (Psalm 119:105). If I choose to live by your commandments I will live in the light and be happy and contented. If I live my life with overflowing gratitude more blessings will come my way. Thank You for being my Savior. To You be the glory. This is my Good-Night prayer.

 

 

Heart-Check August 27, 2013

Filed under: Appreciation,Christianity,Faith,family,God,kindness,Sincerity — Diane Turk Rogers @ 4:33 am

Now that I’m 50, I should know what my purpose is in this life, right?  So much time wondering, praying, hoping, and I still haven’t heard God’s thundering voice telling me, “Diane, here is what I want you to do and here is how I want you to do it…” 

God sent me two clear messages recently.  The crux of both messages was that my heart must be sincere in every action I take.  The first message came when I was reading my Jesus Calling devotional one morning.  The night before while I was saying my prayers I wondered, “Does God want me to say my prayers out loud or is it alright that I say them in my head?”  The next morning’s devotion answered my question.  It said if I pray with a sincere heart, God will hear me whether I” pray silently or shout it out loud.”  I had to read it twice because I couldn’t believe God’s answer came so plainly.

A few days later I received the second message from God by way of an email from Dusty, a special pal I met online.  For the past several months I’ve been praying about what my purpose is in this life.  What does God have planned for me?  How do I know what he wants me to do?  I sent an email to Dusty asking her to pray for me about it and here is her response;

“You’ll be in my prayers girl…..and for what it’s worth?   This is what I’ve learned…

I used to stress too, about where God wanted me and what He wanted me to do

and what was His will for me in my life…..then one day, I heard His answer as

plain as day:    He said He would love me no matter what I decided to do or where

….as long as my heart was sincere in wanting to do HIS work….then anyplace, any

decision would please Him and He would bless what I chose to do!   We will keep

you in prayer!   Remember that God is in control and don’t sweat the small stuff!!
Love you!! 

Again, a clear message from Heaven!  Thank you, Miss Dusty!  Now comes the test…  Is my heart sincere?  I’m writing to tell you about my heart-checks to see just how sincere my heart is in my everyday life.

The first area I thought about was my marriage.  Wow.  There’s an eye opener.  My husband is my partner in life.  He is my best friend in good and bad times.  He has been my biggest fan.  If that’s so, why am I so impatient with him?  Why am I defensive and sure he’s attacking me all the time?  Why do I harbor past hurts?  God’s wish for my marriage is that it is a place of safety and peace.  If my heart is sincere in wanting to create harmony with my husband, I have to work at it.  I have to submit.  There, I said it.  Why is that such a hard thing for wives to accept?  My husband is the leader of our family.  He is our protector.  He is our provider.  I am in a very safe place in my life because of the plans and decisions he has made for us over the last 25-plus years.  I think I can trust in and submit to that, with a sincere and loving heart.

Next, I did a heart check on my relationship with my stepchildren and grandchildren.  Is it with a sincere heart when I offer to help with the kids… make dinner… stop by after work…?  Are my intensions to gain acceptance or praise?  God’s wish in this area is that I accept my position in the family as step-mother with grace and loving kindness.  Accepting my role with a sincere heart means not putting demands on the kids to treat me in a certain way.  It also means when I buy surprises for them and when I call to check on the kids or other acts of kindness I am doing so with a sincere heart of love and not to gain favor.  Thinking about this deeply, I realized I always start with a sincere heart then the enemy sneaks into my thoughts and says, “This is such a nice thing you’re doing, they’re probably going to think you’re really cool,” or “Why do you do these things, you’re never going to gain the place in their hearts where you want to be…”  I always have to go back to my original intention and get that devil out of my head!!  My silent prayer with each kind deed is, “God, please keep my intentions pure and the enemy’s voice from tainting my thoughts.”  Someday it will be automatic “not” to think negatively about my good deeds.

The place I spend the most time beside home is work.  This is a big time heart-sincerity check for me.  It’s so easy to get caught up in so many negative things at work.  Heart check questions; How am I treating my boss and co-workers?  What kind of attitude am I showing my clients?  A sincere heart is not one of complaining or gossiping.  Nor is a sincere heart one of impatience and rudeness.  I must remember, two years ago when I needed a job so desperately and the one I am at now just fell into my lap.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  I thanked God for the answered prayers.  But before long, I was mired down by complaining, gossiping, undermining my boss and being rude and short with clients.  The attitude I was displaying was one of ingratitude, entitlement and selfishness.  Sowing that kind of negativity will only reap anger and hostility from others.  My heart ached for a change.  Now when I feel the attitude of the enemy coming over me, I remind myself that my heart wants to be kind and show grace.  A Christ-like attitude is my goal.  If I stumble, I recover much quicker now and those around me suffer a lot less too.  Amen for that!

As my relationship with God grows, so does my thirst for knowledge and understanding.  The Word of God is my first reference point.  He speaks to me as I read and study.  He speaks to me when I’m listening to sermons on the radio and at church.  He speaks to me via fellow Christians.  My job is to be still and listen for His promptings.  He is sincere even though I may not hear a thundering voice when he sends me a message.  Through His word and through my good friend, He told me to do a sincerity heart-check and doing so has bless me and those around me.  Thank you, Lord!  I learned a lot.

 

The Word of God – The most effective therapist yet! February 26, 2013

Filed under: Christianity,Faith,Jesus Christ — Diane Turk Rogers @ 3:32 pm
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Over the last six or so years I’ve been through lots of therapy for depression.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) seems to work the best for me.  In a nutshell, it helps you learn how to reframe negative thoughts that you’ve lived by your whole life.  In the past three or so years I’ve been growing closer and closer to Jesus Christ and part of developing that relationship has been through reading my bible regularly.  It’s amazing how much of what I’ve learned through CBT is covered in the bible.  The more I thought about it, I realize everyone’s trying to figure out how to deal with stress, anxiety, insecurity, depression, grief, shame, jealousy, guilt… and it’s all right there in the Word of God.  I’m even thinking about writing a book about it!

Here are some examples.  Matthew 6:34 tells us not to worry.  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  And so does Matthew 6:27 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  And when I went through a particularly miserable time of guilt and shame, if I had just known there are so many scriptures I could have read to comfort me.  Like Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youfree from the law of sin and death.”  This scripture is a great comfort to me.  It reassured me I am forgiven and shall be free of guilt and shame.

From simple life lessons like not judging others (Luke 6:37) to something as complex as severe depression (Psalm 34:18 & 46:1) there are stories, sermons and parables throughout the entire bible to help make sense of it all.  The parallels of the bible’s teachings to those of Cognitive Therapy are unmistakable.  God knew what he was doing when he gave us His Word to guide us through this life.  If we would just use it and trust it we would could avoid a lot of pitfalls we experience.

Please don’t think I’m taking the issue of depression lightly.  I strongly support psychotherapy.  The time I spent with my therapist is invaluable to my recovery from depression.  Combining what I’ve learned through therapy with the teachings of the Holy Bible has made a huge impact on my life.  My therapy validates what’s been in the bible for all time and the bible validates everything I learned in therapy.  So many people are searching…  Searching for hope… Searching for acceptance…  Searching for love…  Searching for peace.  It’s all there in the bible.  I pray if you are searching, you take time to read the bible and see all it has to offer.  Seek counsel from others too.  But if you just give the bible a try, I know you’ll be astounded by what you find inside.

 

Revealing my big secret… October 28, 2012

When I started this blog I wanted to be an outlet for me.  Writing has always been a stress reliever.  It is also my way of supporting those who suffer with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, addiction, etc.  Sometimes all a person needs is to know is they are not alone or crazy!  I’ve been there.  Realizing others experience similar feelings & symptoms gave me validation.  It was a little glimmer of light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel.

A big part of what brings on depression for me is pretending everything is “fine” when I really feel like crap.  Agreeing when I really don’t.  Saying “yes” when I really want to say “no.”  Over 40 years of that took its toll in October of 2006 when I suffered a breakdown, or medically speaking, a major depressive episode.  A combination of suppressed feelings, not setting personal boundaries, guilt and shame plus a family history of depression set the perfect stage for depression in my life.

Now comes the big secret.  I had an abortion when I was 21 yeas old.  I recently decided to tell my brothers and sisters.  It’s hard to believe I’ve kept this secret for nearly 30 years.  As I suspected, they all love me just the same as they did before I told them.  Many of my nieces and nephews know now.  My heart aches thinking they might be disappointed in me.  After all, I was the perfect child.  I have an image to keep up.

God forgave me the moment I asked His forgiveness.  All the years I tortured myself with guilt and shame, I was dishonoring Him.  Jesus Chris suffered and died on a cross for my salvation.  Would I change my decision if I had the opportunity.  You bet I would.  I would give up everything I have in my life right now if I would take back that one awful decision of ending my pregnancy.  More work is needed to complete my healing process.

I am writing this particular post to help anyone who has a secret they think will destroy them if it is revealed.  I’m not saying you have to reveal it.  I’m saying you have to move on from that secret!  It does not define you.  Just like your mental affliction or addiction does not define you.  It is a part of you, yes.  But it is not the ONLY part of you.  Find hope and meaning in other areas of your life.

Revealing my secret has given me a sense of peace.  I’m looking forward to learning more about what the bible teaches about forgiveness.  My hope and prayer is that this story helps just one person in some small way.  My blessings are many.  I want to pass them on to anyone who will listen.

 

Spending Time with God… March 29, 2012

Filed under: Christianity,Faith,Goals,God,Jesus Christ — Diane Turk Rogers @ 5:01 pm
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It’s been a while since my last post.  Not really sure why.  Life has been happening so fast.  I’m in some sort of transition state in my heart and soul and God is dealing with me and I’m trying to listen and understand.  It’s hard to figure out what I’m supposed to do and what I’m supposed to leave up to him.  I’ve accepted that he’s not going to shout in my ear, “Hey, Diane.  I think it’s time to go back to college,” or “Miss Diane.  Go out and tell your story to everyone you can and I promise they’ll love and accept you and not judge you.”  This idea of “let go, and let God” is really hard to grasp.  (I really was waiting to hear Him shout out to me…)

So, I’ve finally figured out my part is to pray and read the bible.  Then pray and read the bible some more.  God will give me the wisdom to see what he has planned for me.  He will put me on the right path.  I truly believe I am right where he planned for me to be when he was creating me in my mom’s womb.

Finally I am in a bible study of Godly women who have the same goal in mind as I do… to know God, be more like Christ, and fulfill God’s calling in their lives.  I am growing to love these women so much.  God blessed me with these women because I was praying about it and reading my bible and learned how much God loves his children to fellowship together.  Wow!  That’s deep, to me.  I’m now almost 50, have been saved since I was about 13 and I’m just now realizing I have to pray, read the Word, spend time with God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me.

I’ve learned through my depression, recovery, and the devil’s attempt at relapse that this life is not easy but it is doable.  As long as I don’t let the bad stuff “define me or take over me” I will get past them.  And once I do, I will be that much stronger for the next challenge that comes my way.  Take that, satan!!!

The subject of our winter bible study has been “Finish Strong.”  And our memory verse last week was Acts 20:24 – “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the good Lord Jesus has given to me.  The task of testifying to the gospel of God’s Grace.”  That is Paul speaking.  He helps me realize the magnitude of God sending his one and only Son to come to earth and die on a cross to wash MY sins away completely.  Thank you God.  I praise you for loving me.

So, I’ll keep praying and reading God’s word.  I’ll keep working toward being more like Christ.  The answers and direction will come.  I know they will, in His time.