Blog Break

Happy July!

I can hardly believe that it’s July, sweet ones. Though I know life for you is more than likely difficult in some very painful ways – and I do truly get that – I also deeply hope that you are finding bursts of joy in the little moments and that you are able to spend more time with friends and family, and especially God.

I will be taking July and August off from weekly blog-posting but I wanted to make sure you still have plenty of options of ways to stay supported and connected this Summer.

If in a hard marriage:
Blog post: Do Not Try to Win Your Husband Back
E-book: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage
Online support group: A Place for Us – Difficult Marriage (email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com to join)

If separated/divorced:
Blogpost: How to Stop Obsessing Over Your Ex-Husband
E-book: Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman
Book: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage
Online support group: A Place for Us – Separated/Divorced (email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com to join)
In-person support group: DivorceCare

If a single mom:
Blog post: Curiosity Killed the Cat, But Can It Hurt My Kids?
E-book: Moving On as a Christian Single Mom
Online support group: A Place for Us – Single Moms (email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com to join)

If dating:
Blog post: Sex & the Divorced Christian Woman
E-book: Dating After Divorce
Online support group: A Place for Us – Dating after Divorce (*access with purchase of e-book)

If remarried:
Blog post: Is There Such a Thing as Happily Ever After?
Online support group: A Place for Us – Remarried (email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com to join)

If struggling with your life in general or faith […]

Don’t Be Mean

I recently watched two coaches from the sidelines. Both spoke truth to their players, which I believe is essential for growth.

But one was kind and the other was…well, not always as kind. One affirmed all equally, one had clear favorites.

The players and team morale flourished under the leadership of the kind truth. The other team, I believe, flourished despite. Because one was building up spirits, and the other tended to break them from time to time.

I have had the opportunity to be mentored by a few good women over my lifetime. But I think of two in particular. Both spoke truth to their mentorees, which I believe is absolutely necessary for transformation.

But one was gentle and the other was harsh.

The exact same concept was imparted to me, in completely opposite ways.

Harsh: I’M NOT SAYING IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT BUT I AM SAYING YOU PLAYED A PART IN YOUR SITUATION!
Gentle: You may want to ask Jesus to show you what you could’ve done differently.

You better believe I bristled at the ALL CAPS EMAIL and breathed in deep gulps of air and mercy with the tender whispers of compassion, both trying to tell me the same thing: take a look inside and own your part.  And you better believe I didn’t quite do what the harsh person asked me to, because I instead became so voraciously defensive it drowned out her ALL CAPS words. But you also better believe I did exactly what my gentle mentor suggested, begging the Spirit to speak to me…and he did…and I looked in…and I owned things…and I was transformed.

Someone recently read an email that I sent to someone else. This email was brief, to the point, filled with […]

I ♥ Drama

I claim to not be a fan of drama, to be grateful for the circumstantial and relational peace that settled over my life post-divorce. And, trust me, I am. The chaos was constant and it was decades-long and it was killing me.

But something interesting recently happened.

I had an issue arise regarding one of my children. It brought out the Mama Bear in me and I was ticked. I had every intention of giving this person my two-cents (what we call in my family a “Klein letter”), writing it and rewriting it in my head. I even went so far as to attempt to schedule a meeting with the person to hash out my issue. I was sort of feeding off of it.

But then I stepped back for a couple days, and I asked myself, “What would happen if I just didn’t pursue this? If I didn’t stay tangled up in what was on the verge of becoming a messy situation? If I just let this go and I just moved on, even without closure, even without getting my way, even without saying my piece?”

And I realized that what would more than likely happen is that something would come to pass that I didn’t like but it wasn’t truly a big deal in the grand scheme of life, and in a couple weeks it would be behind me, and I’d be over it. My world would not, indeed, fall apart. And I would be just fine. As would said child. (What a concept.)

And I realized that if I did pursue it and write an email and set up a meeting, that I would be nervous for days and days. And I would be filling […]

When My Past Hurts My Husband

I came into my new marriage with so much baggage, I practically had to have it shipped separately. During my twenties and thirties, I was called things, I was manipulated, I was lied to, I was controlled, I was gaslighted, I didn’t know up from down. I lived for twenty years off and on thinking my reality was one thing when it so totally was another thing (a sucky and sad way to live, by the way, especially when the other person does know the reality and you’re the only one in the dark).

But time went by.
And I leaned on and clung to Jesus.
And I went to counseling.
And I went through DivorceCare.
And I met with my mentor.
And I worked the twelve steps.
And I talked things out with my friends.
And I journaled.
And I read.
And I experienced people being kind to me, consistently.
And people pointing out the good in me, which surprised me.

And healing came.

And I got remarried. To a sweet, sweet man. And our relationship has no parallels to my first relationship.

Other than, you know, I’m in it. And my husband is a man. And we’re both human. But other than that, no parallels. (Yeah.)

But recently, I was triggered apparently. Something occurred that must have hit some button deep down inside me and I panicked. I misread a situation, and then I falsely accused, and I hurt my husband…deeply.

And I felt horrible. I cried and cried.  I apologized and I apologized.  I told him I didn’t know how to fix what I had done but it felt like I had broken something between us.

He is a gracious man, my husband. He forgives quickly and lets […]

I’m Not Married. I Say I’m a Christian. I’m Having Sex.

I am not naïve. Some of you who read my blog are unmarried and you consider yourself to be a Jesus-following, Bible-believing, church-attending Christian, and you are having sex. Some of you are doing so in hiddenness and shame, as I did in my early 20s; some of you are doing so blatantly, proclaiming to yourself and the world that your non-marriage relationship in its current form is a gift from God.

And I know why. Okay, before I get to that, let me say this other thing first.

I’ve been noticing something lately: I think I may have become more judgy.

Well, at least on this one issue: sex before marriage – regardless of your circumstances – if you claim to be a follower of Christ.

And this may surprise you but my new-ish harshness is starting to bug me. You may not believe me when I say this but I kinda wish I couldn’t care less what all of you do behind closed doors. (Except we all sort of belong to each other as followers of Christ and our lives are not our own, yada yada yada.)

I kinda wish I’d get off my soapbox and stop writing about it. And stop recording while-I’m-driving angry-rants about it. And stop upsetting the women I’m trying to shepherd and serve and support. And stop losing Facebook group members who are calling me judgmental.

I kinda rather we all just skip through wildflowers together, just loving Jesus and each other no matter what, not caring what the other is doing, not holding anyone to any kind of standard or taking anyone to task, singing whatever the 21st-century version of Kumbaya is.

I wish I could just live and let live, baby.

And I […]

The Buzz about Buzz

When my husband and I were engaged, I spoke at two single moms’ events. At each of those events, my then-fiancé joined me for Q&A sessions at the end.

Needless to say, the women LOVED him. (As in, I could’ve left and gone shopping and question after question would’ve come barreling at him and he would’ve done just fine on his own. But whatever. I’m not bitter or anything. #choppedliver)

Anyway, it was in those moments that I realized that not only did Richard have a story to tell but that he would have a very eager audience.

For the past few years, I have built my ministry on “me too”. Meaning, I have been you.
I have walked in your hard-marriage shoes.
I have walked in your separated shoes.
I have walked in your divorcing shoes.
I have walked in your single-mom shoes.
I have walked in your figuring-out-who-you-are-now shoes.
I have walked in your dating shoes.
I have walked in your remarriage shoes.
I have walked in your stepmom shoes.
(For miles and miles and miles, girls.)

I have walked your same journey, and I have done it as best as I could with Jesus. And it has been both a mess and amazing all at the same time, for most of my adult life. (And I’m guessing, your life has been both a mess and amazing too, right?)

And so that’s why I believe my ministry, up to this point, has largely been “me too”.

But then I met Richard. And Richard admitted to also being broken (like I was). And to being at fault (like I had been). And to finding the healing of God along the way at his lowest points (like I had). And I realized I had found someone who had been […]

Advice-Giving 101 (not that you asked)

I used to be a reckless unsolicited advice-giver. I had no problem telling everyone how I thought they should be living their lives better (even though mine was a complete shambles relationally and emotionally for a couple of decades there).

But then I found my way to the rooms of AlAnon (thank you, sweet Jesus) where I learned that the best way to help someone is to only offer gentle suggestions IF THEY ASK, otherwise to simply try to live your own life well and keep your side of the street clean as an example.

This was a radical shift for me, but one I was grateful to learn. (Funny how you tick off less people when you’re not criticizing them about their lives or telling them what to do all the time!)

But I am in a position – in mentoring, as a writer, in friendships, as a mother, as a small group leader, as a woman who used to be in a very hard marriage, as a woman who has walked through divorce, as a woman who was a single mother, as a woman who tried dating in her 40s, as a woman who is now remarried, as a middle-aged Titus 2 woman (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit) – where I am asked my advice, often.

Even though I’m being asked, I don’t always give it. I typically like to make sure I actually know the person in real life before giving specific advice to their specific situations, and it helps if I’ve been through something similar.

But sometimes, if asked and if I’ve been there, I do dole out my thoughts.

Someone recently asked for my advice. I gave it, […]

Trying Too Hard and Still Disappointing EVERYBODY

I’ve been feeling better lately. I’m laughing more. I’m not stewing as much. My sadness is lifting and my anxiety isn’t my constant companion. I’ve knocked my medication down to its lowest dose.  It finally feels like Spring – in Illinois and in my heart – and I’m so very grateful.

However… I still have my moments of irritability and anxiety, to be sure. In fact, my husband and I even have put language to it. When I’m feeling stressed, I’ll tell Richard what number I am from one to ten. When I say, I’m at a 10, he knows it’s not good (and that he might want to duck and cover).  Those 10s are fewer and farther between these days but I’ve been experiencing a new flavor this year that I’ve finally been able to label.

It’s what I’m calling blended fam-xiety. I get this feeling before a family gathering, when I’m trying to plan a weekend when we’ll have any combination of our kiddos home with us, when I’m mentally lining up all of our kids and their significant others in our living room each morning and praying for them out loud by name, when I’m thinking through the ways I’ve hurt my husband and our kids lately, all that good stuff.

I recently heard that life is not a problem to solve.

Seriously? Because I’ve spent the entirety of my life trying to fix my life. And I’ve especially spent the last year doing that with all our ups and downs and chaos and pain and transition and change and adjustments.

Okay, so it’s like this. Imagine me sitting down at my coffee table, and I have just dumped out a 1000-piece puzzle. And I am […]

It’s Not All about Me

I am self-centered and self-absorbed and self-focused. This is not an intentional thing. This is just how I sometimes live and see the world.

There has been an issue in my life for a little while now that is messy and it sort of has to do with me but it really has to do with a few other people. I’m for sure on the fringes. But, being a girl, and a self-absorbed one at that, I don’t always feel on the fringes. This little ordeal can feel like it’s about me.  And I have spent a lot of time thinking about how it has affected me and hurt me and wah-wah-wah.

And so, for the most part, I have been responding to new updates along the way as if I were a key player. And, if I may be honest, that hasn’t been working well for me.

Until recently, when I tried something different. When I heard the news that I have heard a hundred times, instead of feeling swirly panic, insecure and sick to my stomach, looking only inward, and inadvertently causing a rift, I did this.

I asked my friend how this new development made them feel.  In other words, I actually thought about someone other than me for fifteen seconds.  And I listened.  And I didn’t say much other than to agree it would be difficult.

And then I prayed for my friend and the other key players, outloud, even though it was hard and uncomfortable. Even though I’ve been hurt along the way.

And then you know what I did? I said to my friend, “Well, other than praying, we can’t do much about this tonight, can we?” And my friend agreed. So we went […]

Stop Hoping for Happiness & Chasing after In-Love-ness

I hear something like this a few times a week:

“You give me hope that there’s so much more beyond the pain and sadness.”

These women are almost all referring to the fact that I was once in a difficult marriage and then I went through a difficult divorce and I have since fallen in love and have married a very, very good, kind, sweet man.

And I appreciate the well wishes, I truly do. Especially seeing as my tagline is ‘helping hurting women by bringing them hope’. I want to be a hope-dispenser, a hope-amplifier.

I want every woman to have hope, absolutely. Hope is a gorgeous thing. Hope keeps us going when nothing else will.

But, in case I haven’t been clear over the years, my life has not been one huge hard season followed by grieving and healing and then now a life of skipping through wildflowers with a cute man and a huge grin on my face.

Umm, no.

My life – every single day – has had pain and has had joy. Just like yours.

(Hard marriage, no marriage, good marriage….pain and joy.)

There is not a destination where the pain and sadness come to an end. Okay, well, there is, but that’s called Heaven. That’s called when we’re finally with Jesus face-to-face.  But that’s not a destination here and now on this earth as things are.

So, yes, please, please, please have hope.

Yes, please, please, please know that you will not always feel the way that you feel today in your difficult marriage or in your divorce.

Yes, you can become more whole.
Yes, you will heal.
Yes, you more than likely experience happy moments.
And perhaps, you may fall in love with a good man.

But being happy just isn’t the […]

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