Monday, June 13, 2016

MR. & MRS.

This morning I woke up, did my morning devotions, then started cleaning up around the house.  As I made my bed, I started praying gratitude.  I do this often, and it really works!  If you've never tried it, you totally should.  

It started like this:

"Thank, you God, that I'm still alive. Thank you that I woke up this morning clean and sober. Thank you that I didn't have to wake up this morning while it was still dark out! Thank you that I was able to get out of bed and move."

If you've ever seen my bed, you know this is a tedious process. We sleep with a soft, cozy blanket on our bed, but the pretty decorative duvet and the accompanying twelve throw pillows get removed nightly, then replaced the next morning.  This drives Chad crazy, but he deals with it.

So, I continued making the bed while praying.

"Thank you for a good week, for helping me get out of
bed and do the things that I said I was going to do.
Thank you for my family....for Chad and Bethany and Ethan and Addalyn.
Thank you that Bethany got her first job last night.
Thank you for this nice bed and comfy mattress I get to sleep on.
Thank you for a bed to make."

And then, I picked up a pillow, and tears filled my eyes.
"Thank, you, God, for this Mr. & Mrs. pillow that sits on our bed."

Sheer gratitude overwhelmed me.  I don't deserve to get to sleep in a bed, next to a man who has repeatedly forgiven me when I didn't deserve forgiveness.  But, God allowed that to be restored to me. And, not everyone gets that chance.  Not everyone gets to keep their family after tearing it apart....piece by piece.  Take, for instance, my best friend L.A. We met each other in treatment (much more on that later, because that story deserves at least one post in and of itself).  L.A. LOVED her husband.  I mean, loved him.  She had been the picture-perfect stay-at-home mom to two beautiful little kids, and it just so happened she turned into a closet alcoholic. She took responsibility for everything that had happened in her life and in her marriage, even when she shouldn't have. While she was in treatment, trying to better herself and become the wife and mother she needed/wanted to be (and believe me, she worked on that waaaaay harder than I or anyone else did), you know what her husband did?  He put a no-contact order on her, sent divorce papers, and met another woman.  I watched her world fall apart.  The point is...not everyone gets a happily ever after.  I need to stay fully aware of that, and I  need to be consistently grateful that I was one of the lucky few who did.

When I first got out of treatment last April and moved into my new apartment, I wasn't sure that I would ever sleep in that bed again. In fact, it felt strange to even step foot into "our" house.  It was no longer my house.  It was Chad and the kids' house, and when the kids started saying things like, "Aww...I forgot my game at Dad's house", or "So and so stayed the night with me last Dad's house", it felt like I was living someone else's life.

One thing we decided to do, even though we were separated...or because we were separated, was to go to church together every Sunday and then have Sunday dinner at "Chad's house."  He told me he had started going to a new church while I was in treatment, and he wanted us to go there together. The church was called Life Point, and it was in a movie theater.  I agreed to go.  (I will have to tell you some other time about how this church has changed my life and my view of life).

So, he picked me up for church and asked me to pack a bag and plan on staying all day.  We went to church and went back to our his house for lunch.  It felt like stepping into a complete stranger's house.  It was super clean and tidy (the way he likes it), but I noticed that it was missing my touch. You know...the little things. The flowers.  The candles burning.  The throw pillows.  The spring decorations.  It was missing me.  And I was, in return, missing it.

After lunch, the kids were ready to swim, so I got my bathing suit out of my bag that awkwardly sat in the living room and asked him if I could change in our his room.  I walked into the room and noticed that he had the bed neatly made, all of the throw pillows pretty much in place. But....something was missing.  Something important was missing.  The Mr.& Mrs. pillow was nowhere in sight.  I went into the master bathroom and changed, then walked back out and stared at the bed again.  I stared at my side of the bed longingly and regretfully.  What had I done?  How had this happened?  I looked again for the Mr. & Mrs. pillow.  I looked on his side of the bed. Maybe it had fallen.  I looked underneath the bed on both sides. Maybe it had fallen.  I looked at the chair that sits in the corner of our  his room, hoping that he had left it there, forgetting to put it on the bed.

Then, I turned and looked at the closet door.  My closet.  Where all of my clothing, shoes, purses, books, keepsakes used to be kept.  I slowly opened it, and, when I did, I noticed that it was now full of his clothing, his shoes, his belongings.  Wow. This was real.  I really didn't live here anymore.  And, then, I looked in the back of that dark closet, and there it laid.  Turned upside down, completely out of sight and out of mind.  The Mr. & Mrs. pillow.  Abandoned. In the dark.  Just like the Mr. & Mrs.  My heart fell onto the floor beside me, and I wanted to crawl in that closet and lay down with that pillow and scream and cry.  I stood there for a minute, then composed myself and walked out of the room.

I later asked him why he had taken that pillow off of the bed, and he said, "Because you don't live here anymore."  He was right.  I didn't.  And, as bad as it hurt, I knew that if he never allowed me to move back in with him and the kids, I couldn't resent him for it because that is what I deserved.

Over time, I began occasionally staying the night at our his house with him and the kids.  I always packed a bag (well, I can't lie, I actually pretty much lived out of the back of my rack and all!) and felt like an overnight guest in someone else's home.  Because, that's what I was.  I was a guest in my own home. 

Somewhere into the fifth month of our separation, Chad asked me to move back home.  We knew that we had so much work to still do on our relationship, but we thought we were ready to be back in the same home.  He thought he could trust me.

{On a side note, I mentioned in a previous post that he had hidden all of my jewelry so that I couldn't pawn or sell it.  Just this past Monday, I reorganized my closet in our bedroom and I found the jewelry box laying in the very back of the closet, in a corner.  It had probably been covered up by the Mr. & Mrs. pillow!  I guess it never even dawned on me to ask if I could have the jewelry back. Maybe that stuff didn't matter as much as I thought it did.  Maybe I was just happy to be back in my own home.}

Anyway, I clearly remember the first night I officially moved back in.  We got the kids ready for bed and I went to Chad's our bathroom to take a shower and get ready for bed.  When I walked back into the bedroom, I expected the bed to be turned down (it's kind of a rule around here....the first person who goes to bed removes the bajillion throw pillows and decorative blankets, turns the covers down, and fires up our matching heating pads!), but there he sat on the edge of a still perfectly made bed.

He smiled, and I looked at him, wondering what was up.  Then, I saw it.  And my eyes filled with tears. There it was, once again gracing his our bed.  The Mr. & Mrs. pillow.  And, there we were, once again.  Mr. & Mrs.

Every night, I get to remove those blankets and pillows and crawl into our bed, in our home, with our children sleeping in their rooms.  All five of us under one roof.  Every morning, I get to wake up in our bed, in our home, and walk the quiet halls while everyone else is still sleeping.  I get to hear the sounds of their breathing, the rise and fall of their chests as I watch them from the doorway.  I get to let our dog out our back door to potty, and then I get to sit in the stillness of our living room.  I get to go to church with my family, go to dinner with my family, go to the movies with my family, swim with my family, take care of my family, live with my family, be a part of my family, be present with my family.  All of that is a privilege that I do not deserve.

And, that....that is why I am grateful.  That is why every morning that I get the privilege of waking up should start with a prayer of gratitude.  Because, even though I deserve nothing, I have everything.

To read my husband's side of things, click here.


  1. This is beautiful. God is so good!

    1. Thank you Chelsea! And, yes....He is so good to us!

  2. Chelsea...I enjoyed reading your thing's something my husband to me.. I would of worded this the exact same way before.and I get exactly why you worded it this way as ther with you.. So one day.. I can't remember my exact was something along the lines of I don't deserve husband turned to me and said.. Yes you are. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. God create each and every inch of you...just as he wanted me..I responded with something along the lines of.. Yes hunny, but see, I'm an husband then a child of God first...your a women...your a mother.. Daughter.. Wife .addcition and drugs are my struggles..but not who I am...from that day I tell myself .I am worthy.. I have it all because I have a father in heaven who loves me...I don't say I'm Suzie, I'm an addict.. Or alcoholic...ive said this words day in and day out for 20 years or so...not am Suzie..and I battle addiction...thank you so much for sharing.. Now..on to his side.. Such an awesome share. I cannot wait to read from his experience...

    1. Suzie, thank you so much for that perspective! What a beautiful thought....

  3. I so needed this...Gratitude..Thank you for reminding me.

    1. We all need reminding sometimes!! Gratitude keeps me going.