Winter’s 6 Month Update

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BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 6 months old

Baby’s Age: 6 months old

Height: 25 1/2 inches (34th percentile)

Weight: 16 pounds even (50th percentile)

Head: 42.2 cm (43rd percentile)

Diaper Size: Size 2 (we are about to move up to size 3)

Clothes Size: 6 months and some 6-9 months

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a look back at the past few months:

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Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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April 10, 2014 – How on earth has half a year already passed by since Winter was born?!  It seems like you blink and you could miss it.  I’m constantly begging my little baby to stop growing and for time to slow down.  But somehow my wish hasn’t been granted.  🙂

Winter is doing so well.  She sits up all by herself.  Her main activity that she enjoys is sitting on the floor with toys all around her to play.  She grabs a toy and plays with it for about 30 seconds to a minute and then moves on to the next toy.  She is constantly wanting entertainment!  She loves to pick up a toy and shake it really hard, or wave it around.  She has started throwing things, though I think it’s still unintentionally!  When we are at play dates with her baby friends, she grabs toys away from other babies.  She sees a toy she wants, and she takes it.  I guess I’m going to have to introduce the concept of sharing.  For now, sharing doesn’t happen.

I experienced Winter’s first jealous moment.  I babysat all day for a friend’s baby (who is only 10 days younger than Winter) so they could enjoy a day skiing together as a couple.  While I fed the baby her bottle, Winter started getting really fussy and kept reaching her arms towards me!

Winter still has no teeth.  I love her gummy smile.  She is showing no true signs of teething, aside from constantly putting everything in her mouth.  Honestly, she is so darn cute toothless that I am in no rush for any teeth to make an appearance!  I want my baby to stay a baby.  🙂  Plus, I am not looking forward to getting bitten during breastfeeding with those baby teeth!!

Winter is so goofy sometimes.  She makes the funniest little faces and expressions!  My favorite face she makes is when she sucks her bottom lip in her mouth and purses her upper lip while blowing raspberries.  So cute!

She loves playing in her Little Einstein jumper/activity center.  She bounces up and down endlessly!  She loves that thing.

Friends and people are continuously mentioning to us how “good” of a baby she is.  We agree, she is such a joyful, happy little girl!  We feel so blessed by her in our lives.

Milestones: Rolls over constantly (rarely stays on her back for longer than 30 seconds), sits up unassisted, picks up toys and shakes them furiously, sleeps 11-12 hours non-stop each night, has gone 6 months exclusively breastfed.

Sleep: Winter sleeps for 11-12 hours at night without waking up.  This has been extended from a month ago when she was usually sleeping more like 10 hours straight, but I finally got brave enough to drop her late night “dreamfeed.”  Instead of waking her up around 10:30 pm to feed her, she goes down for the night around 8:00 or 8:30 pm after her last feeding.  Her usual wakeup time is around 7:45-8:00 am.  In addition to being excellent nighttime sleeper, Winter is a fantastic daytime napper too.  She usually takes a 2 hour nap every morning (9:30-11:30 am typically) and a 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon (usually 2:30-5:30 pm).  I LOVE that she is such a good sleeper!  Mommy is in heaven!

Best Moment: Lots of best moments.  I love how she always smiles at me when I come into her nursery in the morning to get her out of her crib.  She beams when she sees me, and I beam when I see her after missing her for 12 hours!

Worst Moment: Can’t remember any 🙂

Health:  Just shy of a month ago, she somehow caught a cough that lasted for about 12 or 13 days.  It wasn’t anything serious (no congestion or anything too terrible), but it was a lingering cough.  It’s amazing how these germs gets spread around during cold/flu season!  Hopefully we are DONE with sickness for a while!

Eating:  Now that we are hitting her 6 month mark, we are going to begin introducing some solids.  I still need to figure out our exact game plan, but we plan to start with pureed vegetables.  Our doctor said that we could skip rice cereal if we wanted.  As of her 6 month mark, she is still exclusively breastfed.  She has shown much interest in food, so it will be interesting to start feeding her solids!  (Because I am delayed on posting this by a week, we have now been trying to some vegetable purees once per day for the past several days.  We have tasted carrots, avocado and squash.  She isn’t so sure about actually SWALLOWING anything until last night, she finally seemed to get the idea a little bit!  Our pediatrician said that she might be getting vegetable facials for a little while until she actually grasps the concept of EATING.)

As of now, her current nursing schedule looks like this: 8:00 am upon waking, 11:30 am after her morning nap, 2:30 or 3:00 pm right before her long afternoon nap, 6:00 pm after her nap, and 8:00 pm before going down for the night.  5 feedings per day, occasionally 6 if she gets cranky and I put her on the boob (many times around 1 or 1:30 pm she tends to have a “hunger moment” where I just feed her an extra time).  It seems that no matter whether she has just eaten hours ago or 5 minutes ago, she will NEVER turn down the opportunity to nurse.  She loooooves milk!

Likes: Jumping up and down in her bouncer, sitting and playing with toys, rolling all over the place, pulling hair, putting anything & everything in her mouth, smiling, laughing, singing songs, sucking on her wabbanub pacifiers, reading books, putting her hands in her mouth, playing with toys, putting ANYTHING into her mouth, taking a bath, feeling textures, getting tickled, standing up, looking at her reflection in the mirror, getting her hair brushed, getting thrown up in the air, watching the dog & cat.

Dislikes: She occasionally gets scared at loud sounds.  Like one time Eric sneezed really loudly and she started crying!

How Mommy is doing: I’m doing great.  Eric is doing great.  Winter is doing great!  We are enjoying parenthood very much.  We adore Winter and can’t get enough of her.  As a stay at home mom, I am so grateful that I get to spend all of my days with her, so I don’t miss anything.  We are staying very busy with activities with my mom’s group (play dates, park days, stroller walks, swimming pool, runs, etc.).  Life is great!

Twice in the past month Eric and I took an entire day away from Winter to go up to the mountains to ski together.  Though both of us dislike time away from her, we know that in the big picture, 8 or 9 hours apart isn’t going to kill us.  And we know that those times together as a couple are very important in our marriage!  Skiing is our most favorite hobby and we LOVE doing it together.  We plan to take one more day away before ski season ends this month.

As a couple, we trained for a half marathon together over the past 3 months.  We just completed the race together!  It was so much fun training for this race with my husband and daughter!  It was really exciting to run side by side with my wonderful husband and cross the finish line together.  I’m somewhat sad that the race is over, but we are grateful that we get our weekends back since we don’t have to go for long runs that take up a lot of time anymore.  🙂

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

5 Month Update

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

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My Testimony

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My close friends and family know of my journey through life.  Not everyone knows my story.  As a Christian, I want to be bold and share my testimony publicly.  I know that God can use my journey, including my mistakes to shine light and bring others to him.  I pray that if you choose to read my testimony (which is long, I warn you!), that you would be open to allow God to speak to your heart.  Please be quick to love and slow to judge.  I know that God is my Father and He never gives up on his children.  It is tough to be vulnerable and be willing to share personal details of my life — but I trust that if you choose to read it, that you would see what a great work the Lord has done in me!

My Testimony – “God’s Love Never Fails”

by Katy Lute, April 8, 2014

 *Disclaimer: This was written by me, Katy Lute. Everything in this testimony has been written from my personal point of view and how I remember the events that took place. Some names in this story have been changed. The reason I am sharing my testimony is because I know that it is a powerful story of God’s redeeming love. I want Christ to use me to help others.

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I was raised in a Christian home. I’m 4th out of 8 children. Growing up, I would often ask my parents “why on earth did you have so many kids?!” Their response was always the same: “that’s how many children God wanted us to have.” Looking back on my childhood, I would have had it no other way! Being one of 8 kids was so much fun. I always had several best friends to play with. Our parents home schooled us and took us to church. They were Godly examples to us. They did mission work in Central American countries: Costa Rica and Nicaragua, taking all of us children along for a year at a time on two occasions. In the summers we attended Vacation Bible School. In fact, one summer at VBS, when I was around 6 or 7 years old, I decided to accept Jesus into my heart and have Him be my personal Lord and Savior. I never remember a time where God was not in my life! I am so fortunate to have been raised by Godly parents who use prayer and God’s guidance to lead their every decision.

As I mentioned, I was home schooled with my siblings. Our mom was our teacher and dad was our principal. At a certain age, I felt that I wanted to transition to going to school with my peers, because my personality type has always craved social interaction and friendship. I attended a Christian school in Nicaragua my freshman year while my parents were doing mission work, and my final 3 years of high school were spent in public school in Indiana, where I am from.

During high school, I stayed very involved with church, youth group and a Christian club at school. Everyone knew that I was a Christian, because I wasn’t shy about my beliefs. I was happy that others knew my faith. I was very involved in my church youth group, which I brought my friends from school to. I was even dubbed “Saint Katy,” which to this day I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be a compliment or a criticism.

My parents have always been very conservative, and this was no exception when it came to relationships with members of the opposite sex. My eldest sister never dated. Instead, she courted a man that led to marriage. My parents were against dating. Hence, I was not allowed to date. In my senior year of high school, I decided to do what I wanted to do and disobey my parents. I started dating one of the starting football players. To be honest, I didn’t like their idea of courting with the intent of marriage. I was young and was attracted to someone and had not a glimmer of desire about the idea of marriage any time soon. So against my parents’ will, I dated. I didn’t like being at odds with my mom and dad, but I really enjoyed my first boyfriend. We held hands, I had my first kiss, and learned that I was a big fan of making out! As a strong Christian, I had long before dedicated to God that I wanted to save my virginity for my husband, and I had no intention of breaking that vow.

My high school graduation came, and before going to college, that first boyfriend came and went. One thing that I was left with was a desire to continue dating because let’s be honest — I was boy crazy! I liked kissing and I just liked being attractive to someone. Being the object of someone’s affection was like an emotional high for me. I craved attention from guys. When someone felt that I was desirable, then it made me feel wanted.

When college began, I started dating any cute guy who caught my eye. Sometimes it was a week long fling, and rarely did it last a month. I was having so much fun. I loved this male attention. Though I did lots of kissing and making out, I still felt very strongly that my virginity was meant only for my future husband, so I made that clear to any guy that I dated. Back at home, my family caught wind of my dating life and they didn’t take me very seriously. In fact, my sisters would joke with me about how instead of measuring time in months or weeks, I would measure time by “oh, that was 3 boyfriends ago.” I didn’t mind, because I loved how much fun I was having. Marriage was part of my “someday” but not my “anytime soon.”

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, a friend of mine told me that his pledge brother was interested in me. Since I was open to meeting guys, I went on a date with Eric. After just a short time of dating him, I felt like this was different. Eric was more serious about life. He was someone who I felt attracted to on deeper that a surface level. He was a guy who was thinking about the big picture of life. His heart was huge. He and I fell in love quickly. Eric is the first man I ever said the words, “I love you” to. Very suddenly, I went from casually dating for fun, to — this is the man I know that I am going to marry someday.

Eric and I continued to date for the remainder of our college years. During our senior year, he proposed and we eagerly anticipated graduation and getting married shortly after. Our relationship was so full. It was fun and yet it was serious. After years of dating, I was so excited to finally get married and “be an adult.”

In the summer of 2008, Eric and I both graduated from college, we got married, went on our honeymoon, and moved across the country from Indiana to Colorado to start our new lives together. All of this happened within a month’s time! Talk about lots of changes all at once! Eric is an engineer and started his career. My degree is in Health and Fitness. I moved to Colorado without a job lined up, but I knew I’d eventually land something in the fitness industry.

Moving to a new place where I didn’t have any friends or family was a lot harder on me than I’d thought it would be. I went from being a social butterfly with a huge group of friends to ZERO friends. And it was so much harder making friends in a new city where people are already set in their lives. This was very hard on me. We started attending a church in Highlands Ranch and joined a young married’s class with the intent of finding some new friendships. In this marriage class, we often would hear about how “hard the first year of marriage is.” Eric and I were thinking — whatever, marriage isn’t hard, it’s EASY! We were as in love as ever and now, with the move, we were depending on one another so much more because we were alone. We were baffled by what we heard in our class — “marriage takes work.” “It’s not always easy.” “You are going to have to decide to commit to each other even when you don’t always feel like it.” “Fight fair.” Etc. Etc. Etc. We felt like we were acing this class because none of this applied to us. Apparently we were just the exception to the rule, because our marriage was flawless and perfect. We never fought and we really just felt like it was easy to be married to each other. Obviously God designed us perfectly for each other and we didn’t have to put in the work! Or so we thought.

Meanwhile, Eric was getting a great start to his career at his company. I finally nailed down a job as a fitness trainer at a local gym. I worked at the front desk, taught fitness classes, worked with small groups and occasionally personal trained clients one-on-one. Going into this job, I felt really excited that I actually landed a job where I was able to use my college major–success! Well, I quickly felt overqualified for my job. My Bachelor’s degree was not necessary to get the job I had–they hired anyone, degree or no degree, even high schoolers were working with me. The entire staff I worked with were all young people, mainly in their 20’s to early 30’s. I was the only one on staff who was married. Everyone else was dating around, sleeping around, going out and partying. It was sort of like the college world again — young and unattached people just having fun and living it up! When I told these new friends that I was 22 and married, they automatically assumed I must have gotten married because I’d gotten pregnant and had a baby or something. It was unfathomable that I could possibly be married simply because I was in love and wanted to settle down. I often felt teased because of my lifestyle. It was clearly “uncool” to be so young and already in a monogamous relationship. BORING. It hurt that others felt this way about me, and slowly I began to feel embarrassed about my life.

Over the course of the next year or two, my feelings of embarrassment started to affect the way I acted. At the gym, I was surrounded by partying/unattached/unmarried friends. There were also all kinds of members at the gym who I socialized with regularly. Many of these members were males who would shamelessly flirt with the “pretty girls at the front desk.” For whatever reason, in a gym environment, people tend to be much more extroverted and flirtatious than they normally would be. Such was the case with the people at my gym. I acted like a tease and would have a fun banter back and forth with men, not thinking it was a big deal. I was very open about the fact that I was a married woman, so as long as they knew I was off limits, I didn’t see any harm in flirting and having a fun time.

Over the course of time, my innocent flirting didn’t appear to be so innocent anymore. By the way I acted around men, people wouldn’t assume I was a married woman. Because I had very slowly slipped into a downward spiral, I didn’t even think I was doing anything wrong. I was just having a good time. As long as I didn’t ever take things to the next level by hanging out with someone one-on-one outside of the gym, it was ok. As long as I never did anything physical with someone, it was ok. As long as I kept things light and breezy, it was ok. No one else seemed to notice I was in the wrong, so it was all fine and dandy in my book. But was it ok? No. It wasn’t. I was not acting honorably to my husband. I would often talk to Eric about my “guy friends” at the gym and doing this kept my guilt at bay. I was treating my husband like my doormat. I was wiping my dirty muddy feet all over him on a regular basis and neither of us seemed to mind at all.

After 2.5 years of marriage, we were 25 years old and sinking farther into this pit that we didn’t realize we were sinking into. Eric was secure in our marriage because he assumed that I was a faithful wife. Though I was technically faithful, my actions weren’t that of a truly faithful wife. I continued a string of male friendships which were inappropriate.

In early 2011, there was a new member who walked into our gym. He had just transferred his membership from the East Coast. He was a serious marathon runner. A competitive runner, actually. This guy ran and won all kinds of races. His entire life revolved around his running career. The purpose of his move to Colorado was solely for the intention of training at higher altitude. He wanted to improve his stamina via altitude training for an entire year in Colorado before going to the Olympic trials. He was an Olympic hopeful in the marathon division. Being a runner myself (though an amateur runner in comparison), I was fascinated with this man. At the time, I was training for my 2nd half marathon race, and was simply awestruck at his athleticism and running successes. It felt like he was a celebrity or someone who I should look up to. I was inspired by him.

Max and I became buddies at the gym. He would spend a lot of time working out but he spent a lot of time talking to me as well. Max often arrived at the gym and told me about the details of his 10 mile trail run he had done that morning. Awestruck! I was captivated by his abilities! As a beginner to intermediate runner, I couldn’t imagine myself having the elite athleticism that I was witnessing before my eyes. We started talking about running all of the time. I tried to “show off” to him and tell him about my upcoming half marathon that I was training for. Often times he would come in to the gym on a Monday and tell me about the easy 10K race he had ran over the weekend and won prize money. It was so exciting for me to know someone who I really looked up to like this. He was my hero!

Max knew I was married and it was no problem because he also was in a relationship with a girl back home on the East Coast. The more I was around this guy, the more I wanted to tap into his brain and learn anything and everything I could about running. He suggested that we go get coffee sometime so that he could enlighten me on his running career. I was ecstatic to get to hang out with him and hear about all of his exciting successes. Plus, I looked forward to seeing him outside of the gym setting. So one day after work, the two of us took his car to Panera where we spent hours talking about running and just life. Afterward, we went to a nearby park to play frisbee. He brought me back to my car at the gym that evening and I drove home thinking about how much fun I’d had that day. I felt like I had just started a friendship with my “NEW BEST FRIEND.” Max made me feel so good. He inspired me. He made me want to do better at my own running. He made me feel motivated to do better at everything! He was such a passionate guy and it overflowed onto me. It was incredible how “high” I felt around him.

Max and I continued to hang out together outside of the gym on a regular basis. We even took off an entire day to ski together in the mountains. We started calling each other best friends. I talked about Max nonstop to my husband at home. Eric didn’t seem to be as excited or as in awe of this guy as I was, but he didn’t have a problem with me hanging out with him. Eric trusted me. Max and I would text each other all day, every day. We would talk on the phone for hours, late into the night. He just GOT me. And I GOT him. I raved about him to Eric and couldn’t wait for the two of them to meet.

Slowly, very slowly…things were getting complicated. Here, I had found my “best friend.” Max would tell me that he felt like our “souls were connected.” Max and I were investing our hopes and dreams and all of our emotions in our conversations with one another. To that point, I was not physically unfaithful to my husband. But I was in a very deep emotional affair with Max. My heart was connected to him. And quickly my feelings were all Max and there were no emotions for my husband. Max and I started to talk about how much we cared for one another. Neither one of us wanted to get in the middle of a relationship. Neither one of us wanted to break up a marriage. I didn’t want to hurt Eric. I didn’t want to get a divorce. But my passions were exploding. All of that changed on the day that Max kissed me. Not only was my emotional self all-in and 100% attached to him, but now my body was ready to jump in too.

I made up my mind that Max was it. He was my soul mate. He was “the one.” Eric was just a part of my story that enabled me to get to Colorado to meet Max. For that, I was grateful. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, I knew that my future was with Max. I didn’t want to have a full-on affair — I wanted to make a clean break and do it the “right” way. And what I felt was right was to tell Eric that I no longer loved him and that it was time for us to go our separate ways.

One night, I sat down with Eric and told him a bunch of half-truths. Half-truths are really lies. There is no such thing as a “half-truth.” A flood of words came out of my mouth: I wanted to break off our marriage. I wanted to get a divorce. But I didn’t want him to know that it was because I wanted to be with Max instead. So I told him that I had stopped loving him. I said, “Eric, I don’t know ever I ever really loved you. We were so young when we met and we didn’t know what love really meant. It’s stupid that we got married at such a young age. Unfortunately I can’t honor the vows I made to you. It’s over. I want out. I want a divorce.”

Eric was in absolute shock. He had no idea where any of this was coming from. He loved me and felt blindsided by what I was telling him. This was not the Katy he knew. She would NEVER say things like this!

Because I felt so firmly about my choice to end my marriage, I wanted to make it WELL KNOWN to my friends and family that this was happening. I didn’t want to live in guilt. I made it pretty public what was going on — minus the Max factor. I even changed my name on facebook, removing Lute from my name. I took my relationship status off. My family was in pure shock about what was going on. This was NOT the daughter they raised. This was NOT the sister they loved. They loved me too much to let me throw my life away without blinking my eyes. This was too bizarre and strange. There was something missing. What no one knew was the biggest piece of the puzzle — I was head of heels and passionately “IN LOVE” with someone else.

The very day I told my husband I wanted a divorce was the day that I took things to the next level with Max. That night we had sex for the first time. In my mind, it was guilt-free since I had already told my husband I was done with him, so it was ok. I was unattached. I was free to do with my body what I wanted. My passions and emotions were leading my ever move and decision.

I started making arrangements to move out of my house. I found a friend at the gym who was willing to sign a lease with me and move into an apartment together. In the period of time leading to our move in date, I bounced around living anywhere but my house. Mainly I stayed most nights with Max at his house, getting more passionate and more physical than ever. Not only was our sex life incredible, he filled me up emotionally too.

One of my close friends at the gym (who I looked up to and admired) encouraged my choices. She told me that she was glad I was making a change, since she had never really cared for Eric anyway. She applauded my courage to stand up for myself and do something that was against the odds. I was taking a stand for myself. I told her that Max and I were in love and she thought it was fantastic news. It felt good to get some positive reinforcement from someone, since surely I wasn’t getting it from my family.

Eric continued to be in shock. He made it very clear that he was never going to give up on me and he refused to give up on our marriage. He said that we made vows not only to each other, but also to God. And he would NOT break a vow that he made to God. This absolutely infuriated me. WHY couldn’t he just let me go??! It seemed that no matter what I did or said, he wouldn’t let me off the hook. He hated what I was doing and how I was treating him, but loved me anyway.

Finally, the truth had to come out. I needed to be honest about my relationship with Max. Maybe then, Eric would finally be disgusted with me and throw in the towel. I wanted to squash out any hope of there ever being a repair to this marriage. So I told him I was in love with Max. I even told him the dirty details of our sex life just to push him over the edge. I was absolutely nasty with my approach. Eric’s heart broke. But he still wouldn’t give up. He turned to God. He sought the counsel of Christians for support and guidance. Though he felt like his heart was being ripped into shreds and trampled on the ground, he wanted to honor God and do the right thing. He wasn’t letting go of his wife.

Eric insisted that I see a counselor. I refused.   I was done and nothing was changing my mind.

My half marathon came and Max was there to coach and cheer me on. Later, he informed me that Eric had come to the race and gave him a piece of his mind. Eric wouldn’t go down without a fight!

Time continued on and Eric and I stopped communicating regularly. I was feeling so happy with my new life and my fulfilling relationship with Max. Max and I talked about our bright future together. We talked about getting married one day. We talked about the children we would have. We dreamed of making babies together. Never before had I been this excited about the idea of someday being a mother. He filled my cup and made my heart want to explode with passion and excitement. This was IT. It was the best life could be. I felt that God had designed Max and I perfectly for one another. It was magical!

My family was devastated about my decisions. They were fighting so hard to somehow get me to change my mind and turn around, with no avail. I felt that they were judging me. Looking back, they weren’t judging me — they just loved me and wanted the best for me. They felt that Satan had gotten a hold of me, was making me believe lies and was leading me down a path of immense sin. They let me know that they were praying for me. I stopped talking to most of my family members except for my mom.

Out of the blue, Eric called me. He told me that he had a business trip for a week and said that if I wouldn’t come take care of our pets, he was giving them away to an animal shelter. The last thing he needed to deal with was pets. I didn’t want them going to the shelter, so I agreed to house sit and care for the dogs while he was gone.

Something happened to me that week of house sitting. Here I was, back in my own house that was no longer my house. I felt strange to be back. My home that I created with my husband, that I had decorated — was no longer mine. My heart strings started tugging that week. I felt a bit nostalgic. So I called Eric. Just to see how he was. This was our first conversation we had where I wasn’t screaming at him and telling him how much I hated him. We talked. That was it.

To Eric, that phone call was a glimmer of hope. It was a game changer. He had been advised that he needed to hire an attorney to protect himself in this mess of a situation. Just that day he had decided that maybe getting a lawyer was a good idea. And then I called him. It was just a little something from God.

Several months passed on. To this point, I was feeling very confident in my decision and felt zero guilt. Not a smidge of guilt. I was finally taking charge of my life and doing what was best for me. Go me! I was being my own advocate and it felt intoxicating!

Well, that started to change. I remember the day specifically. I was at the dealership getting an oil change in my car. It was taking forever and I felt very annoyed. Never before had I needed to sit and wait during an oil change because Eric had always changed the oil in our cars himself. This few hours of sitting around waiting was aggravating. At the time, I didn’t yet have smart phone to keep me distracted, and I was bored out of my mind. I spent a good deal of time on the phone with my mom. As I mentioned earlier, I had stopped communication with my family except for my mom. Though she was very unhappy and unapproving of my life and the decisions I was making, she remained involved in my life. We still talked often. She loves me in the way only a mother can.

Something happened to me that afternoon at the dealership. I don’t know if it was in my conversation with my mom, or what. She continued to tell me, “Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. You may not always ‘feel in love’ with your spouse, but you choose to love and honor them no matter how you feel. Feelings come and go, but your commitment to your spouse and to God always remains.” Somehow amongst all the walls and noise I had surrounding me in the chaos of my life, I started to hear God’s voice. That scared me.

This started a new chapter for me. I started crying out to God and asking Him why on earth He hadn’t been telling me to turn around BEFORE I started making all kinds of big decisions.

Well, God had been trying to get me to hear His voice for a LONG time, but I was just unable to hear it. And now I was hearing it. And I didn’t like what I was hearing. This was NOT good. I didn’t want to start questioning what I was doing. I didn’t want to feel guilt. But now I was. I was questioning myself and feeling guilty!!

Here I was, madly in love with Max. He was my everything now. He made my heart want to explode. He was my future. I couldn’t let him go like God was asking me to do. I couldn’t! But, God’s voice was getting stronger and stronger. It was driving me crazy how much guilt I was living with. I couldn’t live like this and not do something.

I started talking to Eric. He had offered to pay for me to go to counseling. So I finally tapped into his offer and started seeing a Christian counselor once per week. I insisted that I was going to go alone. This was NOT for the purpose of marriage counseling, I just needed to get some answers. Week after week I talked for an hour about my life. I talked about how Max made me feel so alive. Eric made me feel dull and uninspired. I didn’t feel in love with Eric. I felt in love with Max. I felt like with Max I was capable of doing anything I wanted. I felt driven and alive! Week after week, she listened to me. And week after week, I started to hear how foolish I sounded.

My heart knew what was the right thing to do.  God was calling me back to Him.  He was telling me that I needed to step out in faith.  He loved me, but He could not bless the life I was choosing to live.  I needed to be bold and put a stake in the ground– once I put a stake in the ground and chose the path He was calling me to, He would richly bless me.  But if I chose the other path, no blessings would ever come.  I was torn.  I prayed, I read scripture.  1 John 1:7-9 “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

I knew what I was being called to do.  Everything in me was screaming and telling me not to do it.  I couldn’t live without Max.  My soul was connected to him after all!  But God made it very clear to me that I needed to have faith in Him that if I chose to walk away from that relationship and turn to Him, that he would take care of me and richly bless me.  I wanted to be in God’s favor.  I needed His love, His grace, and His mercy.

So I did.  I ended it with Max.  It was a start.  I had put my stake in the ground.  I was boldly telling the world that I was turning from my sin and choosing to follow Christ, no matter how hard it was to do.

Though I was firm in my decision to follow Christ, it was by no means easy.  It was hard.  The hardest thing I’ve ever done.  My emotional self was a mess because I was so strongly attached to Max, and it felt like I was grieving as if someone had died.  I knew that I had to hit a low before I could come back up again.  I continued to follow Christ’s lead and allow Him to hold me and care for me.  God is my Father and He would not abandon me.

I’m not sure why Eric was still willing to try to make a marriage work, let alone look at me after all I had done to him.  But he was obedient to God.  Eric eventually was invited to join my weekly counseling sessions.  We started to tackle some of the big issues.  Neither of us knew where things would end up — but we both felt firmly that we wanted to follow God’s direction for our lives, whether that was separately or together.

We were determined to be led by the Lord. Acts 3:19 – “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

God wanted us to be together.  Slowly, over time, and through counseling, the two of us were able to begin some healing.  We started becoming friends again.  We eventually started to date one another.  We continued to live separately for many months.  Our marriage had a lot of jumps and hoops to get through because of the damage that had been done.  But because we were both diligently following the path that God was setting before us, we found healing and eventually love.

I knew that I had to make some huge lifestyle changes to make.  I knew that it was no longer acceptable for me to work in the gym.  That environment was not a good place for me to be in.  I worked really hard and finally landed a new job working as a chiropractic assistant at a Chiropractic office.  Another big change I needed to make was to make it a point to have friendships with only women.  I choose to never be a friend with a man anymore.  Harry had it right with his mentality in the movie When Harry Met Sally.  He said that “men and women simply cannot be friends.”  And I agree.  As a married woman, I choose to honor my husband by having friendships with females, not males.  I make it a point to never be alone with the husbands in couples we know, even innocently.

Years have passed.  I have changed.  Eric has changed.  We no longer even resemble the individuals we were back when our marriage fell apart.  We are coming up on our 6 year wedding anniversary this year!  It’s a celebration!  I got baptized and shared my testimony with my church almost 2 years ago.  Neither one of us regret what happened.  Looking back, we know that SOMETHING big had to happen to shake us up and heal our marriage.  It was never a healthy marriage from the get-go, and something needed to occur to get us on a better track.  As tragic as 2011 was, we would never change a thing, because that’s what got us to where we are today: happy, healthy, following Christ’s lead, and more in love than we have ever been before!

Marriage is hard work.  A husband and wife cannot simply give 50/50.  We must both each give 100% to make it work.  And God blesses us.  He has tremendously blessed our lives.  In ways we never imagined.  In October of this past year, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Winter, into the world.  It truly a miracle that she even exists.  She is God’s precious gift to us.

Eric is a strong man.  He never lost faith in me, and he never ONCE strayed from keeping his eyes on Christ. He is the strongest man I know. When he could have easily kicked me to the curb and lost every ounce of respect for me, he chose to stubbornly LOVE ME, as Christ loves me.  Without God’s help, he admits he couldn’t have done it.  After all of these years, he never brings up any of my past mistakes or uses them against me.  I praise God for creating Eric.  I love him so much.  He has the biggest servant’s heart that I know!  He absolutely hates running, but over the past 3 months, he faithfully worked hard and trained for a half marathon with me.  On Sunday, together we crossed the finish line of the very same race I had been training for 3 years ago.  It was a momentous day for us!  I love my husband.

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God’s love never fails.  There’s a song that is very popular that has a powerful message.  Kristian Stanfill’s One Thing Remains.  It says, “Higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant in the trial and the change, one thing remains. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”

I want to leave you with a few verses to take away:

            1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

            Ephesians 2:4-5But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

             Isaiah 54:10“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

            Proverbs 31:10-12“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

 Thank you for listening. I pray that God will help use my story to speak into your life. Christ’s love is unfailing. No matter what you do or what you say, He will never, EVER stop loving you. Always return to Him. He loves you.

 

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 Eric, Winter and I — very happy and blessed!