(Warning: this post contains swearing. Pardon my French, in advance, as my Gramma would say.)

I was recently told – from a few sources, combined – that I am a victim-card-playing, ludicrous, bull-shitting hypocrite who doesn’t actually care about people who are hurting.

Yep, that sounds about right.

I am all of those things.

I want people to feel sorry for me. For my past, for my present. I want people to look at me and think I rose above the ashes. I want people to think that my current circumstances are just too much for one person to bear, that I should be pitied, and lauded, and maybe brought a meal. Yes, I play the victim card.

I “bullshit” people. Now, with this one, I sincerely do not think that I set out to do this. (I could be wrong…maybe I do.) But truly I don’t, for instance, start writing a blog post or enter into a conversation with the goal to mislead. But I’m sure I do. I’m sure that I have painted a picture of my former marriage and I paint a picture of my current marriage and I paint a picture of my heart, and those pictures are just downright inaccurate. (Spoiler alert: no one’s version of their life is 100% accurate. There is your version of a circumstance, my version of a circumstance, and God’s {TRUE} version of a circumstance.) I don’t intend to “bullshit” anyone, but I am absolutely sure that I do.

I love my kids with my whole heart, but I selfishly place myself before them on a regular basis, especially with my time.

I say that God is my number one priority, that my faith is what holds me together, but my knee-jerk response to life can still be worry and fear, with praying coming down the pike later. I start every morning with him, but do I apply what I read beyond those minutes? Is my heart softer? Am I more compassionate because of my faith?

I write things that don’t line up with my actions. Yes, probably every day. For instance, I have a hard and fast rule that one should not start dating until one year post the divorce date. I followed this rule (and then some). It is a very important guideline to me. But my husband and I started dating three weeks’ shy of his one-year divorc-ary. (To be clear: I am NOT saying he was not divorced yet; I am saying he had been divorced 11 months and one week when we started dating. Before we met, when I had asked him how long he’d been divorced, he thought I meant separated and he said two years, and I found out later the actual date. Completely innocent mistake.) But technically, I am a hypocrite in that we both didn’t follow that to the letter. (Side note: I would say that I believe that guideline to be even more true and important now, because the farther away from the divorce day, the less baggage to wade through in a new relationship, which I can say we are experiencing firsthand.)

I do care about people who are hurting. But there are so many of us. And from time to time I get weary. And I may not handle each heart that comes through my life with kid gloves and I may inadvertently hurt someone even more. Yep, I hurt hurting people.

I’m also self-absorbed.

I’m also a procrastinator.

I’m also lazy.

I’m also a grudge-holder.

I’m also stubborn.

I also want my way.

I’m also quick to anger and not quick to forgive.

I’m so many of the things that people who know me and don’t know me and those who think they know me but don’t know me say about me.

I’m so many of the things that Jesus tells us not to be.

Those words that were said over my life were spoken from afar. They were not said to me face-to-face. They were not said by people who have lived with me or seen me cry or spent even one full day with me. They were not said by people who care about me in the least, or for me to make corrections to become a better person because they love me. They were said to hurt. And they did.

However, those words they said are true words (in a sense).

Now, I could end this blog post right here and this would be a fully true (as fully true as I as a human can write) statement of who I am.

But I am not just those horrible things.

I’m 45 now. Which means I know myself pretty well and I’m comfortable listing off my strengths as easily as I just listed off my faults.

So, yes, I’m a victimy, hypocritical, uncaring bull-shitter, but I also know in my heart that I love Jesus so very much, and that he loves me back. I also know that I do truly love my children, and even though I fail them, they love me, and they know I would fight for them with everything in me. I also know that I love my husband, and even though I can hurt him, he loves me completely. And I have the sweetest group of girlfriends who I love so much, and even though I can be selfish with my time or say something sarcastic that stings, they love me unconditionally.

And my heart hurts when someone is hurting.

And I spend a good deal of my time trying to alleviate other people’s pain.

And when I get mad and end up yelling, I feel really, really badly about it, and I say I’m sorry.

And I have a tender, almost fragile heart, one that soaks in harsh words like a sponge and it takes sometimes days and months and years for the wounds to heal fully, if ever.

And I want to fix everything but there’s so little I can actually do anything about, and that just about kills me.

So for those of you who read my blog and have put me on any kind of pedestal other than ‘fellow hurting human being’, who think I handled my hard marriage just right and who think I handled my divorce just right and who think I handled my dating life just right and who think I am handling my new marriage just right and who think I’m handling my parenting just right (maybe because of things I’ve written)…I’m not. I’m just a girl. I’m just a girl who messes this stuff up all the freaking time.

And I am sorry if I have hurt you, or misled you, or gave you bad advice, or skimmed over your pain, or made you think I was ever something that I am not. I am so sorry. I want to be on paper who I am in my life. Desperately.

I’m a girl whose true, deepest heart wants to love and to encourage and to protect and to bring healing, and my true heart wants to be loved and be encouraged and be protected and be healed.

So, sweet one, if you are being attacked, if your character is being annihilated, if you are resonating with what I’ve been going through these days, stand up for yourself. Yes, you heard me. But not the way you think. There is no point, I’ve found, in trying to convince someone who has their mind made up about who you are that you are anything other than their image of you. So stand up for yourself in your own mind and against the Enemy (he ain’t called the Father of lies for nothing). Own your faults but then tell yourself who you are in Christ – loved, held, fought for, gifted, seen, good – and refute the lies you’ve been hearing with Truth. And, if you’re able, pray for those who are saying the horrible things…this is all I’ve been able to muster up, but it’s helping to bring me healing – Please bring healing and wholeness to fill-in-the-blank. And I have said it over and over when each of their harsh words float across my mind, which is, sadly, very often.

Remember: you are not who others say you are. You are who God says you are.

Thank you, Jesus, that you see me – truly, deeply see me – and still completely, intimately, audaciously love me. I’d be lost without you. Amen.

(P.S. Listen, I’ve sent my share of snarky email responses in the heat of the moment; I get the rush, I understand the satisfaction in getting my voice heard and my point across. But if you are someone who tends to text or email or comment harsh or inappropriate words to people that you barely know, let me ask you to think about this next time. These horrible words that have been said to me are in large part the reason I am back on an anti-depressant. Words are soul-crushing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the words I’ve heard over these past months have ruined my life, but I journaled this phrase recently…that those handful of people have re-broken me. So, next time you’re about to hit send on something cruel and unnecessary, please simply consider this: the person on the other end is a human being, with a fragile heart, who will remember your words. You can choose to bring healing or you can choose to re-break someone who is trying to heal. And if you struggle with this and actually want to change and grow and stop hurting people, you go ahead and write out that inappropriate thing, venting like crazy, and then you send it to a trusted friend who can handle it, not to the person that you wrote it to. OR, if you actually really know this person, get together and have a conversation face-to-face…that is the most respectful way to go. But if you don’t want to change and you see nothing wrong with it, you’re just going to keep hurting people, including yourself. And that is an absolute shame.)

(P.P.S Because of the nature of the overwhelmingly kind comments I have received here and on Facebook and over email since posting this blog yesterday, with many suggesting I shouldn’t listen to people who don’t know me, to my readers who are critical, I want to clarify one thing. Of the five things I started off saying I have been called the past few months – 1) painting myself as a victim, 2) ludicrous, 3) “bull-shitting”, 4) hypocrite, 5) doesn’t really care about helping hurting people – only one of those descriptors came from a reader, someone I’ve never met. I know the others. If it were just readers, it wouldn’t hurt like this, those words would’ve rolled off my back way more quickly, and I wouldn’t have even written about it.)

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