Maria Yeager

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Daily Prompt: Cheat

This morning, I checked my phone and saw that today’s word prompt on WordPress was “cheat”. I have never taken part in these word prompts as I usually have something to write about, but I have to admit, I’ve been running out of ideas lately. When I saw this word prompt, I knew I wouldn’t take part in it today as the word brings back some bad memories for me. However, throughout the day, I have been bombarded with reminders of this word, and I believe I am being called to write about this topic. So, I am giving in…haha!

The word “cheat” can refer to so many things – cheating on a test, cheating on taxes, cheating at a game. But for me, the word “cheat” brings back memories of a horrible time in my life – a time when I though my life was over. Almost five years ago, I found out that my spouse of almost twenty years was cheating on me.

Those few months right after I found out about the affair were some of the worst and most painful of my entire life. This man, who just months before the affair told me that I was the most wonderful wife in the world, was messing around with a co-worker. This is the same man who, for almost the entire length of the marriage, condemned anyone who stepped out on his/her spouse. This is also the same man who supposedly was a Christian and who clearly knew that infidelity was wrong.

I was stunned at his attempt to shirk responsibility for his actions. He blamed everyone else for his actions, including me. I have since learned all about narcissism and now realize that this played a role in how he failed to deal with his infidelity in a healthy manner. He refused counseling which is also a hallmark sign of narcissism. Through my own counseling, I began to realize that narcissism played a huge role in the demise of our marriage, but not just his narcissism. It was also quite prevalent in other members of his family as well – members that had a huge influence over the entire family dynamic.

I remember certain details about those terrible months. I remember how I found him at her townhouse ordering pizza on a Friday night. I remember walking up to the door and confronting him. I thought for sure that since I caught him, he would return home and talk to me about what had happened. I was, after all, his wife. I just caught him at another woman’s house. However, he didn’t return as I had expected. He didn’t come home for four hours. I remember crying myself to sleep. I remember waking up and looking at the clock, realizing he still wasn’t home, and knowing what was probably going on at her house. I remember feeling like someone was just stabbing right in my heart, feeling so sick to my stomach, and having a pounding headache. I remember never getting an apology for that behavior – instead all I heard were excuses and justifications.

I remember waking up one morning the week after finding out about the affair and walking down to the kitchen right after he left for work. The overwhelming scent of cologne just about knocked me down as I walked into the kitchen. It followed me throughout the house as I thought about the fact that he was probably with her on the train right at that moment – the train that took the two of them to work. He had never put on that much cologne before, but he was doing it for her.

I remember how thoughts haunted me day and night. What caused him to treat me like this? How could this happen? On those days when he left to play golf or go to the casino, was he with her? On the days he had to “work late”, was he with her? Did he lie to me the entire marriage? Did I ever truly know this person? Was she in my home when I was visiting my parents? A never ending stream of horrible confusion and terrorizing realizations kept me from sleeping for months.

I remember how, in a divorce support group at church, they described divorce as a “tearing of the flesh”. They explained that when a couple marries, God joins the two and they “become one”, so when a divorce occurs, it means that the two are being torn apart. Believe me, it felt like this. It was awful.

I remember how, within the time period of just about a month, he went from this loving husband who couldn’t seem to keep his hands off me to a complete stranger who didn’t seem to care about me at all. He didn’t care about all the hurt he was inflicting, not only on me, but my entire family. It didn’t seem to bother him one bit that he was walking out on almost twenty years of his life. It’s like he went to bed as one person and woke up as a complete stranger.

It was hell. A complete uprooting of everything I knew to be true. A time where I didn’t think I would make it. But I did make it, and I am so much better for it.

I went through years of counseling. In addition to learning all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I learned who I truly was – a knowledge of my own self. I realized that I had not been true to myself as I let others control what I did and thought. I became self-aware, and I learned to love myself and accept myself just as I am.

I also spent a lot of time with God – time in prayer, time in church, and time alone with Him. My spiritual life grew by leaps and bounds, and today I have the closest relationship of my life with God. I spend a lot of time reading the Bible and other spiritual books, and I have learned to lean on Him all the time, not just some of the time. But the biggest lesson of all is that I now know that He always has a plan for me – a purpose that at times I cannot see because of all the darkness on this earth. I thought I was surrounded by that darkness five years ago, but little did I know, the light was still shining. Today, I know that the light is always there no matter how bad the circumstances. God never leaves us.

Looking back to where I was five years ago, I can truly say that I am thankful that my husband had the affair. I actually want to thank him, believe it or not. If he hadn’t had the affair, I would still be stuck on a path that led nowhere. I do not believe in divorce, and I would have never left the marriage had he not had the affair. I have grown by leaps and bounds since the end of my marriage – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I remember several years ago when my therapist suggested that the affair might have been a blessing – a good thing because it allowed me to grow. In fact, my own grandmother made this same remark several years ago. I didn’t want to accept it at the time. I wasn’t ready. But today, I can truly say that some great changes have occurred as a result of that affair. I recall how it has been said that God can take bad things and turn them to good if you trust in Him. This is so true, and it certainly happened in my case. I truly believe that He reached down, yanked me out of a terrible situation, and placed me on solid ground where I could grow. God sees everything. I believe He gave me the “out” that I needed so I would be able to reach new heights. I wouldn’t be at this place today if I hadn’t been released from this marriage. Being in that marriage and family was truly holding me back from my destiny – a destiny full of hope and happiness. A destiny centered around the one true God. A destiny of true self-awareness.

Although bad things do happen in this life, hold onto hope. There is always a reason that is bigger than any of us, and most of the time we can’t see it at the time. You just have to trust. Hold onto the hand of God. Get a good counselor. God will get you through it and will bring you out on the other side in such a better place. He has bigger plans for you. All you have to do is trust in Him.

My blog address: http://www.yeagerm193.wordpress.com

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via Daily Prompt: Cheat

A broken back, a saved life!

Image at Creative Commons, http://www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3Aspondylolysis_back_pain_.jpg

Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware.

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, Aurora Leigh

Well, I haven’t posted here for a while because I have been in the ER once again for my back problems.  In 2009, I found out that I had a broken back, and since then I have gone through three spinal fusions, the first of two of which failed.  I had been doing quite well recently, so I decided to sign up for six personal training sessions at my local gym.  Turns out that this was a mistake.  About a week and a half ago, my trainer decided that I needed to do some dead lifts…..something that I found out later I should never do.  I could barely walk the next day because of the pain, and then I had significant leg weakness that eventually landed me in the hospital.  I have been on pain meds, a muscle relaxant, and prednisone to bring down inflammation.  Luckily, I seem to be improving, so hopefully I won’t be facing any additional surgery.  Obviously, I will not be returning to personal training at my gym!

I thought this would be a good time to share my story of how my broken back actually saved my life.  I am writing my sixth book now, and this is part of the story, so you will be getting a little insight before I publish it.  My first back surgery in 2009 failed and resulted in two broken screws in my back…..terrible I know, but it wasn’t as painful as you might think.  I had my second spinal fusion in 2010, but to my extreme disappointment, this fusion also failed.  I did extensive research and decided to change doctors to someone who was a noted expert in complex spinal problems.  Before my third surgery, a slew of tests were run on me to determine the situation and identify any problems with me that could have contributed to the previous failed surgeries.  One of the tests was a CT myelogram.  However, before having this test, a head CT has to be done to rule out a rare problem at the base of the brain that could lead to seizures due to the injection of dye into the spinal column during the myelogram.  So, in the summer of 2011, I went in for a routine head CT.

I wasn’t concerned at all about the head CT.  I don’t have headaches except for the occasional sinus or tension headache.  I was sure they would not find a thing wrong with me that would prevent me from having a CT myelogram.  The test itself took about 10 minutes, and there was nothing to it.  I left the hospital and began my errands for the day.  But, about twenty minutes after leaving the hospital, my cell phone rang, and it was my doctor’s office.  The nurse told me that they had found a brain aneurysm on the head CT and I needed to be seen immediately.  She told me that my back issues would have to be put on hold because this aneurysm took priority as it could be deadly!

I was in complete shock.  I had absolutely no symptoms, and I never would have known this aneurysm existed had it not been for all the problems with my back.  The aneurysm has since been coiled.  I have had several follow up angiograms, and the coiled aneurysm is now stable.

This just goes to show that God really does work in mysterious ways.  Many times we complain about all the problems that we have in this life.  Yes, I could have focused on the negative and complained about my broken back, asking God “why did this happen to me?”  But instead, I look at it as a blessing.  Not only can I help others who might be going through similar back issues, but all this suffering from my back actually ended up saving my life.  Without my back problems, I would have never been aware of the aneurysm, and I might not have ever made it to see this day.  So, the next time something happens to you that “looks” like a bad thing…..for example, being late because of a traffic accident on the road…..it could actually be God looking out for you and saving your life.  Just think – if you had been just a few minutes earlier on that road, it may have been you in that accident!

 

 

 

 

Angels among the homeless

About 8 years ago, I was blessed to be part of a group in Texas who went out and fed the homeless.  Over the months that I was involved with this church group, we helped many people who were on the streets – alcoholics, drug addicts, those with mental disorders, and those who were just plain down on their luck.  Although we were sad about their living conditions, it was such a rewarding experience to know that we helped these people in our own small way.  I remember looking at them and wondering what horrible thing happened in their life that put them in such a terrible position.  I usually prayed for them on the way back to the church.

One day as we were handing out food, an older man came up to us carrying a bunch of palm branches.  We asked him what he needed, and he said “Nothing.  I just wanted to share something with you.”  His tattered clothing and unshaven face made it clear that he was indeed homeless.  He went on to say that he felt God had called him to take palm branches and twist them into crosses to give to others as a sign of hope.  He then took his branches and twisted them into the shape of a cross – a beautiful one at that.  He made a cross for each of us, and we thanked him for such a wonderful gift. He was a very sweet man, very quiet and polite.  After he was done, he made sure to thank us for coming down and helping the homeless.  He then turned and walked away without taking and food or drink from our truck.  I kept that cross for several months until it dried out and started to crumble.  I didn’t want to let it go because the whole experience had such a major impact on me.

About 3 years ago, my ex-husband and I went out to eat at a steakhouse in Washington, D.C.  As we walked down the street in the city, a homeless man suddenly approached us and told us we looked like newlyweds.  We thanked him and told him we had been married 20 years.  He smiled and said “Well, you look like newlyweds.  You are definitely meant for each other.”  Again, this homeless man did not ask for a thing from us.  We thanked him and continued on our way.  Little did I know that would be the last meal that I would enjoy with my ex-husband.  About a week later, I found out that he had been having an affair.

So, was that homeless man in Texas, who didn’t ask for any help from us, really an angel among us who was thanking us for helping out those who are less fortunate?  Did he give us those crosses as a way to show us that God sees our good works?  What about the man in Washington?  Was that an angel who was trying to send a message to my ex-husband? Was this a divine way to let him know that what he was doing was wrong?  I believe both of these were in fact angels among the homeless.  I believe that things like this happen all the time, but we are too busy to notice.  A lesson that I have learned from these two experiences are that we should never, ever judge others.  We never know who and where we will experience divine intervention.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you.”  Luke 6:37

“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  John 4:9-10

 

 

 

 

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