Thursday, March 3, 2011

Show Us Your Life- Family

I've debated over writing this post. It's not one that has been easy for me. Please bear with me... this is a little bit more intense than I normally am!

So first, I want to say that my Grandmother is amazing. She means so much to me. I believe that she is the reason I am who I am today. I will never be able to describe just how much I love her and how grateful I am.

On that same note, I feel extremely blessed to have more of an ending to "my story." There have been several times in my life that I've tried to sit down and write about what made me who I am but I have never had the closure that I feel like I now have. Not saying that I believe I've dealt with what I've been given perfectly or that I believe I'm where I need to be, just saying that I'm at a point where I feel more peace than ever.

I also want to say that this is more for me than anyone else, so I am sorry if this is boring or too much information or whatever the case is! For those of you that read any further... it really means a lot to me!

My parents are great but both of them were faced with the challenge of not really being mature enough or ready to take on children. Before they knew it, they had 3 little girls and life was moving fast.

I really believe they did all that they knew to do but it just wasn't enough. When I was 7, my parents got a divorce. My little sister was just 4 years old. I remember my older sister, who was 8, was really upset. She understood what was happening, probably more than I ever realized.

We spent every other weekend with my dad, who went to live with his mother and two brothers. The rest of the time we were with my mother and her boyfriend. I do not remember very much from this time at all. The situation we lived in was not good. My mother was turning to the wrong things to help her cope and it was really affecting my sisters and I.

It didn't take long for family members to take notice that things were not right. My grandparents started working to get custody of my sisters and I. Several family members tried to help in different ways but my mother did not want help.

Eventually, my grandparents got full custody and we went to live with them. I am so grateful for the sacrifices they made for us. I still remember the way their house felt and smelled so clean and the feeling of security it gave me.

We still spent every other weekend with my dad. I love my dad. How hard must it have been to admit that he was not able to raise 3 girls and to just hand over custody. I know he was scared but I know that he believed it was the best thing for us. He stayed so involved and active in our lives too. He went to all the activities he could and he was always just a phone call away.

The rest of the weekends were for my mother. Sadly, more of those weekends were spent with us just waiting by the door. It was heartbreaking. What started out going a week or two without hearing from her turned into a month or more until finally she just stopped. She would call and promise to be involved more and then promise a really fun weekend visit. Each time it felt like a hole in my heart grew bigger and bigger.

High school was the hardest for me. I felt like there was so much going on and I saw all my girl friends with their mothers... it just made me hurt. I could not get over the fact that mine had just left me to deal with life on my own. I know that I did not deal with my pain well. I made it very difficult on my grandparents.

A few months after I had Anna-Kate I realized that I did not even know if my mother knew about her. I'm not sure what made me want to, but I decided that we should go see my mother and let her meet Anna-Kate. My grandmother, sisters and I went and did just that. We spent about ten minutes with her before leaving. I knew my mother had promised to write but I knew that would not happen.

Last January, my mom contacted my older sister and then me. She wanted in our lives for good. I was very skeptical but I decided that once I let her know how I felt then maybe we could have a relationship. I was amazed by the way she handled me. I was brutally honest and for the first time in my life she pretty much said, "yes I did those things and I'm sorry." That was a huge deal for her.

It's been just over a year and I'm so very thankful to say that my mom is still in my life. She's been in contact at least once a week since all of that happened. I feel like God has surprised me- that seems silly because he does that a lot. I just really thought that my story with my mother was over. God showed me the power of prayer and the power of hope. How amazing is it that my little girl heart was broken and God has blessed me with the gift of healing it. I know that not everyone gets the closure of healing.

I have been so blessed. Blessed with a father who found the strength to admit that he could not raise his own children. Blessed with two beautifully strong and amazing grandparents who had the courage to change their plans and raise three girls. Blessed with many aunts and uncles who fought for my safety and well being. Blessed with cousins who were there for me. Blessed with a very, very special cousin who showed me more about God than anyone ever has.

and then he blessed me with my husband who has supported, loved, listened and so much more. Blessed with my in-laws who took me in and showed me so much about family.

and then he gave me the biggest blessing I could imagine, my own family to share the love that I have been given and the love I wanted so badly.

God is amazing.

Cindy Isom Photography


Gail said...

You expressed all of that so beautifully. I can't begin to imagine the experiences you've had. Reading that makes me want to be a better mother. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure that wasn't easy.

God IS amazing. :)

Tiffanymafima said...

I found you through Kelly's blog and I wanted to thank you for being so honest and vunerable. What an amazing story and testimony of God's amazing grace and plans for our lives. :)

Gina Rose said...

Nicki- it's been such a blessing to watch God at work in your life! I didn't get to experience the kind of closure you are experiencing with your mother- mine passed away 4 years ago- and I am so appreciative of the strength and love it took both you and your mother to begin that healing process.

My prayer is that God continues to heal your heart and that you are richly blessed through your example of Christ-like forgiveness. Thanks for sharing! Much love to you, Sara, and Jessie!!

Jamie said...

What a beautiful story! I recently arrived at a place where I could look back on my life and clearly see God's hand on all of it. That is a wonderful feeling! Thank you for did an amazing job! :)

kellyS. said...

Loved reading your story. Very inspirational! Having 2 married parents is a bit unusual these days. I hear about so many "grandparents" who have raised their kids kids. So great to have family members who go to great lengths to make sure the kids are taken care of.

Kelcie Huffstickler said...

Nicki, that was beautiful. And you have such a beautiful family! Such a happy ending.

Mama Bear said...

wow. I am thankful that you had such a great and loving extended family and that God has renewed your relationship with your mother. I agree, God is amazing...

Sarabellblog said...

Very neat story and yes a happy ending! Thanks for sharing! You are a beauty!!! Your floors look great BTW!!!

angela@LoveBeingANonny said...

What a sweet sweet story of forgiveness and grace.

Amanda Lowery Money said...

You did such a great job writing this. I know it was hard for you, but you are such an amazing woman and mother. I'm so glad I can call you my friend!

Adeichhorn said...

You are so brave and so strong to write that. I'm so glad it's such a happy ending. :)

Stephanie Hardcastle Johnson said...

You have had to go through so much pain and heartache, and I have had the privilege of being with you through a great deal of it. I know it was hard. But I know that it was worth it. Every rain cloud has a silver lining, and the storm of your childhood made you the beautiful woman you are today. You are a wonderful grand daughter, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. I feel so blessed to have you in my life, even if you are so far away and I hardly ever GET TO SEE YOU. I love you with all my heart. And I am so proud of the woman you have become.

francine said...

what an inspirational story to share nicki!Thank you for being willing to share it!

Cynthiavaughn7 said...

Nicki, I know we have talked about our childhoods and growing up while we are in the kitchen cooking, and I knew all these things I just read...but reading it made me cry. You are just precious and I can truly say I love you. You have created a sweet, precious family and you are an amazing mom.

Inspirationsbyd said...

Thank you for sharing part of you with us. It is inspirational and God bless your beautiful family:-)

mollyhall said...

Such an amazing story girl, I got a little teary eyed. God is good, all the time. Sometimes we have a hard time seeing it when we are experiencing grief/trouble/stress, but it helps if we remember that He knows the bigger picture. What a blessing that you spoke your mind to your mom, and she is still around. I am SURE that through all of this, it has taught you how to be an amazing mother, and that is a GIFT :)

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